Today Kat Ellis is stopping by to share her writing process and talk about her novel, BLACKFIN SKY that is out in the UK and soon to be released in the US.
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview Kat! I cannot wait until BLACKFIN SKY is released in the US. Titles are so hard to come up with these. How did you come up yours?
Many, many drafts ago, BLACKFIN SKY had another title (I called it ‘Transparencies’ as a working title while drafting it), but that seems so weird to me now. Blackfin is the name of the town in the novel, where all kinds of odd and creepy things exist – the haunted weathervane, the thieving Penny Well, the bookshop where every purchase comes with a free spider in the bag… The town was named ‘Blackfin’ because of the whale fins that can often be seen from the pier – these mysterious creatures just out of reach, with a lot more going on beneath the surface! The ‘Sky’ in the title doesn’t refer to the sky, but to the main character, whose name is Skylar Rousseau.
What a perfect way to connect the name of the town and your main character. How much of the book is realistic?
Hmm… with it being a magical realist novel, this one is tough to answer without giving away too much! But I think Sky and her friends are all pretty realistic. They care about things teens care about, and face typical teen problems, even within the strange town of Blackfin. They make mistakes and take risks and feel awesome and awkward and excited and devastated; they do their homework and get zits just like everyone else. Of course all this is going on in some very strange circumstances, but I wanted the characters to relatable, even if the setting wasn’t!
Having relatable characters is very important. What books have influenced your life most?
I was actually late to the writing party, so to speak, as I didn’t have it in my head from a young age that I wanted to be an author. It was about five years ago when I decided to write a novel, and the ones I started reading around that time have really shaped the kind of writer I have become, and set me up with a love of YA that will never die (it is a zombie kind of love.) TWILIGHT is the obvious one, but I loved the GONE series by Michael Grant so much that it’s always at the top of my recommendation list. I would also say the WAKE trilogy and other novels by Lisa McMann have really stayed with me, and I was thrilled recently to have my writing compared to hers.
Who cares when you showed up to the writing party as long as you’re here now. And now I have more books to add to my TBR pile. What are your current projects?
Right now, I’ve just finished editing one manuscript – a YA thriller about psychopaths and scrapbooking – and am about to start outlining a brand new one that is probably heading back into magical realist territory. It does seem to be my happy place as a writer.
Psychopaths and scrapbooking? I love it! I do take my scrapbooking very seriously. Do you have to travel much concerning your book?
I don’t have to, but I really enjoy getting out there and meeting people. I held a launch event and signing a few weeks ago, and it was so awesome meeting people of all ages who had read my book or were excited to start. There are a lot of moments that make it all seem more ‘real’, and that was one of them.
Pinch yourself because this is all really real. Your UK cover is gorgeous and I love your US one. Who designed them?
Shane Rebenschied was the amazing artist behind my UK cover. Shane has also created cover art for authors like Chuck Wendig, and for the new The Walking Dead series, so I was absolutely over the moon when he agreed to do mine. The US cover is very different, and was designed by the in-house designer at Running Press Teen. I love the Americana circus vibe it has, and feel so lucky to have 2 covers I really love!
They are both perfect and even though readers should never judge books by their covers, I’d buy yours based on their covers alone. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
It was easy to come up with all the weird aspects, funnily enough – knowing that Sky had been presumed dead for 3 months, all the quirks of the town and the Blackfin residents – but then reigning in all the threads so that it wasn’t one massive tangle at the end was a challenge.
The more complicated the story, the better. And walking around with people thinking you’ve been dead for three months sounds pretty complicated to me. Do you have a favorite line one of your characters says in your book?
I think this has to be one of my favourites: “You had a worm in your head, girl. A WORM.” (Not giving you any context for that, either!)
I can see why that’s your favorite line. You created a book trailer that made me fall in love with your book before it released. Care to share it?
That trailer makes me so excited to read the book. What exactly is Blackfin Sky about?
Just like any other morning, Skylar Rousseau is late for school, but when she is greeted by a blanket of silent stares upon entering Blackfin High, she discovers that the whole town thought she fell from the pier and drowned on her sixteenth birthday three months earlier. However, Sky remembers the last three months living her life as normal, and since she is a full, living breathing human being, she has no idea whose body is buried underneath her tombstone. Everyone seems reluctant to help except her steadfast friend and crush, Sean . . . and a secretive man who draws her to a mysterious circus in the woods.
Sky must wade through impossibilities and lies to discover the truth about what happened to her, which proves to be a bit difficult when someone is following her every move with the intent to harm her. And Sky’s only hope of finding the answers she seeks may have already been turned to ashes.
BLACKFIN SKY will be released 2 September in the US from Running Press Teen (out now in the UK from Firefly Press).
I love it! I can’t wait to read it and figure out the context for that. What’s all your social media links to share with readers?
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blackfin-Sky-Kat-Ellis/dp/1910080004/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402680223&sr=8-1&keywords=blackfin+sky
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Blackfin-Sky-Kat-Ellis/dp/0762454016/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402680256&sr=8-1&keywords=blackfin+sky
About the Author:
Kat Ellis is a young adult writer from North Wales. You’ll usually find Kat up to no good on Twitter, taking photographs in cemeteries, or watching scary films with her husband and feral cat. BLACKFIN SKY is her first novel.