Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?
Well I've always had an active imagination, but when it came to writing, I seem to have sectioned myself into certain age groups. I would create very young characters or characters in their 30s or characters in their teens. The latter being the most exciting; so much happens in our teenage years, it's ripe with possibility. So it wasn't so much choosing YA Fiction as it was choosing an age and exploring stories relevant to it.
What inspired you to write this book?
My freshman year in college inspired the first two books, and particularly the latest book, The Life and Times of the Heir and the Keeper. So much happened and I understood so much better what growing up was all about. Judith, Elizabeth, Jon and Francis are each exploring their youth and budding adulthood. And of course there's the drama! I love drama; it stretches out phone conversations, can be guaranteed to make you laugh (sometimes only in retrospect) and is probably the defining characteristic of being a teen. It basically exploded in college and I was inspired to put pen to paper and tell the story. It's a cross between a cautionary tale and a guide.
Please tell us about your latest release.
This latest book, Heir and the Keeper is told from the perspective of the guys who are introduced in the first book. Jonathan Reinhardt and Francis D'Avance are not so different but they've taken different routes to deal with their respective issues. Jon is my very special character, he's an expert at avoidance but he can't hide from everything. Francis is more so always trying to prove himself; he is always able to identify people he sees above him and then he works hard to not become them. The story starts at the beginning of the Spring semester and these two have important choices to make. Every choice has a consequence so I explore those in this book. The book also looks into the social aspects of college, from fraternities to overarching cliques to not-so-secret societies. I do believe the story is darker than the first, but I couldn't lose the sheer fun of being in college.
Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
I think I was surprised at how quickly Franz' character came to me. Jonathan I was familiar with; he features prominently in the first book, The Life and Times of Elizabeth and the Duchess. But Franz was a surprise, he told his own story and I simply wrote. I think he epitomizes the Manhattan experience of simply taking each day as it comes. He enjoys variety and is always searching for the next thrill. Franz was fun to write, definitely and I'm glad he's in the story.
Do you have a formula for developing characters?Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?
I usually have an idea of something I'd like to happen and then pick a character to do it. I start with several scenes in my head and I pick the people I want in them. I think that's why a lot of my descriptions are to create an almost cinematic visual. I can see the scene and I don't like ambiguity, so I do a sort of casting and develop each character's backstory from that scene.
What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?
My favorite scene I think would be Jonathan and Elizabeth's first fight and what follows right after. I think that chapter particularly showed what each character was like. Beth and Jon are feeling out their new relationship and Franz is discovering a few things about Judith. I love the dynamic, it's fluid and I honestly felt like I was there, in a little corner, writing as it happened.
What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?
So, writing in a guy's head for anyone woman will be a slight challenge. What I did, throughout the writing process was have polls with random guys answering equally random questions. It was hilarious and fun and it did tell me quite a bit about the guy-mentality. Guys do think the same way...well they think they do and act accordingly.
With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?
Well I start this book with a recap of the first semester and of course I describe the characters a little, so new readers aren't thrown. I think this book could stand alone, but I suppose it's a more dramatic experience reading both.
Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?
Well it might be weird that I write out my stories before typing them out. I'm not sure why, but there's something about actually writing the words that makes them come easier to me.
Do you write in different genres?
For the fun of it yes, but I usually have ten different stories going so I never quite finish them.
Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?
Not really; I've written on vampires, dukes and melodramatic teens. If I can imagine it, I usually find it easy to write.
When did you consider yourself a writer?
When I began my first story (a historical romance) and received positive reviews onFictionPress.com. I enjoy writing and having other people enjoy what I had written was the moment for me.
What are your guilty pleasures in life?
Interestingly enough I've never felt guilty about my pleasures (historical romance novels, Godiva chocolate, designer purses...)...I'm usually convincing other people of the benefits of them!
What was the last amazing book you read?
Amazing? Hmm, I think I'd have to say mine? Haha, but seriously? The Pact by Jodi P. Absolutely amazing and I would recommend it to anyone.
Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?
I actually read everywhere on everything from my phone to my Kindle. It was a habit from childhood and I think it's stuck. I suppose curled up in bed, would be the most cozy.
What can readers expect next from you?
Sophomore Year at Caspian University! It's in the works and should be available Winter 2013.
Where can readers find you on the web?
Well I'm on Twitter and Instagram: @Etta_King, but I do respond to messages on my website: http://www.ettaking.com and my blog: http://www.ettaking.blogspot.
com. Of note is the fact that my website is Flash based and won't work on iPhones and iPads (thanks Apple haha). The blog will though!
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Not Just 9 to 5
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January 18 Guest blog
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Books & Other Spells
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Books & Tales
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Impressions of a Princess
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Books, Books The Magical Fruit
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Books, Books, and More Books
February 8 review
Not Now...Mommy's Reading
February 9 and 10 Interview Feature
Kay Dee’s Blog
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Lisa’s World of Books
The Life and Times of the Heir and the Keeper
A Caspian University Novel
They say college is a lot of things; a haven, a four-year party, the place you met the girl – or guy – of your dreams. What they don’t tell you is, the best part of college is the drama YOU bring to the table! After all, that dirty little secret, that not-so-little white lie, and those texts you wish you could erase from cyberspace can’t stay hidden forever. At CU, someone’s always watching, and you better hope there isn’t a camera phone on hand when you get caught.
It’s the Spring Semester, but it’s not all fun in the budding sun for Jon and Franz. Follow them as they delve through the politics of secret societies, the inevitable drama of the F-word (that’s FAMILY, for the uninitiated), creepy Resident Advisors, creepier residents and girls who don’t always say what they mean. Who wouldn’t need two months to recuperate?
Cheers! And GL!
About the Author:
Etta King is the author of the Caspian University novels, a series chronicling the life and times of a group of wealthy teens who inevitably discover the various flavors of college drama. Etta writes from her personal experiences as a college co-ed and as the product of an all-girls prep school. Here she witnessed the very eccentricities and foibles which she depicts in her novels.
In a home filled with books, it was no surprise that Etta grew to be an avid reader, and that translated into writing when she was thirteen. She wrote simply for the fun of it, whatever would come to mind, from fantasy to thriller to romance, and shared her stories with her friends.
In 2010, at twenty-one and just as she was about to graduate from college, Etta began writing "The Life and Times of Elizabeth and the Duchess." This was a story which had first taken shape in 2008, after her freshman year, but had been put on hold. With graduation looming, Etta recalled the characters, and the events which had inspired them, and took pen to paper. Literally, as Etta enjoys writing out her stories before typing them out. Soon the first book had been completed and the series was born.
"The Life and Times of the Heir and the Keeper," comes as the sequel to "Elizabeth and the Duchess," and serves as the second semester of these teens' college saga. Etta is currently working on the third book, in what will be an eight-part series.
Etta King lives with her family in Westchester, New York.