Jun 15

Tenner Tuesday with Karen Healey!

For this Tenner Tuesday I have with me Karen Healey whose Young Adult book Guardian of the Dead was released on April 1, 2010 with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers!

A bit o’bout Karen: She is a New Zealander living in Australia, where she is a young adult novelist and PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne. She has, no lie, a scholarship to write about superhero comics.

And here’s the exciting Guardian of the Dead Blurb:

In less than a day I had been harassed, enchanted, shouted at, cried on, and clawed. I’d been cold, scared, dirty, exhausted, hungry, and miserable. And up until now, I’d been mildly impressed with my ability to cope.

At her boarding school in New Zealand, Ellie Spencer is like any ordinary teen: she hangs out with her best friend, Kevin; obsesses over her crush on a mysterious boy; and her biggest worry is her paper deadline. Then everything changes: In the foggy woods near the school, something ancient and deadly is waiting.

Debut author Karen Healey introduces a savvy and spirited heroine with a strong, fresh voice. Full of deliciously creepy details, this unique, incredible adventure is a deftly crafted story of Māori mythology, romance, betrayal, and war.

Now onto my interview!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I first realized it was an actual job; that books didn’t sort of magically appear.

How long does it generally take you to write a book from those first words to the very last?

A little over a year? It’s hard to tell, what with revisions! Guardian of the Dead’s first draft took three months; the second draft about six.

What was the inspiration—that first spark of a story—behind your amazing book?

I was walking home from a long day at university when an old woman asked me for some change. “Oh, sure,” I said, and gave her a two dollar coin. “There you go.”

Her clothes were immediately lit with a dark glow, and she smiled at me. I noted that all her teeth were pointed, and nervously wondered if the nearest alley might be a good escape route.

“Excellent!” she said. “I’ve been asking people for change all day, and most of them look right through me. But to those who don’t, I grant wishes. What would you like?”

“An idea for a story, please,” I said promptly.

She frowned. “Okay… how about a novel set in New Zealand, about a girl who discovers that the creatures of Māori mythology aren’t so mythological?”

“Hot DANG,” I said.

“I know, right?” she said. “Have fun with it.” And then she vanished.

And that’s where my idea came from!

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Ahahahahaha what is this “schedule” of which you speak?

I get up at about tenish, stumble to my computer and sort emails to deal with later. Then I screw around on the internet until such time as I notice I am hungry, at which point it is time for food and the first Diet Coke of the day. After that, it is much hanging out in my pyjamas until I can force myself back to the keyboard, and then, <em>maybe</em>, some writing.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk…come on…I know you have one!

When I get really into work, I start picking up random things and putting them in my mouth to chew. Sometimes I am lucky, and they are made out of chocolate! Sometimes I am less lucky, and they are made out of plastic.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Reading, first and foremost, and then playing World of Warcraft, baking, hunting down the best cocktails in the city with my friends, and blogging. I love my blog.

Because I think you should always save room for dessert, as a child, what was your favorite dessert? And what is your favorite dessert now?

As a kid, it was anything with whipped cream. Now, it’s anything with dark chocolate! How the mighty have fallen from dairy.

What do you hope to leave your readers with once they’ve finished your book?

The impetus to read more fiction set in New Zealand! There’s so much great stuff people have never heard of.

What question would you like to ask me?

Lindsay, how are you so awesome?

Well, Karen, I’m glad you asked. It’s been a long road that I’ve taken to grow into my awesome…a little chocolate, some laughing, and espresso always helps. Maybe I’ll teach a class.

You can visit Karen Healey on her website at www.karenhealey.com! And to order Guardian of the Dead just click HERE!

Thanks for joining me!

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