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Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi.

  • Be sure to read our review for Omens (Cainsville, Book #1) here at OBS.

Kelley Armstrong is one of the more well know authors in the Urban Fantasy genre.  You would be hard-pressed to find a UF lover that hasn’t read her Women of the Otherworld series.  The paranormal world would be pretty sad without Kelley in it!  It is my great honor to be able to interview her here in celebration of the debut novel of her new Cainsville series, titled Omens.

Please visit her website here for all the latest news.

Kelley_Armstrong_3-lrgHeidi: First of all can you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you grew up and how you got started on your writing career?

Kelley Armstrong: I’m the author of the “Otherworld” urban fantasy series, “Darkest Powers” & “Darkness Rising” teen paranormal trilogies…and now the “Cainsville” series!

I was born in Sudbury, Ontario and now live in southern Ontario. I sold my first novel “Bitten” in 1999 after many years of trying to get published.

Heidi: Is there a particular reason that you chose to write in the paranormal/urban fantasy genres?

Kelley Armstrong: I’ve always been fascinated by stories with a supernatural angle. Fantasy has such a capacity for creativity. I can take all the folklore and myths I love and put my own slant on them.

Heidi: How much do you think the paranormal and urban fantasy genres have changed over the years?  How do you manage to keep your work fresh and new to keep attracting readers?  As a side note, I LOVE that Patrick is a paranormal romance author and felt you put yourself into his character a bit at least from the novelist part of him, was that intended?

Kelley Armstrong: I’m an “old-timer” in the genre so I remember when they were still trying to find a name for it. I’m not sure it’s changed as much as it has simply expanded. The core elements tend to remain the same—some series focus more on mystery, some on action and some on romance, but most include elements of all three. It has definitely expanded though, far beyond the usual vampires-and-werewolves and contemporary urban setting. That’s given me the freedom to do the same, and I’m grateful for it, because it keeps things fresh for me.

Giving Patrick his paranormal romance writer career was fun. Not to give any real spoilers, but this may not be the first genre he’s written in. It made  sense, though, that given his interests, it would be the right one for him now.

Heidi: If you had the chance to start your writing career over, is there anything you would change?

Kelley Armstrong:  There are always things within a series that I wish I’d done differently—I can write myself into a corner! But for my career, there’s nothing I consider a bad choice or a missed opportunity. I don’t always make the most career-savvy choices, but I make the ones that work best for me, and that’s more important.

Heidi: I have thoroughly enjoyed your Women of the Otherworld series, especially the books featuring the werewolves (love me some Clay & Elena!), can you give us a little insight as to why you decided to go in a different direction with your new Cainsville series?

Kelley Armstrong: I’ve been working in the Otherworld for fifteen years—many books, many novellas and many short stories. OMENS was a chance to create a fresh world, with elements of folklore I hadn’t used before. As much as I loved the Otherworld, it really was time to try something new.

Heidi: I really enjoyed the direction the new series has taken off in, I found Omens to be a bit darker and grittier than the Women of the Otherworld series, was that your intent?  

Kelley Armstrong: I think that while I strived to make the Otherworld as realistic as possible, the fact that I was dealing with werewolves and such inserted a high dose of fantasy, and that made the darker elements lighter in a sense. The violence and darkness in OMENS is similar, but the overall tone is more realistic, so I have had readers find it harsher. Not my intention, but I don’t shy away from that either.

Heidi: What can you tell us about the heroine of the Cainsville series, Olivia?

Kelley Armstrong: 24 year old Olivia has a near-perfect life—loving parents, wealthy family, wonderful fiancé, Ivy League education…and guilt because she can’t help feeling like an impostor. When all that is stripped away, it gives her a chance to explore other possibilities, and the darker–and more independent—side of herself.

Heidi: In Omens, Olivia is faced with news of being adopted and trying to clear the name of her convicted serial killer birth parents.  There was also plenty of info on the motorcycle club lifestyle after meeting Ricky and the shady business some other characters were involved in (I don’t want to give too much away here).  What kind of research went into the creation of Omens?

Kelley Armstrong: Lots! I did far more research with this book than any I’ve done for a while. While I can’t divulge some without spoilers, here’s a partial list: Welsh myth, general Celtic lore, omens & superstitions, gargoyles, Chicago, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini, the Cottingley Fairies, black shucks & other fetches, ravens… And biker gangs, though more of that plays into the next book (which is a hint that it wasn’t randomly introduced!)

Heidi: Going back to Patrick, there were some hints in Omens that there was definitely something ‘other’ about him.  What can you tell us about his character and what we can expect from him in the future (without giving any major plot points away of course!)?

Kelley Armstrong: He’ll play an ongoing role in the books. Yes, there’s a hint that he’s not quite…normal  There might even be an answer to that question for those who can’t wait (if they search on the terms others use for him) but I’m hoping readers will wait, because it’ll make much more sense once Olivia finds out the truth herself in the next book. He also has a link to one of the major characters that will cause serious friction in book 2 and 3. Let’s just say Olivia isn’t going to be too happy with Patrick for a while…but he’s too valuable a resource to ignore.

Heidi: James, Gabriel, Patrick & Ricky.  It seems that Olivia can have her pick of guys, although it does seem that she is leaning towards one naughty one in particular!  But I’ve learned never to count any guy completely out!  What can we expect with Olivia’s love life in the future installments?  Is she going to stay on the straight and narrow with one guy or test the waters with the others? I’m assuming we haven’t seen the last of James?

Kelley Armstrong: Olivia is going to have a more complicated “relationship” life than I’ve done with any previous characters. It’s not a case of all these guys chasing her romantically, but more of her dealing with them in various ways, and coming to terms with the roles they’ll play in her life—sometimes romantically, sometimes not. Yes, James returns in book 2, and that definitely complicates matters!

Heidi: Can you tell us anything about the Bitten TV series and will you have any input in it?

Kelley Armstrong: I really haven’t had much to do with it. I read the first few scripts, which were great, but that’s about it! I don’t know anything about television, so I’ve left it to the experts.

Heidi: Outside of your own books, what are some of your favorite novels and authors?

Kelley Armstrong: Some favourites are Pride & Prejudice, Watership Down and anything by Stephen King.

Heidi: I know you have a lot of fans, how do you keep in contact with them and interact in general?

Kelley Armstrong: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr… Those are the social media sites I find easiest, but I always prefer to do it in person. I love getting out to events and conventions and meeting readers.

Heidi: What are your plans for the future?

Kelley Armstrong: I’ve recently released my first interactive story, which is set in the Cainsville universe. That came out from Penguin in July and is called Cainsville Files. This November, I’ll wrap up my Nadia Stafford mystery trilogy with Wild Justice. Next year I’ll launch a new YA trilogy with Sea of Shadows, a high fantasy based on medieval Japan. Next year also sees the release of book 2 in my Blackwell Pages trilogy—middle-grade adventure written as K. L. Armstrong (co-written with Melissa Marr as M.A. Marr)

Heidi: Thanks so much for taking the time to answers my questions and we at Open Book Society wish you all the best in your current and future endeavors!