Darkbeast Rebellion Author Interview + Give Away

So you all know by now that Mindy Klasky/Morgan Keyes is a friend of mine. And she's a wonderful writer - her stories are smart, snarky, fun, and entertaining.  Once again I've invited her to my blog to talk about her latest book, DARKBEAST REBELLION, the second book in her Darkbeast series.  I interviewed her last year about DARKBEAST you can read it here: http://officialmariavsnyder.blogspot.com/2012/09/darkbeast-author-interview-giveaway.html

For this interview, Mindy/Morgan has generously offered to send TWO commenters a paperback copy of DARKBEAST and a hardback copy of DARKBEAST REBELLION - two books for one comment! To enter, leave a comment by October 20th, 2013 and please include an email address so I can contact you. (Goodreads friends don't need to leave an email addy).  The give away is open to USA residents only.

Cover copy:
Keara, her friend Goran, and the wily old actor, Taggart, are fleeing for their lives. They have all spared their darkbeasts, the creatures that take on their darker deeds and emotions and lift their spirits. But their actions defy the law, which dictates that all citizens must kill their darkbeasts on their twelfth birthdays.

There are rumors of safe havens, groups of people called Darkers who spared their darkbeasts and live outside the law. To find the Darkers, the trio must embark on a dangerous journey—and evade the Inquisitors who are searching for them everywhere. In the middle of winter, freezing and exhausted, Keara and her companions are taken to an underground encampment that seems the answer to all their hopes. But are these Darkers really what they appear to be?

Q&A with Mindy/Morgan Keyes:

1. DARKBEAST REBELLION is the second book in the Darkbeast series.  What's in store for Keara and her companions?

In DARKBEAST REBELLION, Keara begins to realize that the world is a much larger and more complicated place than she ever knew before.  Her initial decision to save her best friend (her darkbeast Caw) leads her on a search for allies against the secular government and the religious hierarchy of her land.  Along the way, she meets new friends – and a few people who might turn out to be enemies.

2. Do you find writing a second book in a series to be harder than the first or easier?

Um, both?  A second book is harder than a first because there are restrictions on the story I can tell – I can't go back and say, "Oh, yeah, everyone has the ability to read minds, I just forgot to tell you that in the first book."

But a second book is easier, because of those very restrictions.  I no longer need to figure out who the Twelve Gods of Duodecia are.  And I don't have to work out the details of the map and the calendar and all those other fiddly bits of worldbuilding.  (That assumes, of course, that I keep good notes J )

3. You used a pseudonym for these books. Has it been difficult keeping your two identities separate?

I'm becoming more and more accustomed to being "Morgan Keyes".  I recently signed several cases of books at Books of Wonder (the amazing children's bookstore in New York City), and I didn't start to write the wrong name once!

I just hosted the book launch for DARKBEAST REBELLION, at the great local-to-me children's bookstore Hooray for Books.  I invited two other authors to join me for the launch – Catherine Jinks and Jonathan Auxier.  At the end of the event, which was attended by many of my friends, in addition to general bookstore patrons, Jonathan came up to me and asked, "What are those people calling you?"  That's when I realized I answered equally well to Morgan and to Mindy!

(Morgan actually keeps a much lower profile than Mindy, because the majority of Morgan's readers are too young to be on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.)

4. Over the course of your career, you've written dark fantasy, chick lit, humor, romance, and middle-grade novels. Do you have a favorite?  And what genre are you going to tackle next?

My favorite is actually "whatever I'm writing at the time."  I adore the detailed worldbuilding of books like the Darkbeast Series, where I get to sort through the causes and effects of entire social structures.  I enjoy the lyrical prose and the search for specific words, almost as if I were writing poetry.

At other times, I truly enjoy trying to be bright and contemporary and sassy and funny, with my light paranormals like the Jane Madison Academy Series.  I love putting my characters into absurd situations and watching them squirm as they try to figure their way out.

Right now, I'm working on a series of very spicy short novels, all romances built around the imaginary Raleigh Rockets baseball team.  I'm having a great time writing from both the hero and the heroine's point of view, especially when I can show them misunderstanding each other because of essential gender differences.

5. What has been the best thing about writing for younger readers?  Have you done any school visits?

My favorite part of writing for younger readers is meeting those readers.  Sometimes, that happens by mail (traditional handwritten letters or email), and sometimes that happens in person.  When I was in school, I loved talking to authors who visited, and I can still remember some of those conversations, word for word.  I hope that I can bring similar memories to budding writers today.

I've gone on many school visits, but I'm always up for more!  My visits have varied from spending an entire day, meeting with all six classes of seventh-grade English (and repeating myself a lot during the day!) to a single assembly where all the kids in two grades are brought into an all-purpose room to hear me speak.  One of my favorite visits was to a third-grade class, where the kids were having a Reader Leader party, celebrating their collectively reading 100,000 minutes since the beginning of the school year.

6. You've also done a mix of traditional publishing and self-publishing.  Do you find that you're reaching a wider audience this way?

While traditional publishing and self publishing form two bright lines for writers, most readers don't really care how their books get to market.  I try to use each system to maximize the audience for particular types of books.

For example, most kids still read books on paper, and many of them get those books from their school libraries.  Therefore, it makes sense for the Darkbeast Series to be published traditionally, where print books make their way to a vast variety of bookstores and libraries.

By contrast, many adults read electronic books, especially romance readers.  Therefore, it makes sense for my Jane Madison Academy series to be published electronically through self-publishing.

