For the second of January’s featured author posts, we have an interview with Kelsey Ketch. Learn all about Kelsey and her books here.
Welcome to the blog! Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a Young Adult and New Adult author. I have my degree in biology and work as a wildlife biologist full time. I live in North Carolina, United States. I love learning about new historical discoveries and new perspectives on past events, and use the knowledge I collect to create twists and turns in my own manuscripts.
It’s been a busy few years for you with the release of the Descendants of Isis trilogy. What have been your favourite parts of the experience?
I would say my favorite part of the experience is the research. I go as in depth into learning my material as possible through books, documentaries, and online sources. Each time I learned something new, the better the story became. Particular when it came to the Egyptian god Set and the Temple of Isis, which became vital in Name of Ra.
The final instalment of your Descendants of Isis trilogy released in November. For fans who haven’t got round to picking it up yet – what can they expect from the book?
Name of Ra takes the reader to the edge of reality, and closer to the aspects of ancient mythology. The villains are nastier, causing death and destruction in their wake. The challenges will be harder, causing both Natti and Seth both mental and physical strain. The sacrifices will be greater, and the stakes will be higher. The readers will learn what Seth’s role is in Isis’s prophecy and can expect more than one resurrection as a result of this fight.
Seth has been on quite the journey in the series so far. How did you approach his transformation from someone who is initially quite deplorable, to the loveable bad boy who stole Natti’s (and a fair few readers’!) heart?
I can’t take full credit for Seth’s transformation, for Seth was the one in charge of his future. However, even when I first dreamt of the young man that would become Seth, I knew—despite the deceit, arrogance, and theft—he had the potential to grow into someone better. He just had to be given the right opportunities and the right motivation. Natti and their heritage connections became a big part of that. I merely crafted the situations and analyzed his reactions, taking into account his background and other influences. My only fear was that Seth’s transformation might come on too fast. No one changes overnight, if at all. Fortunately, letting Seth be who he is, I feel the timing was just right.
What’s your favourite element of Egyptian mythology (included in the series or not!)?
There are so many things I love about Egyptian mythology, but the one aspect that fascinates me the most is their concept of the afterlife, Duat. It’s amazing how much detail and thought the Egyptians put into it. There were several ancient funerary texts, one of the mostly widely known is the “Spells of Emerging in Daytime” (Book of the Dead), which is a manual to help the deceased to pass through many challenges they would face while wondering Duat. My favorite part is in the Hall of Judgement, when Anubis places the deceased’s heart on the scales to be weighed. In many depictions, you can even see Anubis adjusting the scales ever so slightly, since not every heart is perfect, so that the deceased may pass into Osiris’s Kingdom.
Are there any other mythologies you’d like to explore in your fiction?
Most definitely! Though Egyptian is my favorite, I love learning all about different cultures, their mythologies and beliefs. Samarium, Mayan, Voodoo, Christian, Greek, Hindu are just some of the cultural influences I’m placing into my current/upcoming WIPs. And I’m sure more will arise as more concepts line my bookshelves.
What great books have you read recently? Any authors you particularly admire?
It’s been a while. With everything that is happening in my life, including publishing, it’s becoming harder to find time for the things I once took for granted. The most recent books/series (mostly read in 2014) I’ve enjoyed are the Campus Crush/Birth of Phoenix Series by Ashelyn Drake, the Monster Within Series by Kelly Hashway, the Burn Out Series by Kristi Helvig, and Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch.
I can’t say there are any particular authors I admire. I’ve read a lot of different works, each with their own unique voice and writing style to draw in their audience. But I feel I more admire the individual novel or series than the author themselves. Particularly if they are well researched, well developed, and contains well thought out characters. That’s because you really aren’t getting to know the author behind the work. You’re more getting to know the story they’ve created. So I admire novels such as the Hereafter Series by Tara Hudson, the Hush, Hush Series by Becca Fitzpatrick, The Ghost and the Goth Series by Stacey Kade, and newer classics such as The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, and The Dragon and the George by Gordon R. Dickson. For more novels I admire, check out my ‘favorites’ shelf on Goodreads.
What is your writing process like?
Honestly, I probably describe my writing process as a little chaotic. It starts as an idea—kind of a movie trailer running through my head with the basic plotline. Then specific scenes start to come to mind, not in any particular order, and I write them into a journal until I have enough to start weaving pieces together in a Word document. That’s when the real work begins. While weaving the story together, I begin my in depth research and letting the story take me through its journey until I finally reach the last chapter.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Keep at it, and don’t let anything stop you.
And finally, what’s next for Kelsey Ketch?
I’m currently in the process of working on two separate novels. The first is a work in progress called Dark Reflections. It’s a new adult dark fantasy/romance that is based loosely on the concept of Robert Louis Steven’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as well as a mixture of aspects from Voodoo/Hoodoo, some vampirism, and even a tiny bit of Egyptian lore. Nineteen-year-old Alana stumbles upon a curse and is cast onto an isolated island where she literary lives a double life: one as herself and one as a murderer. Adapting to the monster she’s become, she lives with the blood of several innocent victims on her hands. That is, until Cole washes up on her shore.
The other novel I’m currently revising is a manuscript I wrote through high school and undergraduate called Death’s Island. I finished it several years ago and at one point even had an agent for it. But it was never published. So I’m reworking it to be a new adult historical adventure based in the eighteenth century and adding a little on the Mayan god, Ah Puch. Journeying across the sea to find a legendary treasure buried by her great grandfather, Meriden finds danger around every corner including a mutinous crew, treacherous storms, and sailors bewitched by greed. Yet those issues pale in comparison to the cursed forests and hideous monsters she finds once she reaches Death’s Island.
Thanks, Kelsey! Fascinating answers and good luck with your current projects.