Author Chat with Kass Morgan & Danielle Paige (The Ravens) Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to chat with Kass Morgan & Danielle Paige author of
Read on for more about Kass & Danielle and their book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Kass Morgan!
Kass Morgan is the New York Times bestselling author of The 100, which was the inspiration for the hit CW show of the same name, and Light Years. Twitter and Instagram: @kassmorganbooks
Meet Danielle Paige!
Danielle Paige is the New York Times bestselling author of the Dorothy Must Die series and Stealing Snow, as well as an upcoming Fairy Godmother origin story series, and the graphic novel Mera: Tidebreaker for DC. daniellepaigebooks.com
Twitter and Instagram: @daniellempaige
Meet The Ravens!
Kappa Rho Nu isn’t your average sorority. Their parties are notorious. Their fundraisers are known for being Westerly College’s most elaborate affairs. But beneath the veil of Greek life and prestige, the sisters of Kappu Rho Nu share a secret: they’re a coven of witches. For Vivi Deveraux, being one of Kappa Rho Nu’s Ravens means getting a chance to redefine herself. For Scarlett Winters, a bonafide Raven and daughter of a legacy Raven, pledge this year means living up to her mother’s impossible expectations of becoming Kappa Rho Nu’s next president. Scarlett knows she’d be the perfect candidate — that is, if she didn’t have one human-sized skeleton in her closet…. When Vivi and Scarlett are paired as big and little for initiation, they find themselves sinking into the sinister world of blood oaths and betrayals.
~ Author Chat ~
What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
DP: I have always been obsessed with witches and sororities. Putting them to together just felt like a perfect match and writing the book with a true writer sister in Kass just felt like magic.
Movies and books like Practical Magic and Buffy and The Craft and Sorority Row have always held a special place in my imagination. There is so much mystery and power associated with the idea of sisterhood. Kass and I wanted to do a modern take on the idea of these sisterhoods.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
KM: This question is normally a tough one for me but with The Ravens, it’s easy: my favorite character is Scarlett! Danielle wrote all of Scarlett’s chapters and did an amazing job bringing her to life, striking the perfect balance between confidence, vulnerability, intelligence . . . and just the right amount of queen bee snootiness. She’s an alpha witch with a heart of gold beating beneath her flawless designer clothes and Danielle made her impossible not to love.
DP: Aw! That’s so lovely to hear, Kass. Vivi is definitely mine. Kass created this incredible arc for her. Vivi doesn’t know that she’s a witch until she joins Kappa Rho Nu and she discovers that all the sorority girls including herself are witches! Vivi is really the vehicle for the audience to experience the story. And she just has this incredible innocence and wonder and longing for sisterhood and belonging that I think that everyone can relate to. As Vivi finds her own power for the first time and she finds a home in Kappa Nu, I’m rooting for her every step of the way.
Which came first, the title or the novel?
KM: We wrote the whole book before coming up with the title! For a long time, we called it Sorority Witches. It was sort of a joke, but then it kind of became the de factor title. Ultimately, that felt little too on the nose, a la Snakes on a Plane, and after a lot of brainstorming, we landed on The Ravens which now feels perfect.
DP: I still kind of love Sorority Witches! But The Ravens had the added bones of drawing on Poe’s The Raven. And we loved the idea of having ravens as familiars for our girls. Just like witches, ravens have a bit of a historical bad rap. In folklore they were considered portents of death. So we loved the idea of reclaiming the “ravens” just like we are hoping to reclaim witches.
Do you have a favorite writing snack?
KM: Pre-covid, nothing made me happier than writing in a cozy coffeeshop with a cappuccino. I’d normally bribe myself with the promise of a pastry—if I hit a certain word count, I’d buy a chocolate chip cookie or pumpkin bread as a reward. However, I normally cracked and bought the snack waaaay before I hit the word count. Sugar helps with focus, right?
DP: Kass and I used to meet at our favorite fancy hotel bar with our laptops and getting French fries as a treat even before we started writing together. I miss those French fries and I miss writing with you in the same place. Thank goodness for zoom! Also, I love anything chocolate and I think cappuccino counts as a snack.
Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
KM: The importance of terrible first drafts! You can’t fix what you haven’t written and there’s no point in perfecting the first few chapters before you know where your story’s going or how your characters are going to evolve. It’s a slog (and kind of scary sometimes) but I truly believe you need to crank out a messy full draft before you actually know what your book is about and what you need to do to make it shine. Even the best outline can’t always anticipate which themes will emerge or how your characters will react to different challenges.
DP: So true, Kass. You have to get to the finish line with the draft so you have something to revise and along the way you figure out what you need to do to fix it. My first job was in soaps (I wrote for Guiding Light and Days of Our Lives) and I think the thing that I learned back then that I still carry with me now is to take risks in your writing. Getting to write soap plot lines prepared me to write fantasy and paranormal stories, finding ways to make the unbelievable seems believable. Writing the Ravens is an extension of that for me.
What do you like most about the cover of the book?
KM: EVERYTHING! I love the color scheme, the fonts, the beautiful, mysterious birds, and the sassy tagline “These sorority girls are real witches.”
DP: The designer, Jessica Handelman, and the illustrator, Shyama Golden, made such a gorgeous cover for our Ravens! It completely captures they mystery and the magic of our girls. I love having the birds represent our witches!
What’s on your TBR pile?
KM: I just bought The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. I’m very excited to read!
DP: I just bought that one, too. And I’m reading Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House. I couldn’t read it while we were writing our book one because I did not want to be influenced by Leigh’s magical secret society.
Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
KM: Revising, no question. If writing a book is like building house, then drafting is like digging a foundation, hauling lumber, and heaving it up to create a frame. I find it hugely exhausting. But revising is like buying pretty furniture, painting the walls, and adding all the decorative touches that turn an empty structure into a home. That’s why you get to show off your style and really have fun with a story.
DP: I love the house analogy. I think for me I love writing those first few chapters where you discover who the characters are and what the world is. That is the only part of a book I write before outlining. To use Kass’s analogy, I also love that part where you start writing automatically, after you’ve plotted and when you are still drafting and you feel like the characters are telling you what they would like to say and do next. That’s when a book feels like home!
Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
KM: RAICES Texas (www.raicestexas.org) provides legal assistance to immigrants and refugees, and has done a ton to help the families torn apart by the child separation policy.
By: Kass Morgan / Danielle Paige
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: November 3rd, 2020
Five winners will each receive a copy of The Ravens (Kass Morgan / Danielle Paige) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
Witches in a sorority? I always knew those groups were weird That cover is so gorgeous, there really aren't enough black covers.