On December 13th, 2021, I conducted an interview with the author of the Gravemaidens duology, Kelly Coon. I gave her some questions to answer about her books and here are her responses.
Question 1: What inspired you to write Gravemaidens duology?
Coon’s response: I’ve always been fascinated by ancient tombs and old graveyards. Walking around headstones that are hundreds of years old or seeing ruins that were built by someone thousands of years ago just gives me chills! I always wonder who those people were. Were they anything like me? Did they stand right where I’m standing and look up at the sky and wonder if it was going to rain? Since this kind of stuff is super interesting to me, I naturally read a lot about it. One day, I was reading about tombs in Mesopotamia and happened upon a story about a queen who was buried with three maidens who had been sacrificed and placed at her side to serve her in the afterlife. I wondered who those girls were and what they might have been promised to agree to give up their lives. I also wondered…had they agreed at all? Or were they forced? Then I wondered how I would feel if one of those girls had been my sister, and what I might do to protect her from her gruesome fate. So, Kammani and Nanaea came to be.
Question 2: If you could have any character from another book, who would it be?
Coon’s response: I love Lou from Serpent & Dove! She’s sassy, brave, and fierce—all the things that I love most about characters.
Question 3: Which character was the hardest to write about?
Coon’s response: Nanaea came to be because of two people: my older sister and my younger cousin, who is like a sister to me. They aren’t really like Nanaea, per se, but the fierce protectiveness that Kammani feels toward Nanaea is inspired by how I feel toward my sister and my cousin. Because of some personal relationship issues related to my sister, Nanaea was the most difficult to write.
Question 4: If you could have a dream cast of your characters in a movie, who would play which character?
Coon’s response: Oh gosh, this is hard! I might choose Mayan El Sayed for Kammani and someone like Zayn Malik for Dagan. Nanaea would have to be Malak Zaher.
Question 5: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Coon’s response: Both! I know that tropes like childhood friends to lovers is popular, so I included it in my book, but I also wanted to subvert it, by making it a small subplot instead of the main goal of Kammani’s.
Question 6: Are there any authors that inspired you to write Gravemaidens duology?
Coon’s response: I loved The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh and also The Ash Princess series by Laura Sebastian. Those two authors have been inspirations to me for a long time.
Question 7: Is there any movie character that any of your characters could relate to?
Coon’s response: I think Kammani would relate to Hermione Granger! They’re both nerds who are trying to do the right thing and always have to be responsible when other people are making reckless decisions.
I had a wonderful interview with Kelly Coon. Please support her and these other amazing authors that write these excellent books. I will be doing more interviews and kicking out more content. If you liked this interview, go on tomorrow for my interview with New York Times bestselling author Shelby Mahurin!