“Well, I did tell you we were going on an adventure and to dress down. What did you think I meant?”
We’re standing before one of the trods to the Nevernever, which also happens to be the beginning of a rather intimidating forest. When Kat told me she scored us an interview with Julie Kagawa we didn’t hesitate. Well… we didn’t used to hesitate before. But it’s been a while since the last time we’ve done this and it seems Kat’s forgotten just how wild these adventures can get.
“I thought you meant a shopping adventure!” she hisses.
I sigh heavily and say, “And that was your first mistake, assuming I’d want to go anywhere near a mall. But luckily for you, I brought a spare pair of hiking boots.”
“You are a savior. Strange, but a savior,” she says.
She slips her freshly pedicured feet into the boots and we go through the trod. When we emerge, it’s dark and gloomy. I grab hold of Kat’s arm. Not that I’m scared or anything. I just don’t want us to get separated. At least, this is what I tell myself as we begin trekking through the Nevernever.
“So where are we supposed to be meeting Julie at again?” I ask.
“Umm… she didn’t really say. Just that ‘you will find me when the time is right’,” she says, mimicking a wispy voice.
“What? Is she the Oracle now?” I ask, my fear rising. Just then my Spidy senses picks up movement that’s not our own.
“How am I supposed to know?! But if I break one nail walking through this sh–”
“SHHHH,” I say, placing my hand over her mouth to silence her. She scowls at me.
“Sorry,” I whisper. “But did you hear that? I think something’s following us.”
The noise sounds again. Galloping. I grab Kat, hide behind a tree and mouth to her, “Not a word.”
She huffs out a sigh and I mentally curse her skepticism and Australian bravado, because it could very well get us killed tonight. Who’ll run the blog then? But after five minutes of waiting her frustration grows and she begins to “whisper-yell” at me. I’m not sure how that’s possible, but YA novels have told me that it is. I suppose it’s true like everything else on the internet. Any way, she’s going on about something I can’t understand, but I catch the words “Big Foot” and “Boogyman.” Doesn’t she know I don’t speak Australian?
“This is stupid! We should be looking for Julie not cowering with fear behind a faaaaarking tree!” she says, standing.
“Keep it down. Someone or something will hear us!” I say, rising from the ground.
And then the inevitable happens. An arrow flies between us and lands in the tree, reminding us both exactly where we are. I can’t be too sure, but something tells me it was deliberate.
Kat looks up from the arrow and says, “You are very wise and I shall never doubt you.” I was hoping she’d tack on a “my master” a la Anakin Skywalker, but one step at a time, I suppose. Besides, there are more pressing matters on the agenda. Like say, our little archer holding me captive with his intense, ice blue eyes. SWOON, I think. Kat grabs my hand and, much to my utter dismay, begins retreating from our gorgeous assailant. After some time, we realize we aren’t being followed and stop to catch our breaths.
“I can’t believe you are tuning into one of those girls with about as much self-preservation as a YA heroine. ‘SWOON?’ Really, Steph?” Kat says between gasps.
Apparently, I said that out loud. Or maybe Kat was reading my mind like usual.
“Ugh. You’re right. What is the Nevernever doing to me? We have to find Julie quick before I turn into a full blown Mary Sue,” I say.
“Look over there,” Kat says, pointing to a campfire party. Though, I use that term lightly because when we walk over, it resembles more of a Fey frat party. Perfect. Just our type of scene. We notice Julie sitting with her legs crossed over to the left and quickly join her. After all, we do have an interview to conduct.
Julie looks at us with a knowing expression as if she’s known all along when exactly we’d show. Huh. I guess she really is the Oracle. She nods her head in greetings. We give timid waves because, wow, we are sitting in front of Julie freakin’ Kagawa. If you didn’t know before, we kinda heart her.
“Julie, I am such a big fan! We are so excited to meet you!” I say.
“Steph, she’s the Oracle. Tell her something she doesn’t know,” Kat says, rolling her eyes.
“I have a shrine for you built-in my closet,” I say, as Julie widens her eyes. Whether it’s in awe or mild disturbance, I can’t say. “Er… TMI?”
“Just a little bit, yeah,” Kat replies, shaking her head at me.
Thankfully, Kat plunges forward and away from the awkward moment with her first question. “The Lost Prince takes readers back into the Nevernever this time with Meghan’s younger brother, Ethan Chase. Did you always plan to write a spin-off for The Iron Fey?”
There’s a bunch of noise in the background, but it doesn’t seem to faze Julie. “After the original Iron Fey series ended, I found myself wondering what had happened to the family Meghan left behind, especially her little brother cursed with The Sight. I also found myself itching to return to the world of The Iron Fey, and my editor also thought it was a great idea to tell Ethan’s story. So when I finished the first book in the Blood of Eden series, I began working on The Lost Prince,” she replies.
