Interview: Katherine Longshore Debut YA Gilt

Hi guys! Please welcome debut author Katherine Longshore to YA Bound! Her Historical YA Gilt releases later this spring, and she's here to tell us a little about it now. Make sure to check out her links to find out more about Katherine and Gilt!

Katherine, you’ve traveled the world. And I don’t mean went a few places here and there, you’ve traveled the world. How has a life of travel and exploring impacted your writing?
There’s that old saying “write what you know”, which, if taken literally, is a crock.  You can’t know what a post-apocalyptic world is like, or another dimension reached through the doors of back alleys, or what it feels like to be a teenage girl dying from cancer, or what it was really like to live in the Tudor court.  But what we can do is write from our experiences and use them to fill our imaginary world with the rich sensory details and emotional affluence that make a story seem true no matter where or when it’s set.  Traveling showed me joys and beauty and faith and betrayal and horrors that would have been unimaginable to me in my tidy little northern California life.  Sure, Greenwich Palace is vastly different from sub-Saharan Africa or Taipei or even modern England, but humanity is the same no matter where you go, in all its grace and ugliness.  Traveling gave my life texture and richness that I try to apply to my writing. 

You have a background in acting and theater. How has this helped you delve deeper into the creation of your characters? Is there anything you do differently than most writers to get into your characters’ minds?
I think most writers do a lot of background work – writing out backstory to prompt motivations, creating character checklists to include favorite colors, flavors, pets’ names, fears, theme songs, you name it.  In early acting classes, my teachers called this “character study” and it applies as easily to the page as it does to the stage. And it’s my favorite part of writing, just as it was my favorite part of acting.  Stepping into a new character is almost as great an emotional high as setting foot in a different country.  The beginning of an adventure.

Your debut novel, GILT, is all about the Tudor age. I’m a huge history buff and lover of Historical fiction. Can you tell your fans a little about the Tudor age and what we can expect from GILT?
Hooray for fans of historical fiction!  I'm hoping that books like GILT, J. Anderson Coats’s THE WICKED AND THE JUST, Philippa Gregory’s YA series and the Dark Waters series (starting with VENOM) by Fiona Paul will get more teenagers interested in the genre.  It's not all good girls and textbook situations.  But it's not all sex and glamour either.  A.C. Gaughen finds the balance really well in her Robin Hood retelling, SCARLET.
The Tudor age was full of change and upheaval.  It saw the Protestant Reformation, the first queen to rule a (mostly) peaceful England, voyages to the New World and beyond.  It was the Renaissance -- a world in which men were artists and academics and warriors and statesmen all at once.  The fashions accentuated the positive (small waists, large codpieces) and diminished the negative (Henry's girth never showed up as a muffin top, a beer belly or a builder's bum -- he wore clothes smashingly throughout his reign).  But it was an age that was by no means civilized as we know it today.  Men and dogs peed in the corners of the dining halls.  All kinds of waste was thrown out into the streets and rivers -- it's no wonder people thought water was bad for you.  Life itself was cheap -- sometimes not worth the scaffold used to hang a person.  The Tudor age was brilliant, bejeweled, extravagant, violent, dangerous and dirty.  What’s not to love?  I hope I show a little of all of this in GILT.

Your main character, Kitty, not only finds herself in the middle of this glamorous yet confusing new life, but also caught between two young men. Personally, I’m a fan of a good love triangle, but others have voiced their dislike. How is this love triangle essential to the story, and please, tell me there is mad romance involved?
I kind of came at the love triangle through the backdoor. It comes about organically, from the characters themselves.  It isn't Kitty's choices, but Cat's manipulations that make it come about.  Kitty's conflict is between the boy she thinks she is falling in love with and the one Cat has chosen for her. This paved the way for me to write about the difference between an emotional connection in a relationship and a physical one, and how the two can be confused.  But the main relationship in the novel is the one between friends, and that’s the story I truly wanted to tell.

Will GILT be a series? If so, how many can we expect? Do you currently have any other works in progress, and can we count on them being Historical also or something else entirely?
GILT is the first of three novels in the Royal Circle series.  They're all set in Henry VIII's court, but focus on different characters and time periods. The next book is set decades earlier and includes a younger (and much sexier) Henry.  And at the moment, a love quintangle.  But I’m still revising.
And past that?  Like most writers, I hope to keep doing this for a long time, taking on each story and each character as they come.  I have a dream project that’s historical, but very different from the Royal Circle.  And a few contemporary novels winking at me from the wings.  I’m prepared to be surprised by whichever character steps into the limelight next.

Hardcover, 398 pages
Expected publication: May 15th 2012 by Viking Juvenile

In the Tudor age, ambition, power and charismatic allure are essential and Catherine Howard has plenty of all three. Not to mention her loyal best friend, Kitty Tylney, to help cover her tracks. Kitty, the abandoned youngest daughter of minor aristocracy, owes everything to Cat – where she is, what she is, even who she is. Friend, flirt, and self-proclaimed Queen of Misrule, Cat reigns supreme in a loyal court of girls under the none-too-watchful eye of the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk.

When Cat worms her way into the heart of Henry VIII and becomes Queen of England, Kitty is thrown into the intoxicating Tudor Court. It’s a world of glittering jewels and elegant costumes, of gossip and deception. As the Queen’s right-hand-woman, Kitty goes from the girl nobody noticed to being caught between two men – the object of her affection and the object of her desire.

But the atmosphere of the court turns from dazzling to deadly, and Kitty is forced to learn the difference between trust and loyalty, love and lust, secrets and treason. And to accept the consequences when some lessons are learned too late.

1 comment:

  1. I am hoping this year will be the start of a Renaissance (pun totally intended) for historical YA. I think there is a perception that historical = dusty and boring. I can't wait for the books Katherine mentioned to come out (along with Eve Marie Mont's A Breath of Eyre and Jess Spotswood's Cahill Witch Chronicles, the first of which has already streeted) and crush that idea to bits :)

    And of course, thanks for the Venom shout-out, Katherine :)