Zoals heel wat van jullie wel weten heb ik onlangs serieus afgezien van een zware buikgriep. Daardoor kon ik helaas zelf niet naar de boekenbeurs in Antwerpen tijdens het tweede weekend. Dat wilt ook zeggen dat ik zelf niet in staat was om het interview met Julie Kagawa af te nemen.
Gelukkig heb ik een geweldige vriendin, Nathalie, die het van mij wou overnemen. Nogmaals bedankt daarvoor, je bent een schat 🙂
Hieronder kan je het volledige interview lezen. Het zal jullie vast niet verbazen dat ik na dit interview nog meer onder de indruk ben van Julie Kagawa.
(Om de nuances niet te verliezen laat ik het interview in het Engels staan)
Nathalie: Blue Julie Kagawa: Black
Nathalie heeft een zelfgemaakt tussendoortje voor Julie meegenomen, dat is een enorme goede ijsbreker.
Normally my friend, Sam, would do the interview but she got ill. So i replaced her last minute.
Oh no, how sad.
Together they talk about the way they will record the interview.
Welcome in Belgium.
You probably travel a lot for your book tours and stuff.
For this booktour i do travel a lot. Mostly around the US but i’ve also been in Amsterdam for a booktour in the Netherlands.
Do you get inpired on your booktours?
Yes by certain things. Like i see an old building or an old cathedral. Then i start wondering: what could be happening in that building? Old buildings are very cool.
My friend and i are also writers, or at least writers to be. So we can relate very much to loving old buildings.
Yeah, it goes like: I wonder if there are gargoyles there.
Or vampires lurking 🙂
Talking about vampires and all of those creatures. We have read all your books/series. Sometimes it’s about fairies, vampires, dragons,… How do you pick your…
My mythological creatures? Uhm, i don’t really know. With ‘Shadow of the fox’ i’ve had always wanted to write it. Cause it was written before ‘The Iron Fey’ was written. I finished it, well it was actually the book that got me my agent. But back then, in 2008, nobody wanted Asian fantasy so she told me to write something else. So, that’s why i went with the ‘Iron King’ and because of that i had to rewrite ‘Shadow of the fox’ as a YA. I’ve always loved the Japanese mythology and the Kitsune mythe is my all time favorite. But all the worlds and the creatures are fascinating. I don’t know how i pick, it’s just like: I’m gonna write about vampires this time.
Well, we love it.
Do you have already planned out everything if you start writing?
I usually have an idea and i have to have an ending in mind, both for the series and each individual book in the series. If i have an ending i can write towards it and i have highpoints that i know have to happen. Like, this has to happen and this has to happen and then they have to kiss and then the book has to end. Everything between those highpoints i kind of make up.
We also wanted to know how you come up with your male characters. Because we fall in love with them every time.
They are inspired a lot by manga, anime and videogames. In particular the ‘Final Fantasy series’. Like, if i fall in love with an anime character i’m like how can i make him, you know. I use all those characters to create my own. Dreammen or bruty bad boys with swords. You know, like Ash. He is actually a mix of Heero Yuy (Gundam Wing) and Squall Leonhart (Final Fantasy), a little mix of everything.
I can see myself fall in love with him. Talking about Ash. Do you think you will ever write another book for the ‘Iron Fey’ series?
Oh, you haven’t heard the anouncement yet. After ‘The shadow of the fox’ wraps up i’m going back to the ‘Iron Fey’ series with the original four characters: Ash, Puck, Megan and Grim. I’m very excited.
So are we.
I’m so excited, i get to play in the land of the fairies again. When i announced it i got applause so i think everybody was excited. The ‘Iron Fey’ are almost nostalgic.
How did you learn to make the cute dragons?
So that came about, when i was writing three books at once. So, the ‘Talon’ series got optioned to become a movie and i was in the middle of writing two other books at the same time. So the ‘Talon’ series got optioned after 50 pages so the people who wanted to do the movie where like: ‘Okay, we need the whole manuscript like right now. So can you have it to us in like maybe two weeks?’ I was like: ‘Maybe you don’t know how the publishing industry works.’ So i dropped everything and told my editor that i had to finish the first book of the ‘Talon’ series for the movie producers. It was a really really busy time and i was kinda going insane so i needed something else to do. So i started to work with clay, watched a tutorial to make this cute little dragons and i thought i wanted to do this as well. And it went good with the upcoming ‘Talon’ novel. I was like: ‘I can make these cute little dragons and show them to the people that love the ‘Talon’ series. And then it kinda blew up and became a thing.
Yeah, they are always sold out immediately.
