Kendare Blake

Author of: Three Dark Crowns

Author Kendare Blake with her book Three Dark Crowns


Kendare Blake is the author of several novels and short stories, most recently the Three Dark Crowns series. Her work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. She was born in July (for those of you doing book reports) in Seoul, South Korea, but doesn’t speak a lick of Korean, as she was packed off at a very early age to her adoptive parents in the United States. That might be just an excuse, though, as she is pretty bad at learning foreign languages. She enjoys the work of Milan Kundera, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bret Easton Ellis, Richard Linklater, and the late, great Michael Jackson, I mean, come on, he gave us Thriller.
She lives and writes in Kent, Washington, with her husband, their cat son Tyrion Cattister, red Doberman dog son Obi-Dog Kenobi, rottie mix dog daughter Agent Scully, and naked sphynx cat son Armpit McGee.


+ YAR: For readers who have not read any of your work, what can they expect from Three Dark Crowns and in general from you as an author?

KB: Hmm. Well, Three Dark Crowns is the story of triplet queens with magical gifts, on an island where every generation, the set of queen triplets has to kill each other to determine the next queen. It's about how this particular generation of queens, consisting of an elemental who can control the elements, a naturalist who can make things grow and control animals, and a poisoner, an assassin who is immune to all toxins, deal with being put into this situation. So, expect betrayals, politics, magic, violence, and a dark new world. In general from me as an author you can expect darkness, violence, and humor.

+ YAR: What surprised you the most while writing Three Dark Crowns?

KB: It was just a big shift. I had never written this kind of fantasy before. Never created an entire world from the ground up. The language was different. I wasn't in a contemporary time period. And some things about the matriarchal society surprised me as well. Mostly that I kept on getting it wrong. Passing land down to boys, for last names moving through the father, etc.

+ YAR: Were there any scenes that you loved that eventually got cut out of Three Dark Crowns?

KB: Not that I recall. It did go through multiple drafts, but I hated those drafts so I'm glad they're gone! Some foreshadowing fell out of the first book though, which makes some of what happens in the second book seem kind of out of left field. Multiple drafts, man, they're killers.

+ YAR: I am a huge animal lover, so I can’t help but ask, if you were a Naturalist what would you want your familiar to be and why?

KB: I would want a cougar like Camden. Or a big black horse or something. Not what I would get though. I'd get something little and mean, yet still fat and hard to carry around. Because you don't get to pick them, they just show up.

+ YAR: I’ve read that your main inspiration for Three Dark Crowns came from a beehive. Can you elaborate on that? Were there any difficulties in translating a story with animalistic inspiration to a human world?

KB: It's sort of a long story, that I've told lots of places if you want to google it and read the long version. But here's the short one: I saw a ball of bees. Never seen one before. A beekeeper happened to be nearby and told me that in the middle of that ball made up of 100% bees was the queen bee, and they were protecting her as she moved from an old hive. So I was intrigued. Asked many questions. And she told me that before a queen bee moves on, she lays four or five queen eggs, and the baby queens hatch out and murder each other to see who gets to take over. And I thought that was lovely. And I wanted to do it to people.

+ YAR: Was the matriarchal aspect of Three Dark Crowns intentional (i.e. is there a reason you chose to have powerful girls as your main characters, all living within a society ruled by women)?

KB: Seemed like the natural choice given that the inspiration for it was a beehive. I never even considered doing it another way. It just WAS.

+ YAR: Three Dark Crowns has a dark, twisty and violent premise. Are you always drawn to those types of story ideas? Is that what you tend to want to read and watch as well?

KB: The ideas that show up certainly seem to be of the dark variety. And when I was a kid just moving on from like, horse and unicorn stories, I did jump straight into Stephen King. And not just any Stephen King, but the one about botched sex games and pedophilia. It was a leap. Never looked back though and for a while my reading choices were very dark. The Vampire Chronicles, Bret Easton Ellis books. But I also loved Jane Eyre. So.

As far as watching, I do love a good horror movie. A thinking horror movie, like The Babadook or a clever terrifying one like The Autopsy of Jane Doe. A fun one like The Cabin in the Woods. But I have my limits. I can't really do things with mob or cartel violence, for instance.

+ YAR: What is the last book that you've read that you would rate 5/5 stars?

KB: Most recent hmm....What was the last thing I read....Furyborn by Claire Legrand, I think. But I've read a ton of great books lately. Black Wings Beating by Alexander London. The Final Six by Alexandra Monir. And those are just the ones that haven't come out yet.

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