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December 19, 2011

Interview: Kelley York Author of Hushed

If you could describe Hushed in 6 words what would they be?
A dark look into the human psyche. (7 words. Close enough?)

What was your inspiration for Hushed?
I’m very character-oriented. I had the idea for Archer, and the rest of the story stemmed from him. When you have a solid, interesting character, it’s really easy to build their story.

Archer and Evan are so different yet both are so capturing. What was your favorite aspect to write of each character?
I loved Evan’s quirky sense of humor and his goofiness. For Archer, it was his quiet affection. The way he was so hesitant to show Evan that he cared, because the idea of caring about anyone who wasn’t Vivian was so foreign to him.

Not a lot of young adult books feature main characters during their college age. How did you decide you wanted your main character to be out of high school and on his own?
I like writing for the “new adult” part of YA, where characters are still teenagers, but have—or are trying to—strike out on their own. It’s a hard sell to a lot of publishers, though I’m not sure why. Most teens I’ve seen don’t at all mind reading about someone who’s in college if the story itself is interesting. I like having the freedom of my characters living their lives without parents directly overhead, but at the same time, living on their own is brand new and a bit intimidating.

Did you enjoy writing through the eyes of a male character? Are you ever planning on writing a novel with a female main character?
I do have a soft-spot for the male POV and I’m not sure why. I have written from a female POV, however. My first book alternated between a girl and a guy, and my third book was entirely from a female POV. My current work in progress is another one that alternates from a brother and sister’s viewpoint.

Who was your favorite character to write? Which character did you have the most difficulty with?
Archer was my favorite. I love how damaged he is and the way the world looks so skewed through his eyes. He’s such a sad boy. Evan could be difficult in a sense, simply because he was such a normal guy tossed into this insane situation, and yet maintained such a calm, logical outlook on things.

When you’re writing do you snack on something and/or listen to music or do you just focus on the task at hand? What do you use to focus?
I don’t eat when I write. In fact, if I get in the groove, I’ll write and write and forget to stop and eat. I do listen to music, though; it helps me focus and drowns out the rest of the world.

Archer is very organized and basically OCD about everything in his life. Are you more like Archer or more like Vivian, care free and somewhat disorganized?
A combination of the two. I have my little things I’m really obsessive about (locking doors, for instance), and I’m decently organized. But my desk will get cluttered until I’m like “I can’t handle it!” and clean everything really well. It’ll stay that way for a few weeks, then repeat process...

What is your all-time favorite book? One that you recommend to everyone and encourage others to read it?
If we’re talking classics, then THE LAST UNICORN by Peter S. Beagle, or MRS. FRISBY AND THE RATS OF NIMH by Robert C. O’brien. I’m always stunned by how few people have read the books, even if they’ve seen the movies. For more recent books, Jay Asher’s 13 REASONS WHY or Hannah Moskowitz’s INVINCIBLE SUMMER are must-reads.

We hear you like pets? What was the first pet you ever had?
I love pets, even when they drive me crazy. I have cats, rats, hamsters... My very first pet, when I was about four or five, was a teddy bear hamster named Chewy. After that, it was a tabby cat named Oliver.

Will you tell us something that a lot of people might not know about you?
I spent three-ish years living in Indiana and couldn’t stand it. Then I moved back to California, and I can’t stand it here anymore, either. (A lot changes in 3 years!) I want to move up to Washington or Oregon, or out to Maine on the East coast.

Thank you for dropping by to answer some of our questions. Can’t wait to hear about some of your other projects in the near future :)
Thank you for having me!! :)

'Kelley York delivers in this impressive debut. I was at the edge of my
seat waiting to see what would happen next! Bottom line, this was
unputdownable!!!' --- YA Fantasy Guide ---

'How exciting that we live in a time when gay teen protagonists can be
just as screwed up as straight ones -- and their stories just as creepy!'
--- Brent Hartinger, award-winning author of Geography Club and Shadow
Walkers ---

Author Bio:

Kelley was born and raised in central California, where she still resides
with her lovely wife, daughter, and an abundance of pets. (Although she
does fantasize about moving across the globe to Ireland.) She has a
fascination with bells, adores all things furry - be them squeaky, barky
or meow-y - is a lover of video games, manga and anime, and likes to
pretend she's a decent photographer. Her life goal is to find a real
unicorn. Or maybe a mermaid.

Within young adult, she enjoys writing and reading a variety of genres
from contemporary with a unique twist, psychological thrillers,
paranormal/urban fantasy and horror. She loves stories where character
development takes center stage.

He's saved her. He's loved her. He's killed for her.

Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn't protect his best friend, Vivian, from
what happened when they were kids, so he's never stopped trying to protect
her from everything else. It doesn't matter that Vivian only uses him when
hopping from one toxic relationship to another - Archer is always there,
waiting to be noticed.

Then along comes Evan, the only person who's ever cared about Archer
without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more
Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is.

But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out about the murders
Archer's committed and his relationship with Evan, she threatens to turn
him in if she doesn't get what she wants...And what she wants is Evan's
death, and for Archer to forfeit his last chance at redemption.

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