The Practice of Creativity

Transforming Old Myths into New YA Fiction: Interview with Author Kelly Hashway

Posted on: January 20, 2013

I have met many inspiring writers through the online community She Writes and Kelly Hashway is one of them. Over the past two years, I’ve come to enjoy Kelly’s frequent blog posts (especially her weekly ‘Monday Mishmash’) and the  knowledge she shares about the publishing industry. Kelly makes being a writer look easy and fun though I know she works very hard at the craft.

kellyhashwayHashway is a former language arts teacher who now works as a full-time writer, freelance editor, and mother to an adorable little girl. In addition to writing YA novels, Kelly writes middle grade books, picture books, and short stories. Her genres of choice are paranormal, fantasy, and horror. (She prefers creepy horror to gory horror.)

When she’s not writing or digging her way out from under her enormous To Be Read pile, she’s running and playing with her daughter. She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets.

She is represented by Lauren Hammond of ADA Management.

Touch of Death, her first YA novel, has just been released and I thought this would be a great time to interview Kelly.


Tell us about your debut YA novel, Touch of Death. Why did you want to write this book?

I came across two lesser-known myths about Medusa and the 13th sign of the zodiac while researching for another book, and I immediately fell in love with the stories. Everyone knows Medusa as this evil monster, but according to this myth, she was beautiful and wrongfully cursed by Athena. In another myth, Athena gave two vials of the Gorgon Medusa’s blood to Ophiuchus, who used the blood from the right side of Medusa’s body to become a healer. When I learned that one vial of blood (from the left side of Medusa’s body) had the power to kill, I wondered what would have happened if Ophiuchus had used it. My cast of necromancers was born from there.

How did you get bitten by the ‘writing bug’? Did you always wish to become a published author?
I can’t ever remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I’ve been writing since elementary school, but I got serious about it after my daughter was born. I went back to school to learn about the industry, and then I found my agent, who thankfully sold my books.

What’s your process like when you’re working on a novel?

I spend some time planning the story first. Sometimes I have over 20 pages of notes (like with Touch of Death) before I draft. I draft quickly at that point. Touch of Death took 14 days to write. Then it’s revise, revise, and revise some more.

You manage to pack a lot into your day! You are a consistent blogger, freelance editor and have numerous writing projects underway. How do these activities feed into each other and you?

They all involve reading and writing, which I love. I think I have the best jobs in the world. I work seven days a week and couldn’t be happier about it.

If you could invite three living writers to a dinner party that you’re hosting, who would you invite and why?

Rick Riordan, Becca Fitzpatrick, and JK Rowling. Riordan is my idol. I love the Percy Jackson series. My copies have post it notes all over them, marking passages of brilliance. Fitzpatrick is the author of my favorite YA series, Hush Hush. I could talk to her about Patch all day long. And Rowling is a legend. I’d just let her talk and stare in awe.

What’s your best writing tip that you’d like to share?

Read as much as you can. Reading great authors is the best form of research in my mind, and it’s fun too!

To learn more about Kelly and participate in her promotional giveaway (includes a copy of Touch of Death and great paranormal themed swag) visit her blog.


14 Responses to "Transforming Old Myths into New YA Fiction: Interview with Author Kelly Hashway"

What a great interview!

Hi Kiersi,
Thanks! There was so much more I wanted to ask Kelly. Can’t wait to read her book.

Hey Kiersi,
I can’t wait to interview *you* as you get your many projects out the door and into homes. Look forward to it!

Yes, a good one. I too, think Kelly’s is a great story. She’s real life and shows all of us chasing the same dream, that all it takes is passion, dedication, and hard work. She never gave up and is now living her dream. Thanks for sharing.

Hi Brenda,
Thanks! Kelly is very inspiring. I don’t know when she sleeps though!

Thanks for having me, Michele! I really appreciate it. 🙂

Hey Kelly,
You’re welcome. As I said in an earlier post, several folks in my writing group write YA and it is so popular right now, I’m trying to educate myself in the genre. Can’t wait to read your book.

Hi Kelly!! Have Touch of Death on my tablet and can’t wait for the writing break that allows me to read it. Sounds fabulous!! And what an amazing process you have… I’ve met a few writers who draft really quickly like that (Terri Brisbin says it’s like seeing a movie in her head- have always envied that!) and I think that’s so amazing! My personal process is very different from this- write first, ask questions later – but my process in YA with a partner involves lots more advance plotting. I have to say, I do love the way that lets me write faster! Once I sit down to do those YA chapters- post brainstorming with Karen- they’re just THERE!

Hi J.K. Rock,
Nice to see you here. Kelly’s process is amazing. Sometimes an idea just takes hold and you can run with it.

Excellent interview. I have a somewhat unusual question. Does writing to YA help you stay young at heart?

Thanks, Todd! That’s a great questions. I think as a YA author, you really have to make sure you stay in touch with all the complex feelings of adolescence–definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Todd, I definitely think it does. I get to relive those teen years every time I write YA. That definitely keeps me feeling young. Sometimes I remember my actual age and think, when did that happen?

Love the interview! How each authors mind works is always a mystery. Thank goodness for that though or we wouldn’t have so many awesome books. I can’t wait to read her new book!

Hi Michelle,
Thanks! Kelly was wonderful to interview and so inspiring. I have many friends who write YA, so I’m trying to get a bit more familiar with the genre.

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Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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