Saturday, May 5, 2012

Author Interview: Kendare Blake of Anna Dressed in Blood

Author Kendare Blake



Romance, ghosts, and gore...what more could a YA reader ask for? Meet Anna, the murderous main (ghost) character in Anna Dressed in Blood. Author Kendare Blake creates a terrifyingly cruel, yet strangely intriguing, dead girla victim whose revenge on the living will leave you forever fearful attics. Luckily, there's Cas, a ghost-hunting teen who just might save us all from Anna's fury...unless he falls in love with her first.

Watch for the sequel, Girl of Nightmares, due out Aug. 7. Meanwhile, meet Kendare Blake:

We are dying to know how you came up with the idea of Anna, this blood-soaked and grotesquely murderous yet sympathetic character?

Anna came entirely from her name. Anna Dressed in Blood. And I thought, who's that? Oh. She's a dead girl. And she kills people. Well, that's not good. Someone will have to kill her.

How did you come up with the idea for basing a novel on a teenage ghost hunter?

Cas came along as the guy who could kill Anna. It all grew out of an urge to write something gory and creepy. I'd been writing literary for awhile, and I think I missed the blood.

How many times have you watched Ghostbusters?

No number is too high! I'll watch that movie the rest of my life. And always find a new favorite line. Right now it's: "Dogs and cats, living together...mass anarchy!" Bill Murray was and is a genius.

Anna Dressed in Blood has tons of blood and gore. Do you enjoy scaring teenagers?

I enjoy scaring everyone! I once gave my brother a creepy white mask and told him to put it on after his girlfriend (a friend of mine) went to sleep so she'd wake up and see that next to her. Ah, the memories.

Are you a horror fan? Do ghosts or other creatures of the night keep you up at night?

I am a horror fan. Of course. I love Stephen King, and his son Joe Hill. Perhaps I love Joe a little more. Not much will keep me up at night. Even if I'm creeped out, the creep factor is overcome by the fact that I love sleeping. I think I find zombies scarier than any other classic monster. Not the shambling, slow ones with their limbs falling off, but the fast, growly ones. They don't fight fair. I could cut one's head off, but if its blood got in my eye or in my mouth, I'm dead. Not fair! Last man standing should be the winner!

Anna Dressed in Blood

Do you ever get scared while writing your own scenes?

Just a few times. One time had to do with a certain attic. The other with a certain place in nature. But I can't give that one away.

On a deeper level, this novel is about a young girl who was horribly abused. What message do you hope readers walk away with?

I'm going to level with you. I didn't write Anna as any sort of issue book. The story went as the story went. I didn't even really think about Anna's death as anything other than horrible and disgusting until someone said that the book featured a scene of extreme child abuse. And I went, oh yeah, it does. But if there's any message that I hope people walk away with, it's something about friendship and resilience. Anna's a very strong girl. Both in fists and in mind. I think the mind is more important.

What have you been hearing from Anna's readers?

That they love the gore! And that they love Anna, which of course makes me so happy. I also hear that Cas is cocky, to which I say, "What? Cas? Never!" Ha. But of course, that cockiness hides the fact that he doesn't know how to relate to living people. He's a definite loner. Isolated.

You were adopted from South Korea. What was that like? Is there any of you in Cas as he moves yet again to a new house in a new town?

Actually, I was adopted at seven months. So I have no idea what South Korea is like. But my dad was a long-haul trucker, and I used to go with him on summer vacations sometimes, so I have a strong sense of how it feels to move through places without staying long. And how it feels to go to somewhere new.

Did any of your other experiences as teenagers, or people you knew at the time, make it into your book?

Thomas has my best friend's car. Pretty sure most of the rest is fiction.

What was it like to write from a 17-year-old boy's perspective (given you never were a 17-year-old boy)?

Well, truthfully I've never been that girly. So moving into the boy brain wasn't that big a stretch. And Cas had such a strong voice. It sounds hokey, but really he just talked through my fingers, and I didn't think too much about it.

The cover is incredibly beautiful, yet haunting. Did you have anything to do with its creation?

It's great, isn't it? I had nothing to do with it. The artist is from Europe, and works exclusively in greyscale and red. All I asked was that Anna's face not be shown, because I wanted readers to picture her for themselves. The rest was in the hands of the publisher, as it usually is! All writers live in a state of anticipation and fear when their covers are about to come out!

What can you tell us about the sequel, Girl of Nightmares, which will be released Aug. 7?

There's gore, and questions will be answered. Expect some travel, and expect Anna to be the driving force. Keep your eyes peeled for a certain cat's cameo :)

Remember to click on any title to put a copy on hold!

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