“A successful ending to a brilliant trilogy about human hope and connection . . . set in a diverse world that celebrates and affirms all kinds of love.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
AXIE: HUGE CONGRATS to Katy for not only releasing her third novel today, but the FINAL book in her Age of Darkness trilogy, INTO THE DYING LIGHT!! *applause* *confetti cannons*
First off, Katy, how does it feel to be releasing the last book in your trilogy? You’ve spent so many years in this world and with these characters, I want to know about all your feeeelingss!
KATY: Honestly it still feels pretty surreal that this book is out in the world. The trilogy is complete! All the stuff that’s lived in my head for the past NINE years is now out there in the world for anyone to read and have their own feelings about. It’s kind of wild.
And this book in particular I think was a really special one to write. First of all, we all know how unbelievably upsetting and uncertain the last 18 months have been—and this book was really my constant through all of that. I actually started drafting it the DAY lockdown started, and it felt like a lifeline for much of the past year. Writing sequels in general there’s a pressure to do right by your readers and come up with the perfect continuation to the first book. I definitely felt that pressure while writing AS THE SHADOW RISES, but I think in some ways I was able to let go of that a little while writing book 3 and really just focus on these characters and this world and trust that what I had laid the tracks in the first two books and that I knew where all the pieces needed to fall for the last book. So there was definitely a lot of joy in writing the third book—which is not to say it was easy. It was not. There were parts I agonized over and problems that I had no idea how to solve. But I was definitely able to trust my instincts for this book and I don’t really think there was a point at which I doubted the overall vision for how this story ends and where these characters all end up. That always felt very clear and very solid to me, and I’m just really excited for readers to get to experience it.
AXIE: Any tips for writing a trilogy (or duology or series) in general? Any advice (warnings!) you’d give to someone starting a series?
KATY: Oh my god. I love writing series for a lot of the reasons I’ve stated above, but there is SO MUCH additional thought that has to go into writing a series. How does each book build on the other? Are you laying the framework in your first book and do you know how those seeds you’ve planted are going to come to fruition down the line? Honestly some of the time, the answer is no! There are a lot of moving parts with a series and I do think planning is key, but there’s just no way to plan every single detail of a series before you write it (or if there is, I am not capable of it).
So I guess my big tip would be trust yourself and trust the process. You would be surprised by how many authors with series will tell you “oh yeah that big reveal in the third book? That wasn’t planned from the beginning.” Your subconscious does a lot of work and sometimes you don’t really understand what seeds you’ve planted until it’s time to harvest them. And that can be really fun because you’re like, wow, I put in this perfect piece of backstory or callback, or whatever it is, without even realizing it! Again, this does not mean you can necessarily write a whole series without any kind of plan whatsoever—but I think if you have some broad strokes ideas about where things are headed, that can help guide you as you go.
AXIE: Let’s go back to our beloved series ender, how’s Anton and Jude doing??? ARE THEY OKAY? Seriously though, any hints as to what readers can expect in book three?
KATY: I feel like this series has been building toward two things throughout the first two books. The first being, of course, The Age of Darkness, which has been the big threat since book one and if you’ve read As the Shadow Rises you know basically, well—it’s here. So in INTO THE DYING LIGHT I can definitely promise some apocalypse. And the second thing that’s been built toward is all of the POV characters we’ve come to know for the past two books finally coming together. Again, if you’ve read As the Shadow Rises, we did get to see them all in action together at the end of that book, but in INTO THE DYING LIGHT we’ll really get to see more of those relationships and how these characters all relate to each other and grapple with their collective roles in what’s happened so far. That was absolutely my favorite aspect of writing this book! (And yes, Jude and Anton will reunite…but will their reunion be entirely happy? I guess you’ll find out!)
AXIE: What were some of the best moments of your publishing journey for the Age of Darkness series so far?
KATY: Interacting with readers is always a big highlight, and of course that’s been difficult over the past year. So I really appreciate anytime readers engage with me on social media or at virtual events—sometimes I’ll just get a random message on Instagram that’s like “You’ll probably never see this but I read There Will Come a Darkness and I loved it so much!” And I pretty much see all of those messages and try to reply because it really does mean so much to me when readers connect with these books and share their love for them. Same goes for seeing fanart or even just like, TWCAD-inspired memes. I absolutely love seeing how these books can inspire creativity in readers—I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about any kind of art.
AXIE: Was there a writing process shift from book one (your debut) to book three?
KATY: Definitely. The biggest is of course that when you’re writing your first book, you’ve really only got yourself and maybe some friends or critique partner who are invested in the story. In some ways that gives you a lot more freedom and takes the pressure off, but in others it can be a little demoralizing. What if no one cares about this book? What if no one connects to these characters?
Writing book three, I already had this amazing readership of people just as invested in this story as I was. Again—that does mean more pressure. There’s a sense of responsibility to make sure those readers are getting the best possible version of this ending that I can give them. But I find that really motivating—writing some of these scenes and knowing how readers are going to react, knowing that they’ve been along for the ride for two books already and that they’ve been waiting for some of these scenes to unfold since almost the beginning—that’s a cool feeling!
AXIE: Lastly, what’s next? With the ending of one chapter, there’s always the opening of a new one. Do you have any other projects you’re working on right now?
KATY: This is one of those things I’m never really sure how much I’m allowed to share, but safe to say, yes you’ll be getting more books from me, and yes, they will be YA Fantasy. I don’t want to say too much about my next project, but I will say it’s a completely different world from The Age of Darkness series, and different from this series in a lot of ways. But definitely still has all the hallmarks of a Katy Rose Pool book—flawed characters with complicated relationships, an intricate plot, and lots of fun twists and turns. I’m SO excited about this project, and not just because it has one of my favorite tropes in it (I will not say which but Axie you know what it is).
AXIE: I DO KNOW YAYAYAYAY!!! Everyone is in for a TREAT! Thanks so much, Katy!! Congrats again, friend!!!
Join Katy for her launch at Books Inc TODAY @ 5pm PDT/ 8pm EDT, where she’ll be in convo with WBP contributor Amanda Foody, to talk all things INTO THE DYING LIGHT and the Age of Darkness series, RSVP at bit.ly/ITDLlaunch