Debut '19 Interview: Kelly Coon the Author of Gravemaidens!


In 2019 our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. Follow us this year as we pick the mind of the 2019 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, twitter chats and more! 
About Kelly!

YA author Kelly Coon is an editor for Blue Ocean Brain, a member of the Washington Post Talent Network, a former high school English teacher, ACT test prep book author, and a wicked karaoke singer in training. She adores giving female characters the chance to flex their muscles and use their brains, and wishes every story got the happy ending she's living near Tampa with her three sons, dashingly handsome husband, and a rescue pup who will steal your sandwich. GRAVEMAIDENS is her debut novel.
Keep up with Kelly: Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / Website


Interview!

The Book Bratz: How does it feel that GRAVEMAIDENS is debuting this year? 

Kelly: It feels absolutely surreal. I started writing fiction as a kid, and always dreamed that I’d have a novel coming out, but now that the year has arrived, it feels like I’m still dreaming a bit! I think I’ll believe it when I’m holding my book in my hands!

The Book Bratz: In the length of a tweet (280 characters!) can you give us an overall summary of GRAVEMAIDENS?

Kelly: In the walled city-state of Alu, 16-year-old healer Kammani must save the dying ruler, or her beautiful little sister, Nanaea, will be buried alive to be his bride in the afterlife. The problem? Nanaea wants the honor. 

(Hi! Doesn't this sound awesome? I know I'm not suppose to butt in on interviews and I know Jessica is going to kill me but doesn't GRAVEMAIDENS sound amazing!? -Amber) 

The Book Bratz: Where did your inspiration for GRAVEMAIDENS come from?

Kelly: It was inspired by real Sumerian history of ancient sacrifice. As a little girl, I heard the stories of ancient sacrifice in my studies as part of the middle eastern history I gleaned seven days a week attending a fundamentalist church and school. My sequestered little life was filled with one story after another centered in the land in the Jordan River Valley, in Palestine, and extending from Mesopotamia down through to the Nile river in Egypt. 

Though I am no longer a fundamentalist, the city of Alu kind of grew and blossomed and pushed through my mind because it’s the history in which I was raised. When I first heard about the Sumerian Queen Puabi, who’d been buried with three teen girls as attendants, I wondered who those girls were, what they had been promised about the afterlife, and what might happen if one of them had a sister who didn’t want her to die.


The Book Bratz: Is there anything from your personal life that you used as inspiration in GRAVEMAIDENS?

Kelly: Yes. I, too, have a sister who has needed my protection over the years. A sister I’ve tried to save from time to time.


The Book Bratz: Was GRAVEMAIDENS always meant to be a duology or was that decided after you finished writing GRAVEMAIDENS?

Kelly: I first planned GRAVEMAIDENS as a trilogy, but both my agent and I believed the story would be better received as a duology. So, I narrowed my focus and came up with a killer character arc that would drive Kammani through both books.


The Book Bratz: Can you share a secret about GRAVEMAIDENS that not many people know yet? 

Kelly: There may or may not be a kissing scene where one of the characters tries to slit the other’s throat while they kiss. There may (or may not). ;-)

(Hi all, Amber again. I'm so ready for that scene and this book and these characters. December 2019 where are you!?)

The Book Bratz: If you had to create twitter or instagram handles for your characters, what would they be?

Kelly:
Kammani: @GreatestHealerOfAllTime
Nanaea: @dancergirlforlifeordeath
Dagan: @KammaniLover4EVA
Iltani: @nobodyaskedyoutotalk
Nin Arwia: @LonelyAtTheTop
Nasu: refuses social media on principle
Lugal Marus: @LionAndBlooms


The Book Bratz: Do you have any ideas you plan to visit after GRAVEMAIDENS?

Kelly: Yes! I just wrote a YA sci-fi that’s with my agent right now. We’re fixing it up before we figure out what we want to do with it. It’s THE SCARLET LETTER meets Westworld in space and I was incredibly inspired by the religious sect in which I was raised. There’s lots of #resistance, lots of revenge, and maybe some crimson carnivorous birds. Maybe.

AH! I love West world and sci-fi and the sound of this! *enthusiastic shrieking that Jessica and Emily are gonna roll their eyes at me about* -Amber)


About GRAVEMAIDENS!

*CHECK BACK SOON FOR NEWS ON THE COVER*

Title: Gravemaidens (Gravemaidens #1)
Author: Kelly Coon
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Delacorte
Publication Date: December 3rd 2019
Summary: The Lugal is dying, and that is everything. Because if he dies, Kammani’s little sister, Nanaea, dies, too. She’s been chosen as one of three Sacred Maidens who will be buried alive to serve the king in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A sacred tradition. And Nanaea is thrilled to have been chosen. But Kammani, a 16-year-old healer’s apprentice, who’s been healing the sick with her father for the past ten years, recognizes the “honor” for what it really is: a death sentence. A trip across the river in the arms of the Boatman, the skeletal conduit between this life and the next. And she cannot let her little sister go. That would be yet another failure in a family riddled with regret. Her mission? Heal the Lugal in her father’s stead, since he has gone missing. The problem? She is determined to right her past mistakes alone, but doesn’t recognize that accepting the help of those who love her and being helpless are not the same thing at all.


Thank you so much Kelly for stopping by the blog and answering some of our questions! We are super excited for GRAVEMAIDENS and what you have in store for readers. December can't come soon enough!  

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