I wasn’t planning on that. It was just for me at first and then i started showing them to my followers and they went like: ‘Oh my goodness! Do you have an etsy store? I want one.’ And i’m like: ‘What’s an etsy store?’ Because i didn’t know what etsy was back then. So i looked up what etsy was and started offering them online and people just snapped them right up. I had no idea that it was going to be this popular. I have to make some more for Christmas. Right now i’m very busy but when i get home i have to make some new ones. So, there are some more coming.
Another question about the ‘Iron Fey’. How did you come up with the idea of combinding ‘Midsummer night’s dream’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’?
I wasn’t really planning it like that, it’s just like i both like them. And i just got the idea, well i was intrigued by the story of the changeling and how fairies would leave their fairy baby and take the real one away. When i was thinking about fairies i was thinking: what are the Fey afraid of? And in the legend they are afraid of Iron and anything that has to do with iron. From there it was kinda like we have fairies and gremlins and you know, computer viruses and stuff like that. What if there was an entire race that came out of technology? There where a lot of characters like Puck, Oberon, Tiana that where inspired by ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ that i just put in my stories because they are legends from the fey.
From all your books that you have written so far. Who is your favorite character?
That’s such a hard question. So hard to pick. Yumeko is quite close to my favorite because i really love Kitsune and she’s kind of a prankster. But i have to stay, still, after all these years… It’s Ash. Because he was my first bruty badboy, you know, the first one i wrote and actually fell in love with. He’s kind of built up after all these years, he has a special place in my heart.
Now something more about writing in general. Do you like to be on a busy schedule? Or do you wish it would be a lot calmer?
I do like a busy schedule. I want to be doing something. If i am in Belgium or Antwerp i want to meet fans and i want to do things because i’m here for them. I really want to do things. So i much prefer to be busy rather then having an easy schedule.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?
I would probably be a dog trainer. Or some sort of animaltrainer. I actually was a dog trainer before i became an author. I really love working with animals, with dogs. It’s easy, well cool and fun to work with animals. Working with the dogs owner is another story, i can take the dog and make it do everything. Then i have to give the dog back to the owner and the dog is crazy. So yeah, probably an animal trainer of some sort.
You have two adorable dogs.
I do, they are spoiled. So spoiled. Yeah, they celebrated their first birthday with a cake. My two dogs have an instagram page and i have one, i have around 6000 followers they have like over 10000. They are more popular then i am :).
Do you have some tips for aspiring authors?
I would just say, keep writing. Persist! Remember that all authors started in the exact same way as you are right now. We all started out unknown, unpublished. We had no idea of what we are doing. The ones that made it are just the ones that finished the book and persisted and kept writing. So just keep at it. I like to put some positivity out in the world, that’s why i wrote the “encourage a writer”posts on facebook, i should do those again. You know, writing is hard and positivity might help. The original ‘Shadow of the fox’ took me five years to write. I did Nanowrimo and that really helped. Because ones you do get published you have these things that are called deadlines and you have to meet your deadlines. And the deadlines are usually 6 months to a year to write a book. My deadlines are now like about eigth months.
How did it go to find a publisher? Do you work with an agent?
I started going to a writersworkshop when i was in my early twenties. At the end of the workshop they would bring in agents and editors from New York so you could pitch your manuscript to them. I did that for on and of eight years and then one day i met an agent who really loved my work. I pitched her with the original ‘Shadow of the fox’, she really liked it but she couldn’t sell it. Nobody was buying Asian Fantasy back then. So she told me, after a year of trying, that i had to write something else and put ‘Shadow of the fox’ away for a while. Do you have any ideas? I told her about my idea about this fairy girl who goes into the fairy world after her little brother. What do you think of that? She was like, yeah write me that book. So i wrote the ‘Iron King’ using Nanowrimo. But i never forgot the original ‘Shadow of the fox’ and now, years and years later it actually have come out. So it was really cool. It’s the book of my heart.
Do you have a favorite writing place?
My office and probably only my office. I get really distracted. If i go to a coffeeshop or like, heaven forbid, a bookstore. I wouldn’t get anything done. Especially a bookshop. I would write, write, write, oh i’m stuck. Let’s read. And then i would never get back to it. So, in my office is probably the best place for me. No distractions, except my dogs. Right now they are very distracting. Like the little red one, he always has to do something. He will come up to me, put his head on me and just stare at me and be like: hi, i’m bored, do something, pay attention to me. If i don’t then he will get in my lap and will be like: HI! I’m bored! Pay attention to me! He will not be ignored.
My last question. Do you have a special routine for writing? Is it always the same?
It’s the same. I try to write a thousand words a day unless i’m really getting close to my deadline. Then the number jumps up. But i usually go for a thousand a day. Sometimes i hit it early and i can continue or sometimes it takes me all afternoon to write a thousand words. But a thousand words is my quota.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you, that was really good.