First of all, Breathless is available now! ~*confetti*~ Thank you so much to everyone who pre-ordered. I’ll announce the winner tonight. I hope you all enjoy the story.
So if you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably heard me gush about the amazing book Hushed by Kelley York. When I was writing Breathless, I wanted to read as many books from a gay teen boy’s point of view to try to wrap my head around as many emotions as I could. I first discovered Hushed on the Gay YA blog, and I’m so glad I did. I couldn’t put it down, and it’s probably one of my favorite reads this year. While this book does explore the relationship between Archer and his growing feelings for Evan, they are very much a backseat to the thrilling events that happen between the covers of this novel. When I say I couldn’t put this down, I mean I Could. Not. Put. This. Down.
Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn’t protect his best friend, Vivian, from what happened when they were kids, so he’s never stopped trying to protect her from everything else. It doesn’t matter that Vivian only uses him when hopping from one toxic relationship to another—Archer is always there, waiting to be noticed.
Then along comes Evan, the only person who’s ever cared about Archer without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is.
But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out about the murders Archer’s committed and his relationship with Evan, she threatens to turn him in if she doesn’t get what she wants… And what she wants is Evan’s death, and for Archer to forfeit his last chance at redemption.
I’m so excited that Kelley was willing to answer a few questions about her phenomenal book!
In Hushed, you create a character, Archer, who does some truly despicable things — but you also portrayed him in such a light that I found myself wanting to make him a sandwich and give him a hug and pat him on the hand. I found myself fascinated by the grey areas between good and evil and how you explored those themes among Archer, Vivian, and Evan. Did you set out to write such a complex book, or did it just evolve that way?
It was very much intentional, and probably a little over-ambitious. It’s tough to try to create a character who is as morally off-kilter as Archer, but still have people want to stick with him throughout the story. He can do all these bad things, but there has to be an underlying level of humanity to him in order for readers to sympathize. I’ve seen a lot of people who say, “I don’t agree with what he’s doing…but I understand why he’s doing it.” That is most definitely what I was going for. On the other side of the spectrum, I don’t see a lot of sympathy for Vivian, but I bet if I had written the story from her perspective, readers might have liked her more. They would have seen what a mess it is inside her head and everything she’s been through. Her journey was not an easy one, either. Even as the author, I don’t like her, but I can feel sorry and sad for the things she’s endured.
As the book opens, Archer is obsessed with Vivian, but throughout the course of the novel, he develops strong feelings for Evan, another example of the exploration of the “grey areas,” only this time with sexuality. Do you think that sexuality is less black-and-white than it used to be, or do you think that current events are beginning to tear down the curtain, and people are feeling more comfortable with themselves, no matter what that means?
I think sexuality is definitely less black-and-white than it used to be. While there is still a lot of hate, it’s slowly becoming more widely accepted. At least in our generation and younger, we don’t tend to see a gay couple out and about and be like, “Oh my god, do you see that??” It’s just another couple. Archer isn’t attracted to genders. He’s attracted to people. I also didn’t want Archer’s sexuality to be a Big Issue in the book. There are plenty of issue books out there about sexuality, and HUSHED (or SUICIDE WATCH, for that matter) simply aren’t those kinds of books. One I’m writing now sort of is, as it’s set in a very conservative school setting where being out is not as easy nor as widely accepted.
No one in the novel is innocent. Did you ever worry that readers would draw a parallel with Archer’s feelings for Evan as being an extension of his immorality? (For what it’s worth, I feel that his developing relationship with Evan is what saved Archer.)
Not at all. Evan is most definitely what saved Archer. Were it not for Evan showing him and, in a way, forcing Archer to give himself permission to forgive himself for things he’s had no control over, Archer likely would have finished off his list and then finished off himself. It would not have been pretty. Evan was Archer’s second lease on life.
Tell us a bit about your next project. Can we expect another thriller?
MADE OF STARS comes out from Entangled Publishing in October! It isn’t quite as thriller-esque as HUSHED, but it definitely has its thriller elements with a murder and a mystery. I had a lot of fun with that book due to the romance in it, and also because it alternates POVs between two siblings. I love writing alternating POV books. I’m also writing a book called DIRTY LONDON, which is the one I mentioned above that touches more heavily on coming out and being closeted in a conservative setting.
You guys totally want to read her books now, don’t you?
Well, now you get a chance! I’m giving away a copy of Hushed to a lucky reader. This contest is open to anyone on the planet. And now, on to the Rafflecopter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About Kelley York:
Once upon a time, Kelley York was born in central California. And it’s there she she still resides with her lovely wife, step-daughter, and an abundance of cats, while fantasizing about moving to England or Ireland. She has a fascination with bells and animals, is a lover of video games, Doctor Who, manga and anime, and likes to pretend she’s a decent photographer. Her life goal is to find a real unicorn. Or at least write about them.
Kelley is a sucker for dark fiction. She loves writing twisted characters, tragic happenings, and bittersweet endings that leave you wondering and crying. Character development takes center stage in her books because the bounds of a person’s character and the workings of their mind are limitless.
Her first book, HUSHED, was released by Entangled Publishing in December 2011. Her second and third books, HOLLOWED and SUICIDE WATCH, were released in 2012, and her next Entangled book, MADE OF STARS, is slated for October 1st, 2013. She is currently seeking representation.