The Essence Tour Stop: Interview & Giveaway

Hi, everybody! Today on the blog I have Kimberly Derting, author of The Pledge trilogy - a series of which I am definitely a fan - for an interview as part of The Essence blog tour hosted by Shane at Itching For Books. Below you will find my interview with the awesome Kimberly Derting, as well as a giveaway for paperback copies of The Pledge and The Essence! You can also find my review of The Essence, posted yesterday, if you are curious as to what I thought of it.

Interview with Kimberly Derting


My questions for interview
Kimberly Derting's responses
My comments to her responses

1) Many readers of The Pledge trilogy consider the novels to be dystopian, while other readers say they don't consider The Pledge trilogy to be dystopian but more of a fantasy. Of the two genres (dystopian and fantasy), what do you consider The Pledge trilogy to be?

I tend to consider the books more fantasy than dystopic, although I understand the confusion in trying to find an exact designation for them, and the need to find a place to shelve them in bookstores and libraries. I always call them fantasy-dystopic, because I can’t ignore the importance of the magical element of Charlie’s world.

I'm going to have to pick up the term fantasy-dystopic now, as many books seem to be a mixture of both fantasy and dystopian. I definitely got the feel of a rundown, dystopian world while reading The Essence, and I absolutely loved the magical elements of the world that make it so fantastical.

2) How did you come up with the concept of societies and classes that are distinguished by languages?

Unlike the idea for my other series, The Body Finder, which came to me all at once, the original idea for The Pledge came in pieces...more like a puzzle.  The first piece was just a simple question: “What would it be like if someone could understand all languages?” But I definitely wanted the story itself to be bigger than just that component.  I spent a lot of time—over a year—thinking about how Charlie’s ability would work, what kind of world she would live in, and developing the monarchies and her friends and family, before I’d ever written a single word. 

I talk more about how I got the idea here:  

I love how much time you spent running through the concept of The Pledge, and, concerning the video, I love how you used what Marie Lucas had told you about her life to apply to life in The Pledge. I remember the scenes in The Pledge where Charlaina and her sister took refuge during times of raids.

3) Is there anything you can tell us about book three in The Pledge trilogy, or any other projects you're working on?

I’ve just finished the third (and final) installment of The Pledge trilogy, and am currently working on the first draft of a new, super-secret project that I’m very excited about! The only person I’ve told about the new book is my agent, but hopefully I’ll be telling everyone else in 2013!!!

Congratulations on completing the third installment in The Pledge trilogy! I can't wait to get my hands on it once it's released. I'm also looking forward to finding out what this super-secret project is! I'll definitely be looking forward to your announcement sometime this year. 

4) What are three things readers may not know about you personally?

1. I love to floss my teeth. It’s like an obsession. 

2. When I was little, I collected Star Wars trading cards. All of them! I catalogued them in shoeboxes. I was a bit of a geek.

3. I’m a closet reality TV addict (The Kardashians, The Real Housewives, Flipping Out...). I love seeing people at their best and their worst...usually during the same episode.

Star Wars trading cards? Geek? More like awesome. And I'm sort of a closet reality TV fan, too. I mean, you get entertainment while feeling better about yourself simultaneously! Who doesn't want that? Though I myself am more of a competition show fan - particularly Big Brother and Survivor (and fine, X-Factor and American Idol, too, but really only during the auditions. After that I lose interest.)

5) How do you feel about ending books with cliffhangers? Do you like/dislike cliffhangers? Do you use them in your own writing?

I tend to tie things up as much as possible, to give readers (and me) the satisfaction of at least some sort of closure with each book. As a reader, I find it frustrating to get to the end of a book only to find out that there’s this astonishing cliffhanger...and that I have to wait an entire year for the resolution! Sometimes it has the opposite effect on me, and I don’t want to read the next book to find the answers.  I think it’s okay to trust that if you write a good story, your readers will come back even if you give them most of the answers they want.

Can I just say how relieving it is that you actually want to give your readers some sort of closure? It seems like most authors nowadays write a monster cliffhanger to get their readers to want to read the next book, and, like you said, most times it works, but other times it has the opposite effect on me and I feel no desire to continue reading. Sometimes I am able to enjoy a cliffhanger if I don't entirely feel cheated by it and think it was necessary, but other times they just feel gimmicky, and that's when I begin to get frustrated.

6) Charlaina is met with a lot of growth as a character from The Pledge to The Essence. Was developing her character, and others, difficult for you?

This response contains spoilers for The Pledge.

I think her growth was both necessary, and natural, for her character. But for me, it was more about her growth in relationships, than it was about her role as queen. I love the big story—about the changes in her country and what it means for her to take her place on the throne. But more than that, I love the small stories—her ties with her family and her friends, and the way those bonds evolve and are tested.

Great answer! One of the things I definitely appreciated about Charlaina's character in The Essence particularly was that, even with her new role as queen, she still maintained her likability from The Pledge, and managed also managed to not let her role of queen get in the way of her relationships with her family and friends. 

7) Which type of writer are you: the one who maps everything out beforehand, or the one that goes with what feels right at the moment?

I’ve always been a “pantser” (writing by the seat-of-my-pants), which basically means: no outline. Although, the more I write, especially in a series, I’ve come to realize I need more structure sometimes.  So now I make these scribbly notes (my version of an outline), pour some hot tea (more than any human should consume), and sit my butt down and write!

I don't know how you "panters" do it. If I were to ever become an author (though I have attempted to write a godawful manuscript), I'd need to map at least most of the story down or else I'd be completely and utterly lost. That and I like to have a general idea of where my story is going, and then when I get to certain parts I would modify them however I want. I envy you pantsers! 


Thanks so much for stopping by for the interview, Kimberly! I hope everyone reading this interview had as fun a time reading it as I had writing and taking part in it, and if you haven't read The Pledge or The Essence yet but plan to do so, make sure to enter the giveaway below, where I'll be giving away a paperback copy of each to one lucky winner!

Kimberly's Website | Twitter | Facebook
Kimberly is the author of the BODY FINDER series (HarperCollins) and THE PLEDGE trilogy (Simon & Schuster). She lives in the Pacific Northwest, the ideal place to write anything dark or creepy...a gloomy day can set the perfect mood. She lives with her husband and their three beautiful (and often mouthy) children who provide an endless source of inspiration.


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