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Julie Kagawa Q&A: Faeries, Prince Ash and The Iron Queen

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2011 Winter Book Preview: Vampire Book ClubWe love the epic fantasy Julie Kagawa has crafted in her Iron Fey series. In July the first book in the series, The Iron King, was our group read title, and we discussed the characters — and, OK, a lot of Ash vs. Puck. Everyone hated and then fell back in love with the “Hot Boy with a Sword” Prince Ash in The Iron Daughter. (We also named it one of the Best Books of 2010.)

Now, with The Iron Queen not far off, we managed to get Kagawa to agree to answer a few of our questions. Read on for Meghan, Ash, Puck and The Iron Queen (no spoilers). (We posted our early, spoiler-free review of The Iron Queen yesterday.)

Vampire Book Club: Unlike so many of the YA faerie books released lately, the Iron Fey novels are more epic fantasy than typical teen paranormal romance. We still get plenty of love, though. Tell us, what did you most want readers to take away from the series?

The Iron King (Iron Fey #1)Julie Kagawa: I grew up reading the works of Terry Brooks and J.R.R Tolkien, so they introduced me to the grand, sweeping, save-the-world plots. I remember the way those books made me feel; how you could get so attached to the characters you felt everything they were going through. I hoped I could create the kind of characters readers fell in love with, feared for, and cheered alongside with when they triumphed.

Vampire Book Club: In the Iron Fey series you incorporate characters from A Midsummer Night’s Dream into the faery world. Were you nervous early on about reactions to using characters from a classic?

Julie Kagawa: Well, I knew that comparisons would be inevitable. But the faeries from Midsummer Night’s Dream are everywhere in literature now, and Shakespeare himself wasn’t the first to use them. It’s like saying all vampire stories copy Bram Stoker if they so much as mention Dracula.

Vampire Book Club: Aside from Shakespeare’s multifaceted fae, what other works inspired the Iron Fey series?

Julie Kagawa: Aside from the authors I mentioned, I get a lot of inspiration from anime and video games. Gamers and otaku might see hints of Squall Leonhart and Heero Yuy in Ash, Tasuki in Puck, and Sephiroth in the Iron King. (I wear my geekdom proudly.) But I’m also inevitably drawn to stories of heroism and sacrifice, where everything seems hopeless, where the heroes triumph in the end but at great personal cost. Some of my favorite endings are the ones in The Return of the King, Dragon Age Origins, and Fushigi Yugi.

Vampire Book Club: It’s clear you’ve significantly researched fae mythology, and incorporated those we hear about more often like redcaps and satyrs. But each member of the Iron Fey is your own creation. Which was your favorite Iron Fey to design?

Julie Kagawa: Probably Ironhorse. He was an interesting character from the very start, with his own set of moral codes and honor. (Also, it was fun making him speak in all caps, lol.)

Vampire Book Club: In the upcoming third book The Iron Queen, our girl Meghan decides she’s done letting the boys fight for her and asks Ash to teach her to fight. She’s used glamour as a weapon before, why did you give her a sword this time?

Julie Kagawa: Since most of the fey fight with weapons, it seemed only logical to give Meghan a sword. It was also a natural extension of her personal growth; she is done with letting others fight her battles, so she’ll need something to take the fight to them.

Vampire Book Club: What would you single out as Meghan’s biggest growth during the series?

Julie Kagawa: At the risk of being spoilery, I’d say it’s when he realizes that she has a responsibility now, that the needs of the many outweigh her own, and what she has to give up to achieve that.

Hot Boy with Sword

Sometimes you just need a hot boy with a sword. Sure, this is Ben Barnes, but let's pretend he's Prince Ash.

Vampire Book Club: Ash’s cold exterior melted significantly in The Iron Queen. Were you just trying to win over the crazies on ‘Team Puck’? LOL

Julie Kagawa: Uh-oh. *Dives under table to hide from Team Puck* LOL. No, I love Puck, I really do. Puck is my snarky boy; the story wouldn’t have been the same without him. But I had a very clear character arc for Ash from the very beginning. His transformation wouldn’t have had as much an impact if he didn’t start out cold and cruel. I know many were ready to strangle him in The Iron Daughter, but Ash had a lot of stuff to work out before he got to where he is in Iron Queen. 😉

Vampire Book Club: Similarly, we see Puck in a new – kind of bitter – light. Was it important to remind us Puck isn’t just clever tricks?

Julie Kagawa: It was, but mostly I wanted to keep the story realistic. (Or as realistic as a story with magic and faeries can be.) Puck’s character has always been portrayed as a happy-go-lucky prankster, but in legend, he has a dark, jealous side as well. If he showed up unchanged by everything that happened to him, it would’ve felt unrealistic. He might be fey, but he has feelings too.

Vampire Book Club: In The Iron Queen, we hear the story of lovers ruined by the fae. Was sharing it an act of love or sorrow from Ash?

Julie Kagawa: A little bit of both, but also to cast an ominous air over another couple involved with the fey, a bit of foreshadowing if you will. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. 😉

The Iron Queen (Iron Fey #3)Vampire Book Club: The ending of The Iron Queen wasn’t something we predicted. It’s a smart ending, though, and definitely works. Bold moves like that have to make you antsy for the release. Are you ready for it?

