Steph and I got to sit down and chat with Jay Kristoff, Author of the much-anticipated Japanese Steampunk Stormdancer. We talk about his new US cover which we will feature on the blog tomorrow as well as a glorious surprise! We would like to apologize to all the people emotionally traumatized and disturbed by the following conversation and mental images it may produce. And Pat Rothfuss. And Jay’s mother.
Don’t forget to join us tomorrow at 12PM EST for Jay’s spectacular cover reveal – here on Cuddlebuggery!
Kat Kennedy: Steph and I are having a live interview with debut author, Jay Kristoff for the cover reveal of his book, Stormdancer. Before we get to the actual cover, I wanted to discuss the fact that I am actually a budding cover designer and I did up a few mock covers of Stormdancer.
JUST IN CASE! You know, if it’s not too late to change it or anything if you see something you like…
Stephanie Sinclair: It could be necessary. You never know.
Jay Kristoff: Ok, wow me. I am ready to be wowed.
Stephanie Sinclair: Shall I do my drum roll?
Kat Kennedy: Please do.
Stephanie Sinclair: *drops drumstick*
Kat Kennedy: So, with this one, what I was going for was a really literal translation of the title.
Jay Kristoff: *drumstick in eyeeeeee*
Stephanie Sinclair: AHHHH! My eyes!
Kat Kennedy: Was that the drumstick or the awesomeness of my cover?
Stephanie Sinclair: Both. My god, woman!
Jay Kristoff: Where is his other foot?
Stephanie Sinclair: Mr. Troll himself is dancing in the rain. GAH!
Kat Kennedy: It’s there – it’s just… subtle. Okay, I’m picking up that this isn’t really your thing…
Jay Kristoff: I like it, but I wouldn’t hang it on my wall, if that’s what you’re asking.
Kat Kennedy: Okay, maybe literal translation wasn’t the best way to go…
Stephanie Sinclair: Kat, I’m concerned you may be losing your touch.
Jay Kristoff: I feel it lacks a certain… something…
Stephanie Sinclair: It lacks awesome.
Jay Kristoff: YES, THAT’S IT.
Kat Kennedy: Okay, well, what’s the best way of saying, “This is a book about a girl and… girls like dresses?” The answer is of course: Prom dresses!
Stephanie Sinclair: Oh, this could sell you some books, Jay.
Kat Kennedy: They’re very popular right now.
Jay Kristoff: Aw yeah, now we’re in bizness! I like the fact that she’s white too.
Kat Kennedy: Well… she is kind of white.
Jay Kristoff: And bears NO resemblance to my MC.
Kat Kennedy: yeah…
Stephanie Sinclair: It never hurts!
Jay Kristoff: That is spot on IMO.
Kat Kennedy: But, you know by cover standards she’s at least 1/4 a minority group.
Jay Kristoff: She’s not blonde, this is true…I wouldn’t hang that one on my wall, but I’m sure there’s some young lads out there who might keep it under their pillow. The lightning dress is very saucy.
Stephanie Sinclair: If you squint your eyes…
Kat Kennedy: Okay, okay! We got close – but obviously no cigar. That’s okay, cause I’ve got one more!
Stephanie Sinclair: Saving the best for last!
Kat Kennedy: This was a more LIBERAL take on your title and, you know, I think really powerful.
How do you say, “This person likes storms… A LOT”?
Kat Kennedy: See the way the lightning is giving her a very friendly hug?
Stephanie Sinclair: She looks like she’s enjoying the “storm” a bit too much.
Jay Kristoff: It looks like it’s doing more than ‘hugging’ her…
Kat Kennedy: Well… yeah, that’s one interpretation. Her and the lightning are friends, you know?
They like to hang out. Shoot the breeze.
Jay Kristoff: Change the title to Stormromancer, maybe? Get a dude in there somewhere with six pack abs and his shirt off. All smoldering.
Stephanie Sinclair: Instant bestseller.
Kat Kennedy: You, sir, are a GENIUS!
Jay Kristoff: One thumb hooked in front of his pants…
Kat Kennedy: Okay, maybe we should actually show Steph the real cover.
Jay Kristoff: BAM!
Kat Kennedy: Cause she’s been waiting in suspense.
Stephanie Sinclair: Yes! Do it!
Jay Kristoff: Bear in mind the title typography isn’t final yet.
Kat Kennedy: I should point out for our readers that I have seen the cover but Steph hasn’t yet – so this is the first time for her.
Stephanie Sinclair: OKAY! POST IT!
Jay Kristoff: We’re still back and forthing. The designer is sticking pins in my voodoo effigy as we speak. Because I am a pain in his ass.
