It is always a pleasure to highlight an author with a sense of humor who also writes science fiction. I hope you will enjoy this interview with Kendra Saunders here on No Wasted Ink.
My name is Kendra L. Saunders. I’m an author, interviewer, music fanatic and fashionista! I’ve lived all over the United States, pulled many years working in music shops and now interview artistic professionals, especially in the fashion industry, for radio and for print.
When and why did you begin writing?
As a kid I often wondered what other people thought, felt and cared about. That curiosity could only be satisfied through acting and writing, and writing came more naturally to me than acting.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In second grade, for Halloween, we were supposed to dress up as what we wanted to be when we grew up. It really occurred to me then that I would be a writer. For whatever reason, my mental image of writers meant that I borrowed my dad’s suitcase and wore a boxy, over-sized jacket. These days my clothes are a bit better, thankfully, but I knew from a very young age that I was meant to tell stories and to read them aloud to as many people as would listen. Performing was in my blood, and hearing someone laugh from a joke I wrote for the very first time… priceless. A high like no other.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
Death and Mr. Right is a screwball sci-fi comedy. Death, a blue haired diva who happens to be the agent of nightmares, finds himself exiled to modern Boston and chased by reapers. It’s really my tribute to Douglas Adams and to Simon Pegg movies like Hot Fuzz. It’s colorful, wacky and full of adventures and snarky ghosts.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’d never written an adventure story before, so this was a challenge to write a very plot-driven story with a singular goal throughout the whole book. Death just wants his job back. And a lot of his misadventures were based on actual events in my own life. Death himself was inspired by a friend of mine who had blue hair and diva tendencies and a larger than life personality to contrast his five-foot-two frame. Many of the side characters were inspired by friends and are my gift to the people around me who let me disappear into fake worlds with people who don’t exist.
Do you have a specific writing style?
My signatures are lyrical descriptions, magic in ordinary settings and screwball, unexpected humor. I see everything in life through a filter of humor, so it always ends up in my writing. Sometimes it’s a very dark humor, but there’s always some element you can laugh at, even if with a bit of guilt.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
It came from a poem I’d started writing years ago and never finished. The poem was about a grim reaper and Cupid comparing notes, sitting on a bench together in a friendly manner. Plus I think “Death and Mr. Right” just really sounds great when said out loud, and has a good sense of the humor in the book.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Sometimes being loyal to your friends is the most important thing you can be. Sometimes you’re good at something unexpected instead of what you want to be good at, and that’s okay. Reading can pay off! And be careful of going to parties with German art-house film freaks.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Many of them! Death drinking too much tequila, the rave scene and many others are based on things that happened to me. Thankfully I didn’t have a hangover like poor Death had, though…
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
Neil Gaiman is my favorite author because he’s hilarious, imaginative and has a strong voice in his writing. Besides that, he’s a rock star in every sense of the world. I love Sophie Kinsella for her sense of humor and her wonderfully flawed female characters. The Time Traveler’s Wife, Interview with the Vampire, The Winter Prince and The Night Circus are all books that made a huge impact on me as a writer, too.
If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?
Neil Gaiman, absolutely. He just has the whole thing… he writes, gives stirring speeches, reads aloud with so much color and warmth, wears cool leather jackets and handles all forms of social media. I would love to spend a week just hanging out with him and learning from him.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
Kate Kaynak designed it! She’s also made the covers for many of NYT Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s books. A lot of people asked me about my cover at BEA when I signed the advanced review copies of it.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write until you think you’re a good writer. Then have someone tell you all the ways you’re still terrible. Don’t hit them. Cry in private. Learn. Rewrite. Get better. Write until you think you’re great. Ask someone you respect what they think. Cry in private. Learn. Never stop learning. And talk to as many human beings as you possibly can. They are your muses, even when you can’t see their faces. Be careful about having too much caffeine. Love your friends and family. Never give up… daydream every day.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading this! I’m very friendly and awake at ridiculous hours, so feel free to talk to me on twitter, instagram or facebook. I share pics, videos and funny stories from my travels and torturous day job. Frequently I post pictures with famous people. And pretty clothes.
Kendra L. Saunders
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Cover Art: Kate Kaynak