New York Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong doesn’t seem to mind the difficult parts of her job. The 45-year-old Ontario, Canada, native focused since childhood on becoming a writer, and while she had to delay pursuing that goal during her own children’s early years, she returned to it as quickly as she could.
Like most writers, she struggled to find an agent and publisher, but once she did, the books poured out of her, an impressive torrent of series fiction for adults and young adults alike. One of her books, “Bitten,” was turned into a Syfy channel series that aired this year; odds seem good it’ll be picked up for another season.
“I’ve got over 20 books out,” Armstrong said Tuesday. “I’ve been writing all my life. ... This is, for me, a dream job. And I get paid for it!”
Since 2001, most of her books have been in the “urban fantasy” genre, a category defined largely by her and fellow authors Charlaine Harris and Laurell K. Hamilton. Her “Otherworld” series was aimed at adults, with spin-off trilogies from that world written for younger readers. “The Awakening” climbed to No. 1 on the best-sellers list.
As successful as she’s been as an urban fantasy writer, she felt called toward a somewhat different genre. Her new work debuted in April with the publication of “Sea of Shadows.”
“What I really wanted to do someday was high fantasy with some horror,” she said. “I wanted to step away from contemporary fantasy. This is another world based on a medieval world; in my case, it’s based on medieval Japan. There’s a lot of research that goes into it, but being fiction I don’t use words like ‘samurai’ or ‘katana.’ I don’t explain why the people eat rice all the time or sleep on pallets.”
It’s a fantasy world based on Japan’s real-world past. And the story, aimed at older teenagers and adults, sounds compelling, at least in Harper-Collins promotional materials.
“In ‘Sea of Shadows’ ... the Forest of the Dead is where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled,” according to a news release. “As Keeper and Seeker, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn must quiet the enraged souls of the damned. Only this year, the souls will not be quieted. Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters must journey to find each other, sending them far from the only home they’ve ever known.
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