I am super excited to share with you today an interview with author Kelsey Macke! She has embarked on the amazing endeavor of creating a truly unique bookish experience. She describes it best: “One book. One album. One story.” Join me now in welcoming Kelsey to the blog and sit back to enjoy her interview!
Describe yourself in five words.
I’m having a hard time believing it, but I’ don’t think I’ve EVER been asked this question!Creative. Empathetic. Positive. Neurotic. Patient.
What is the best piece of advice have you ever received in your writing career?Do not compare your private self to anyone else’s public self.My agent, Jessica Sinsheimer passed that knowledge on to me (she doesn’t remember where she heard it) and it changed my perspective almost instantly.
DAMSEL DISTRESSED is a very new type of project, billed as a mash-up of prose, technology, drawings, and music. Please tell us a little bit about what inspired this type of very unique work.I fully expected Damsel Distressed to be a traditional book release. The music of Wedding Day Rain (folky, indie-pop songs by my husband and I) was a total separate entity. When my agent discovered the musical side of my life, she threw out the idea that somehow we should be able to make these two things come together. As we brainstormed, the pieces just continued to fall into place. Daron and I started looking through our catalogue of songs, and we realized that several of the songs we’d already planned to produce fit Imogen’s story perfectly.In hind sight, it feels like several of these songs were written to be a part of “Imogen Unlocked” all along. It’s an incredible thing that we get to make so much stuff all at once.Now Damsel Distressed is being presented with its own soundtrack, Imogen Unlocked. Readers will be able to access these original songs that extend the feeling of certain scenes in the book by using their phones/tablets/computers.
DAMSEL DISTRESSED focuses on some difficult themes, including self-harm and battling obesity. What inspired you to tackle such important issues in a novel?In school, I was never thin. I may have been average, in reality, but the feeling of being bigger than all my friends was real. In adulthood, my own emotional eating resulted in weight gain that eventually lead me to an unhealthy weight for my size, which was brought to my attention during a health screening.I have definitely experienced a complicated, and sometimes painful relationship with food and body image. When I was younger (and even when I got older), those emotions were often fundamental in how I saw myself, and I wanted to express that experience through Imogen.The other side of Imogen’s primary problems exists in the realm of mental health issues. I am a vocal advocate for the destigmatization of mental health needs and care. I have spent most of my career as a teacher working with young people who have emotional/behavioral difficulties.Sometimes, it seems like the hardest part of living with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or any number of other conditions, is that those who haven’t experienced it rarely understand the complexities involved in recovery.There are no easy solutions, you know? It can be hard in YA to write a character and keep the readership from saying/thinking, “Oh my gosh. Stop whining! Go get some Xanax and get on with it.” But those types of oversimplifications are damaging and hurtful to the real young people that our characters represent.It was important to me that Imogen’s problems be as authentic as possible.What was your favorite part of writing DAMSEL DISTRESSED?Imogen is a theatre geek and is very involved in the Tech Theatre program at her high school. Thinking back on my own experiences in high school theatre, and writing scenes that take place in rehearsals, on stage, and at cast parties was a particularly enjoyable walk down memory lane.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character(s) from DAMSEL DISTRESSED?For a very, very long time I resisted seeing Imogen with someone else’s face. And in my head, she’ll always just look the way she looks. However, I think that actress B.K. Cannon of ABCFamily’s Switched At Birth (@CannonBK) would be excellent.
What is an unknown fact or fun trivia about DAMSEL DISTRESSED?Hmmmm. How about this: The musical that Imogen’s theatre troupe is producing in the novel is Once Upon a Mattress! It happens to also be a musical that my own high school produced during my Sophomore year. (I was a techie for that show… the prop table had never been so organized.)
E-Books or Traditional Paper Books?I certainly read e-books, but I love owning physical copies of books I love.
What are you working on now?Damsel Distressed is still in production, so I’m working on wrapping up that part of the process very soon. In addition to that, I’m in the studio with Wedding Day Rain working on Imogen Unlocked as often as I can, because we’ve basically got a debut novel to complete AND a debut album. So, there is still much work to be done.That said, once the dust settles, I am thrilled about a work in progress that has been brewing in my head since last July (2013), and I can’t wait to write it!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?I’ll just add that my wonderful publisher is holding a contest to design my book cover that runs through September 22nd! (Enter if you’re artsy!) But soon after that, we’ll be announcing the ten semi-finalists, and the public will be able to vote one of those ten into the final three!For all of the information about the contest, how/when voting will start, and updates over the next year until publication, be sure to follow me on twitter or watch my youtube channel! I look forward to chatting with you all!Thanks for having me, Riki and readers!