Meet The Newbies is a blog event co-hosted by Dana @DanaSquare and I, in which we introduce you to all of the new kids in school, the 2015 debut authors!
Meet Lee Kelly:
City of Savages is her first novel. Visit her at NewWriteCity.com.
Meet Her Debut Novel:
When strangers arrive in the park, carrying a shocking message, Sky and Phee discover there’s more to Manhattan—and their family—than either of them had imagined. As disturbing secrets about the island begin to surface, Sky and Phee have no choice but to break the rules to uncover the full truth of their long-shrouded history. When their search for answers erupts into violence, the girls must flee into Manhattan’s depths, where their quest for a better future will force them to confront the island’s dark and shocking past.
Lee Kelly’s gripping debut novel is a pulse-pounding journey through a city that’s as strange as it is familiar, where nothing is black-and-white and buried secrets can haunt.
Describe your book in five words or less.
Sisters, war-torn NYC, family secrets
What’s your favorite part of being a debut author?
Definitely the camaraderie of the YA community, both online and in real life -- it's been so much fun getting to interact with such a supportive and amazing group of writers and readers!
What was your favorite thing about the first day of a new school year?
The new school supplies, haha -- I LOVE me a new notebook, and remember getting so excited about going to Staples to load up on all of the new gear for school (I still get excited for new supplies like this when I start a new writing project actually). A very close second is those first few whirlwind days of hearing what everyone has been up to over the summer and settling into a new routine.
City of Savages contains such a strong sisterly bond, how did you develop their relationship? What is your favorite part of their relationship?
Thank you! It was really important to me that I capture the ups and downs of sisterhood -- how complicated and multifaceted the relationship is, and how quickly sisters can go from being best friends to rivals to each other's greatest hurdles (or champions). I borrowed from my own experience as a sister in writing Sky and Phee's relationship: even though I've obviously never experienced what they endure in the book :), I tried to focus on the feelings I have that are all tied up with my own memories of growing up with my sisters, and really pour that messy knot of feelings onto the page, if that makes sense.
And my favorite parts to write between the sisters? Probably the banter scenes, the lighter scenes where they're just having fun and engaging in their own conversational rhythm -- I find sisters have a way of "shortcutting" speech, almost like they have their own language since they've grown up together and have been through so much together, and it was really fun to try and capture this in the novel.
City of Savages takes place in NYC. What are your favorite things to do there?
I lived in New York for nearly a decade, and I miss it (we moved out to the NJ suburbs when my son was born). My husband and I used to go out to dinner and try new restaurants constantly -- the selection in NYC is insane. I'm also CRAZY about coffee, and New York has an indy coffee shop on pretty much every corner :). I used to write and spend a lot of time reading at Joe the Art of Coffee and News Bar in our old neighborhood.
What has your writing journey been like?
Oh man, I've wanted to write creatively since I've been about five -- and I have the paperback self-bound stories to prove it. But it wasn't until after college that I started realizing that in order to be a writer, I had to actually continually write (and not just think or talk about doing it :), and it wasn't until after law school that I finally managed to get into a groove of writing a little bit every day. Once I found my rhythm, a little became a lot, and CITY OF SAVAGES began to take shape in the mornings before I went to work at my law firm. I've tried to write, no matter how busy things are -- if even just a sentence -- every day since.
What other projects are you working on?
I'm currently in copy-edits on my next novel with Simon & Schuster called A CRIMINAL MAGIC, a magical realism novel that follows two bootlegging sorcerers through an alternative Prohibition-era America (one where magic has been prohibited). I'm also revising a middle grade project I've been tinkering with for a long time, called MYTHIC, where a girl struggling with her father's early on-set Alzheimer's realizes that some of his fantasies might be real. And I'm in that fun beginning stage of plotting a new YA novel -- but like all ideas, I need to feel out if it's a fling or if there's long-term potential :)!
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