Thursday, January 9, 2014

Kelley Armstrong Interview

Well it seems that January has turned into Kelley Armstrong month here at The Serial Vigilante Blog. I contacted Kelley Armstrong and asked her about the Nadia Stafford series.

Brad: Nadia Stafford is a fascinating creation with a rich back story. Tell us what sparked the idea of an ex-cop turned hitwoman.

Kelley: I started writing Exit Strategy way back in 2003. I was done the 3rd in my Otherworld series, but the release date on the 2nd one kept being pushed back, and the publisher hadn't bought the 3rd yet. I was getting very worried that my new career as an author was about to tank. To calm me down, my agent suggested I write something different. We talked about it and I said I'd be interested in a thriller without paranormal elements. I wanted something with the same dark elements as my paranormal fiction, though, and I didn't want the traditional detectives--police, PI, lawyers, amateur sleuths etc. She suggested a criminal protagonist and I latched onto that idea and decided that the type that would interest me the most was, naturally, the darkest one: a professional killer.

Brad: You've cited Stephen King and Anne Rice as writing influences on your Otherworld series. Which crime writers have influenced your writing?

Kelley: Oh, there are plenty! While I read a lot of horror and paranormal fiction, I read more crime/mystery. I grew up on Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy Sayers. You won't see a lot of them reflected in the Nadia books, though. My influences there are far more modern. I love dark or psychological thrillers and I'm a huge fan of Jonathan Kellerman, John Connolly and Karin Slaughter. One series that did influence this one was the Carol O'Connell Mallory series. It was the first time I'd seen a female protagonist who was a clear anti-hero. Nadia isn't as dark as Mallory, but she was an influence.

Brad: I've read that you weren't comfortable with the idea that Nadia was an ethical hitwoman, at the time you made that statement Exit Strategy was still being written. Has you opinion changed since you completed the book?

Kelley: My publishers described the series as "ex-cop turned ethical hitwoman." While I know what they were trying to say--Nadia has her own moral code and won't just do any contract--I think "ethical" is pushing it. What I've tried to do with the series is explore ideas of justice and, yes, ethics, but I don't offer conclusions, such as saying that what Nadia does is ethical.

Brad: In your Otherworld books, you have a rotating cast of narrators. In the Nadia Stafford books, you have stuck with just Nadia. Will potential future volumes change narrators or will we continue to follow Nadia?

Kelley: I see this as a short series, following a character arc. There would only be another book or two before I completed Nadia's arc. After that, I'd like to continue in crime thrillers and in this darker vein, but it would be a completely new set of books, rather than spinning off to a character from the first set, as I do with the Otherworld.

Brad: Nadia is reluctant to embrace the idea of becoming a vigilante. What are your thoughts on vigilantism?

Kelley: Honestly, I don't have a firm opinion. I think, in some ways, Nadia and I are exploring it together. I don't have a problem with the purest form of vigilantism, where action is taken where traditional justice has failed. But there's such a capacity for abuse. The zeal for justice may over-ride reason--the vigilante may act without sufficient proof or inflict a punishment worse than the crime. And it may attract those who are less interested in justice than simply having an excuse to commit violence.

Brad: Will we be seeing more of Nadia Stafford and her world? I'd love to see Quinn take centre stage, or Evelyn back in the day.

Kelley: I do plan at least one more book, and I'd love to do some short fiction with the other characters. While I get many requests to contribute stories to paranormal anthologies (more than I can handle!), I'm not yet getting them for mystery/crime ones, which would be the perfect excuse to expand Nadia's world. Maybe someday!

Well that wraps up my first interview and I am extremely grateful to Kelley for her time and thoughful answers to my questions. For more on Kelley Armstrong and her books visit her site

No comments:

Post a Comment