He’s naming his next kid Jay, so he can beat him like he was his daddy
Stephanie Sinclair: Hahaha!
Kat Kennedy: Is voodoo effigy a normal part of the publishing process?
Jay Kristoff: I’m not sure. I did think it was strange when they asked me to send a vial of blood and a couple of hairs along with my contract. But I didn’t wanna rock the boat.
Kat Kennedy: No, of course not.
Stephanie Sinclair: You guys are cruel. Why must I wait? T_T
Kat Kennedy: Poor Steph.
Jay Kristoff: Poooor Steph.
Stephanie Sinclair: I’ve been a good co-blogger. Slaving away for you night and day.
Kat Kennedy: That you have, that you have.
Jay Kristoff: Australians show affection by being mean, Steph. Time honored tradition.
Kat Kennedy: BDSM is HUGE here.
Jay Kristoff: OMG SO HUGE.
Stephanie Sinclair: That explains your Dungeon of Doom and Gloom.
Jay Kristoff: I’m clad in PVC as we speak, in fact. And ugg boots. AM I TURNING YOU ON?
Kat Kennedy: errr…..
Stephanie Sinclair: *crickets*
Jay Kristoff: You can edit that bit out right?
Kat Kennedy: Of course.
Jay Kristoff: Forget we were live for a minute there…
Stephanie Sinclair: Yeah, right.
Kat Kennedy: So I just forwarded the cover to Steph. And we’re waiting for her response.
Stephanie Sinclair: I don’t see it…Really, my emotions, people. The email is blank! Are you punk’ing me?
Jay Kristoff: It has been eaten. By internets. I’ve heard of this.
Stephanie Sinclair: Damn Google.
Kat Kennedy: No, I’m not! I swear!
Jay Kristoff: (She is showing your affection, Steph)
*stares at the beauty*
Kat Kennedy: I think she likes it…
Stephanie Sinclair: IT’S SOOOOO BADASS!
Kat Kennedy: I know! *squee*
Stephanie Sinclair: ALL CAPS!
Kat Kennedy: I think I love EVERYTHING about it.
Kat Kennedy: How did you feel when you first saw it, Jay?
Jay Kristoff: I played air guitar. For about fifteen minutes. All soloing on my knees and stuff.
Kat Kennedy: A very valid reaction.
Jay Kristoff: Terrified the shit out of the dog.
Kat Kennedy: Are you still alive, Steph?
Stephanie Sinclair: *Dies again* That blurb, is the best. It’s so amazing. I cAn’t DEal.
Kat Kennedy: The blurb cracks me up.
Jay Kristoff: Yeah, Pat Rothfuss is awesome. I love him sexually. Erm.
Kat Kennedy: I’ll tweet him that!
Jay Kristoff: I didn’t mean literally sexually.
Kat Kennedy: Sure…We understand.
Stephanie Sinclair: Sure, we understand. This is a no judge zone…Kat, stay out of my brain!
Kat Kennedy: It’s a fun place to be.
Jay Kristoff: I’m too tall for him, to be honest. Logistically, man love would be problematic.
Kat Kennedy: Terribly. And your bride may not approve.
Stephanie Sinclair: Just look at it. *Happy sigh*
Kat Kennedy: It does actually look exactly like I imagine it should.
Jay Kristoff: Do you really like it, Steph?
Stephanie Sinclair: You will be mine soon my precioussssss…
Kat Kennedy: How long did the process for this cover take?
Stephanie Sinclair: No, I LOVE it.
Jay Kristoff: Because the hardest of the hardcore will be those who go out and get that full sleeve Fox tatt on their arms. You know that, right?
Stephanie Sinclair: I think I need that tattoo.
Kat Kennedy: I’m thinking of it.
Jay Kristoff: I’m thinking of it too. Gonna get Jason Chan to design it for me. (He’s our illustrator btw).
Kat Kennedy: I like you’re style. He’s done an AMAZING job.
Stephanie Sinclair: Then, I’ll need a sword. Dye my hair black.
Kat Kennedy: Your hair is already mostly there, Steph. The process is still going on but has it been a long journey to get this cover?
Jay Kristoff: Yeah. He’s a fantastic illustrator. But I honestly think this is one of the best things he’s done (I know I’m biased).
It hasn’t taken too long. I think I was sent original concepts like.. March?
Stephanie Sinclair: It’s now made my most favorite covers. Seriously, it’s awesome. I need this book in my hands…ahem…
Kat Kennedy: Wow, that’s not too long at all.
Jay Kristoff: Got sent a bunch of concepts, picked the one that was working best. Then we sent that to Jason.
Kat Kennedy: Did you get much creative control? Is that why there’s the voodoo effigies?
