Interview with YA Author Colleen Houck & Hardcover Giveaway of The Tiger’s Curse!
Hi, Colleen. Thanks for agreeing to an interview. The Tiger Series (so far, that includes Tiger’s Curse, Tiger’s Quest, andTiger’s Voyage—FYI, for those who aren’t cool enough to be in the know) is one of my absolute favorites, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know you on GoodReads. You’re so sweet!
I want to start with my signature question. It’s kind of nuts, but it will help everyone to understand The Tiger Series like they’ve never understood it before!
Emlyn: Let’s paint a picture of your series. Please choose something from each of the following categories that best summarizes the book and explain why: color, animal, US city, car, and food.
Colleen: Okay, taking a stab at it, I’d have to say that my novel is a cobalt blue tiger stalking the streets of Salem, Oregon in search of chocolate peanut butter cookies and a Hummer.
Emlyn: Much of the series takes place in India, a land you’ve never had the privilege of visiting. How did you make the setting seem so real from the comfort of your arm chair (asks someone who has been there more than once and married into the culture)? And when will you finally get the chance to take a much needed vacation there?
Colleen: The internet is amazing. I had to research everything from the temperature of Mumbai in June to what kinds of trees grow in the jungle to how the tiger reserves work. I studied travelogues of people who visited so that Kelsey’s experience would sound genuine and I also hired an editor from India to make sure everything sounded right. I’d love to visit India but I have no immediate plans. My first stop would be my editor’s house where I would bring her the largest gift basket I could find.
Emlyn: You’re clearly a woman who knows her Indian cuisine. Let’s say you’re sitting down to a lavish fully Desi meal. What would you eat for the appetizer, main course, side, and dessert? And what are you having to drink? Help us visualize your banquet!
Colleen: I love samosas, and pakora of any kind. Hot coconut soup with pistachios would be followed by Raita. Naan bread is an absolute must have. Then I’d go for Tandoori pork or chicken. I’m not much of a curry fan so I’d skip those and head to rice and then dessert would be some mango ice cream.
Emlyn: My friend Haley at the YA-aholic blog told me I had to ask: Why a tiger? So this is me asking. 🙂
Colleen: Well, bears are too stinky. Vampires and werewolves are overdone. Birds would be pretty but couldn’t do much more than sit on the heroine’s arm. Lions sleep 23 ½ hours a day. I couldn’t find a single thing wrong with tigers. They’re beautiful, special, dangerous, and exotic—just like my heroes.
Emlyn: I’ve heard Tiger’s Curse described as Twilight meets Indiana Jones—that is so true! Which parts were more important/ exciting for you while writing, the romance or the adventure?
Colleen: The adventure is fun but the romance is what I could write for hours.
Emlyn: You really take us on an emotional rollercoaster in, what I believe to be, the most well-developed love triangle in all of contemporary YA literature. The protagonist Kelsey has somehow managed to win the affections of both brothers—dreamy, but oh-so cursed, Indian princes, Ren and Kishan.
At first, I hated Kishan. I thought he was disrespectful of Kelsey’s boundaries and way too pushy. But since reading Tiger’s Voyage, I’m rooting for him over Ren. He’s matured quite a bit and feels like a better match for Kelsey. Anyway, I’m totally digressing here…
My question is: Which of the two brothers have fans been rooting for more? If you were Kelsey and had to choose someone to vow your undying love to, what traits might sway you toward Ren, and which would tip the scales more in Kishan’s favor? If Kelsey chooses Ren, may I please have Kishan, PLEASE?![/jbox]
Colleen: I’m afraid you’d have to beat out a long line of girls to get whichever tiger Kelsey doesn’t end up with. I like Ren’s courage and unwavering devotion. The poems and the gifts would be hard to discount. On the other hand, Kishan, is strong and knows what he wants. It’s exciting to have such a tall, dark, and handsome brooding type in hot pursuit. It would be hard to choose.
Emlyn: You are a shining indie success story. You went from a self-published author rapidly gaining popularity to a traditionally published megastar with a film adaptation on the way! Tells us about why you initially decided to go indie, how you were picked up by Splinter, and what your writing life has been like since then.
Colleen: I tried to find an agent who might be interested in my work, but I’m afraid I’m not very good at writing query letters. Add to that my impatience with waiting and my disdain of rejection letters and you have a recipe for self-pubbing. I was very happy writing as an extra source of income and just leaving it as a hobby but then foreign publishers expressed interest, I had a Hollywood producer knocking on my door and an agent found me! My momma didn’t raise no dummy, so I grabbed hold of those opportunities and ended up being a full time writer.
Emlyn: Do you have any words of advice or encouragement for new indie authors?
Colleen: If you get an idea, try it. If you think a thought, write it down. If you’re offered an opportunity, grab it! There is not one thing I’ve done in the past that hasn’t contributed to getting me where I am now, whether that’s giving a school presentation, writing back to fans, creating a website, or doing interviews. You never know which things are going to make a difference for you, so I say, try them all.
Emlyn: That’s great advice, Colleen. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. Readers, you definitely want to check out the Tiger series if you haven’t already. I mean, look at the pretty covers–and the words inside are even more amazing!
Sounds awesome, right?
And you could win a free copy!
I’m giving away a hardcover copy of Tiger’s Curse (book #1) via the Book Depository. This giveaway ends on Friday, April 20. The winner will be emailed and announced in my next book review post. At which point, a new giveaway will begin. Keep coming back on Fridays to enter for your chance to win amazing books. And, hey, good luck. 😉