Julie Kagawa: I think so. ^__^ The Iron Queen will be the conclusion of Meghan Chase’s story, the accumulation of everything that led her to this point. When the final page is turned, everyone will know that she has finally found her destiny.

Vampire Book Club: You recently announced that The Iron Queen isn’t the end of the Iron Fey books. Will The Iron Knight, the beginning of Ash’s story, be the first in another set of three books?

Julie Kagawa: Not at this time. I can’t say much about it, but originally Queen was supposed to be the very last book. Finis. The end. I wasn’t planning on a fourth book…but I’ll tell that story after Iron Queen has been released. 😉

Vampire Book Club: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Julie!

Julie Kagawa: You are welcome! Thanks so much for the interview!

You can keep up with Julie at her totally fun blog. Haven’t read the Iron Fey books yet? Order The Iron King from the Book Depository or Amazon.

We loved The Iron Queen (our review), and highly suggest you pre-order this one. You’re going to get answers.

19 Responses to “Julie Kagawa Q&A: Faeries, Prince Ash and The Iron Queen”

  1. Stella says:

    “Ash’s cold exterior melted significantly in The Iron Queen. Were you just trying to win over the crazies on ‘Team Puck’? LOL”

    Aww. 🙁 I actually liked Ash’s cold exterior! It just made him sound even hotter!

    Anyway, great interview 🙂

  2. I have had my eye on this series for a while. I HAVE to start it. Thanks for a great interview 😀

  3. Audra says:

    I wear my geekdom proudly. Best part of the interview! Thanks for the fascinating post, VBC, and thanks to Ms Kagawa for the answers!

  4. Jalan Calloway says:

    Such an amazing series!!!I cant wait for Iron Knight:):):):):):):):)

  5. Heather says:

    So Iron Knight is Ash’s story?

  6. gery says:

    when is the iron knight coming out???? I’m dying to have it!! these books are fantastic.LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. gery says:

    november 2011 ???!!!! Oh My God~! I read all 3 books –twice– within 3 weeks! I don’t know how am I going to wait that long…thanks for the info though! at least now I can stop checking the book store every week….lol!

  8. Leah Bug says:

    Oh em jee!!!!! I am dying to read Iron Knight. I just finished Iron Queen like 5 minutes ago, I texted my friend who read the books before me and asked him when it was coming out. At 5 o clock in the morning. Lol I cannot wait for it to come out. I am going to be the first person in my school to read it. I promise. Lol Why do we have to wait until November? UGGGHHH!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Marshanah says:

    I cannot wait for the Iron Knight to come out! It’s gonna be hard trying to wait that long, but I think I can make it. I hope Meghan and Ash get back together and he’ll be able to stay in the Iron realm with her. I know that the Iron Knight will be amazing. I wonder if after Ash’s story there will be a book from Puck’s point of view. Now that will be something to enjoy reading too. =)

  10. Layla says:

    I can’t wait for Iron Knight to comee out, but what I’m really hoping for is that Ash and Meghan get back together. That was the only thing i didn’t likee bout Iron queen, they’re so cutee together. And after losing Ariella, Ash deserves to be in love again.

  11. Princess Nim says:

    actually from what ive herd iron knight isnt ash’s story from the biggining startig when puck saw him in the medow on the bus the day the popuar kids embarrased the crap outta megan (witch btw was totaly cruel) it starts were iron queen eft off telling about ash’s journey to find a way to be with megan while the is ruling the iron relm

  12. Corella Windchaser says:

    I wonder if Ash really loves Meghan or if he’s still hung up over Ariella. I mean, it says he is, but there are parts when it seems like he’s not over her. I really hope he is because I LOVE him and Meghan together. In the next book her better find a way to be with her because if he doesn’t I will be so mad and sad. Maybe there’s a way to make an amulet that’s not temorary, but permanent. That would be Fantastic!

  13. Corella Windchaser says:

    When does The Iron Knight even come out? Does anybody know? I am REALLY excited about seeing things from Ash’s point of view. It’ll DEFINITLY be interesting.

  14. Corella Windchaser says:

    When does The Iron Knight even come out? Does anybody know? I am REALLY excited about seeing things from Ash’s point of view. It’ll DEFINITLY be interesting. Seriously, does anybody know!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Alex says:

    I can’t wait for Iron Knight! but I have one question >.< is Iron Knight the last book in the series before the new series starring Ethan?

  16. Nati says:

    I am very nervous about the Iron knight, I don’t think I’ll ever buy it because I’ve always been bothered with Ash still loving Ariella. I mean, I get she was his first love but Kagawa always makes Ariella sound like she’s Ash’s true love (ID) and Megan…I don’t know what she means to him but it’s certainly no where near what he left for Ariella. This bothers me a lot and until the point that I actually hid and locked away the books because no woman wants to be second best and it’s like Meghan is okay with that. No REAL WOMEN WOULD EVER! I think Kagawa made a big mistake by having Meghan and Ash end up together. It should’ve been Puck because if he had a love before Meghan, unlike Ash, he would’ve still found a way to lover her as much. Puck would’ve found room in his heart and still put her first and not compare her with out Ariella. That’s the big difference and Puck will alway be the greater man. I just don’ know why Kagawa would have Ash with Meghan when he doesn’t and will possibly will never see her as his true love.

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