Interview: K. R. Conway, author of ‘Undertow’

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If you could be any character in your book (and receive their powers as well, if they have any), which would you be and what would you do?

kr conwayOh dang . . . Ummm. I’d be Ana Lane I guess – car fanatic, surfer girl, and basically an emotional psychic on crack who is pursued by a gorgeous and devoted guy named Kian. But I am lucky enough to have a real crew of teenaged models who I get to see on a regular basis. I found Cape Cod teenagers from the real Barnstable High School on Facebook that looked like the characters (at least, in my mind) and they were brave enough to become the models in a fancy-shmancy studio we use. So yeah – Raef, Kian, MJ, Ana and Kian text me all the time – LOL.

Do you incorporate yourself into your characters’ personalities? If so, which character are you most like?

I think all authors pull from what they “know” so yeah, I’d say Eila’s dry humor is me, the craziness of MJ is me, and Ana’s take-no-crap attitude is me. Of course, all those personality traits help in my other job: driving a school bus.

What do you aim to teach your readers through your books?

Strength, perseverance, and devotion. I want my female readers to be bold and strong, and my male readers to understand that being protective does not equal being controlling. I want teenagers to see relationships painted in a positive light and that every relationship must be a balance of one another.

Where did you get the inspiration for your characters’ names? 

Kian, Raef, and Christian were all on my list of boy names for my son (he ended up as “Finn”). Jesse was a dear friend in high school as was MJ. Nikki is my niece’s name, and Mae is my daughter’s middle name. Ana, Eila, Rillin, and Collette were all just made up, though they seemed to fit the characters.

Have you always known that you wanted to become a writer?

HAHAHAHAHA – NO. I have a degree in Forensic Psychology from Mount Holyoke College (Criminal Minds type-thing), but while I was in college professors would say I had a “knack” for writing (I figured they were all high on something). Then I came out of college and was asked to interview an artist. From there other magazines and newspapers began approaching me. That was 16 years ago and the rest is history. I now teach fiction craft to teenagers at libraries and high schools. Truth = no one is born a writer, but you CAN be born a storyteller. Learning HOW to tell the story – that’s what I teach.

Do you have any routines before writing to get the creative juices flowing?

Walking and driving actually allow my mind to wander and thus, begin writing in my head (I occasionally have missed a bus stop or two, LOL). I am a rocker-girl at heart, so I listen to music non-stop while I write and blog. I just saw Paramore, Fall Out Boy, and New Politics in Mansfield. AWESOME!

Which scene(s) did you enjoy writing the most? — in Undertow or Stormfront, or both.

Oh man . . .  The bonfire scene in UNDERTOW I enjoyed writing because I had just been at the boardwalk the night before with my daughter. It is also that crazy turning point in the book when readers suddenly realize I am a seriously deranged writer. I had a lot of fun writing STORMFRONT, but I laughed myself silly writing the scene where MJ convinces Eila to become a criminal. I also spent a great deal of time writing a certain scene between Eila and Raef on the yacht. I think I rewrote it 10 times. The next book I hope to have out is Kian and Ana’s story, known as CRUEL SUMMER.

If you could give one advice to every human on earth, what would it be?

Never judge someone if you have never walked in their shoes. So much hate is based on ignorance of the other person, race, or country. All it takes is a moment to step back and realise you may not know where the other person is coming from and that your hate is unwarranted.

Book Blurb

Luckless Eila is unknowingly the last of her kind: Rare. Gifted. Breakable. Stunning Raef is her kind’s historic enemy: Soulless. Lethal. Lost. A legendary death 160 years before would set their lives to collide, forcing a beautiful killer to become a savior, a simple wallflower to become a warrior, and ruthless destiny to become a death sentence.

Seventeen-year-old Eila Walker’s new home has defied the brutal Atlantic for over 160 years. Abandoned since her 4th great grandmother Elizabeth vanished, the town legend declares that she drowned . . . or was struck by lightning.

Unbeknownst to the town and Eila, however, is that someone does know what really happened to Elizabeth, and he has returned, determined to protect the last surviving Walker from a history of violence.

But what starts out as a quest for redemption, evolves into something more and soon young guardian, Raef, is forced to reveal the truth to Eila. As hidden secrets about their warring families come to light, Eila begins to realize that she may be their best shot at survival, even if it means following in her grandmother’s fearless footsteps to save her killer bodyguard.

Giveaway

Enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card (open internationally)!

About the Author

I have been a journalist for 15 years and serve on the Board of Directors for the Cape Cod Writers Center. I also drive a 16-ton school bus because I am ENTIRELY NUTS.

In addition to working jobs that should come with a warning label , I hold a BA in Psychos (Forensic Psych), torment the tourists about Jaws, and occasionally jump from the Town Neck bridge in an attempt to reclaim my youth.

I live on Cape Cod with two smallish humans who apparently are my kids, my fishing-obsessed husband, two canines (adept at both flatulence and snoring), and a cage-defiant lovebird that sleeps in a miniature tent. Nope – that’s not a type-o. The bird is quite the indoor camper.

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