Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Speculative Fiction interview with the editors of WICKED SOUTH: SECRETS AND LIES

Welcome again to Emily Colin and Katie Rose Guest Pryal, editors of the Young Adult anthology, Wicked South: Secrets and Lies. Emily, Katie, and I also contributed stories to the anthology. Although it’s not specifically a collection of speculative fiction tales, we three wound up contributing stories that all included elements of fantasy.

In today’s interview, I’m hoping to focus a little more on those fantastical elements.

It should be no surprise to anyone who has read any of my stories that I chose to submit a fantastical work to this anthology. "A Handful of Seeds" re-frames the myth of Persephone and Hades in modern times with modern kids who have modern points-of-view. Fellow authors (and editors) Emily Colin and Katie Rose Guest Pryal also stretched their speculative muscles with their contributions to Wicked South. I've invited them here to talk more about their experiences in writing stories of the magical and surreal.

Along with editing, Emily Colin is also the author of several novels, including The Dream Keeper’s Daughter and New York Times bestselling The Memory Thief. She is currently working on a dystopian-fantasy YA series. Her published novels include fantastical elements such as time travel and ghostly possessions. I think those elements tend to be subtle and act more as accents rather than a foundation. However, I think fantasy elements in “An Unkindness of Ravens,” her contribution to the Wicked South anthology, are perhaps a little more overt.

Karissa: Emily, could you compare and contrast the fantastical tones and elements in your novels compared to the magic world you built in “An Unkindness of Ravens”?

Emily: Wow, what a great question! I’d say that one thing my novels as well as “An Unkindness of Ravens” have in common is that they all feature supernatural love stories. I didn’t set out to make this happen--it just seems to be what I’m drawn to in everything that I write! No matter whether it’s YA or adult, I’m not satisfied until there’s at least a hint of the paranormal and a lot of heat. ;)

More specifically, The Memory Thief is told from the point of view of a ghost who lost his life in an avalanche, the man whose body he possessed in order to keep a promise to his wife, and the wife herself--quite the trifecta! It’s also got a love triangle--or maybe I should say a love quadrangle, all things considered. The Dream Keeper’s Daughter is partially set in modern-day Charleston and 19th-century Barbados, during the Barbados slave rebellion--with time travel being the medium that connects the two eras. There’s a kickass female archaeologist, her high school sweetheart, and a hidden past that reaches out to claim them both. Oh, and a small girl who is more than what she seems . . .

I guess the big difference is that in my novels, though the supernatural elements are present, no one involved is anything but human (unless you count Aidan’s appearance as a ghost). In “Ravens,” Reuben is--as he himself would tell you--not a man. Sometimes he’s a dog. Sometimes he’s not. But whatever form he takes, he isn’t human . . . tipping “Ravens” more firmly into the realm of fantasy.

Karissa: Can you tell us a little about what you’re working on now and what kind of fantasy or speculative fiction you might be including in your current project(s)?

Sure! Right now, I’m working on both adult and YA projects. My completed YA novel, “The Seven Sins,” is the first in a trilogy that blends dystopian fiction, fantasy and romance--think The Giver meets Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver. This book is the project of my heart and I adore my two main characters--flawed though they may be. It’s set in a society where people live and die by the tenets of the Seven Deadly Sins. Lust is forbidden, so of course Eva and Ari fall for each other--hard. Add in the fact that they’re both trained killers, and mayhem ensues . . .

I can’t say too much about my adult book here, except that it involves the Roaring ‘20s, a family feud, a (potentially) stolen child, and a ghost who has her own ideas about how things ought to be resolved...

Katie Rose Guest Pryal is an editor, a former professor, an essayist, and a novelist. Her nonfiction primarily deals with legal issues or matters of mental health and disability advocacy. Her Hollywood Lights novels are contemporary fiction set primarily in Los Angeles, and she is working on two forthcoming YA series, one a mature contemporary YA series set in a boarding school, and the other a supernatural series in the world of “Alex and Lora,” the story she contributed to Wicked South.

