We love discovering debut authors — and a duo is even sweeter! Meet Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas, who met in college and wrote a novel together — even though they now live cross country. Their debut, These Vicious Masks, is out next week. We caught up with them to hear more, because we're nosey like that.
Name: Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas
Book: These Vicious Masks
Jane Austen meets X-Men in this gripping tale as Evelyn
Wyndham searches Victorian London for her missing sister. With the help of the vexingly brooding Sebastian Braddock, Evelyn discovers there are people with extraordinary powers—and she is one of them.
What is the first line of your book?
"Death. This carriage was taking me to my death."
Author Icon: Kelly's is Jude Morgan, Tarun's is Oscar Wilde, and the one we share is Jane Austen.
Favorite word: Kelly's is "visceral" and Tarun's is "susurrus."
Current Home: Kelly is in NYC and Tarun is in LA
Was this the first full-length novel you ever wrote?
Yes indeed! We kept hearing advice that you needed to write a few manuscripts that would never see the light of day before you wrote one good enough to be published, but our stubborn love for these characters kept us working on this one for years.
You started writing These Vicious Masks in college. How is your life now different from your student days?
Well, the whole "needing jobs" thing is pretty annoying! We also now live in different states and write from different time zones. Finding time to write is harder and we can't use school vacations anymore. It's definitely a challenge, but we're always texting each other ideas and emailing chapters when we can, so it just becomes one very long, fun conversation.
What was it like when you got "The Call"? We actually got a mysterious email about setting up "The Call" for the next day, so we spent 24 hours going through all the possible scenarios and emotions. We didn't believe it was real. We worried maybe they wanted to tell us to give up writing forever. Then when it finally sunk in, well, it was what we had been striving toward for six years. There was relief and then excitement that we'd get to share the book with the world. When we finally got on the phone the next day, we were able to act somewhat normal!
Thanks for sharing! These Vicious Masks will be available in print and digital Tuesday, February 9. You can preorder your copy here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | IndieBound. And for more Young Adult fun, visit our Everything YA page!