One of the great advantages for self-publishing is that I can experiment with reaching out to different audiences.  For example, I've joined up with five other authors who have books similar to my GIRL'S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT, and we've put all six of our books on sale as SIX TIMES A CHARM – six novels for less than a dollar [http://www.amazon.com/Six-Times-a-Charm-ebook/dp/B00FBFQ5JY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381715002&sr=1-1&keywords=six+times+a+charm]. We've sold thousands of copies in the past few weeks, many of which were bought by people who'd never heard of me (but had heard of my co-authors.)  I hope to meet a whole new group of readers through this limited time offer.

7. Despite the method of publication, the lion's share of promotion has always been on the author. What have you found to be the best way to spread the word about your books?

I've always loved meeting readers in person –- at bookstore readings and conventions and literary book festivals.  But the sad fact is that those events are expensive to travel to, and relatively few people can attend any one event.

Therefore, I've really pushed to build online communities.  I post several times most days to my Facebook page – blog posts where I ruminate about a wide range of topics, quick status reports where I make comments about the world around me, and desperate questions where I ask my Facebook friends to help me with writing problems, like naming characters, figuring out the comfort food a character eats, or the design of a character's engagement ring.

8. Let's dish about traveling! You, like me, love to travel and have recently gone to Italy.  Do your travel adventures play a role in your fiction?

I do love too travel, and I keep electronic diaries while I'm on the road, complete with a lot of photographs.  I rarely take a trip wholesale and drop it into a novel (it'll be a long time before anyone reads "Jane Madison Goes to Rome"), but I always pluck details from my trips and use them in modified ways.

For example, when I was in Italy, I took a day to go to Ostia, the ruins of the ancient Roman port.  Those ruins include a series of shops, where each of the rooms has a tiled floor, illustrating what was sold in that shop (amphorae filled with olive oil, fish, bread, etc.)  Those ruined shops became a key setting for important events in DARKBEAST REBELLION!

9. You've been researching baseball for a series of novellas.  How much time did you spend doing the research?  Are you a baseball fan?  If so, who's your favorite team? 

"Doing research" sounds so glamorous, doesn't it?  In this case, my research consisted of pulling on my Washington Nationals T-shirt and heading down to Nationals Park – 20 times in the past season.

I never watched baseball while I was growing up, and I definitely never played the game (or softball.)  But I married a lifelong Red Sox fan, and I quickly started to learn about the sport because it was on nearly every night, from March until October.  In between knitting and quilting projects, I discovered that I actually enjoyed watching the game – a truth revealed to me when I was on a business trip and actually went out of my way to buy a local newspaper and look up box scores from the night before!

The Nationals are my favorite National League team, and the Red Sox are my favorite American League team.  When they ultimately meet in the World Series, I'll be a happy fan, because one of my favorite teams will win!

10. Will there be a third book in the Darkbeast series?  How many books are planned?

I have several more stories that I want to tell about Keara, Caw, and their friends.  At the moment, though, I don't have a contract for those books.  (The more copies of DARKBEAST REBELLION that sell, though, the more likely I am to line up that contract in the next couple of months!)

Thank you so much, Maria, for allowing me to visit! [You're welcome anytime!]
Links to Mindy/Morgan:
Morgan Keyes website: http://www.morgankeyes.com/
Mindy Klasky website: http://www.mindyklasky.com/


  1. This series sounds really good. I will have to add them to my goodreads list so that even if I do not get them I am able to check them out again later.

    I also really love these covers, they are different but pretty.

    Shinyxoxmuffins at gmail dot com

    Thanks so much!

  2. I just finished reading DARKBEAST REBELLION--I love Keara's story, and finding out more about her and her friends was a true joy. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for book 3! [No need to enter me in the contest, since I already own both books!]

  3. The covers are beautiful! I am adding these books to my TBR! Thanks for the post and giveaway!


  4. My daughter and I loved Darkbeast. We'd love to read Darkbeast Rebellion!

  5. OMG I absolutely loved Darkbeast. I'm so glad that there is another book to read. Darkbest Rebellion sounds utterly fantastic!

    kellis_amberlee at yahoo dot com

  6. I've had my eye on Darkbeast for a while, but this is the first I'm hearing about a sequel for it! Yay!

    I love the part of the interview where you talk about responding to the two names. Hilarious! Also very interesting about targeting different readers with different publishing approaches.

    smallreview at yahoo dot com

    1. Congrats Small Review! You're one of the winners! Look for an email from me soon!

  7. Sounds like an amazing series!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  8. I love Mindy's books! I can't wait to read this series!

    cfsresearcher.cg (at) gmail (dot) com

  9. This looks great! Thanks for the giveaway!
    mestith at gmail dot com

  10. This is so exciting! I remember the Darkbeast giveaway from last year and how interested it got me into the series and Mindy! I still have not had a chance to read the series however so this giveaway is awesome!!

    1. Congrats Tayler! You're one of the winners! Look for an email from me soon!

  11. Hi!
    I know this doesn't have anything to do with this post, but I have just finished reading Inside Out (Which I loved beyond words) and I was wondering if you knew how I could get hold of a copy of Outside in in the UK without spending £30!?
    I have looked in all the high street book shops and online, but I can't seem to find any new paper back copies. the only ones I can find are ebooks or copies that are ex library of are £30+

    I you don't know, then I understand, but I thought I might as well give you a go.

    thank you!

    1. Amber, I might be able to help you out - email me at maria (at) mariavsnyder (dot) com :)

    2. thanks! I sent an email. hopefully you got it :)

  12. Congratulations on your golden leaf award! I love your books and appreciate all of the hard work you put into them!

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  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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