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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Interview: Kat Kruger, author of The Night Has Teeth

Lot's of authors stopping by this week, folks! I know some of you are disappointed  there's no Helluva Halloween this year (sorry if that just burst your bubble), but at least I'm still trying to bring the awesome. =D
Today's particular brand of awesome belongs to Kat Kruger, who's werewolf YA debut just hit wishlists everywhere... My review will be coming closer to Halloween (seems the appropriate time to howl at the moon), but until then, here's Kat to talk to us a bit about bringing The Night Has Teeth to life!

Hi, Kat! Welcome to The Book Rat. Tell us, what has the experience of winning the Atlantic Writing Competition and getting The Night Has Teeth published been like? Biggest surprise of the journey so far?
Winning that award has been beyond awesome. I saw an article headline recently that read something along the lines of "writing isn't a competition...until it is" and it's kind of true. I don't write to compete with other writers but when I got an email about the competition I had my novel in a place where I was already trying to shop it around so I figured why not enter? Just making the shortlist was exciting. Winning has meant a lot of things. It's meant even more support from the writing community, and it's meant people actually take my book about werewolves a little more seriously. My biggest surprise in relation to the award though has been the reaction from readers. After walking away from the ceremony last year people actually stopped me at the Word on the Street festival to congratulate me and ask if/when the book was being published. It really encouraged me.

How long was the process of putting this book together, from conception, through contest, to publication?
It was about two and a half years altogether. The first draft took forever to write. I don't outline so my characters kind of have free reign to do what they want. After that though, I took control. The revision process is much faster. I got feedback from beta readers as well as the judge and jury from the Atlantic Writing Competition along the way. When it comes to revision I leave my ego at the door. Ten drafts later you've got the result of those years of work.

There is a growing trend of using crowd-funding in the arts to bring things to life that would otherwise struggle to find a foothold - I would imagine that the great thing about this for an artist would be knowing that you've already got an interested base that is willing to help you bring your work into the world. What was the crowd-funding approach like for you? Were there unexpected drawbacks to this approach?
Crowd-funding was great for connecting with new readers (and bloggers) but it was a lot of work. That's something nobody seems to talk about! Unless you have a pre-built following, you really have to feed the beast with updates and extra content the whole time your campaign is going on. I'm happy to have met the kind souls who believe in the book though. To do it again, I think I would just go into it prepared with the extra content in advance.

I've never thought about that, but yeah, that would be a huge amount of work. Tell us about your favorite scene to write (well, your favorite spoiler-free scene, of course):
I'd have to say my fave scene to write was when Arden takes Connor and his friends to the underground party. Paris above-ground is beautiful and filled with history, but there's this secret world below-ground that I wanted to explore. I had so much fun researching the catacombs and putting my characters in a situation where they're winding through secret passageways with an exclusive party in mind.

A group of students from my French class got to explore the French catacombs. I - well, we won't get into my bitter tirade about why I missed that trip, but needless to say, I've never explored the French catacmobs... Looking forward to that scene.  Now, if possible (still avoiding spoilers, and all), tell us about the most-difficult scene/aspect of the story to write:
The second last chapter was the most difficult but I can't get into that without major spoilers..! Generally speaking though I think the science fiction bits were the biggest challenge. I'm not really strong in sciences but I wanted to make werewolves as realistic as possible. So trying to find the right balance between what could theoretically be true versus not boring readers with details about genetics was always difficult.

Book-in-a-tweet: Pitch your book in a twitter-sized soundbite (140 characters or less):
While studying abroad in Paris seventeen-year-old Connor Lewis gets caught up in a world where werewolves, mad science, and teen angst collide.

If you could cast any character from The Night Has Teeth, which character would you cast, who would play them, and why?
If Aidan Turner could put on a convincing French accent, I'd cast him as Arden. He played the vampire John Mitchell in the BBC version of Being Human and is going to be in The Hobbit as Kili the dwarf. Besides the fact that he's gorgeous, he really portrayed the role of predator struggling with humanity in such a heartfelt way that you couldn't help but be on his side. That's what Arden is to me. A werewolf struggling to get by in a human world where there really is no place for the beast within him.

Mmm, Aidan Turner...  Moving on (reluctantly)... Can you give us a playlist for TNHT? (bonus awesome points if you tell us scenes you think the songs should be attached to).
As it turns out, the whole book is a playlist. You can find my playlist for The Night Has Teeth here: http://grooveshark.com/#!/playlist/TNHT+Playlist/51588693

Thanks for stopping by, Kat! 
To the rest of you lovelies, don't forget to stop by and check out my review around Halloween! And if you're so inclined, maybe you could grab a copy and read it with me this month! =D

The Night Has Teeth by Kat Kruger
Amazon | Goodreads
Fantasy, 290 pages
September 23rd 2012 by Fierce Ink Press Co-Op Ltd.
There’s a darkness that lurks in the City of Light

Seventeen-year-old Connor Lewis is chased by a memory. On his first day of kindergarten he bit a boy hard enough to scar the kid for life. Since then he’s been a social outcast at a New York private school.

Through an unexpected turn of good fortune, he lands a scholarship to study in Paris, where everything starts to look up. On the first day he befriends two military brats, and he may finally get a taste of what it’s like to be a normal teenager.

It doesn’t last.

His host family — an alluring young tattoo artist and her moody, handsome boyfriend — inadvertently introduce him to the underworld of werewolves where there are two types: the born and the bitten. Those born to it take the form of elegant wolves, while the latter are cursed to transform into the half-man, half-beast creatures of horror movies. The bitten rarely survive. Unfortunately, Connor is on the wanted list of a four hundred-year-old bitten human who’s searching for both a cure and a means of wiping out werewolves for good.

Connor’s loyalties are tested as he becomes embroiled in a conflict where werewolves, mad science and teen angst collide.

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