Monday, March 12, 2012

The Watchword: Question and Answer with Julie Kagawa

The Watchword: Featuring Julie Kagawa

I received an ARC of this book for review through Media Masters Publicity via the publishers. Thanks, so much Harlequin Teen!

About The Book:

In the dark days since the insidious Red Lung virus decimated the human population, vampires have risen to rule the crumbling cities and suburbs. Uncontested Princes hold sway over diminished ranks of humans: their "pets." In exchange for their labor, loyalty and of course, their blood, these pets are registered, given food and shelter, permitted to survive.

Unregistered humans cling to fringes, scavenging for survival. Allison Sekemoto and her fellow Unregistereds are hunted, not only by vampires, but by rabids, the unholy result of Red Lung-infected vampires feeding on unwary humans. One night, Allie is attacked by a pack of rabids, saved by an unlikely hero...and turned vampire.

Uncomfortable in her undead skin, Allie falls in with a ragtag crew of humans seeking a cure, or cures: for Rabidism and for Vampirism. She's passing for human...for now. But the hunger is growing and will not be denied. Not for friendship—not even for love.

After writing the Iron Fey series for so many years, how difficult was it to immerse yourself in a futuristic world filled with vampires, rabids and an enslaved human race?

It was...very different. I think the hardest thing for me was the fact that this story does take place in the real world -- a futuristic, vampire-infested world, but the real world nonetheless. Things had to make sense, for example: how far can a large group walk in a single day if there were no roads, they were going through thick woods, and there were children in the group? I had to have logical reasons for everything; I couldn't just make something work "because of faery magic," lol.

Just like Meghan Chase in the Iron Fey series, the main character in The Immortal Rules, Allison Sekemoto, is a “take charge and kick butt” kind of girl. Is this intentional? What woman – real or fictional, alive or deceased – do you look up to or admire?

Yes, Allison comes from a very different world than Meghan Chase. Meghan's upbringing was pretty normal; Allison grew up among vampires and monsters, where every day was a fight to live, so she couldn't afford to be weak. While Meghan had to learn to "take charge and kick butt," Allison's first impulse is stab first, talk later.

As for female role models, the first that comes to mind--when it comes to kicking vampire butt, anyway -- is Buffy Summers. Thank you, Joss Whedon, for making me love feisty, snarky, heroines who can dust all sorts of nasties but who also look good in a cheerleading outfit. ;)

You mention in your acknowledgements in The Immortal Rules that at the beginning of your writing career you promised yourself you wouldn’t write a vampire book. What changed your mind?

Well, there were already so many really good books about our favorite bloodsuckers, so many stories and ideas, I thought I didn't have anything new to add to the masses. I was actually toying with a post-apocalyptic YA novel when my agent mentioned I might want to try writing a vampire series. I wasn't intrigued with the idea at first, but then I thought about combining vampires with the post-apocalyptic novel and then rest sort of fell into place.

Allison claims she hates vampires and believes they are monsters yet when faced with a choice of die or become one, she becomes a vampire. Would you have made that same decision?

Me personally? No. I'm like Zeke in the belief that there is something better waiting for me beyond this life, and I just have to do my best until it’s time for me to go. Besides, I love pizza and Mountain Dew too much to give it up.

Who do you think the most complex character is in The Immortal Rules?

Probably Kanin, Allie's sire. He's a vampire who has made his peace about being a monster, yet chooses to live by his own set of moral rules. He warns Allison about getting too close to humans, yet he does not kill unless he absolutely has to. He is tormented about something in his past that he refuses to share with anyone. He is certainly the most mysterious of all the characters, if not the most complex.

How many books will be in the Blood of Eden series? When will the next book be coming out?

At the moment, there are three books planned, with the second coming out sometime next spring, after the release of the new Iron Fey series this fall.

Before you starting writing full time you were a professional dog trainer. Do the professions share any similarities?

Lol, well you have to think on your feet a lot. And some of the small dogs could be compared to tiny snapping goblins, but writing requires less dodging skills, though perhaps the same amount of creativity and problem solving.