Karissa: I know from personal experience that you’re a fan of fantasy novels, particularly urban fantasy, but to my knowledge “Alex and Lora”, the story you wrote for the Wicked South anthology, is your first foray into writing fantasy. What made you want to switch genres, so to speak?

Katie: You’re right! I’ve never written speculative fiction before. But I do love reading it. All speculative fiction—fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, supernatural/paranormal—is my favorite fiction to read. I also have children who love to read, and love to read speculative fiction. They’re finally old enough to read stories that are stories that I, too, love to read. As I finished up book five in my Hollywood Lights series (there’s a sixth book coming, and that will be the last one), I turned to my husband one night and said, “I want to write books that our kids want to read.” And that night, instead of reading, we talked about the world of the Earthkeepers, the world that became the basis of the story of Alex and Lora, and the books that will follow. I did a lot of planning before writing Alex and Lora, because that book is the prequel for an entire series—one that my kids will want to read. That’s my test, my only test really.

Karissa: Can you tell us a little more about it your Alex and Lora series?

Katie: I sure can. The Earthkeepers Series is a paranormal young adult series about teens who have to save the world—what else? The series is about making hard choices, and keeping secrets, and staying true to who you are. It’s also about family, and standing by them. Alex and Lora, for example, features sisters who are best friends, and they take on a very dangerous task together. And then, at the end, they face an impossible choice. Earthkeepers are a kind of witch, tasked with taking care of the planet, and sometimes that task conflicts with other things, like homework. I can’t wait to start sharing their stories with the world.

Thanks again to Katie and Emily for joining me. Be sure to check out their writing--I've read both Katie and Emily's books and can't recommend them enough. And check out Wicked South, Secrets and Lies, available from all online retailers.


“Menacing fairy folk and locker room monsters. Forbidden love and time-traveling adventures. The nine twisty tales in WICKED SOUTH: SECRETS AND LIES take readers to atmospheric corners of the American South (and beyond) filled with heartfelt characters and alluring mysteries. You won’t be able to pass a lonely roadside produce stand or dig into our native red clay soil without wondering what magic and secrets are hidden in plain sight.” -John Claude Bemis, award-winning author of THE WOODEN PRINCE and The Clockwork Dark Trilogy
“A collection blazing with seduction, trickery, conflict, and grief, WICKED SOUTH: SECRETS AND LIES is a saga of bitter deceits and breathtaking victories.” -Heather Ezell, author of NOTHING LEFT TO BURN
“A captivating collection of unique and eclectic stories—poignant, twisted, adventurous, and everything in between. Tales of love, obsession, magic, and more, all with a secret simmering beneath.” -Mary Fan, award-winning author of STARSWEPT and editor of the BRAVE NEW GIRLS anthology series
“WICKED SOUTH: SECRETS AND LIES is a juicy, engrossing, and always surprising read for anyone who loves that deliciously wicked feeling of being in on a secret no one else knows. Story after story, this anthology sucks you in and keeps you reading!” -Kelly Harms, author of THE OVERDUE LIFE OF AMY BYLER and THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS OF SHIPWRECK LANE

Book Information:

  • Editors: Emily Colin and Katie Rose Guest Pryal
  • Title: WICKED SOUTH: SECRETS AND LIES: Stories for Young Adults
  • Publication Date: October 31, 2018
  • Paper ISBN: 978-1-947834-28-6, Ebook ISBN: 978-1-947834-29-3
  • Distributed by Ingram


Carrie Beckort said...

Great interview, Karissa! And thanks for stopping by, Emily and Katie. Wicked South sounds interesting - I'll have to check it out.

krgp said...

Thanks for hosting us, Karissa and ATB team! Emily and I really love what you're doing here, and we love Karissa's writing. <3 -Katie (and Emily)

Blogger Template by Designer Blogs