By the time you read this, I’ll be on a train. My destination is here and how I get on will be the subject of the next Al Dente field report. The only thing better than the food will be the company. Liz and Mark De Jager are two of the nicest, and most pathologically talented, people I know. Liz’s new book, Judged, is out now. The final volume of her trilogy about Kit Blackhart, the latest in a generational family of monster hunters it’s the capstone to a series full of invention, horror, adventure and action. Before we all slipped into a meat-powered coma, I talked to her about Judged, the rest of the series, Hot Celtic Werewolf Boys and the future.
Tell us a little about Judged
Judged takes place about a month after the events of Vowed. Kit’s been asked to move in with Aiden and his family for a bit. Everyone’s a little worried about Kit. She’s really not very well and suffers from PTSD – the events of the past year or so has taken its toll on her and she’s struggling to cope and care about anything. She sees her failures in Vowed as all her fault. So basically, things really Aren’t Very Good for her at all. Throw in the Fae drug Glow hitting the clubs and schools in the UK and the rest of the world and she suddenly gets thrown back into investigating all of this – so much drama and trauma!
How has the world evolved since the first book?
The Blackharts are still very much doing what they’ve been doing for a great many years: hunting Fae creatures that don’t have permission to be in our human world. What has changed is the characters themselves – there’s been a lot of growth for my young team. Kit’s learned that she doesn’t have to save the world by herself; she can and is allowed to rely on others. Aiden’s no longer a loose cannon and cares for Kit and Dante and feels very protective of them. Dante’s trying to figure out all his own abilities and what comes next so, those are big things to deal with. As for the world itself, the biggest changes, I think, is taking place in the Otherwhere, the Fae realm. But it’s really not all that obviously obvious at first glimpse but there are bits that indicate that all things aren’t very well. And I can’t say very much more than this because spoilers.
How have you changed as a writer?
I think I’ve become a faster writer for sure. Not sure if I’m better but my instinct used to be to very cautious about what I wrote. I think I’ve learned to trust my voice a bit more than I used to before. I’ve also changed in how I worked. I had to. I really had to learn to stick to my writing routines as I wrote the trilogy incredibly fast and so I had no social life for around two years.
Did any characters end up taking up more screen time than you were anticipating?
Yes, I really found that I wanted to write about the dynamics in Aiden’s family and I had to have a tough talk with myself and pull back. I had the same struggle with writing about the House of Alba, my Fae royals. I find them fascinating and had to stop myself from going deep and political. I ended up only giving glimpses of the High King in the end and I’m afraid I’ve never painted him or his family in the best of lights.
What’s your proudest moment from the trilogy?
Uhm. Proudest moment. I think it’s right at the start of Banished when Kit saves the prince. And she continues saving him. She’s never in need of being rescued and can’t imagine what it’s like. So I pulled the rug in a scene in Judged and I loved that she was off-kilter because of it.
Hot Celtic Werewolf Boys. Yes? OR ALL THE YES?
ALL THE YES. The Garrett boys can literally have an entire series dedicated to them. They are all so very interesting. *sighs dreamily*
What’s next on deck for you?
You know, I’m not sure. I think I need a bit of distance from the Blackharts and their friends and enemies as I’ve lived with them for so long, it’s hard to say goodbye. I’m reading loads across all genres at the moment. It feels like I’m filling up my well of words I’ve emptied out onto the pages of the trilogy.
You talked about a string of possible ideas on your blog a little while ago? Have any of those shaken out? And please say the YA heist story. I’m watching a lot of Leverage at the moment and that sounds perfect.
I would love the write the YA Heist! I’d love to write All The Things. So far nothing has taken a concrete shape as yet, but believe me, when it does, I will Go Dark and not surface till it’s done. Just so you’re warned I’m not ignoring anyone!
Thanks for chatting to me, Liz. And for the onion ring I’ve almost certainly begged off you by now.
Liz’s books can be found here