When starting a new series, like Blood of Eden, do you have the entire series mapped out in detail or do you let the story develop book by book?

I have a high point that I write toward in each story; I know this and this has to happen, but getting from point A to point B usually develops as I go along.

And for the speed round: What book have you read and re-read, and read yet again?

Any of the Harry Potter books.

Favorite song to play when writing a fight scene?

My "favorites" change daily. Right now its "Awake and Alive" by Skillet.

Worst job?

Working a kiosk in the mall during Christmas. It sold glass figurines, and the maneuvering space around the hundreds of very breakable merchandise was quite small. I was like a bull in a china shop.

Best vacation spot?

Walt Disney World

Sweets or salty?


One thing most people don’t know about you – and would never guess!

I used to play the flute when I was a kid. I was really good at it too, but my instructor stopped teaching to have a family, and I never went back to it.

Julie Kagawa 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.

When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.

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 is 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. She is the bestselling author of the Iron Fey series.



  1. Ooh! All interesting facts there and i would have never guessed that Julie played flute when she was young! I'm can't wait to read The Immortal rules!

  2. Same here.  Reread Harry Potter books..except Deathly Hallows.  I still cry over the chapter titles.

  3. Jessica@a GREAT readMarch 15, 2012 at 6:42 AM

    Awesome interview!! Been looking forward to this since last April when I met her in Columbus with other authors!! As soon as I heard vampire in her next book, I was hooked! And this was before we got The Iron Knight!!

    So Julie, are you sad to be leaving behind your Iron Fey characters? Are you happy with your new set in the Immortal Rules?

  4. Jessica@a GREAT readMarch 15, 2012 at 6:43 AM

     :P Ignore my having questions! I am a little tired still and must have misread the form on the contest sheet!! Thought it said to ask a question on the Q&A!! In my defense, it's only 6:43 am! ;)

  5. TOTALLY AGREE! Disney World ROCKS!

  6. I'm really looking forward to this new take on vampires and the post-apocalyptic setting. Should be fun!

  7. I can't wait to read this book! And I could definitely read HP books over and over again too :)

  8. Great interview and I too love Disney world :)

  9. Kanin sounds like a great character, totally conflicted, but trying to be ethical. I understand why he'd become like this with time.

    This whole story sounds awesome, and it's great Julie decided to put a futuristic twist on it!

    I can see why she had a tough time after The Iron Fey series, but they're so different they're a testament to her talent.

  10. OMG! amazing Q&A! I had no idea Julie said she would never write a Vampire novel ever! XDD life is  box of chocolates XDDD However, Im super glad she did! yay!

  11. Fabulous Q&A!!! I just love Julie, she is so adorable and sweet! I so need to get my hands on her newest book! :) I love sweets, too, and I so need to go to Disney World at least once! (I haven't been there yet ?_? insert: sad face).

    Thanks so much for the post :) I had so much fun reading Julie's answers! <3

  12. Awesome Q&A.
    I am currently reading the Iron King and I like it so far. 

  13. This is such a great interview! I loved the Iron Fey series and I can't wait for this one to come out!

  14. Thanks for the awesome interview! Like you, I also played the flute as a kid, but that's where the similarities end: I wasn't very good at it, in fact- I was horrible, so I stopped humiliating myself and never looked back!  :))

  15. I love Buffy! I'm glad she changed her mind and wrote a vampire book. I love vampires. Never been to Disney World but I love Disney Land. I can't wait to read this!

  16. great interview!!!!i cannot wait to read something that different from the iron fey series..:D:Dwhich i loved!!!!

  17. Great interview! I just finished reading The Iron King. I loved it and can't wait to read more of her books.

  18. I've read all of Julie's books and I can't wait to read this one! It sounds so so good. Thanks for such an awesome interview...I love reading about the authors and what they think :-D

  19. I know that you are ecstatic that you got to do this interview since you love Julie's work so much. Congrats Suz and congrats to Mrs. Kagawa on her success.


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