New Release and Interview with KEEPER OF THE BEES Author, Meg Kassel ***Giveaway***

Keeper of the Bees

Genre: YA Paranormal
Release Date: September 4th 2018
Entangled Teen

“Beauty and the beast like you’ve never imagined!” —New York Times bestselling author Pintip Dunn

KEEPER OF THE BEES is a tale of two teens who are both beautiful and beastly, and whose pasts are entangled in surprising and heartbreaking ways.
Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people.

He follows harbingers of death, so at least his curse only affects those about to die anyway. But when he arrives in a Midwest town marked for death, he encounters Essie, a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden.

Essie is fascinated and delighted by his changing features. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse.

An Interview with Meg Kassel

About the Author

Meg Kassel is an author of fantasy and speculative books for young adults. A graduate of Parson's School of Design, she’s been creating stories, whether with visuals or words, since childhood. Meg is a New Jersey native who lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her husband and daughter. As a fan of ’80s cartoons, Netflix series, and ancient mythology, she has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart® winner in YA and a double 2018 RITA® finalist for her debut novel, Black Bird of the Gallows.

Welcome to Character Madness and Musings. Tell us a little bit about why you write in your chosen genre, and if you have books in other genres as well.
I don’t know why I write paranormal YA. The stories just come out the way they do. I guess I write what I’d like to read. I’ve written some YA sci-fi, but is hasn’t been published.

What was the title of your first book, and what was/is it about?
My first book was Black Bird of the Gallows, about a harbinger of death who falls in love with a human girl in a town destined to be destroyed.

Was it a series?
No, it’s a standalone. However, my new release, Keeper of the Bees, is a companion to Black Bird. The mythology is the same, but it features new characters, but within the same world and rules.

The first book seems to be the most difficult to get off the ground. What inspired you to write it?
I get this question often. It’s hard to say what bizarre happenings are rolling in my head that spat out dudes with psychosis-inducing bees living in their chests and people who turn into crows and chase death. The truth is, they came from a lot of places. I dreamed up the sort of villain that would scare me, drawing from one of the few horror movies I’ve ever watched, a mostly forgotten 1990s flick called Candyman. it scared me SO MUCH! I also pulled from the Mothman legend (not the movie, but the real phenomenon from the 1960s which was the basis for the movie) and a few other sources. I have a soft spot for tortured, immortal boys, so both of my books have them.

New books are so exciting. Do you have more stories planned or that you’ve been working on for the future?
I have a novella also set in this world, called Cleaner of Bones. Other than that, I don’t have more stories specifically planned in this world, but I certainly could. I guess that will depend on what readers want from me in the future!

Can you share a little bit about your main character’s, and what drives them?
Dresden is a Beekeeper. These guys were villains from the first book, so I’m flipping the script on this one, and it was a challenge! He’s given up on ever breaking his curse, until he meet Essie, a teenage girl his bees want to sting. He pushes back on his curse and saves her, but he can never have predicted he would fall for her.

Some stories have strong themes. How important are themes in your writing? Is your theme based on the story, or are your stories birthed from a theme/or themes?
I write to entertain. I write to give teen and adult readers a break from the responsibilities and stress of their lives. This is why I read, so I don’t go intentionally into writing a book with some deep, dark, important “theme” to impart. At least, not intentionally. Many authors do, exploring issues facing society that need attention and discussion and serious thought. My books are not written with that intention, so I can’t say I’m here to impart any particular viewpoint. I just want readers to sit down and lose themselves in a book for a while.

So many Authors are artists by nature. Do you have any other artwork or hobbies you do on a consistent basis?
Actually, I’m an art school graduate, so yes, art is important to me! I was an illustrator and graphic designer before I became an author, and I still enjoy drawing and painting. My husband is a talented musician, so there is always art happening in our house. As far as hobbies, I’m a little obsessed with gardening, and I’m learning to play the drums.

What were your passions growing up?
I always loved to draw, and my imagination was endless, so I wound up inventing elaborate histories behind my drawings. I loved outdoor activities, and always wrote, too, although I never let anyone read my stuff until well into adulthood. Also, I was way too boy crazy in my teen years. Looking back, I have no idea why.

What are your passions now?
My passions have evolved, thankfully, although many are still the same. I still enjoy art, the outdoors, but like I said, I’m learning to use the drum set in our basement, and I love exercising with boxing gloves and a bag. I do yoga in the woods. I’m a member of my town’s community garden which raises vegetables for the local food pantry and of course, I still love to read. :)

Thank you for joining us today. We’re looking forward to seeing the books you’ll be showcasing in the future.

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