“And I’m soooo happy you decided to return to it!” I squeal, once again receiving strange looks from both Kat and Julie. I clear my throat. “Did you find it challenging to write from a male point-of-view since your previous novels were told from a female’s perspective?”
“I had already done a book from a male’s POV with Ash in The Iron Knight, so it wasn’t my first time writing one,” she says, nodding to the knight that’s just showed up behind us. I try to maintain a calm demeanor, but I’m probably failing. He goes off to stand by a tree, but I continue to watch him from the corner of my eye.
Julie continues, “But Ethan’s voice came to me even easier than Ash’s, because he begins the book as a very angry, brooding young man. He hates the fey and resents his sister for leaving him alone, and his voice came across strong and sure from the very first page.”
“Speaking of Ethan, I thought it was really cool that Ethan knew Kali, a Filipino martial art. The description of his demonstration scene was very visual and realistic. Do you know any forms of martial arts?” Kat asks.
“Thank you!” she says, smiling. “I actually take Kung Fu and Kali, and have been for a couple years. My own Guro was a huge help in writing The Lost Prince, so he’s really the one to thank for everything Kali related in the book.”
“Whoa. You YA authors never cease to amaze. What’s in your water and where can I get some?” Kat asks.
Julie grins and waves someone over. We turn to see it’s a hostess carrying a tray of wine glasses and to my surprise she looks vaguely familiar. I attempt to remember, but it’s like that rouge itch you get to on your back that somehow always avoids being scratched. Except now it’s on my brain. Where would I have ever met a faery before? I think. I can feel it right there on the tip of my tongue….
Just as she step up to us, the thought leaves me completely. Ah well, It was probably nothing anyway, I muse. Julie takes a glass and offers one to Kat, but before she can take the glass, I interject and say, “Kat, now under normal circumstances I would never utter these words to you, but I’ve read enough Fey books to know how this scenario could end. So you’re going to have to trust me when I tell you to not drink the wine.”
She blinks slowly and says, “I’m going to pretend you didn’t just suggest that. Loosen up, Steph. I know what I’m doing.” She takes the glass and high fives Julie. Tonight could go very wrong… or, I guess, very right in Kat’s opinion.
I get us back on track with my next question. “One of the best parts of your Iron Fey novels is the witty dialogue, specifically Puck and Grimalkin’s. Are your characters inspired by anything in particular?”
Julie takes a sip from her glass and answers, “I’m kind of a geek in that much of my inspiration comes from anime and video games.”
“I didn’t think it were possible, but you’ve just gained at least 100 more cool points,” Kat says.
Julie giggles then continues, “For example, Ash has a little Heero Yuy, Squall Leonhart, and Cloud Strife in him, Puck is a mix of Duo Maxwell and Naruto, and Machina is shamelessly stolen from Sephiroth. And in The Lost Prince, readers might see hints of my favorite Final Fantasy characters in Ethan and Kenzie.”
“That explains why I love Ash so much. Squall is pretty much my favorite Final Fantasy character,” I say, glancing at Ash. Unfortunately, looking at him now brings on a wave of sadness.
Kat notices my change in mood and takes a peek at him. “Ah. Meghan. Well, you knew they were together now, Steph.”
“Technicalities,” I mutter and Julie pats my knee sympathetically.
Kat moves closer to me and in a pathetic attempt to hold me in my time of despair, accidentally spills some of her drink down my shirt. The things I put up with as a co-blogger, I tell ya. “Cheer up. There are plenty more Fey in the Nevernever.”
And because she is evil and likes to pour salt on my wounds, she asks, “I love that Meghan and Ash have somewhat found their happily-ever-after. Is there a chance the same will occur for Puck?”
“Ah, Puck. How do you know he hasn’t already found his happily-ever-after?” Julie asks, glancing at a red-headed trickster who is doing his best to irritate a certain regal looking faery. “Yes, he loved and lost Meghan, but Robin Goodfellow has never been one to let that define him. I’d rather picture the legendary Summer Prankster wrecking havoc somewhere, carefree and wild as the wind. As Puck himself said once: ‘Me? Robin Goodfellow a family man? Ha, not likely, ice-boy. I mean, think of what that would do to my reputation.'”
“Well, it certainly looks like he’s about to wreck havoc. Is that Titania?” Kat inquires.
Julie seems reluctant to give up that information, but slowly nods her head yes.
“Excellent. Pardon me, ladies. I shall return momentarily.” She stands, walks over to Puck and starts conversing. I have a bad feeling about this. With the faery wine in her system, she’s even more unpredictable than usual. I’ll have to keep an eye on her before she starts playing a game of belly shots.
Nonetheless, I continue what we started. “I know asking an author how their favorite character is like asking which child they love the most, but is there any one character that you particularly have a soft spot for in your Iron Fey series? Or perhaps one you identify the most with?”
