Aurora: What was your inspiration behind Soul of the Sword?
Julie: Anime, manga and video games were a huge inspiration for Soul of the Sword. I’m an avid gamer and anime lover, and I’m fascinated by Japanese culture, history and folklore. Being able to write a story that combined everything I love about all of those was amazing and a lot of fun.
Which character do you most relate to and why?
Probably Tatsumi, the solemn, broody ninja boy. I tend to be quiet and serious in most situations and around people I don’t know, but around my friends I’m more of a Yumeko, the cheerful, mischief loving kitsune girl. I think there’s a bit of myself in all my characters, though; from a sarcastic ronin to a no-nonsense shrine maiden, I can relate to all of them in some way.
Why do you feel young adult books are so popular and have such a voice right now?
I think because we’ve all been there at some point. YA stories are usually set in a time where the protagonist is trying to figure everything out, including themselves. Their stories are full of change, coming of age, first loves, discovering who they really are and where they belong. They might have to save the world, but they’re also trying to work through a lot of personal stuff, which is something we can all relate to.
What do you hope readers will take away from Soul of the Sword?
I just really want to tell a good story, one full of excitement and emotion, one that will make readers smile, laugh, swoon and cry. But, in addition to that, perhaps a wonder and appreciation of Japanese culture and folklore? Japanese mythology is fascinating, and there are so many crazy, weird, unique and bizarre creatures to discover, if I can make people curious and want to know more, I consider that a win.
What are you working on now?
The third and final book of the Shadow of the Fox series.
What’s your favorite writing method that you follow for inspiration?
I have several. Sometimes I’ll listen to music while I write. Sometimes I’ll play video games or watch anime to recharge the creative batteries. But most often, I just sit down and write, knowing I can’t wait for inspiration to come. If I want to finish the story, the trick is to keep writing, even if I’m not “feeling it.” I can always go back and fix it later, but for me, it’s better to get words down, any words, then to wait for inspiration.
Find out more about Julie Kagawa here: http://juliekagawa.com/