Author Interview: Warmaidens by Kelly Coon
We had the pleasure of interviewing Kelly Coon last year when she debuted with Gravemaidens, and we are back this year to ask her some follow-up questions to celebrate the release of Warmaidens!
Warmaidens releases next Tuesday the 15th, so you still have time to submit your preorder receipts for the awesome incentive as well as order a signed/personalized copy from Oxford Exchange, Kelly’s local indie bookstore!
Warmaidens (Gravemaidens, #2)by Kelly Coon
Published by: Delacorte Press
on December 15, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Warmaidens is the dark, action-packed conclusion to the heartwrenching Gravemaidens fantasy duology.
Kammani and the maidens are now going to war against the ruler who tried to entomb them.
In the refuge city-state of Manzazu, Kammani has built a thriving healing practice and a life she’s proud of with her siblings, the maidens, and her love, Dagan.
But when an assassin murders a healer he believes is Kammani and attempts to kill Arwia, the displaced queen of Alu, they realize they’re not safe in their safe little haven anymore. Uruku, the usurper to Alu’s throne, has found out they escaped the tomb and must kill them to protect his newly acquired power.
Burning for retribution, the ruler of Manzazu wants to unleash her fiercest weapons on Alu–her warmaidens. But when Kammani’s best friend, Iltani, is captured, Kammani must use her intuition and her heart to restore Arwia to the throne before the life she’s built–and a future with Dagan–burn up in the flames of war.
Author Interview – Kelly Coon
How has writing a sequel shaped you as a writer?
Oh wow. Great question. Writing a sequel has honestly made me a better editor. I recognize what worked and what didn’t in Gravemaidens, and I was able to apply some of those changes to Warmaidens as I was writing. It also helped me work under pressure a little bit better! When I wrote Gravemaidens, I didn’t have any idea if it would even sell, so there was a lot of freedom in that. I wrote what I wanted and hoped for the best. But with the sequel, I’d already sold the darn thing, so the heat was on. I needed to deliver a product that would top the first so I didn’t get accused of the sophomore slump. Gah.
What do you hope readers find within the pages of the Gravemaidens duology?
Hope. Compassion. Resilience. Kammani has been through so much in her young life, but despite everything, she remains compassionate and resilient, moving (somewhat stubbornly, oops) through her life to achieve what she wants. She doesn’t let grief take away her grit and that makes me so proud to be her writer, honestly.
Last year we asked you what was your theme song for writing Gravemaidens, you said it was “Swan Song” by Dua Lipa – did you have a new theme song when writing Warmaidens?
YES. This year, it would definitely have to be “Lady Like” by Ingrid Andress.
Some of the lyrics:
“Sometimes I forget not to talk ’bout politics
When I’m in the middle of me gettin’ hit on
Sometimes I’m not polite
Don’t bite my tongue, I speak my mind…”
Kammani is a young woman who knows her own mind and goes for what she wants, even though it’s outside cultural norms. She’s not “ladylike.” She’s a young woman who’s controversial, outspoken and does it all with kindness and compassion for those around her.
Pandemic life has been harder than expected especially for creatives, what have you been doing to help the book release, or improving on your self-care regime? Any books or hobbies you recommend?
I’ve been using the Peloton app to do yoga, HIIT, and strength training classes 4-5 times per week and that workout regimen has helped me keep it together. I’ve also been reading 3-4 books at a time. I always have an audiobook downloaded, and I color while I listen. I have a book near the kitchen table that I read during my little lunch breaks, another in my office, and usually another by my bed. It helps me disconnect from my phone (arghhh) and gets me motivated to be a better writer at the same time.
Some recent physical reads I’ve adored: Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko (YA fantasy), Front Desk by Kelly Yang (MG Contemporary), Overstory by Richard Powers (Adult—won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction!) A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson (YA thriller)
Some recent audio reads I’ve adored: Circe by Madeline Miller (Adult saga), The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi (Adult historical), Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Adult contemporary), Wildcard by Marie Lu (YA SF)