When the negotiation of a peace agreement with the Queen of Astonia goes awry, Charlie receives a brutal message that threatens all of Ludania and all that Charlie loves. Backed into a corner, it seems the only way to avoid war is for Charlie to offer herself to her enemy.
What made you decide to become a writer?
I’ve pretty much known I wanted to be a writer since I was in the 7th grade and took a journalism class. Back then, I dreamed of becoming a jet-setting journalist who covered civil wars and famines. When I was older, and realized what being a real journalist really meant (living in tents without showers, facing gunfire and disease), I thought that writing books from the safety of my home (in my pajamas, sometimes) would be a little less dangerous...and a lot more comfy!
Who inspires you?
I’d love to give some fancy, literary answer like Harper Lee since To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books ever. But to be perfectly honest, I was much more inspired (at least as a writer) by Stephen King. I grew up reading his books and wishing I could tell the kinds of stories he did (the ones that scared people the way he scared me). Yes, I sound twisted. And yes, I blame Stephen King.
What would you like your readers to get out of your writing?
With this series, I spent a lot of time thinking about injustices in our world and trying to incorporate them into Charlie’s world. In THE PLEDGE, there was classism that I loosely based on India’s caste system and hints of Nazism. In THE ESSENCE, I took a page from the civil rights movement and included school integration. In THE OFFERING, there’s a much broader look at the toll war brings to a society as a whole. It’s not like I’m trying to be preachy or anything, but I definitely like to put issues under a microscope! Oh, and of course it would be nice if the readers actually enjoy my books!
Where did this idea come from?
Unlike the idea for my other series, The Body Finder, which came to me all at once, the original idea for The Pledge came in pieces...more like a puzzle. The first piece was simply the question: “What would it be like if someone could understand all languages?” But I wanted the story itself to be more than that, so I spent over a year thinking about how Charlie’s ability would work, what kind of world she would live in, and developing the monarchies and her friends and family, before I’d ever written a single word.
I talk more about how I got the idea here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcwK-Ja9wk4
Who was your favorite character to develop?
I always enjoy writing about Angelina because she’s so sweet, but to be honest I had the best time exploring Sabara and all of her past lives. That probably seems strange since she’s so evil, but I wanted to show that she hadn’t always been that way, which is why I revealed her history, and how she started using her power accidentally (taking her sister’s Essence by mistake), and then how she learned to use it to her advantage.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
I think it goes without saying that if you want to write, you should read everything you can get your hands on, even if it’s not in the genre you want to write in. You can often learn more in the pages of a book than you can in a classroom. But most importantly, if you really want to get published, my advice is: Don’t give up! Ever! This is a tough industry and rejection comes with the territory. You have to learn to take “no” and move on.
What can we expect next from you?
I’m working on the second book in The Taking trilogy—the first book comes out April 29th, 2014. It’s about a girl who wakes up after what she thinks is one night, only to realize that five years have passed and everyone she loves has moved on without her...yet she hasn’t aged a day.
Where can we purchase your book?
You can buy them at most online retailers (Amazon, B&N, Books-A-Million, Book Depository...you get the idea!) and local bookstores as well. And if you can’t find them in your local bookstore or library, be sure to ask—that’s the best way to get them to carry your favorite authors! :)
THANK YOU, KIMBERLY!
*Back cover blurb and author picture taken from author's website.