The Crossroads Blog Tour Day 6: Interviews with Stacey Kade and Judith Graves

We kick off Day 6 of the Crossroads Blog Tour with interviews from authors Stacey Kade and Judith Graves (who did an amazing job of organizing this blog tour too).  Don't forget to check out The Crossroads Blog Tour Main Page daily for clues to answer questions and win a prize.

When authors create a world for a series there are rules they need to stick with for consistency, are there things you would change in your book world that you didn’t foresee being an issue initially?

You know, the fun thing about world building is that you need restrictions. You need rules that limit what your characters can and can’t do even if it turns out later that it would be waaaaay more convenient if they could do something that, by the rules of the world, is not possible. So, as long as those rules are logical to the world you’ve created, then you’ve got to stick with them and make them work. And usually, it adds an extra layer of tension to the story when characters are forced to stay within those boundaries. So, no, I don’t think I would change anything now, but if you’d asked me during the writing, when I was struggling to figure out how to make everything fit, I might have had a different answer!

What was the most surprising thing that you discovered about one of your characters that you didn’t see coming?

I was startled when Alona took Will to see her mother in the first book. I never thought she would do that. But she was both angrier and braver than I’d given her credit for.

List your top 3 fictional crushes and why do they make the list? 

Mr. Darcy, Han Solo, and Sam Winchester (through Season 4 of Supernatural). Mr. Darcy because, well, he’s so formal and proper but underneath it all he has a good heart. Han Solo, who doesn’t love a cocky space pirate who can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs? And Sam, my Sammy, because he’s vulnerable and sad and always tries so hard to do the right thing even when everyone else can see that it’s going to blow up in his face. (She’s a demon, Sam! How did you *think* that relationship was going to turn out?)

Was there a book as a child that you read which inspired you to be a writer and what book was it? Or What were your favorite books to read as a child? 

I don’t think there’s one particular book that inspired me, but I loved all the Nancy Drew/Trixie Belden type stories. In fact, the very first story I tried to write when I was a kid was very much in that same style.

Newest/Upcoming Release: The Ghost and the Goth, Queen of the Dead 


Twitter: @StaceyKade 

What is your most embarrassing/funny/scary Halloween experience or costume? 

While I’m a huge horror buff and I love to decorate for Halloween, etc, I don’t have especially fond memories of the October 31sts of my youth. Several factors have made this so. 1. I’m five years younger than my brother and sister. 2. We grew up in Edmonton, Alberta. Put these tidbits together and this is what you get: -30C weather, and two candy-crazed older siblings who keep sending their youngest sister out in the mind-numbing cold for more sugary treats. The reward was watching them suffer from sugar hangovers while I slowly picked my way through my hidden stash.

When authors create a world for a series there are rules they need to stick with for consistency, are there things you would change in your book world that you didn’t foresee being an issue initially? Um…were you standing over my shoulder, or what? 

Yes, I’ve run into a few brick / plot walls thanks to rules I established in the first book. However, those moments kick my creativity into high gear, they provide challenges my characters wouldn’t have otherwise encountered and ultimately crank up the conflict. All good things. Besides, rules are meant to be broken and turning a character’s world upside down is what good fiction is all about. But you have to provide a solid foundation for the rule breaking to appear logical, even if it’s only a temporary glitch caused by wonky magic. ;)

Since you are also a musician, do you create a playlist for your books? Characters? 

I do! I also write songs from different characters POVs – this process reveals layers, backstory or secrets I didn’t know they had. The lyrics are essentially their innermost feelings, fears and desires. For me it’s kind of a character development exercise, set to music. I quickly record those tunes in ProTools (I’m a bit of a computer geek) and incorporate them in my playlists of “real” tunage. I use something called position music, compositions intended for film use – often the background tunes of book trailers, short films, etc – for when I’m writing battle scenes. The intensity keeps my writing sharp. I also listen to specific songs when trying to evoke a certain mood or emotion. In Second Skin, I listened to Metallica’s, Enter Sandman whenever a certain demon gave Eryn hell.

What books did you love as a child that you continue to see being checked out by children today?

There isn’t one particular title, however my time in school and public libraries assures me that the topics, genres, and authors I gravitated toward in my tweens and teens are still popular. Mythology and mythological creatures, cryptids (although that’s a newer term), ghost stories and hauntings, monsters, unexplained mysteries, horror, paranormal, romance, fairytales and retellings of fairytales, folklore from around the world and all things gothic or macabre.

Newest/Upcoming Release: Under My Skin; Second Skin (2011), Skin of My Teeth (2012)


Twitter: @judithgraves

The Crossroads Tour: Day 3 Judith Graves

Each day of The Crossroads Tour, a new question will be revealed on The Crossroad Blog Tour main page and each day the answer to that question will be found within one of the 16 different blog posts by Crossroads Tour authors. Your job is to get the question, read the blog posts, and collect all 16 answers by the end of the tour, on Halloween. Go HERE to get today's question and links.

