Interview and Review with Author Kaitlyn Deann

7 Oct

The Witches’ Sleep by Kaitlyn Deann

And we’re back for another round of Author Interviews! This time I have the privilege of featuring a talented young author by the name of Kaitlyn Deann. We will be talking to her about her writing and her novel, The Witches’ Sleep. Sit back, grab that coffee, and get ready to add another book to your must-buy list.

A brief description:  At only seventeen, Ella Barnes is shot and killed for an unknown reason. She is shocked when she wakes up in a different world, a world of witches. Ella has to learn to adapt to a new body, new life and new world, surrounded by new people. As Ella gets to know Raena, the world of the witches and its people, she realizes they aren’t the perfect creatures they believe themselves to be, and she’s not the type of person to stand around and twiddle her thumbs. Will Ella succeed in changing the mindset of the people? Or will she be doomed to die another cold and tragic death because of her rebellion?

Here’s what we asked Kaitlyn:

What was your favorite part of the book?

I would have to say chapters 27 through 32 are my favorite part (s) of my book. But the climax of every story is usually my favorite. I also love the Waking Up Ball scene. I’m not sure why I love that one so much.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

It’s always hard to hurt the characters you’ve created and grown close to. I would have to say the number one hardest part for me to write was killing a few were-creatures. They had backstories that I never write into the book but are nevertheless there. They were people and they died. That’s hard to write.

What do you wish was different about the book?

Haha! Honestly, I wish I could’ve written some parts from Kindness’ point-of-view. The way I wrote this book, I made it look like Sunny is the protagonist, when in all actuality, Kindness is. I think one day I’m going to write THE WITCHES’ SLEEP in Kindness’ perspective. I won’t take back what I have now but I wish I could have made it more clear that Kindness is the hero and Sunny is the sidekick. That was a fault on my part.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?

My favorite author as of this moment is Suzanne Collins. Other favorite authors of mine would be Stephenie Meyer, Michael Scott and Maggie Stiefvater. My favorite books are THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy, THE HOST, TWILIGHT saga, SECRETS OF THE IMMORTAL NICHOLAS FLAMEL series and THE SCORPIO RACES.

What sparked the idea for your novel?

I was watching the movie INCEPTION and the main character said something along the lines of “When we die, we’ll wake up.” I mulled over that idea for several days until I had the basic idea for THE WITCHES’ SLEEP figured out. It all pulled together after that.

How personal is your writing?

My writing is very personal. When I write, I put myself into the character. I make myself a part of them, or maybe it’s vice versa. They become a part of me. I would not ever trade that experience.

How strict are you with plotting? Do you outline or go where the story takes you?

I’m an organizational freak. Some of my friends like to call me OCD, though I’m really not (I think). I plot and plan and write detailed outlines, and then when I’m writing the actual draft, I end up going back and changing a few things so that it fits better with the story. I cannot write a book without having an outline first. I will spend weeks writing the outline before even attempting to start of the actual draft.

What is your writing routine?

First, I’m inspired by something — anything, really. Second, I just think about that idea for a few days. I don’t just jump into writing mode. That’s a quick way for me to come to a dead end. Third, once I’ve figured the majority of the major events of the story, I write an outline which probably is better described as a long synopsis with bullet points. I spend a few weeks writing my outline, adding in details here and there, and then I finally start on the first draft of the actual book. When I finish the first draft, I spend months editing, rewriting, polishing and revising it until I think it’s about as perfect as I can get it. Then, I send it off to my proofreaders. They look over it and give suggestions which I consider and usually apply. Then, the manuscript is off to the editor. He picks it apart, word by word, and then sends it back to me marked up with red ink. I mold the story a little better thanks to the tips from my editor and proofreaders, and finally have a couple of my best proofreaders and some fans read the final draft. Any suggestions they give, I consider heavily and, again, usually apply. Finally, the book is ready to be published. Hope that’s detailed enough for you! Haha!

Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel?

Sometimes it’s the character’s story and sometimes it’s the idea for the novel. With THE WITCHES’ SLEEP it was definitely the idea for the novel that came first. The characters I have now in the completed story didn’t exist when I officially started working out the story. No kidding. Only Sunny existed. No one else did. As the story grew, characters into place.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

My favorite books are fantasy. I write what I read. It’s as simple as that, really.

How did you come up with the title?

The title just happened before I could really do anything about it. I was calling it THE WITCHES’ SLEEP before I had everything figured out and it just stuck. It was an interesting title, caught people’s eye and describes the base for the whole trilogy.

What project are you working on now?

I’m working on the sequel to THE WITCHES’ SLEEP. Right now, all I’m giving away is the fact that most of it is in Sea-Anna’s perspective (so far, at least; I’m only on the second draft) and that the title is WORLD OF THE BEASTS. I’ve also posted a tidbit of the first page on my website for readers to check out.

Are there certain themes you like to address in your writing?

