Katie Alender is the author of the Bad Girls Don’t Die series from Disney-Hyperion. She is a graduate of the Florida State University Film School and lives in Los Angeles. When she’s not writing novels, she can usually be found in her sewing room, making things for her friends or her dog (or her friends’ dogs). She enjoys reading, eating delicious high-calorie foods, and hanging out with her husband and her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Winston.
Questions about Katie Alender’s books!
Ashlyn Rae: Bad Girls Don’t Die and From Bad to Cursed are gripping YA novels that are sure to leave chills going up and down your spine. How exactly did you come up with the whole idea of possessed little sisters and clubs that change almost everything about yourself?
Katie Alender: I think the basis of my books is the idea of taking a normal girl and putting her in situations that fascinate me. When I read, I like to imagine myself as the main character, experiencing these unusual things (without the trouble of actually going through the scariness and uncertainty!), so that was the place from which I started building these stories. I just let my mind wander until something grabs me! When I write a book, it has to be something that I’d like to experience (without the danger or threat of death, of course).
Ashlyn: Describe each of your books in 3 words.
Katie: BGDD: loner fights ghost
FBTC: overconfident (whoops!) trouble
Ashlyn: What was your favorite book to write? Your least favorite?
Katie: Well, while I’m writing each book, it becomes my least favorite, ha ha. No, seriously… the time I love a book most is before I’m “allowed” to start working on it, when it’s just an idea and I’m basically playing with it. Then when you get into the work, you start to find the plot holes and dead ends, and you get tired of looking at it, and reading it, and having anything to do with it. You sort of wish it would just go away. But then when enough time passes, you love it again. So every book is both my favorite and least favorite at some point!
Ashlyn: Were you always a fan of writing or reading scary stories like Bad Girls Don’t Die and From Bad to Cursed?
Katie: No, I have never been into scary anything! I didn’t even know the first book was scary until my agent and editor told me so. That said, now that I write in this genre, I try to read in it a bit, as well. And as for writing it, if you’d asked me a few years ago if I could write “horror” or “thriller” novels, I would have laughed at you. But now I realize that the suspense comes naturally to me, as well as some of the scares. I think that stems from my visual writing style, which I formed in film school.
Ashlyn: We all know that there’s going to be a third book. But are there plans for a fourth? A new series, perhaps?
Katie: So far, no plans for a fourth. I’m not sure if this series will need or could even use a fourth book. I have the end of the third book right where I want it. A new series? I hope so! I just need to get one sold!
Okay, now time for some personal questions!
Ashlyn: As we asked from YA in Bloom (check out my YA in Bloom post here!), what is your writing routine/ritual?
Katie:I don’t really have a ritual. My main routine is to avoid writing until the last possible minute and then go insane working until the seconds are ticking down on my deadline.
Ashlyn: Was there anything that made you know, or gave you a feeling that you were going to become an author?
Katie: When I was in third grade, I had to write stories for school. I loved it so much that I never stopped thinking about writing after that. I wrote all through high school and college. And then when I was in my twenties, it dawned on me that this was something regular people could actually do—write a book and even get it published.
Ashlyn: What was the best writing advice that someone has ever given to you?
Katie: I don’t always follow this advice, but my husband’s great aunt, who is a wonderful and prominent artist, once told me that when she paints, she has to work every day, or she starts to feel like a stranger, too much distance from her work. And that’s definitely true—when I’m in a groove and writing every day, it’s much easier to sit down and get the work done. It keeps me from being afraid of the task at hand.
Ashlyn: Which character are you like most in your books?
Katie: Oh, gosh. You know, I would have said Alexis before, but in a lot of ways I’m kind of like Kasey. Kasey is a little more serious than Alexis… although I really like to be a smart aleck… I guess I’m a pretty good mix!
Ashlyn: Are YOU in a club similar to the Sunshine Club?
Katie: Ha! No! They’d never have me! But when I was a senior in high school, my friends and I called ourselves the Mean Girls (and this was looong before the Lindsey Lohan movie). Basically, due to block scheduling and graduation requirements, we spent one semester having PE four hours a day, two days a week (and two hours on Fridays). There were about eight of us seniors in a class full of freshmen.
So to keep ourselves from dying of boredom, we set out to sabotage every game. In volleyball, when it was time to rotate, we’d all spin in circles. And in tee-ball, we’d swing for the tee instead of the ball, and when we were on base we’d heckle the batter like in an old movie. We’d play Spud (where you throw the ball in the air and call out a number), and we’d have given everyone the same number. Stuff like that. It was just our way of dealing with the mind-numbingness of it all. I mean, literally, most of us would go from AP Chemistry to four hours of PE. But I absolutely cherish the memories.
And that was an interesting time for me, because I’d always been one of those girls who hangs out with mostly boys. Hanging out with the girls, I realized—girls are awesome. Which is still how I feel! It’s why I love my readers so much. ❖
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