K.K. Perez answered some questions from our contributor, Teralyn, about her recently released novel, The Tesla Legacy, her life, and writing. Check out the interview below to learn more about her and books!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a half-Argentine and half-Norwegian native New Yorker. I’ve spent the past two decades living in Europe and Asia, working as a journalist and academic–and now a novelist! These days I’m based in London. I love thunderstorms, bittersweet chocolate, and fierce sorceresses.
How did you first get into writing?
When I was cleaning out my childhood home a few years ago, I found a “book” about a time-traveling stamp that I’d written in third grade–so perhaps, then!
What inspires you to write?
My academic background is as a medievalist and I draw a lot of inspiration from Arthurian legends and other medieval folklore. My debut YA fantasy, SWEET BLACK WAVES is a retelling of the star-crossed lovers, Tristan and Isolde. I’m also an unabashed superhero fan, which was part of the inspiration for THE TESLA LEGACY.
How many hours a day do you write? How often do you write?
When I’m in the first drafting stage of a project, I tend to write four to five hours a day, five days a week. Once I get into my flow state, hours pass without my even noticing!
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I’m a total museum nerd and I’m lucky enough to live in London where there always tons of amazing art exhibitions on at any given time. I usually try to get to one every week because I find it both relaxing and inspiring. I can also be found prowling the banks of the river Thames––there is something very peaceful about watching the tide to me.
Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
Self-care is paramount. Sometimes it’s okay to just unplug and step back for a little while. Publishing is on its own timetable and you can’t make it go faster, no matter how much we’d all like that!
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
That success is subjective and the goal posts are constantly moving, so the most important thing is to define it for yourself.
The Tesla Legacy is such an interesting book! Can you tell us a little about the book?
My protagonist, Lucy Phelps is a budding scientist, quick-witted, and curious about everything. One night she discovers a message encoded in a childhood photograph of herself that leads her to the New Yorker hotel in Manhattan where the eccentric genius Nikola Tesla lived for the last decade of his life. She discovers his secret lab and suddenly her dormant electrical abilities are unlocked. From there, her life gets turned upside down as she’s drawn into a centuries old feud between rival alchemical societies who both believe she’s the next step in human evolution.
What was the inspiration for the story?
My elevator pitch is “if Bruce Banner were a high school girl” and I really wanted to write about a young woman developing superpowers who uses science to understand and master them. The trope of a male scientist becoming a superhero is well-worn but the female superheroes, such as Poison Ivy, tend to have more tragic backstories. I wanted to tell an empowering story about women in STEM.
Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers?
Possibly my favourite scene to write was Lucy’s prom and let’s just say that I tipped my hat to “Carrie”––but that’s all I’ll tell you!
What sort of research did you do to write this book?
I read biographies and watched documentaries about the life of Nikola Tesla, as well as delving into the history of science and alchemy to create the two societies. In terms of the science itself, I consulted with a few physicists to make sure it was accurate––up until the point where Lucy can start popping popcorn with her fingertips, of course!
What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
First of all, I hope it’s a rollicking good read! Second, I’d love for young women to identify with Lucy on her journey from fearing her own power to embracing it.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with us?
WILD SAVAGE STARS, which is the sequel to SWEET BLACK WAVES will be out on August 27th, 2019, and I’m currently working on the conclusion to the trilogy as well.
Lastly, do you have any book recommendations for us?
EMPIRE OF SAND by Tasha Suri is one of the most lush fantasy novels I’ve read in the last couple of years and it contains a fresh, compelling magic system. I’m also really excited for Sara Faring’s debut genre-bending YA novel, THE TENTH GIRL set during Argentina’s Dirty War in the 1970s.