Jay Kristoff: And he sent us back his version of the concept we sent, plus a concept of his own design (which blew us all away, and was the one we ended up going with).
Kat Kennedy: Oh wow. I was thinking this was a LITTLE bit of a departure from Jason Chan’s usual style, so I expected that he was going off what you picked.
Stephanie Sinclair: I just keep staring at it and it keeps getting more and more awesome.
Kat Kennedy: Haha – just gaze at it and let it sink in, Steph – that’s what I did.
Jay Kristoff: I got a fair bit of input, yeah. I was a graphic designer for ten years, so I kinda know what’s what. I really felt involved, which was awesome. (But the guys probably regret it now.) Jason told me that he doesn’t often get to work on Asian inspired stuff.
Kat Kennedy: Yeah I was going to say – I could imagine you being a little picky about the cover for your baby…
Jay Kristoff: So when he got briefed, he was really excited.
Stephanie Sinclair: So, what you’re saying is, Kat’s covers can’t sway you?
Kat Kennedy: OBVIOUSLY my lightning love and prom dress covers just aren’t up to that level of badassery
Jay Kristoff: I would put Yukiko up against any girl in any prom dress, any day of the week. And she would CUT THOSE BITCHES!
Stephanie Sinclair: “Hello, prom dress. Meet my sword.”
Kat Kennedy: Was capturing her character in the cover important to you?
Jay Kristoff: Absolutely. Much as folks might deny it, most people judge books by their covers. So I wanted her to be who she is in the book. She kicks a reasonable amount of ass, so I wanted that to come across.
She’s not a wilting flower.
She’s doesn’t define herself by the boys who are chasing her.
She doesn’t wear pretty dresses.
(well, actually I lie, she does wear a dress in one scene…)
(but she hates it)
Kat Kennedy: Well, I was about to ask what you wanted people to take away from your cover – but I think you just answered that!
Stephanie Sinclair: I totally get that. I see that this girl is ready for action. Me Gusta.
Jay Kristoff: And I love the subtle things Jason put in. The red flowers (called Blood Lotus) play a HUGE part in the story, for example.
Kat Kennedy: Oh, really, I didn’t know that!
Stephanie Sinclair: Oh, cool!
Kat Kennedy: I’m so excited for the book now!
Stephanie Sinclair: Me too!
Kat Kennedy: Well, I was before… but I’m SUPER excited now.
Jay Kristoff: Yeah, its the foundation for the entire technology. They make the fuel that drives the empire from it. But its that same flower that’s destroying the ecosystem.
Stephanie Sinclair: I’m sure we all know how I feel about it.
Kat Kennedy: No! Stop! Stop talking! Before I collapse in a puddle of goo from the awesome!
TOO. MUCH. CONCEPT. BADASSERY!
Jay Kristoff: *Zips lips*
Kat Kennedy: I can’t wait to read it, and I believe there will be an ARC copy for giveway for one of our VERY lucky readers, is that right, Jay?
Jay Kristoff: *Points to zipped lips and nods*
Kat Kennedy: Oh fine. Unzip your lips!
Jay Kristoff: *Gasp* Yes, my awesome pubs are giving away an ARC to your readers and an ARC to you guys for helping out!
Stephanie Sinclair: *Dies once more*
Jay Kristoff: TO say how much we luurrrrve y’all.
Kat Kennedy: Thank you SO MUCH to your publishers! That’s going to be so awesome! And thank you to YOU for talking with us!
Stephanie Sinclair: Yes, Thank you so much!
Jay Kristoff: You guys might have to knife fight or something to see who gets to read first though.
Kat Kennedy: ME!
Stephanie Sinclair: Where is my whip?
Kat Kennedy: *Pulls out knife*
Jay Kristoff: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for helping out, it’s much much much appreciated.
Stephanie Sinclair: Kat, if you value your alcohol…
Kat Kennedy: I will steal this book, woman. Alcohol be damned. great interview, Jay! Sorry if we got a little hectic!
Stephanie Sinclair: Wow, and that folks, speaks volumes.
We want to give a big thank you to Jay Kristoff for the interview!
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://cuddlebuggery.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Jay-Kristoff.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Jay Kristoff grew up in the most isolated capital city on earth and fled at his earliest convenience, although he’s been known to trek back for weddings of the particularly nice and funerals of the particularly wealthy. He spent most of his formative years locked in his bedroom with piles of books, or gathered around dimly-lit tables rolling polyhedral dice. Being the holder of an Arts degree, he has no education to speak of. Jay’s debut novel, STORMDANCER, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy, will be published by St Martin’s Press/Tor UK in September 2012 as the first installment of THE LOTUS WAR trilogy. Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13870 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell. He does not believe in happy endings.