Interviewing authors is one of my very favorite things to do, especially when I get to work with one as awesome as K. A. Wiggins. I think after reading this interview, not only will you want to start hanging out with Wiggins but you will want to read her new book, Blind the Eyes too!
Before we get to the super fun interview, let’s take a closer look at the author’s official bio and Blind the Eyes.
K.A. Wiggins (Kaie) writes award-winning speculative fiction for young people and adults that explores the tangled webs of society, environment, and identity through intricate, dreamlike tales of monsters and magic.
Her debut novel was a Page Turner Awards 2020 Book Spotlight Prize winner and a Barnes & Noble Press “20 Favorite Indie Books of 2018,” kicking off a celebrated and recently completed YA Urban Fantasy trilogy set in a gothic-dystopian post-climate-collapse Vancouver. Her short fiction has appeared in small press anthologies, genre magazines, and in translation for international audiences.
She’s also the President of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia society, co-founder of marketing and business services consultancy The Creative Collective, and a creative writing coach with the Creative Writing for Children society, and was recognized in the 2021 Arty Awards, taking first place in Literary Arts category.
connect with the author:
Book Title: Blind the Eyes: A Dystopian-Gothic YA Urban Fantasy by K.A. Wiggins
Category: YA Fiction (Ages 13-17), 300 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy, crossover to dystopian, paranormal, contemporary fantasy, gothic and post-apocalyptic.
Publisher: K.A. Wiggins (Imprint: Snowmelt & Stumps)
Release Date: June, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 + M. No on-page sex, low romance, minimal bad language, underage drinking, significant fantasy violence, scenes containing emotional manipulation, depression, and (light/brief) physical abuse.
A haunted teen outcast and her snarky ghostly best-frenemy outwit enforcers, monsters, and the scars of the past in a race to take expose a deadly conspiracy and escape a bloody end. A lush, award-winning debut to a captivatingly eerie YA Urban Fantasy trilogy. Discover a labyrinthine, post-climate-collapse dystopian Vancouver overrun by monsters and magic in this intricate and startlingly original journey of discovery, restoration, and revenge.
It’s hard not to be a little obsessed with survival when your only “friend” is an unruly ghost and the wrong thought could get your soul devoured by eldritch horrors. Haunted 17-year-old outcast Cole wants nothing more than to hide her forbidden fascination with the monster-taken and blend in with the (dreary) scenery. Her plans for a peaceful life take a turn for the deadly when a mesmerizing stranger and his dangerously tempting offer drive her into the middle of a grisly conspiracy.
But Cole hasn’t yet uncovered the biggest secret of all, and it might just have something to do with the mysterious threads tugging her into horrifying visions—not to mention the shimmering boy at their dark heart. Uncovering the truth will cost her dearly as she fends off scheming enforcers, dreamjacking ghosts & soul-sucking nightmares in a desperate quest for survival and retribution. Can she escape the scars of her past and expose the lies before she’s the next to die?
Blind the Eyes is the first book in a lush and labyrinthine trilogy of paranormal-meets-gothic-dystopian YA Urban Fantasy filled with glittering underworlds, delicious-and-deceptive strangers, and facing down the voices in your head. This slow-burn fantasy with an edge leads readers on a captivatingly unexpected journey of self-discovery, reclaimed identity, and conflicted sisterhood for those who like a little sparkle with their monsters (it glistens so nicely on all the blood.) Fans of post-climate-collapse dystopias, monsters-and-magic, and genre-bending dark fantasy will love this award-winning series starter in a complete and 100% binge-ready trilogy.
And now, a Books, Tea, Healthy Me exclusive interview with K. A. Wiggins!
Let’s start with the important things: any tea recommendations?
It might sound weird, but right now I’m obsessed with IKEA loose leaf teas—chai for mornings, herbal for afternoons. They’re surprisingly good! And I had to give up coffee earlier this year, so Blume tea-lattes are keeping me going. Lavender, Pumpkin Spice, and Hot Chocolate are faves, and as a bonus, I get to pretend I’m being “healthy” in the process.
