The Seven Deadly Sins take an even deadlier turn in Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki's Branded, an exciting new dystopian YA novel in which people are punished according to the sin they're deemed guilty of committing. The book's heroine, Lexi, is determined to survive and clear her name of a crime she didn't commit. Today, Abi and Missy dish on their partnership, the book's intriguing premise and which sin they'd be accused of committing! And stay tuned to the end for an exciting giveaway. Take a look:
IHow did you two meet and how did your writing partnership come together?
Abi and Missy: We met in college in 1999 and have been best friends ever since. We used to get together every month and go over books that we both had read. And there was always something that we agreed we would have done differently, or would have changed in some ways. So joking around we said that the only way we would ever love a book 100%, was if we wrote it ourselves.
What has been the most challenging part about writing together? The most rewarding?
Abi and Missy: We both have different strengths we bring to the table, and so capitalizing on those strengths came easy. It’s fun for us and we mesh really well. There are definitely bonuses, too. We can critique each other’s writing, we spur each other on with new ideas for scenes and characters and we get to share in the highs and lows of being writers. The most challenging is finding enough time to write because we both have young children and our main focus has always been our families.
What was the original spark that inspired Branded and the dystopian world you’ve created?
Missy: The seven deadly sins came from Abi. She thought of the scarlet letter and how that was used to publically humiliate the main character. She went on to ask herself what else would cause this kind of humiliation. And that’s when she came up with the seven deadly sins. The branding around the neck came into play simply because it was the best way to show the color of the sin they had committed. Then we started thinking about what a jail would be like without bars, and no one there to help protect the prisoners, or break up any violence.
Who’s your favorite character from the book and why?
Abi: Lexi, because she’s a mix of Missy and myself, she has some of our strengths and even our faults. We wanted to make Lexi as realistic as possible. So that our readers could relate to her and hopefully learn from her. But, of course, I loved writing Zeus. How could you not?
If you were accused of perpetuating one of the Seven Deadly Sins, which one would fit you most?
Abi and Missy: We would both have to say Wrath, because we have a kick-butt attitude. HA!
Branded was originally self-published, but has now found a home with Month9Books. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience making the move?
Abi and Missy: Well, first of all it was something we never expected to happen. After so many rejections, because it’s a dystopian novel, we pretty much accepted the fact that self-publishing our series was our only option. So when our agent emailed us saying we had an offer from Month9books, we were in complete shock. The transition went smoothly. We worked together to get everything done and we are so excited to be with Georgia and Month9books.
What can you tell us about the sequel?
Abi and Missy: Hunted and book 3 are extremely different from Branded, but full of action and suspense. We hope Hunted lives up to its name and that people enjoy it as much as they enjoyed Branded. You’ll learn more about Sutton, Lexi and Cole’s pasts. We hope to keep you hopping with action and as engaged as Branded.
Thanks to Month9Books, we have one paperback copy of Branded to give away to a lucky U.S. reader and one e-book copy for an International bookworm. The contest will conclude next Tuesday, August 26, at 12:00 AM EST. Enter using the appropriate widget below. Good luck!
Branded is available now, so be sure to purchase your copy today! For more author interviews and giveaways, visit our Everything YA page!