Hey y’all! Boy oh boy, do I have something special for y’all today! Today, I’m happy to have Ms. Kendare Blake, author of the Anna Dressed in Blood duology, the Antigoddess trilogy, and the upcoming Three Dark Crowns, here on The Bookkeeper’s Secrets! Shall we get rolling?
Hello Ms. Blake! My readers and I are so happy and super ecstatic to have you here on The Bookkeeper’s Secrets! I know that, personally, your upcoming book, Three Dark Crowns, is one of my most anticipated releases of the year, so I am very excited to get to talk with you! So without any further ado or fangirling on my part, let’s get this show on the road!
So really quickly, can you tell us what Three Dark Crowns is about?
Sure! Three Dark Crowns is about triplet queens on a magical island. Only one can wear the crown, and in their sixteenth year, two must die so the third can be crowned. Which sister will rule?
What was the inspiration behind the story of Three Dark Crowns?
A swarm of bees, actually. They were in a tree at a book event, and I started talking to a beekeeper. Hey, what’s that ball of bees doing up there anyway? And she said they were protecting their queen, who was snuggled in the middle of the ball as they look for a new hive. I said, What happened to the old hive? And she said that the old queen had probably laid four or five queen eggs, and when the new queen daughters hatched, one would murder the others and take over. I loved that idea. On the drive home, the concept that would become Three Dark Crowns was born.
Did you have a favorite aspect of Three Dark Crowns to write?
I really loved writing the poisons, all the poisoned food, etc. I love to write food! It was also a lot of fun to create the three cities, and the cultures within the three dominant gifts of the island. But my first love is character, and these girls and women managed to surprise me several times, which is always a pleasure.
What do you hope readers take away from Three Dark Crowns?
I hope they have fun with the scheming. All the scheming and the plots. I hope they enjoy the matriarchal aspect. I hope they find a queen (or several) to worry about J
What made you fall in love with writing?
Reading! I was a reader first. I read so much as a kid. Voraciously. Spent hours in bookstores as a teen, and in the library as an elementary schooler. The world of words has always been my second home.
What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
Being able to write! To live these stories that find their way through my fingers onto a page. The act of writing feels pretty damned magical, at least when it’s going well. Like channeling. Like I’m along for the ride, Bastian Balthazar Bux trying to keep up with a tale that’s really happening in some other dimension. That probably sounds kind of hokey but what the hell.
What are some of the challenges you face as a writer and how do you face them?
Challenges, let’s see. Well, there’s the dreaded middle of a manuscript. And there’s juggling story vs what you think readers want or expect, and there’s the pressure to stay in the game and continually write better and better…but in the end the story is the story, and you just have to get through that manuscript middle, and you can’t predict reader expectations/desires because they differ with practically every reader (individual tastes, ftw) and pushing yourself should be exhilarating. So…you just have to do what you can do.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Read, read, read, and write, write, write. Learn to finish something. That’s important. Whether it be a short story or a novel, learn to finish.
Now on to the fun portion! First off, can you describe Three Dark Crowns using only song titles?
Shadowboxer, Fiona Apple. Caught a light sneeze, Tori Amos. Breath of life and Ship to wreck, Florence and the Machine.
You come across your main characters at midnight. What are they up to?
Arsinoe is practicing blood magic. Katharine is petting her snake, Sweetheart. Mirabella is running along the cliffs, calling down lightning to illuminate the sea.
If you were to plan a road trip in the world of Three Dark Crowns, what would be your must see stops?
The Breccia Domain, in Innisfuil Valley. The Black Cottage at the base of Mount Horn. The capital city of Indrid Down, with a special tour of the Volroy (the queens’ castle). I would want to buy clothes, jewelry and glassworks from the elemental city of Rolanth. And I would want to have lunch at Wolf Spring market.
If you could give one gift to your readers, be it physical or otherwise, what would you give them?
Oh wow, how much power do I have? What can I bestow? And it would depend on the reader, because some gifts could turn some readers evil. I could accidentally make a villain. Like, you wouldn’t want to give just anyone the power to teleport. I can think of certain readers right now who would so abuse it in and out of bank vaults.
But I suppose if I was to give one gift to all readers, it would be one day in Hogsmeade. The real Hogsmeade. Because I’m a genie in this scenario, right?
That’s all! Thank you again Ms. Blake!
More About Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.
If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.
More About Kendare Blake
Kendare Blake is the author of several novels and short stories, most of which you can find information about via the links above. Her work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. She was born in July (for those of you doing book reports) in Seoul, South Korea, but doesn’t speak a lick of Korean, as she was packed off at a very early age to her adoptive parents in the United States. That might be just an excuse, though, as she is pretty bad at learning foreign languages. She enjoys the work of Milan Kundera, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bret Easton Ellis, Richard Linklater, and the late, great Michael Jackson, I mean, come on, he gave us Thriller.
She lives and writes in Kent, Washington, with her husband, their two cat sons (Tybalt and Tyrion Cattister) and their red Doberman dog son, Obi Dog Kenobi.