“Well, my favorite character would have to be Ash, because I love tortured, broody bad boys with swords. But in The Lost Prince, I do have a soft spot for Keirran because of his background and family history. His friendship with Ethan will go through many twists and turns before the end, and both boys will have to make some very hard decisions. And if this sounds faintly ominous…that’s because it is. (Dun dun dunnnnn.)” she says.
“Oh, you tease! I love Keirran. He is my new favorite character. He’s so complex and I can’t wait to see what you have in-store for him next!” I say. I look over at Kat and she has that mischievous look in her eye as she chats away with Titania. She is so gonna get us in trouble tonight. I can feel it.
I turn back to Julie and try to be optimistic about it all. “In The Iron Queen, that last scene with Meghan and Ash killed ALL THE EMOTIONS. And now it seems like I’m destined for the same fate due to the situation with Ethan and Kenzie. Why do you do this to me?!”
“Bwahaha,” she laughs. “Because I am eeeeeeevil. Lol, actually I’m a great lover of conflict in stories, and mildly sadistic in the fact that I’m constantly looking for ways to torment my characters. I’ll chase them up a tree and then throw rocks at them to see what they’ll do. Or I’ll back them into a corner with no way out, then set the corner on fire. I think that if characters are truly happy and content in a novel, why are we reading about them? Conflict and anguish and torture are vital to those tense, emotional scenes where you just want to shake or slap or hug the characters, or at least those scenes where the characters are fighting for their lives.”
“What about me?” I press further, showing her my pouty face. A few delicate tear drops manage to escape their hiding place.
“Also, your tears feed my Muse. ;-)” she says.
“I knew it!” I exclaim.
Just then, Kat decides to rejoin us. Something is off about her because she seems really amped up. Before I get a chance to interrogate her, she asks Julie, “Will there be more of Puck in The Call of the Forgotten series? I NEED more Puck!”
“Lol, worry not, Puck and all the original characters will make appearances throughout the series, though their parts and how often they appear remains to be seen,” she says, her voice trailing off at the end.
Kat keeps looking over her shoulder suspiciously and it’s starting to really worry me. She sees my concern and shrugs me off. “Don’t worry, Steph. I’ve got everything under control. But just in case, go on an ask your last question.”
She’s not exactly inspiring confidence here, but I do as she says. “If you were a creature of Faery, which court would you belong to?”
“A few years ago, I would’ve said Winter because I love the snow, but now I think I lean more toward Iron. Can’t live without my tech!” she says.
“You and me both!” I say.
“UGH. Technology,” Kat says.
“Technology made those nifty credit card machines you use to buy things from the mall,” I say dryly.
“I pledge my allegiance to the Iron Court,” she vows with actual sincerity.
Julie starts to laugh at our exchange, but the music suddenly stops and there is a commotion behind us.
“Oh, uh, look at the time,” Kat stammers. “Julie, it was lovely to meet you. We know how busy you must be, so we’ll leave now.”
The knowing look is back on Julie’s face again and she says, “Thanks for the interview!”
Though I’m slightly puzzled, I thank Julie as well and say my goodbyes. Then, Kat quickly grabs my hand and runs as we hear an angry voice yell, “WHO STOLE MY MIRROR?!”
The gravity of what Kat has done scares me and I run faster. “Please don’t tell me you stole Tatinia’s golden mirror!”
“Okay then. I won’t tell you.”
Typical. The brays of hunting hounds sound in our wake as we rush through the underbrush. “Oh god, oh god! We’re going to die!” I say, heaving and panting as we hasten through the Nevernever.
“Don’t be ridiculous!” Kat replies swiftly. “Dying is for other people.”
The landscape changes bit by bit and somehow we make it back, through the trod and into the forest where we began our adventure. Kat stops, out of breath but still methodically puts her heels back on and adjusts her make-up in her newly acquired mirror. “Fabulous. This mirror was totally worth it, don’t you think?”
“I think you belong in an asylum,” I reply, bending over and clutching my knees to regain my breath.
“And you are clearly a very insightful human being. Now, Puck told me to wait about fifteen minutes for Titania to leave and then return so he can show us how the Fey really party. Steph, more of that faery wine! What do ya say?” she asks. Her smile is so earnest and eager. Despite my better judgement, I just can’t seem to help myself.
“Sure. Let’s rock this. What happens in the Nevernever, stays in the Nevernever, right?”
“That’s the spirt!” Kat replies, pulling me closely in triumph.
And that was the day where we found out that there ain’t no party like a Nevernever party, ’cause a Nevernever party don’t stop.
We want to give a huge thank you to Julie Kagawa for the interview. Faery wine is almost as awesome as you.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://cuddlebuggery.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/small-Julie-Kagawa.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Julie Kagawa, the New York Times Bestselling author of The Iron Fey and Blood of Eden series, was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish and the odd eel.
To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dog trainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full-time.
Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks are at an all-time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian shepherd who is too smart for his own good and the latest addition, a hyperactive papillon.
Don’t forget to check out The Lost Prince, out now!
Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.
That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.
Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.
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