This Week’s Author: Scarlett Kol
Scarlett Kol is the USA Today Bestselling Author of dystopian, paranormal and fantasy novels for young adults. Born and raised in Northern Manitoba, she grew up reading books and writing stories about creatures that make you want to sleep with the lights on. As an adult, she’s still a little afraid of the dark.
Interview With Scarlett Kol:
Tell us about the books you’ve published so far. Can you tell us about some of your upcoming novels?
I have a smattering of different novels out there. My debut novel was a near-future Robin Hood retelling. It’s a little bit dystopian, a little bit biopunk, and is told from the point of view of an upper east side Maid Marian named Mercury. However, my first and true love is more of the paranormal/urban fantasy type stories. Most of my novels to this point are standalones featuring witches, demons, wraiths, and anything else I can think up (Wicked Descent, Sleepless, Keeper of Shadows), however I always like to temper my magic with a little bit (or a lot) of romance as I adore writing those intimate moments between characters. My latest release will be Fierce which is book three from my Faraway High Fairytales series. This is a super fun series of fairytale retellings set in a contemporary Iowa high school in the fictional town of Faraway. So far, I’ve tackled the Little Mermaid but with angels (Falling), Sleeping Beauty but with Celtic mythology and portal magic (Dreamer), and the latest release will be The Twelve Dancing Princesses but make them a cheerleading squad and wolf shifters (Fierce). The nice thing about this series is that they all interconnect, but are completely standalone so you can read them in any order and still get a complete story. After that I plan on launching a brand-new series centered around tarot, so definitely watch my social media for that!
What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an author?
I was always a huge reader and had an amazing librarian who turned me on to paranormal and contemporary fantasy in middle school However, somewhere around my early teen years as I devoured Christopher Pike and Anne Rice novels, I realized I had my own stories to tell. I loved the books I was reading and started writing short stories for local contests, and even won a few. After high school, life kind of got in the way, but I still wrote some moody, angtsy poetry for a bit and focused on studying. After my first son was born, I realized I’d strayed away from what I loved and wanted to get back to something that felt like “me”. I started writing this Women’s Fiction/Reese’s Book Club type book, but it just wasn’t coming together. Around that time, a friend gave me this book she thought I might like that I’d never heard of called Twilight and it sparked the love I had back in my teens for those kinds of paranormal stories. I’d convinced myself I had to give up the childish things I used to love but here was this writer in her 30’s doing what I wished I had. I scrapped the novel I’d started and picked up a pen to write a YA story full of magic, mystery, and swoony romance. The rest was history.
What are some things you do to overcome doubts about your writing?
Omigosh! This is such a great question as I still battle with this on every single project. It doesn’t seem to matter how many books I write or how much I hear that people love them, I’m constantly struggling with the thoughts that this book won’t be as good as my past ones, or it should be so much better, or the book I’m reading is leaps and bounds more amazing than mine. However, if I let those thoughts take over, I’d never publish another thing! Fortunately, I have an amazing set of writer friends who are my cheerleaders and support system who put me back on track when I fall. But what’s really been working for me lately is promising myself that no one needs to read what I’m writing. “It’s a first draft, if it sucks, I won’t publish it/submit it/send to readers.” Usually once I get through the first draft, it might still suck, but there are pieces in there that I love and then I strive to make the book match those parts. Eventually, I’m a few drafts in and have switched to thinking about the release so it moves from “this sucks” to “it’s coming out soon, better make it shine”. I also put a photo of my cover in my workspace to remind me that if I finish the story I get to put that pretty on my shelf.
Have any actual life experiences reflected in your writing?
All the time, whether I realize it or not (however, people I know will usually let me know). I think we all write what we know to some extent as that’s how we experience the world and we reflect it back in our writing. Most of time it’s usually a character or character trait, something minor like an object or saying, or a place fictional place I wrote about that is totally a real place somewhere that meant something to me. However, I do have one kiss in one of my books that is based on a real kiss I had once … I’ll let you all guess which one.
Who was your easiest character to write about and why? What was your hardest and why?
The easiest character was Brea Vardan from Dreamer. She’s a bit of an overthinker and is probably one of the characters I’ve written that is most like myself in how they think and break down information. The hardest character was definitely Berkley James from Sleepless. I tore down and rebuilt this book about twenty times! I think she was the hardest because she has a ton of bad stuff that happens to her in the book and it weighs on her pretty heavy which makes it tough for her to try to fight her way out of it. My heart kind of broke for her a bajillion times while I wrote that book.
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