Thursday, August 7, 2014

Interview with Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki

I had the awesome chance to interview Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki, the authors of Branded. I know this is two months late, but better late than never, right?

What inspired you two to write Branded, and how long did it take? This is probably the most popular question people ask us. We have always talked about & shared books we enjoyed. We’ve also been close friends since 1999, so our friendship has already weathered a lot of changes. We used to meet to talk about books we were reading when we considered writing one of our own. Then one day, Abi came up with the concept of branding people with their sins & we took it from there. It was never really a choice to co-author… it was just something we did because it worked. We wrote our first draft in just three months!

Are there any meanings or specific reasons behind the names you chose for your characters? Honestly? They were just names we liked & thought fit our characters. Except for Zeus. His name was taken from Abi’s Rottweiler that had passed away a year or two before we wrote the book. As you can tell from the story, we’re both dog lovers!

Is there anyone who inspired or helped you two to write the book or had any affect on your writing? I think we inspire each other a lot, especially when one of us gets in a rut. The other person that really helped us along was our editor, Amy Eye. She pushed us to write better, to be consistent with our characters, and to dig deeper even when we were tired during the whole editing process.

Are any of the relationships between characters based off of any relationships you two have in real life? I think all of our characters could reflect people we’ve met along the way in life. Hopefully, that’s what makes them relatable. For me (Missy), Alyssa was a reflection of a girl I used to babysit, who passed away from cancer when she was only 10. She was full of hope & faith until the end.
And there’s Zeus, who is a reflection of our dogs. Abi & I both have two dogs each, and we love them. They’re so forgiving, trusting, and lovable.

How did you guys get the premise of the story, and was it hard to write about? Abi came up with the concept, and from there we built an entire society. Sadly, it wasn’t too hard to write because there are places in our world today where governments are unjust, people are murdered or displaced and left to fend for themselves.

How did the two of you meet and decide to write a novel together? We met at college orientation in 1999 and have stayed in touch since, regardless of the stage of life we were in. While I’ve always been a bookworm, Abi was inspired after reading Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. After that, we started meeting & discussing books we were reading. It was just natural to write one together.

Lastly, what advice would you give aspiring authors about writing or publishing a novel?
Advice to up and coming author- Stick with it. Believe in it. Find a good editor. Find reputable bloggers that will give you an honest opinion & believe in your book! Ask other authors for advice when you need it. The indie community is very supportive if you just ASK. It won’t be easy, and it’s definitely a long process, but it’s worth the effort when you can say you wrote a book!!!

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