May 10, 2015

Interview: Kallie Ross, Author of DESCENT and DEFEND #UtopYA

Over time my love for learning gravitated toward studying conspiracy theories and contradictions in our culture. My conclusions have ignited a passion to write compelling young adult fiction that incorporates legend, conjecture, fantasy, and conviction.
I love being a wife, mother, friend, writer, and teacher. I began teaching high school English in 2002 and started blogging and podcasting in 2008. I have a brilliant husband, two redheads, and never imagined my life would ever be this fun!

*What would you be doing right now if you were not an author?
I’m actually a High School English teacher. I’d probably continue teaching, but exchange writing time with travel time. I love exploring new places and learning about other cultures. If I had to scrap it all, I’d be a super spy.

*5 years ago: what were you doing?
I was teaching, but I was also chasing toddlers. I feel like I just traded my short scramblers for characters who like me to follow them through crazy decisions.

*Do you have a certain writing ritual?
When I first started writing I was very methodical, but now I try to get words down whenever I can. I enjoy writing at coffee shops, because who doesn’t love caffeine and white noise? I also love writing in big chunks during writing weekends or retreats. This is the first year I’ve taken the time away, and it’s really paid off in terms of focus and word count.

*What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
Ooooo… I think I’m a little weird about criticism. I try to turn it into something constructive, no matter what it is. I think we can always learn something, whether it’s about ourselves, our writing, or the other person. Negative feedback or reviews always hurts, but I’ve never met a person or read a book that EVERYONE loves.

*Is there an author you'd like to meet?
Well, if J.K. Rowling isn’t busy, I’d adore meeting her. Her subplots are a work of art in the Harry Potter series, and to get her thoughts on how to build that infrastructure in a series would be priceless.

*Biggest writing pet peeve?
If you mean things I do, then I’ll confess… My fingers don’t work as fast as my brain and I hate it when an idea escapes me before I can get it typed out. (It could very well be that I’m just getting old.) As for other writers, I despise repetitive descriptions and backstory. I feel like some authors dumb the action in their storyline down for readers, and there’s no reason to.

* Do you read other's reviews of your books?
I really try not to, but sometimes I catch myself perusing the first line or two.

Fav Color: Green

Fictional Character you'd like to spend the day with? Either Hermione Granger or Nicholas Nickleby

Fav food: Mexican food (Guacamole & chips)

Fav song and/or singer: I go through seasons, but always love Mutemath

Guilty pleasure: Pedicures & Netflix binges

Seventeen year old Ollie Miller is ready to leave all of her hurt feelings behind, but moving on seems impossible while living next door to her ex-best friend, Mateo. When curious earthquakes begin to shake and rip open the foundation of her small town, the ground becomes as unsteady as her feelings for him. When they fall, they fall hard…
Ollie’s disastrous attempt to save Mateo’s brother from falling into a curious chasm results in their descent into a cavernous wonderland. Ollie, Mateo, Jesse, and Alexis search for a way back home, and encounter a mysterious tribe of natives. Gabriel, the next in line to lead his people, is granted permission to guide them to the surface. On their treacherous journey, an overzealous elder threatens all of their lives, because he can’t risk them exposing his people, or the power he wields. The group discovers ancient secrets, unexpected truths, and uncharted feelings. Ollie must find a way out or risk being stuck in the caves forever—or worse, dead.


After emerging from her Descent into an uncharted underground world, Ollie Miller is sure of three things. First, her feelings for her best friend, Mateo, are far from platonic. She can't even look at Mateo without blushing at the memory of his lips on hers. Second, an evil man named Zadok is plotting to destroy the civilization above the surface. Third, there is no way to save the earth without returning underground. At least this time, she will have her mother along with Mateo and her friends to help guide her.
On their journey, noor, a mystical blessing guides them, but only if they’re willing to follow. Ollie’s determined to save the tribe from their evil leader, even if it means facing off with her long-lost grandfather. As Zadok comes face to face with his runaway daughter and his granddaughter, his plan starts to unravel, but is it too late to stop the destruction that he put into motion? Can the tribe survive and the surface be saved? Will Ollie learn to trust her own heart before it is too late?
Defend is the conclusion to Ollie's discovery of a lost tribe in Descent. Don’t miss this adventure, brimming with ancient secrets and a thrilling underworld.


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