Jen: I just finished book four in the Dreg City series and I am just not ready to let go of these characters! Tell new readers about the series.
Kelly: Dreg City is set in a fictional city where the paranormal nasties (vampires, goblins, etc...) are kept in line by small teams of human Hunters. The heroine of the series, Evangeline Stone was originally brought back to life temporarily to solve her own murder and help stop a war, and thanks to a nice little loophole, got to stay alive. But the threat of war is always there, and over the course of the four books in the series, the human Hunters are slowly being outnumbered by their enemies (and occasionally betrayed by their allies). Through it all, Evy's trying to adapt to her second life, confront her own prejudices about the non-human beings she works with, and figure out her complex relationship with ex-boss Wyatt Truman.
Jen: Evy has a lot of internal conflict about who she is after she takes up permanent residence in another body. How much did the actual body transplant change her as a person? I guess what I really want to know is how much of her evolution is because of who Chalice is/ was and how much is really prompted by the events Evy goes through? (Please tell me that question makes sense.)
Kelly: Yes, the question makes sense. It's something I thought about a lot as I was first writing Three Days to Dead. I had to decide how much of Chalice should be left behind in her body—for example, lingering sense memories and physical responses are still there, because they are imprinted in Chalice's body, but the "soul" that made Chalice "Chalice" is gone. By the end of the first book, Evy has fully integrated with Chalice's body and has embraced everything that was part of Chalice, including her physical attraction to Wyatt. Much of Evy is still there, including her temper, her own memories, and her loyalty to the Triads. The trick is finding a balance between Original Recipe Evy and Super Combo Evy.
Jen: Her love interest is Wyatt. It's hard not to love Wyatt. Let's talk about him for a minute.
Kelly: I adore Wyatt. He's so complex, and yet his actions are really very simple in their motivation: he loves Evy. He'd do (and does do, several times) anything for her, including sacrifice his own soul. He starts out in Three Days to Dead as a bit of a mystery and some readers didn't like him very much. But over the course of the series, we peeled back more layers of his past and got to see the things that shaped him, such as the violent deaths of his family and his hand in creating the Triads organization. And with his situation at the end of Wrong Side of Dead…well, things just keep getting complicated, don't they? *grin*
Jen: Do you think their relationship would have ever moved forward had Evy not died and come back?
Kelly: No, I really don't. Before Evy died, their relationship was completely different. Wyatt was her boss. She cared about him, certainly, and loved him in her own way. But Original Recipe Evy Stone was a very cold person, whose only vision of the future was a young, violent death. She didn't make attachments. Super Combo Evy, however, got a good dose of Chalice Frost in the form of a physical attraction to Wyatt and emotions that she wore on her sleeve. Without those parts of Chalice, I think Wyatt's feelings for Evy would have always been one-sided.
Kelly: Honestly? I had originally been thinking along those lines. Love triangles seemed to be the popular thing, and Phin definitely has the Alpha-hotness potential to be a love interest. But after discussing it with my editor and really considering the emotional impact of the Evy/Wyatt relationship, I decided against making Phin part of a triangle. Or even an Evy love interest at all. Evy needs the unconditional support that she gets from Phin, and she needs his brutally honest take on things. He becomes one of her best friends and in some ways, especially in Wrong Side of Dead, her Jiminy Cricket. Phin has lost so much and remained so strong. He deserves a woman who will love him back the way he deserves, and I hope to give him that one day.
Jen: I have to ask: Milo and Marcus... maybe?
Kelly: Oh Milo, I love him so. He definitely deserves some love (or at least a lusty distraction). Felia Pride politics are a big part of book five, so Marcus and Astrid are heavily featured. Evy and Milo have a heart-to-heart about relationships. We will definitely see more of both Milo and Marcus (how's that for non-spoilery spoilers?).
Jen: (I take that to mean, "Yes. They will fall madly in love and have wild, passionate sex.") Ahem... moving on. When I read your blog post about Random House's decision not to continue publishing the series, I was so disappointed. The last book set up so many great possibilities for future books. Are you shopping the series around for another publisher? Is there anything that fans can do?
Kelly: My agent and I have chosen to not shop the books to other publishers. Getting another house to pick up a series four books in is a long shot. Self-publishing isn't my first choice, but I want to make the rest of the series available to fans and readers, so it is probably the best option at the moment. As for what fans can do: buy the books for yourself or for friends, recommend them to friends, and write to the publisher and let them know how you feel about the series being canceled.
Jen: I've got to say, I'm so glad the series will live on, even though self-publishing isn't how you envisioned it moving forward. I know it's soon but is there any chance we might see Dreg Series 5 in 2012 or 2013?
Kelly: There is a very, very, very good chance, yes. I have about a quarter of it written, and the rest of the story is mapped out in my head, so the question really is finding time to write the darn thing between other projects. If nothing else, I do hope to have at least one Dreg City short story out there this year, just to keep folks interested and engaged with the series.
Jen: How many more books would it take for you to give the series the ending you've envisioned?
Kelly: When we presented the last proposal, I envisioned ending Evy's story after three more books. There is a definite plan in place, as well as a final outcome for her. And I say "for her" because there are so many secondary characters I'd like to explore, even after Evy's story is over. But Evy has been through hell and worse, and in such a short space of time. Her suffering isn't over (it would be a boring final three books, if it was), but I want to give her some peace when all is said and done. She deserves that.
Jen: You do have another series out there. Tell us about the MetaWars books.
Kelly: MetaWars is my take on superheroes. I've been a fan of superheroes and comics since I was a kid, and this is a concept I've been playing with since I was a teeanger. The series is set in a somewhat parallel, future society in which heroes and villains have nearly destroyed the world with their epic battles. Cities are ruined, the economy is in the toilet, and people are afraid. In the final moments before the last of the heroes are killed, everyone with powers suddenly loses them. Fast forward fifteen years later. Just when the world is starting to recover, all of those powers suddenly come back. Trance is the story of those scattered heroes coming back together. Changeling (which comes out June 26) takes their tale further by introducing a new kind of villain for the Metas to deal with.
Jen: Do you make it to many fan events? What are you looking forward to most from AAD in New Orleans?
Kelly: I don't make it out to many fan events, and I wish I was able to do more. Mostly it's the expense that keeps me home, but gosh darn it, I was determined to make it to AAD no matter what, and I'm really looking forward to going. It'll be my yearly vacation, and I plan to take full advantage. From AAD, I'm mostly looking forward to meeting readers and bloggers, and to being able to spend an entire weekend just talking about books. I can't imagine anything better. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this! I really appreciate it! Thanks so much for inviting me!
Kelly is giving away the book of your choice from her backlist. To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. (US Only.) In the meantime, if you want to learn more about Kelly, you can visit her blog or follow her on Twitter.
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