Today's guest for the Crossroads Tour is author Judith Graves.  She is actually the organizer behind this really cool author/blogger tourfest. I had a wonderful privilege of reading and reviewing Under My Skin (Skinned, #1) just before it came out.  To read my review, click here.  Her second book in the Skinned series, Second Skin, will be out in 2011.  Not sure I can wait until the next book is out....wonder if I can hack into her computer when she isn't look.  I need some more Alex!  *sigh*

Did you have a book that you read either in Middle School or High School that scared you the most? What was it and what about it scared you?

Stephen King books freaked me out in high school. They still do, that’s why I love his stuff. ;) Ray Bradbury’s stories were favs – not scary, but odd / disturbing tales.

Did you have a paranormal experience that prompted you in writing the story that you did?

I have a phobia – I’m scared of creepy old dolls. Yes, there’s a story behind my fear. Let’s just say dolls so lifelike they seem to be breathing…well, maybe they are! Eryn shares my distrust, which made a lot of Second Skin, Book 2 in the Skinned series, fun to write. She runs into a few devilish dolls I wouldn’t want to mess with. Better her than me.

Where did you get the idea for your story? Did you use a real life situation and put a twist on it?

Kind of the opposite. I took an unlikely situation (mythological beasties from different regions fighting over one bit of unclaimed territory) and plunked it down in a small town similar to mine.

Did you have a favorite paranormal/horror story writer as a child/teen that you wanted to emulate? If so, who and why?

Not consciously, but if I thought I’d managed to give my readers the heebie jeebies in a few key scenes, then I’d likely credit Stephan King. I’m forever looking over my shoulder when reading his work.

What kind of research did you do for your story and did you run into anything weird while you were doing research?

While researching the windigo (a mythological creature of First Nations origins that I mention in UMS, but we actually get to “see” in Second Skin), I discovered the term “Windigo Psychosis.” Even today people swear they have “turned windigo” and crave human flesh. There have been murder cases with this as a defense. Is this a purely a cultural response or something more?

What helps you to create characters that people will feel passionate about either in liking them or disliking them?

I like to read, and write, about characters with flaws. Perfect people are perfectly boring. I endeavor to make my characters multi-leveled, layered like onions…to have hidden depth or unexpected quirks. And you never know if you can trust someone until you’ve battled werewolves together. ;)

Thanks Judith for stopping by and answering a few questions.  And thanks for organizing this great tour.

For more information about Judith Graves and her books, check out her website:

You can find her on twitter: @judithgraves

Back-to-School Guest Post: So Long to the Dog Days of Summer

Let's give a big welcome to YA author, Judith Graves to Kid Lit Frenzy.  Judith's debut book UNDER MY SKIN is a favorite of mine from this year.  In addition to being an author, Judith is also an elementary librarian.  She is stopping by today to kick off my September Back-to-School feature

So Long to the Dog Days of Summer

As both a library technician, working in an elementary school library, and a young adult author, I freely admit the September BACK TO SCHOOL buzz is a favourite time of year. And I’m not the only one working in education as my husband is a high school social teacher and basketball coach.

Let me put this in perspective for you. We have summers off together. Just us and our two crazy labs. All summer long. Yes, there can be too much of a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love my hubbie, fur kids and summers off. More time to chill. To renovate. To write. To procrastinate. But, and maybe I’m a sicko (more than likely), I relish going back to school.

There are the school supplies lining store shelves. The cool notebooks! (I have a coil notebook obsession, don’t you?) Even when I worked outside the educational world, I used to envy the get-new-clothes, get-new-school-stuff frenzy. September is like January (without the diets). It’s a time to embrace the future – the possibilities in life.

Now, I know this means a return to alarm clocks, granola bar lunches eaten while on supervision, stacks of books to catalogue and shelve, finding rotten bananas squished in said books, choir practice to organize, and drama club kids to recruit. But it also means hanging with the amazing staff at my school, finding out the summer gossip, meeting new students and families, feeling the “we’re back!” charge in the air, setting goals for myself, and planning a ton of cool things for my library world – plus, checking out all the new books and generally being inspired.

While I will mourn the sleepins, lazy days on the beach throwing sticks for the dogs, the travelling and doing whatever I want, whenever I want, I know I wouldn’t be half the writer, or the person, without my fantabulous job that surrounds me with opportunities to grow and learn.

So here’s to those fancy new highlighters and notebooks, bring on the morning announcements, staff meetings, and professional development workshops. But please let us have a few extra snow days this year.

You can find out more about UNDER MY SKIN and Judith Graves on her website:

Thanks Judith for stopping by and kicking off my Back-to-School Month Posts.