The Girl and the Wolf: Interview with Kait Nolan
Kait’s here today to talk about her YA Paranormal novel, Red — in which Little Red Riding Hood falls in love with the Wolf and, as a result, creates a curse that follows her daughters down the family line to Elodie, the main character. I loved Red — great tension, lots of excitement and mystery, and a compelling romance–and I wanted to know more about Kait’s thought processes as she wrote about “monsters” both human and paranormal.
Q1: Why did you decide to retell Little Red Riding Hood?
Well, I’m a big fan of fairy tale reboots that do something different and interesting, and I got to wondering first, what would happen if Red fell in love with the wolf and then found myself really interested in the consequences of that life choice—waaaaaay on down the family line. And that’s how I got to Elodie. So Red isn’t so much a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood as an extrapolation.
Q2: Do Werewolves hold a special appeal for you? If so, why?
They do. I love them. Apparently. I’ve got three books with them so far. And honestly, I don’t know exactly what the appeal is. I find wolf pack behavior fascinating, and I like the idea of mates being something that’s much deeper than attraction. They seem a lot less, I don’t know, fickle than people.
Q3: Your non-human characters often show more compassion than the humans around them. As a writer, how hard is it to portray the “monsters” as sympathetic?
Not hard at all really. I have a harder time showing the humans as sympathetic, and I guess that’s because so often in real life people are very self-absorbed and caught up in their own stuff, not willing to look beyond their own prejudices or issues to trying to see the other person’s perspective. If you take a so-called monster, they’ve always been the odd one out, so I find it easier to make that sympathetic.
Q4: Smokin’ hot romance, Red’s got it. What are your thoughts on love scenes in YA? Is there a line you wouldn’t cross, or do you think anything goes?
There is a school of thought that there should be no sex in YA and that it should be some kind of moral or message that this kind of behavior is wrong. First off, I think those folks are living on some planet other than reality. Teens are having sex (whether they should or not isn’t really the point) and they’re going to likely throw those moralizing books at a wall. With that huge surge of hormones and all the confusion involved with coming of age, I think it serves a far better purpose to show characters struggling with these issues, show them coping, considering, and making informed decisions. I think it’s a reality that teens deal with and they need to see characters address the issue in a mature and responsible way. I think the most important thing is not to trivialize the consequences, whatever they are.
Q5: Elodie is a strong-willed main character–which I love. Do you think YA is showing a good trend toward female role-models? What books would you recommend?
I think it’s a mixed bag. Certainly there are a lot of fabulous strong-willed, smart heroines out there. Like Meghan Chase from Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, Aria from Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky, Rachel from C.J. Redwine’s Defiance, Alina from Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, or Karou from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. There are scads of others.
But for every one of them, I think there are probably others with weak, rather whiny heroines that are trying to capitalize on the formula made so popular with Twlight. So I think it’s our duty as writers to continue to show fantastic, unique, smart, capable heroines to counteract the Bella effect. Not that all women have to be physically able to kick-butt or survive alone on a mountain, but they should all have the inner strength to stand up for themselves, for what’s right, and to demand to be treated with equality and respect in their relationships.
Q6: Tell us a little bit about your journey in publishing Red.
Red was my first foray into YA. My background is almost entirely in adult romance (paranormal, romantic suspense, contemporary) except for WAAAAAY back when I was a teen and was writing more of what I wanted to read. It was a great deal of fun to write (even though Elodie kept frigging waking me up to talk about her issues at 3 in the morning) and has absolutely whetted my appetite for more stories about teens. So much so that I have two other YA trilogies in mind as I move forward. I chose to go ahead and self-publish Red as I had my adult paranormal romance because while I think it’s an interesting and different take on werewolves, traditional publishers all have one or more already in their pipelines and were not likely to be interested. So it’s enabled me to really begin to build a second fanbase among the YA community, which I hope to boost my appeal when my agent pitches the first of those YA trilogies to publishers in the spring. Fingers crossed!
Fingers crossed here, too! Thanks for stopping by!
Kait Nolan is stuck in an office all day, sometimes juggling all three of her jobs at once with the skill of a trained bear—sometimes with a similar temperament. After hours, she uses her powers for good, creating escapist fiction. The work of this Mississippi native is packed with action, romance, and the kinds of imaginative paranormal creatures you’d want to sweep you off your feet…or eat your boss. When she’s not working or writing, she’s in her kitchen, heading up a revolution to Retake Homemade from her cooking blog, Pots and Plots.
A passionate believer in helping others, she has founded a writing challenge designed forpeople who have a life (aka we NaNoWriMo rejects who can’t give everything up for the month of November). Please check out A Round of Words in 80 Days.