Book Nerd Interview
Born in Okinawa, Japan, while my Dad was on duty with the US Navy, I moved around throughout my childhood and traveled even more. I’ve lived in Japan, California, Kansas, and England, and visited 4 continents. If I could afford as many vacation homes as I wanted, I’d have one in New Orleans, Newcastle UK, Budapest Hungary, and Sydney Australia.
After graduating from the University of Kansas in 2003 with a degree in Gender Studies, I went on to graduate school for a Master’s in the same. Halfway through, I ditched the program in favor of the blood, violence, and drama of Anglo-Saxon and Germanic epic poetry and to focus on my writing. I don’t have a graduate degree, but I did translate my own version of Beowulf!
Despite having traveled all over the world, I settled in Kansas where the sunsets are all in Technicolor, with my partner, two cats, and a mutant mutt named Grendel.
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
How to lie well.
Is there such a thing as a formula for storytelling?
Yes, of course, but it won’t make people fall in love with your story and read it over and over again forever.
What are “Character Rules” and give us some examples.
I can’t think of a single character rule. In writing, rules are made to be broken. You learn the rules, and then carefully, purposefully destroy them.
What are some of the common challenges that new and experienced authors face and what advice do you have for over-coming them?
A lot of new and experienced writers get bogged down with sales numbers and thinking they have to connect with readers online even before the book comes out. My advice is: write write write and if you aren’t having fun on the internet GET OFF.
In your book, Blood Magic; can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about the novel?
It’s about two teens living in rural Missouri who meet in a cemetery and discover a mutual family history with dark American folk magic. There’s kissing and body-snatching and sacrifice.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Silla?
Her name surprised me – I wrote her with 3 different names before finally settling on Silla.
Do you have a favorite quote that you keep visible in your work environment to help inspire you?
If you could introduce Nick to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Cole St. Clair from Maggie Stiefvater’s WOLVES OF MERCY FALLS, because Nick is already a fan of Cole’s band NARKOTIKA.
What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m working on a new series called SONGS OF NEW ASGARD, an alternate history that takes place in a USA founded on the tenets of Old Norse religion instead of Christianity. It’s about faith and love and growing up: the usual YA staples!
What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?
Did you remember to put pants on this morning?
Most horrifying dream you have ever had?
When I was little I dreams a man came to my kindergarten and bit of everyone’s thumbs.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Oh, there’s plenty more than one. Just ask my college professors.
If I came to your house and looked in your closet/attic/basement, what’s the one thing that would surprise me the most?
I have a bright pink shoe wheel and many, many pairs of shoes.
When was the last time you cried?
Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
When I have a bad day I throw my phone across the room and curl up on the floor inconsolably.
Where can readers stalk you?
Tessagratton.com or on Twitter as @tessagratton
It starts off simply.
Draw a circle... place a dead leaf in the center... sprinkle some salt... recite a little Latin... add a drop of blood...
Maybe that last part isn’t exactly simple. Yet somehow it feels right to Silla Kennicott. And nothing in her life has felt remotely right since her parents’ horrific deaths. She’s willing to do anything to uncover the truth about her family—even try a few spells from the mysterious book that arrived on her doorstep ... and spill some blood.
The book isn’t the only recent arrival in Silla’s life. There’s Nick Pardee, the new guy next door who may have seen Silla casting a spell. She’s not sure what he saw and is afraid to find out. But as they spend more time together, Silla realizes this may not be Nick’s first encounter with Blood Magic. Brought together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick can’t deny their attraction. And they can’t ignore the dark presence lurking nearby—waiting to reclaim the book and all its power.
The chilling mystery within Tessa Gratton’s Blood Magic (The Blood Journals) is remarkably amazing. Made of magic, romance, suspense, murder, and the pursuit of immortality, it provided the perfect ingredients to create an unforgettable story. Equip it with Tessa’s stunning writing style, readers will get full dosage of emotions from her finely tuned characters.
Tessa tells the story from the points of view of Silla, Nick, and from journal entries by other characters. They live in an incredible world where the idea of blood magic is very real. A sort of magic that isn’t sparkly or charming at all. It is the opposite...unpleasant and gritty. Tessa’s account of blood magic is quite interesting and unique. In the middle of all this, the deep connection between Silla and Nick heats up.
The flow of the story is flawless. The journal entries provided deeper insights. Although the story is disturbing and dark, it is a beautiful display of great writing. Blood Magic is the perfect way to introduce readers to The Blood Journals. Tessa has brilliantly created a young adult novel that effortlessly stands out from its peers.
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