Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Interview: Kitty Kestwick, author of Freaksville

Kitty Kestwick is the 2010 debut author of the upcoming FREAKSVILLE, the first book in a brand new YA Paranormal Romance series from Leap Books. The story is told through the sixteen-year-old heroine’s blog.

High school is hard enough when you’re normal. There’s peer pressure, book reports, the in crowd and the enormous zit that has a life of its own. Having a family whose skeletons in the closet lean toward the paranormal is not a topper on anyone’s list. Sophomore Kasey Maxwell is busy juggling the typical teen angst. Add visions, ghosts and hairy four-legged monsters into the mix and you get FREAKSVILLE. It’s a wonder Kasey has survived.

Every woman in the Maxwell family has the gift of sight. A talent sixteen-year-old Kasey would gladly give up. All she wants is a normal life. Shopping and talking about boys with her best friend and long-time sidekick Gillie Godshall consume her days. Until Kasey has a vision about Josh Johnstone, the foreign exchange student from England. The vision leads her into new waters, a lead in a play, a haunted theater…and into the arms of the Josh. Yet, both Kasey and Josh have secrets lurking in dark corners. Can Kasey’s new romance survive FREAKSVILLE?

First off, thanks so much for taking the time to "chat" with me about your upcoming novel, Freaksville.

Thanks for having me.

Let's start with some basics: what got you into writing? Why YA?

I started writing novels in high school. That’s when the bug bit me; I was inspired by John Hughes movies, like The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Some Kind of Wonderful. He really got teenagers. Once I realized that this was something I wanted to do, I wrote stories that appealed to me, which happened to be the paranormal. I found my voice best fit the YA genre. What does that say about me? Eh, no clue? I’m sure Freud would have a field day.

What inspired you to write Freaksville? And why did you choose a "blog" format?

Freaksville just flowed or spewed might be a better word. At least the rough draft did. (The final version was a painful plethora of sweat, tears, threatening bodily harm to my keyboard…or hitting the undo button. Maybe even some bloodshed, creativity is messy, because one rarely gets it right the first time.) Once I had the characters, they wouldn’t shut up. It started in first person, and I felt it was Kasey’s (the heroine’s) inner confessions. The blog idea just knitted everything into place. Serendipity, my friend. The chapters start out as her blog and bled into a more traditional format. But, I had fun with the comments and other aspects of the blog style. In Book two, Furry & Freaked, I have a little more liberty with the story.

Are any of your characters based off people you know in real life?

No. There might be an aspect of a person, but I don’t base them on real people. What fun would that be? Besides, werewolves don’t really exist. Or do they? Although I once got really pissed off at a cop who gave me a speeding ticket and went home and wrote a story about him in which he was the villain. I felt better, but I still had the pay the ticket. No, I didn’t keep the story. It’s off playing with the other rejects in deleteland.

As a paranormal YA author, what's your opinion on YA releases such as Twilight?

There’s nothing new under the sun. It’s how you spin it. Paranormal YA was around before it and will survive and be around after it. How’s that for dancing around the subject? I can Salsa dance, too.

If you could meet your characters, would you give them spoilers?

Ah, the whole “would-knowing-their-future-open-up-a-time-space-continuum-and-the-world implode”? Hum…decisions, decisions… I think I would give hints. I believe destiny does play a role in one’s life. However, I do believe people have control over their own paths. At every major turning point in life, there are avenues in which choices will change the outcome. A road off-shoots from each one. And although there might be a direction the “fates” wish you to go, one has free will. A choice. So, just because you know your future, doesn’t mean that will be the outcome. Okay, my head hurts now; I need M&M’s.

Sell your novel over Twitter (140 characters or less!)

Eek, good questions.

A group of teenagers, trapped in a haunted theater on the night of a full moon, find out that ghosts are the least of their worries.

Okay, I cheated and copied this from my blurb. I used fewer than 140 characters, do I win something? Something shiny? Or maybe Dean Winchester (Supernatural, drool worthy.) wrapped with a bow, oh please, oh please?

Any tips for aspiring authors?

Write, Read, Write, Read. Everyone gets rejections. Keep at it. Eventually something will gel or you will discover what you are truly good at. If you do something that stands out, people will either love it or hate it. Always wear clean underwear. Warning: Dating a werewolf can be hazardous to your heart. Invest in a good dictionary and thesaurus.

What's next for you?

Sleep? And finally organizing my sock drawer, then corralling the dust bunnies in my room. But currently, I am editing book two in the Freaksville series, Furry and Freaked, and working on my outline for book three. (My editor Kat might be reading this, so that sounded like a good answer. Right? Really, Kat, I’m up to my elbows in edits. Yeppers, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) Truly, I’ve had my nosed buried in books and have been spending way too much time on marketing prep and on my never-ending emails. They are reproducing, that’s my only conclusion. Can one spay their Inbox? (I’m the co-president of the Class of 2K10, a group of debut MG and YA authors []. It’s been eating up massive amounts of my time. Nice plug huh. I’m so sly. Hardly. A bulldozer is more subtle.)

You are trapped on a desert island, and you can only take with you ONE book, ONE movie, and ONE television show--what are they?

Ah, too hard, no fair! Okay, the easiest first.

TV show: Supernatural. Two words: Jensen Ackles.

Movie: Gad! Really, really hard, especially if you knew how I live for movies. Okay, I just went to my closet, closed my eyes, and picked one. The winner is Practical Magic. I’ll just stuff about forty other DVD’s into the same case while your back is turned. So turn around please.

Book: War and Peace, I might need TP and kindling, and that’s the longest book that comes to mind. Plus, I haven’t read it, so it might be good.

Thanks so much for answering my questions, and I wish you all the best with Freaksville!

Thanks for letting me spread the insanity… Warning: Shameless Plug alert. Check out Freaksville coming January 8, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-1-61603-001-8 ISBN-10: 1-61603-001-1For more wackiness and wolves, check out my blog with fellow YA author Judith Graves,


Kitty Keswick has been an Anglophile since age four when she saw Robin Hood and fell head over heels in love. As she grew up on her grandfather’s California vineyard, Kitty’s imagination was her best friend. At a very tender age, she started writing her stories and reading them to the grapes.

Kitty now lives with a bossy tabby cat and maybe even a few ghosts. She spends her days with Werewolves, Valkyries, Vamps and other creatures that go bump in the night.

You can check out Freaksville January 8th, 2010.


Elie said...

Great interview. This sounds like a great book. I will be watching for it in January. Yay 2010.

Elie (Ellz Readz)

Alexia561 said...

Really enjoyed the interview! Especially the comment about how the rough draft just 'spewed' out. *L* The blog idea sounds awesome, so looking forward to reading it! Great job ladies!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fantastic read. Where were all these YA writers when I was growing up and agonizing over what to read? Thank goodness Ya is a state of mind not body cause I can still enjoy them!

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