Today's guests for the Debuts series are writing sisters, Katharine and Elizabeth Corr, who published The Witch's Kiss earlier this year. The second book in the series, The Witch's Tears will be published in February by Harper Collins.
1) What was the reaction to your book cover when it was revealed?
Liz: Extremely positive. We know from the reviews of The Witch’s Kiss that a lot of people were initially drawn to it because of the cover (as is so often the case). Although we didn’t have any input into the cover artwork, we were lucky enough to have the very talented Lisa Brewster (from Blacksheep Design) on board as the designer. She has a lot of experience, and has designed some stunning covers for YA books. Harper Collins provided her with a brief (focusing on the great forest of black holly surrounding our antagonist’s lair) and she came up with a couple of drafts before the final version was decided upon. When Kate and I saw the first draft we were completely bowled-over. We were absolutely ecstatic about the final version.
Kate: As Liz said, the feedback we’ve received for the book cover has been wonderful. We think Lisa has designed a beautiful cover, and we were also thrilled with the Maximum Pop animated cover. Dripping blood is always going to have a certain wow factor! Lisa has used a similar basic design for the next book in the series, The Witch’s Tears, although this time the cover is a brilliant shade of blue with blood-speckled ice-shards. We’ve already had a lot of comments on social media saying how lovely it is. There’s a link here to an interview with Lisa that we posted on our website, if people want to know more about the design process.
2) What has been the easiest thing about being a debut author?
Liz: Our ignorance! Having never been published before we really didn’t know what was involved, and therefore had very little in the way of expectations to manage. Of course, our agent and publisher have been invaluable in guiding us through the process, but at the outset we didn’t have a clue as to what to expect. We were just so happy to have been taken on by our agents (RCW) and to have landed a publishing deal with Harper Collins. On the flip side, it’s been a real learning curve – finding out how a book evolves from a manuscript into a physical hardcopy in the shops. It’s been incredibly exciting.
Kate: Connecting with other YA writers and readers. There are so many wonderful people who run blogs (like this one!) or organize YA themed Twitter chats. They do an amazing job of bringing like-minded people together. As writers, it’s so much fun chatting about writing in general and about our own books especially, and social media makes it all so much easier.
3) What has been the hardest thing about being a debut author?
Liz: Obviously, we knew our agent and Harper Collins loved The Witch’s Kiss, but we had no idea what sort of reception the book would get from the public. It’s scary putting your work out there to be judged and commented upon, over and over. We have had an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the book, with some glowing reviews and fantastic fan-art. But we’ve had some not so nice reviews, too. We’ve sort of got used to it now. Any writer knows that whilst some people will love your book, others won’t: it’s subjective. But that very first negative review was still hard to deal with!
Kate: Realizing quite how much hard work there is to do, and how much of it isn’t writing! I think, before we had an agent, we had this vague idea that once we got an agent (and a publishing deal) we’d just have to keep producing the words. But there’s so much more to it than that, certainly for a pair of unknown authors. There are an awful lot of books published each year; it’s hard work trying to make sure your voice is heard.
4) How did it feel to sign your first book?
Liz: It was very surreal! It was at our book launch back in July. I think I managed to sign the book with the wrong signature, too (we write under a family surname, not our day-to-day names). It was a lovely feeling though, and brought home to me that the whole thing hadn’t just been an amazing dream: we were bona fide published authors!
Kate: Surreal about covers it. I was so nervous that I’d somehow mess it up, by signing the wrong name, or tearing the paper, or writing something stupid. Like Liz says, it was the first time I truly felt yes – this has happened. A moment that’s branded into my memory.
5) What was the best quote about your book that you received?
Liz: The very first review we ever received was from an incredibly lovely blogger who posts reviews under the name ‘Childishly Passionate’. I remember almost bursting for joy when I read it. She wrote that ‘…this book is an amazing story and probably one of the greatest fantasy books I have encountered in my lifetime.’
Kate: Being a massive Harry Potter fan, I was over the moon when a girl on Facebook wrote ‘Just finished reading The Witch’s Kiss. Best book since Harry Potter for me.’ I can’t think of many people I’d rather be compared with than JK Rowling!
The Witch's Tears Summary
Can true love's kiss break your heart...? The spellbinding sequel to THE WITCH'S KISS by authors and sisters, Katharine and Elizabeth Corr. It's not easy being a teenage witch. Just ask Merry. She's drowning in textbooks and rules set by the coven; drowning in heartbreak after the loss of Jack. But Merry's not the only one whose fairy tale is over. Big brother Leo is falling apart and everything Merry does seems to push him further to the brink. And everything that happens to Leo makes her ache for revenge. So when strangers offering friendship show them a different path they'd be mad not to take it...Some rules were made to be broken, right? The darkly magical sequel to THE WITCH'S KISS burns wickedly bright.
To find out more about Katharine and Elizabeth Corr: