Wednesday, July 11, 2018

0 Lindsey Duga, author of KISS OF THE ROYAL, on taking a chance on a weird, out-there idea

We're happy to have Lindsey Duga swing by to tell us more about her debut novel, KISS OF THE ROYAL.

Lindsey, what is your favorite thing about KISS OF THE ROYAL?

This book was so much fun for me to write for a lot of different reasons, but one of the best things about this book was the fun conversations I got to have workshopping it with my critique partner and, eventually, my editor. I still remember the first time I pitched my book to my friend and CP, Melissa, while over the phone. The conversation went a little something like this:

Me: Okay, hear me out--Royals using magic kisses as weapons to defeat monsters.
Melissa: So...they’re like...making out on the battlefield?
Me: More or less.
Melissa: …

It was such a weird, out-there idea that I didn’t blame her one bit for that long pause. I kept thinking, surely, she’s going to shoot this down and call me insane. She only did one of the two. After we established the fact that I was insane, she then started asking me all these questions to which I only had half the answers. Talking through this book about all its worldbuilding, plot twists, and evolving relationships was something that I both needed and absolutely loved.

But, if you’re asking me what’s my favorite part of the book itself...I would have to say I really love the history of the world I created. It was inspired by one of my favorite childhood fairytales, Snow White and Rose Red, and how that history was so intricately woven into the world and ultimately, the plot.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

Yes, there is this one scene that was written quite a few times in various versions and it is a scene that is a turning point in both the plot, and Ivy and Zach’s relationship. So much happens in this scene through dialogue and internal conflict that I spent a long time rewriting it and tweaking it to fit with the changes in plot or in their feelings towards one another. Eventually (in one of my very last revisions with my editor) I wrote one dialogue part that sums up Zach’s feelings so perfectly that even I melted while reading over it. His small monologue in that scene makes me really proud to say that I came up with something so (what I hope others would refer to as) swoony.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

It taught me that I’m kind of a sap when it comes to romance! Ironically, when I started this book I didn’t set out to write a romance novel. It just kind of...came out. I also learned that sometimes the hardest book to revise is the one that makes it. After handing over one of the initial drafts to a very talented CP and receiving a manuscript ripped to shreds, I set it aside for seven months before I was prepared to look at it again. When I finally did tackle it, out came this novel that landed me a book deal. Go figure.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

I’ve been writing stories since I was a kid, but it was always just for fun. Just for me really. Then I wrote this one book in college and it wasn’t until I finished it did I think, hey, what if I tried to get this published? I’d always loved writing but I didn’t think about actually pursuing the life of an author until that book. The book, which was a middle grade, received some interest from agents but I was still pretty green. I went through a lot of revisions and a lot of rejections before eventually I shelved it. My second book, also a middle grade, got even closer to snagging an agent, but that too I eventually shelved. Finally my third book, KISS OF THE ROYAL, (which just so happened to be my first YA) grabbed the attention of an editor’s assistant during #PitMad and four months later I had a book deal!

It took five years and three books later to achieve author-status. It may not be as long or as hard as some, but it definitely wasn’t a walk in the park. I learned a lot though, and I’m truly grateful for this debut.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

My favorite place to write is a local Barnes & Noble cafe. It has these big floor-to-ceiling windows and all this natural light! I honestly can’t write in a room during the day without natural light or a window. It feels like I’m in an office or a cave, and that’s the worst. I also have to write with my headphones in, listening to either one of three kinds of music (a “vibe” Pandora station, a lofi chillhop youtube playlist, or a 1940’s big band Pandora station). First I write for an hour of so, then I order a venti iced green tea soy latte, and that keeps me going for another two and a half hours. I’m so strangely focused during this time that I plan my week around some of these writing sessions. I need them desperately for drafting.

What are you working on now?

When I first started writing I wrote one book at a time, but now I always seem to have several going on at once. They’re all in different stages though, so if I have to wait on someone (like feedback from a CP or if my agent is reviewing it, etc) then I have something else to keep me from going crazy. At the moment, I have one YA Paranormal Romance on submission (think Princess Mononoke meets The Raven Boys set in the Smoky Mountains), a YA Fantasy in revision and a MG Science Fiction in draft as you can see, I’m all over the place!


Kiss of the Royal
by Lindsey Duga
Entangled: Teen
Released 7/3/2018

Princess Ivy has one goal―end the war against the Forces of Darkness.

Ivy’s magic is more powerful than any other Royal’s, but she needs a battle partner who can help her harness it. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword should make them an unstoppable pair―if only they could agree on...well, just about anything.

But Ivy’s magic can only fully unlock with Zach’s help, and he’s not exactly cooperating.

Zach believes Ivy’s magic is dangerous. Ivy believes they’ll never win the war without it. Two warriors, one goal, and the fate of their world on the line. But the more they argue, the more they fall for each other. And only one of them can be right…

Purchase Kiss of the Royal at Amazon
Purchase Kiss of the Royal at IndieBound
View Kiss of the Royal on Goodreads


Lindsey Duga is a middle grade and young adult writer with a passion for fantasy, science fiction, and basically any genre that takes you away from the real world. She wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University.

Other than writing and cuddling with her morkie puppy, Delphi, Lindsey loves catching up on the latest superhero TV show and practicing yoga.


Have you had a chance to read KISS OF THE ROYAL yet? When did you make the switch from loving writing to wanting to get published? Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

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