Today on Tangled we get to be part of the HUSHED blog tour from Entangled Publishing and the lovely Kelley York. Since it was originally supposed to be here, I put a copy up in both places. You can check out a complete list of tour stops by clicking on that banner above. We asked Kelley some questions about writing, about characters and about this that book that everyone is raving out about....
You say in your bio (below) that you have an abundance of pets. What pets do you have? What's your dream pet?I have three cats (Noel, Irish, and Quinn), three rats (Gin, Grimmy, and Noah), two hamsters (Exquisite and Hope), and more recently we’ve added a bunny to the mix named Pattie. If I could have any animal in the world...I’d probably want something like a wolf or a fox. (Have you ever seen foxes playing?! THEY ARE SO CUTE.) Obviously those kinds of animals aren’t made for living in captivity, though. Realistically speaking, I want a dog. Some kind of big, lovable mutt.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Why/how does that approach help/hurt you?
I’m definitely a panster with very little plotting. I tried desperately to plot my last book from beginning to end, and it made things a lot harder for me, trying to conform to what I’d written in my outline. My characters often take their own routes and do things I wasn’t expecting them to do and ideas come to me as I write. I never know what it’s going to be until I’m done with it.
Which aspect of craft is your weakest and how do you overcome that?Anytime I’ve noticed a particular problem in my writing, I actively work on fixing it. I used to info-dump a lot in my opening chapters, and I think I’ve overcome that. It’s always a struggle for me to describe things. I don’t think my writing is very poetic when it comes to talking about settings, so I fumble with that a lot. Action scenes (fights, mainly) are terrifying to me and I’m terrible at them. It takes a lot of work and combing over it again and again to get it right.
What scenes do you get most excited about writing? What scenes are the hardest for you?I love the emotionally-charged scenes. Evan and Archer’s ‘just bones’ talk is probably one of my favorites in HUSHED. Drama! Heartbreak! Deception! I like those sorts of scenes.
Was there any music that inspired HUSHED?There was indeed music. I actually made up a whole playlist of the main songs I listened to and posted it on my blog awhile back. “What Sarah Said” by Death Cab for Cutie is always the first one that comes to mind for a very particular scene.
What are some the best kinds of characters to read? How do you enjoy seeing them develop? How does that translate into your own writing and characters?
I love the tragic, emotionally/mentally broken characters. I’m thinking of Cole from Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER series is one of my favorites of that variety. He was probably the most complex and interesting character in the entire trilogy. I like picking apart characters. When someone has that kind of emotional or psychological damage, it’s sort of like this barrier keeping them from living a normal life. I enjoy watching (or writing) those characters figuring out their own way of living life without the damage controlling them.
Describe HUSHED in 6 words or less.A dark, manipulative and twisty thriller.
How did HUSHED develop?It started with Archer. He was the first character and I had a vague idea of him, then along came Vivian, and Evan followed. I started writing with little idea of what I wanted to do and where I wanted the story to go, and let the characters bounce off each other. Chain reaction. I don’t feel I should have to throw obstacles at them and watch them react; they needed to build their own momentum.
Did you do any research HUSHED? If so, what are some things that you pulled from?I did some research on the various murders. Overdosing, corpses left for a few weeks, gas leaks, etc. I went through forums and websites for my answers, wanting to make sure I found several places that said the same thing rather than relying on any single source.
Every review we've read of HUSHED always references the intense relationship between Viv and Evan and Archer. Was that something you planned or did it just happen?It sort of just happened. I never plan much before writing, so everything that happens is a product of the characters running off on their own. Evan and Archer, in the original vague idea I had for HUSHED, weren’t even meant to end up together...but we see how well that worked out.
What's one thing you want people to know about HUSHED if that's all they ever learn?We might not be able to control some of the damaging events in our lives. What we can control is how we react to it.
'How exciting that we live in a time when gay teen protagonists can be just as screwed up as straight ones -- and their stories just as creepy!' ~Brent Hartinger, award-winning, author of Geography Club and Shadow Walkers
He’s saved her. He’s loved her. He’s killed for her.
Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn’t protect his best friend, Vivian, from what happened when they were kids, so he’s never stopped trying to protect her from everything else. It doesn’t matter that Vivian only uses him when hopping from one toxic relationship to another—Archer is always there, waiting to be noticed.
Then along comes Evan, the only person who’s ever cared about Archer without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is.
But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out about the murders Archer’s committed and his relationship with Evan, she threatens to turn him in if she doesn’t get what she wants… And what she wants is Evan’s death, and for Archer to forfeit his last chance at redemption.
'Kelley York delivers in this impressive debut. I was at the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next! Bottom line, this was unputdownable!!! ~YA Fantasy Guide