Kendare Blake (@kendareblake)
August 30th 2011 by Tor Teen
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...You guys...I just finished Anna Dressed in Blood Thursday morning. Why did I wait so long to read this book? I have no idea. I bought a copy months ago because the cover drew me in, and I really liked what the story was about, but then summer vacation was over and the job picks back up. Books sit on my shelf, calling to me. I still have some doing it right now. I promise I'll get to you, Pandemonium! I was finally able to pick Anna up and read it because I have a committee meeting next month, and this is a book in the running for a YA list. It needed to be read, and it was calling my name.
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.
I don't regret one single moment of this book. From the start I was drawn into this world Kendare Blake has written where Cas Lowood, a high school student, travels around, with his mother, and takes care of evil spirits. The opening scene was like something off of Supernatural with Cas picking up a hitchhiker who has nefarious plans for any good Samaritan along a certain stretch of road. I was sucked in, and I just kept reading and reading. I looked at the clock only to see it 1:30 am. That is an excellent book!
In Anna, Blake gives readers Anna, a young Finnish girl who was murdered young. She haunts a house, killing anyone who enters in horrible ways. She is dressed in the gown she was murdered in, a pretty white gown, dripping with blood. I think she is such an brillant character. When Cas is meets Anna for the first time, I am scared as I read along. For Cas, Anna is like nothing he has ever faced before, and he is determined to figure out why she haunts this house.
I can't wait to read book two in this series, Girl of Nightmares. It's due to come out August 7th. If you haven't read Anna Dressed in Blood yet, I recommend you pick it up soon. This is a great paranormal, mystery, ghost story. I would recommend this for the guys and the girls.
Anna Dressed in Blood, Girl of Nightmares, and your upcoming Antigoddess series all seem to be deep into love, darkness, death, blood...do you see a recuring theme in your writing, or is just me, and why do think this is?
You know, I think it's Stephen King who says most writers have central themes that they find themselves coming back to. I tend to think a lot about existence and the human condition, but most of the heavy meditation is in my contemporary non-supernatural stuff. With the dark fantasy and horror, I'm still fascinated by the same ideas. Love, generally the hopeless kind, darkness, the finality or possibility of death, etc. There is a definite recurring theme, but I'm not thinking of that when I write. The similarity I feel between these books is the action. I was just thinking the other day that ANNA was the book of my guts, and ANTIGODDESS is the book of my fist.
(can't wait to read this Antigoddess series!)
When you write, do you have set goals, say this certain scene/chapter/pages or do you just write until you stop, and how do you deal with writer's block if it should ever strike (music, dancing around the room, or banging your head against the table)?
Sometimes there are goals. Never pages, or word counts, but scenes. I need to get through this scene. I have to take it that far. I can't stop in the middle. Sometimes I start with a particular scene in mind, other times I write until I start to get tired, and just finish up the scene I'm in.
You've got some awesome book covers for Anna and Girl. How involved are you in the development process for your book covers, and how are things looking for Antigoddess?
The ANNA books did get incredible covers, didn't they? Beautiful. So beautiful that all of the international editions I've seen are using variations of the same art, which I don't think happens that often. The artist is from Europe. Nekro. Amazing, and only works in black white and red. I wasn't really involved in the development process. The idea was my editor's, and then they just executed. I asked that we not see Anna's face, because I like to imagine.
As for ANTIGODDESS, we just had the first conversation about the cover, and I'm really excited about how things are shaping up. As long as the sales team thinks it's a good concept, I'm thinking it's going to get a beautiful cover. It was weird, because my editor and I had almost the exact same idea for it.
What can we look forward to in Girl of Nightmares when it comes out in September?
Well, more of the blood, ghosts and gore. It also features some real haunted places, like the Tower of London, so you know there's travel. It's the end of the series, so expect things to wrap up. If you had questions about the knife, more is explained. If you had questions about Morfran...he still refuses to spill them.
~ Thanks so much!
Thank you for having me by Lagniappe! Very fun interview!