Author Interview: Kerry Castorano

On a continent where kings and queens change as often as the seasons, it can be difficult to know who your friends are and who you can trust to walk behind you. Take care of yourself; don’t rely on others. That is how to survive. Freyja learned this lesson at a very young age. When she and her brothers-in-arms choose sides for an upcoming battle, it becomes clear to those who watch them that the work of a handful of men, and one woman, could change the future of an entire kingdom. Freyja's family, known as the Valren, may be the only fighters able to stop an all out war from beginning between two countries. But even their own allies are reluctant to trust them when it becomes clear that the Valren are more interested in winning than being ethical, and that morals don't always have a place in combat. For Freyja, that means she will do anything necessary to destroy the enemy and protect her family - including sacrificing herself.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m 30 years old, living in central Massachusetts with my husband, dog and cat. I have an archaeology background with an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and my Masters from Brandeis University. I’ve been fencing since I was 8 and have a love for the outdoors. Proud to say I recently earned my orange headband by becoming a Tough Mudder.

What are your pet peeves (dislikes) in life?

When people don’t treat their animals right. One of the best things about being published by The Little Things Publishing is that the company takes a portion of their profit from each book sold and gives it to the charity of choice for the author. My charity is an equine rescue located here in MA and I’m really happy to have the chance to support the cause.

What is the best gift anyone has ever given you?

This is going to sound corny but, hell I have no pride. Best gift was something my parents gave me when I was around five or six years old. It was a soap dragon egg, and inside of it was a plastic, glow-in-the-dark dragon (which I named “Flamey”). I still have the dragon. It’s my little good luck charm, he’s travelled to over eight different countries with me, and was almost eaten by my dog a few times. He’s got the teeth marks to prove it. I’ve been looking for another one of these things for the last few years and can’t find them anywhere. If anyone has one sitting in their attic, call me – I’ll buy it!!

Why do you write?

I actually started to write because it was on my bucket list to see if I had the patience to actually sit down and write an entire book. I actually never intended for it to get published – I just got really lucky. But now that goal is checked off the bucket list and I can move on to something else, like parahawking!

Will books disappear altogether in future?

Gees, I hope not. If they do, I hope I am dead and gone beforehand.

What do you eat and/or drink while you write?

Skittles. They won’t mess up the keyboard if you spill them, and when you get writers block you can make little rainbow pictures while you wait for your head to clear. Pretty much the perfect candy. Especially the red ones.

In one sentence, what is your book about?

A feisty redhead who is good with weapons.

Describe the process you took to write it.

I tried to be one of those people who could jot a solid outline down then stick with it - but I realized about half way through the first book that I was never going to be one of those people. I would write an outline... start writing the actual story... scrap the second half of the outline and make a new one... write some more... scrap the end of that second outline and make a new one. Honestly, I don’t know why I even tried to outline as much as I did. Now I just write what I’m thinking about at the time. If I put the story down for a few days and still like it when I pick it up again, then the content usually stays. Otherwise I’ll just delete parts and do them over again. There’s really no rhyme or reason to it.

What is the target audience for your book?

Late teens and adults. There are some adult themes in this book I don’t think I would want my child reading.

How do you want your readers to feel when they finish your book?

I would like my readers to be satisfied with there the book left off, but also really wanting to know what is going to happen next! I believe this story will take a total of three books to finish and it would really be an honor to know that there are people out there (even if there are only two of three of them!) who are eager to read it from start to finish. If I can make that happen then I feel like I did something right. I’ll let you know how that goes when the next book comes out. Fingers crossed.

What’s your next writing project?

Well, I just sent the second book in The Valren series into The Little Things Publishing for editing, so now it is time to start writing number three. May need to juice up on some caffeine first..... and find my Skittles.

Quick fire:

Favorite flavor of ice cream? Oreo Cake Batter
Favorite place? Up a particular sycamore tree at Notre Dame
Favorite Song? “This is Halloween” – Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack
Favorite Book? The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett
Favorite joke? One that is not appropriate for this blog ;)
Favorite quote? Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for
Favorite book you've read this year? Oh... hm... tough one. Probably “Pathologies of Power” by Paul Farmer

Find Kerry on her blog, The Valren, on Twitter, @TheValren, and Facebook, Kerry Castorano Page. Purchase VALREN at Amazon (Paperback) and Barnes&Noble(Paperback).