When I write, I also like to put in several good morals to live by. Sometimes it’s not always morals though. Sometimes it’s just inspirational notes. In THE WITCHES’ SLEEP, the theme I tried focusing on was standing up for what you believe in, no matter the cost. The sequel, WORLD OF THE BEASTS, will be focusing on overcoming trials and tribulation.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Don’t give up. You can do it. It’s hard, but nothing in life worth doing will be easy. You have to work at it, but don’t be discouraged. Also, take criticism well, and by that I don’t mean “with a grain of salt,” I mean take it, consider it, don’t take offense because they are only trying to help, and apply if necessary. Take note as well that there are always troublemakers out there that just want to complain. Just push your shoulders back and carry on.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

The toughest criticism I’ve received isn’t even really that negative to me. Someone told me once that they liked my book but couldn’t stand the love in it (a guy said it). It didn’t bother me that much because most guys are like that and I completely understand his viewpoint on it. The best compliment I’ve received would have to be someone telling me they’ve read my book four times. My reaction was utterly shocked, amazed and all fuzzy-feeling inside.

If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

Haha! I thought for a while about this question. Probably J. K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins and Stephenie Meyer, all authors!

Now the fun questions:

Favorite junk food?

Anything chocolate.

Tea or coffee?

Tea.

Favorite superhero(ine)? Why?

Captain America because I like old-fashioned men.

Favorite color?

Blue.

Favorite place you’ve visited?

Orlando, Florida’s Disneyworld Resort!

What’s one quirky or fun fact about you?

I have a love-hate relationship with bananas. If they’re too ripe, they make my throat itch and lips swell, so I can only eat them when they are green or just turned yellow.

A giant thank you to Kaitlyn for taking the time to be here with us today. I hope you’re all intrigued and are running to get a copy of The Witches’ Sleep right now. Well, not before you read my review. Take a look.

Let me start by saying that YA is not my area of expertise. I have read very little that I have liked. And then I read this. The Witches’ Sleep by Kaitlyn Deann was a surprising jaunt into the genre for me.

The world-building in this book is incredible. It’s well thought out, has a sense of grandness, and is pictured so vividly. It was easy to get lost in what Ms. Deann has created. The characters are well developed, making it effortless to get into a love-hate relationship with them. Human faults are at play here with jealousies, prejudices, and the eternal question of “Where do I fit in?”. Aptly appropriate for the age group this is targeting. The book also touches on the empowerment of self and the willingness to fight for the rights of others. I found the political elements to be handled with a deft touch.

I found Sunlight to be typical of her age. She has her moments of deep insightfulness, yet is still fresh with her youthful flights of fancy. She has an inner strength that is quiet as she adapts to her new identity and life, but is able to come alive once she realizes more about the world she is now a part of. I founds Songs to be one of my lesser favorite characters, and I think that may be intentional of the part of Ms. Deann. She came across as immature, juvenile and petty, and there were moments where it was hard for me to reconcile this woman as a mother. Clap, on the other hand, was the penultimate father-figure from the beginning, and it isn’t until further in the book that the reader gets to see how deep that well of feeling goes. I had warm fuzzies. Kindness, I’ll admit, I waffled on. For a great deal of the book, he seemed weak and ineffectual and I had a hard time seeing what Sunlight found so wonderful about him. His character comes together in the end and grows a backbone, but it felt a little rushed.

Tuck and Sea-Anna were a delight and I eagerly absorbed every tidbit Ms. Deann threw my way regarding them. The whole concept regarding their species and others was fresh and inventive. The more I read, the more I liked. I am hoping this continues as a series, as I would like to see where else the author can take me.

There were a few quibbles. This book was long, and there were lots of moments for me where it felt even longer. Understandable due to the amount to exposition and information that was needed to get across to the reader, but this may be off-putting to some. Also, there were, for my taste, far too many descriptions of the opulence of clothing. In the beginning, it was used as a tool to differentiate the witch world from the human in terms of everyday life, but I felt as the book went on that it was a little tedious. A tighter edit is definitely needed. Once or twice I came across words that wouldn’t be picked up with spell check, but the context was obviously incorrect, and a beta reader or editor should have found those mistakes. Nothing that took away from the overall impact of the story, which I loved, but in the moment, those mistakes pull away the reader’s attention, and that can be jarring.

Overall, this was a highly enjoyable and engaging read and it was a book that I can without a doubt recommend. That being said, I suggest you buy your copy of “The Witches’ Sleep” and introduce yourself to the fantastic world of Raena and the imaginative characters of Kaitlyn Deann.

Four out of five stars.

Kaitlyn Deann

More about Kaitlyn Deann and where you can connect with her online:

Bio: KAITLYN DEANN is a seventeen-year-old homeschooled student. She’s an avid reader and writer. As a writer she wants to be able to keep a reader turning the pages late into the night and give them something to think about long after they finish the last page. She loves her friends, family and God. Activities include piano, singing badly and not caring, breathing, eating too many cuties (fruit) at inappropriate times, braiding hair and of course writing. Laughing is her favorite calorie burner. She lives in Texas with her family.

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5 Responses to “Interview and Review with Author Kaitlyn Deann”

  1. writermirandastork October 8, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    Wonderful interview and review, ladies! It was interesting getting to know more about you Kaitlyn, and it was a really good review Tara! I haven’t got to it yet on my TBR pile, but it’s there! 🙂

    Like

  2. Blue Harvest Creative October 8, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    Another fantastic interview and book review! Was very interesting to learn about you Kaitlyn and your books. Have added it to my ever growing list of books to read. Best of luck to you!

    Like

  3. trishmarie October 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    Excellent interview – both of you! I have this book, and can’t wait to get the time to sit down and read it! 😀

    Like

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