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Author Interview: Kendare Blake

Saturday, September 24, 2011
There's this book I've been wanting to read for ages... It just came out, but HK's bookstores still aren't stocking it yet (what is this blasphemy?). It's Anna Dressed in Blood, and if I can't get my hands on the book just yet, I'll sink my claws into the author...! So, here's an interview with Kendare.

(And I've received a copy of Anna from Kendare's lovely publicist, so it seems. It's with my ever-awesome US contact, and hopefully, it'll arrive in HK soon so I can devour it and post a review)

For those of you who aren't pro-stalkers, here's a little about Kendare. She's from South Korea, and I just find that so, so cool! (It's the Asian pride in me.)
Kendare Blake is an import from South Korea who was raised in the United States by caucasian parents. You know, that old chestnut. She received a Bachelor's degree in Business from Ithaca College and a Master's degree in Writing from Middlesex University in London. She brakes for animals, the largest of which was a deer, which sadly didn't make it, and the smallest of which was a mouse, which did, but it took forever. Amongst her likes are Greek Mythology, rare red meat and veganism. She also enjoys girls who can think with the boys like Ayn Rand, and boys who scare the morality into people, like Bret Easton Ellis.

And for those of you who haven't heard... This, is Anna. (Cue squealing. Lots of squealing)
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

Now for me to start interrogating... Let me think, something about the book I can't wait to read--what inspired Anna?

Anna Dressed in Blood was inspired by...Anna Dressed in Blood. Her name. It came out of nowhere, and I really liked it. Sort of like being introduced, and then writing the rest of the book was like doing research to learn more about her. Also, I love the horror.

I love horror too, but there aren't many YA horror novels out there. So what sets Anna, as a horror, apart from mainstream novels out there?

I don't know. I mean, I think there are things that set every novel apart from...every novel. I hope that certain elements stand out as quality elements, like the characters of Cas and Anna, and Thomas and Carmel. From what I hear, I write dead bodies pretty nicely.

Hm... dead bodies. Sounds scary--and kind of gross. Looks like I'll be having a fun (read: scary) time reading Anna, can't wait. Did you ever scare yourself writing Anna?

Occasionally. I love to creep myself out. Even if it's not as atmospheric as writing on a clacking typewriter in the attic of an old empty house. I'm just in the safety of my apartment. But it's pretty cool, when the scene comes up around you. I remember being creeped out during the scene near the end, in Cas's bedroom. And I did it again while writing the sequel. The scene in the woods. You'll see.

That shipment had better arrive quickly... You just made me want to read Anna even more--if that's even possible! "Cas's bedroom" reminds me of the girl-meets-boy romance though. What would you do if a ghost fell in love with you?

That would depend. Are they all creepy and obsessive and infringing on my daily life? Because if not, then I'd probably be cool with it. Otherwise, I'd hire an exorcist. Sorry Casper. No cramping my style.

Poor Cas... How about if you were the ghost?

Can't be sure about that, but I think being a ghost would pretty much suck. I'd probably be the most emo ghost ever. I mean, can you imagine? Never being able to eat that yummy soft homemade fudge again? That is seriously depressing.

That just made me drool, damnit. But yeah, that'd be depressing... Speaking of depressing, would you wear a dress made of blood--not stained with blood, but made with blood? (Okay, maybe that's kind of cool and not really depressing, but still.)

You know, it's funny that you ask this. Because I know that the book descriptions says that Anna's dress is "stained red with blood". But in the book, it's actually made of blood. Total blood. Except when she's not killing people. So, would I wear one? Well, probably no. I can write about gore but in real life it makes me sort of queasy.

Woah! I actually guessed something right! Okay, so no gore in real life. What about ghosts then? Do you believe in them?

Yes. Because If ghosts are real I don't want to entice them into proving it. Someday I'd still like to go ghost hunting. There's a house that you can stay at, somewhere in the Midwest I think, that was the site of a mass murder. Pretty freaky, eh? (Haven't done it...yet. Or maybe ever...)

You should go! (As long as you don't drag me with you...) Er... since reading the description for Anna, I've been meaning to ask this... Do you think "girl-kills-people" reflects anything about the author? (Just kidding!)

Ha, ha, Hikari. But perhaps it does....

Haha, I hope not...! Now for some randomness: five things we probably don't know?

Umm....well...One, you probably don't know how many types of mollusks there are. And I don't either. probably don't know that I used to read to my horse in the womb because I have always been an advocate for reading. probably don't know that when I lived in London I was under a poop curse, that I would fall into or walk through poop at really inopportune moments. Not that there are really "opportune" moments. Four, you probably don't know that Pepe the King Prawn is the best new Muppet. But you should. And five, you probably don't know that sometimes I look back and wonder if there is anything better than this bumpy and cratered road to publication...and I don't think there is.

Oh, ew, poop curse. I've stepped in quite a number of dog poops, and I've had to throw all those pairs of shoes away. Such a waste...
Just to round things off, some quick-fire questions (also known as really random questions Hikari makes up for the sake of it):

Guns or knives? Knives.
Pen or keyboard? Keyboard. My handwriting blows. As anyone with a signed book can attest to.
Where do you want to go for summer? (Summer just passed, I know, but school just started and I feel like reminiscing... good times, good times)
Well, next summer I want to road trip it down to California and Las Vegas, with a pit stop in the northern part so I can trail ride through redwood trees and by the beach.

Thanks so much for the interview, Kendare! Is there anything else you'd like us to know? 

Just that I'm grateful to Hikari, for the lovely interview, and to everyone who reads, not just my books, but any books.

Aw, thank you!

Wow, Kendare's just made me want to read Anna even more than I did before... She's a magician in disguise, I swear (or a ghost with powers, something like that). I can't wait for my parcel from the US to arrive--it seriously needs to be here in HK now! I pity the rest of my fellow Hong Kong-ers though, Anna Dressed in Blood is still not out... can you believe?
2 comments on "Author Interview: Kendare Blake"
  1. LOL that interview made me laugh! You're both so awesome! To be honest though, I'm more of a gun person, because I'm betting on the fact that someone will just run away when I wave the gun at them so I don't have to hurt them. x)

    Awesome interview! I'm trying to get my hands on a copy of Anna right now because it sounds so awesome and I'm super excited to read it! :)

  2. wow- thanks so much for this interview and for sharing Kendare! This book sounds amazing- I love the premise and the cover art!


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