How would you describe your writing style?
“Visual” is the word that springs to mind second (right after “clueless”). I see the movie of the book playing in my head, try to write down what I see. I come from a visual arts/design background, and I think that informs my style a lot. I’m a comic book kid. I like painting pretty pictures with words. Even if the places I paint sometimes aren’t so pretty.
Did you have a specific song or playlist that you listened to when you were writing Kinslayer?
I have very obnoxious taste in music. I know some authors dig writing playlists and whatnot, but if I did that, it would terrify the children. And I don’t really listen to music when I write because it’s so obnoxious, it breaks my concentration. But that’s a boring answer! STOP BEING BORING, JAY!
I take a lot of inspiration from song lyrics. Stuff like Dark Days from Parkway Drive is where my head is at when I write Shima. (be warned - obnoxious)
What kind of research did you do for Stormdancer and Kinslayer?
Just reading. Lots of reading. Which is a really boring answer, I know (STOP BEING BORING, JAY). Taiko by Eiji Yoshikawa was a great resource (very dry, but still great in a factual sense). Musashi. The Otori books by Lian Hearne. But I took inspiration from old cinema, manga, old roleplaying games I used to run. And drinking sake. Lots of sake.
To evade the typical second-book-isis aka the halt in action and dropping of interest in the second book of this series, what did you do?</>
Rewrote it about five times! Lol.
There are a lot of loose ends in STORMDANCER, and I really only gave readers a hint of the overall metaplot that’ll drive the series. KINSLAYER gives you get a broader look at the clans of the Imperium and the enemies they’re at war with. There are a couple of very important characters introduced, who’ll play a big role in book 3. Bigger action. Bigger stakes. Bigger betrayals. But I also had to be careful keep Yukiko and Buruu front and centre, since readers seem to like them so much (which is one of those good problems).
I am particularly fascinated with Buruu. He was part of the mythical-legend world and he lived up to his role as an Arashitora. However, Buruu also had a soft side. How did you balance these two sides of Buruu?
Buruu is a lot like me, in a lot of ways. He’s surly and aggressive and kinda scary looking, but underneath he’s something of a softie. I think his sarcasm and sense of humor do a lot to take the edge off him, along with his singular devotion to Yukiko. I think that’s what people love about him the most – that there’s nothing in the world that could come between those two.
Or is there? (dun dun dunnnnn…)
Yukiko is one of the best heroines I've ever encountered in YA. What were the challenges (if any) you encountered in writing and bringing Yukiko to life? How did you deal with it?
Aw, thanks, that’s awesome of you to say :)
I think the biggest challenge for me was keeping her real and flawed, but still likeable. When you’re writing a hero, it’s very tempting to make them perfect, for fear the reader will stop liking them if they do something stupid or make mistakes. But Yukiko makes horrible mistakes (and keeps making them in KINSLAYER). And when you’re writing those mistakes, you wonder if readers will forgive her.
But then I remember she’s only just discovering who she is, and where she stands. She’s sixteen years old. When I was sixteen, I didn’t know my ass from my elbow.
Pro tip: ass is the thing you sit on.
What is next for Jay Kristoff?
Book 3 of the Lotus War has been handed in to my editor, which means I get to work on some new stuff while I wait for edits. Very exciting!
I’m currently doodling on three books - one fantasy, one post-apocalyptic and one sci fi. They’re all feeling pretty good at the moment, so I’m not sure which one will win out in the end. I’m proposing a 100 pages death match between the lot of them. Three books enter, one book leaves. I plan to have decided by the time KINSLAYER hits shelves.
Wish me luck!
Jay Kristoff is the author of of THE LOTUS WAR trilogy, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press & Tor UK. The first installment, STORMDANCER, is out now. Part 2, entitled KINSLAYER, will be released in September 2013.
Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13870 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.
He does not believe in happy endings.
Follow Jay: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Hardcover, 464 pages
September 17th 2013, Thomas Dunne Books
A SHATTERED EMPIRE
The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously – by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.
A DARK LEGACY
Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.
A GATHERING STORM
Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat.
The ghosts of a blood-stained past.
What's up for grabs? An ARC of Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff.
You should be at least 13 years old.
Be a follower. :)