Is there something special about the book you are currently promoting that you want everyone to know? Your inspiration maybe? A fun hidden fact?
I only ever really put these pieces together in hindsight, but looking back I can really see how much of Blind the Eyes was about misogyny, the glass ceiling, and how much being a girl can suck in contemporary North American culture. ^_^;
I was really interested in exploring what it’s like to be in a situation where you have no good choices and to try to fit into a very narrow set of behavioural, emotional, and intellectual models—only to discover that you were never meant to thrive and succeed, no matter how “good” you were. So there are strong themes of repression, emotional self-regulation, isolation, lack of trust.
The extra fun thing about all that is that it makes for a character that deeply does not fit the mold. Writers, at least in the commercial Western storytelling tradition (and especially in Urban Fantasy!, are exhorted to write (main) characters who are driven, proactive, and deeply motivated. It makes for fast-moving, exciting, and emotionally satisfying fiction. It’s aspirational. But it misses a whole dimension of experience, especially for girls and women, where their stories are more about enduring, surviving, climbing out of toxic messages and beliefs, and collaborating to grow. Breaking the mold really resonates with some readers, but you also get your fair share of critical reviews that want to know why your character is so stupid . . .
Where do you begin when you develop new characters? Physical characteristics, personality, plot? What comes first and how do you go from there?
I generally start with scenes, moments, settings; almost never characters. Which is wild, because once I get into a story, it’s wildly character driven. So there’s almost a push-pull between worldbuilding and character for me, where each flexes to suit the other.
Although, I’m definitely interested in writing antisocial, prickly girls, so there’s that common thread. 🙂
For instance, in Blind the Eyes, I knew from the start that Cole would be very isolated, very in her own head and distrustful of others. Originally, the romantic subplot was more integral. So it was a classic hero vs. monsters romance-adventure story about her warming up to a love interest and joining his fight. The plot changed a lot from that initial sketch, but one of the things I was looking for a way to explain was just why or how Cole became so antisocial.
I ended up crafting this whole dystopian environment around that, where a repressive society with monstrous underpinnings explicitly forbids dreams and goals and owning your choices. So then the plot becomes about Cole struggling against her upbringing or programming in order to chart her own course and take back her choices—and, necessarily, that romantic subplot had to get pushed back to give her space to grow.
Does writing exhaust or energize you? Why?
Oh, wow. Extremely both. If I can block out time and space to write, I get into this amazing flow state that’s just . . . very peaceful? Career and reviews and sales figures aside, I have a lot of confidence in my writing, so actually putting words down feels good. But I definitely deplete my ability to focus and “creative well” and need some time where I’m not doing brainwork. Or at least not the same kind of creative or deep-focus work.
What do you do to keep yourself healthy? What is your #1 healthy lifestyle tip?
Can my answer just be bitter laughter? I have an objectively terrible lifestyle where I don’t leave the house more than about once a week and spend very nearly every waking moment on the computer, so I have nothing to say about fitness and healthy movement besides “I hear some people like it . . .” Such is the life of an entrepreneur, lol. But I do try to balance that with cooking healthy meals from scratch and getting pretty consistent sleep. My best tip has been soymilk, actually. I was having just absolutely debilitating migraines, losing days each month to it. But I completely cut out coffee and switched to drinking soymilk (with those Blume lattes I mentioned earlier!) and it’s made such a difference for me.
Super thanks goes out to Amanda for having me on Books, Tea, Healthy Me! I just want to encourage everyone reading this to scroll over to the giveaway before it ends and, if you’re into prickly heroines and deconstructing end-stage capitalism, the patriarchy, and climate exploitation, join me at kawiggins.com (and join the newsletter for some free short reads!) or on social @kaiespace!
Thank you so much for K. A. Wiggins for being a part of Books, Tea, Healthy Me. I really hope we get to share some IKEA tea together soon!
Enter to win a special edition hardback copy of Blind the Eyes: A Dystopian-Gothic YA Urban Fantasy (GRAND PRIZE) (one winner/USA only) or ebook copy K.A. Wiggins’ award winning novel. (5 runner-up winners) (ends Dec 24)
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