Debut of the Week: Katy Rose Pool

Welcome to Debut of the Week, our series celebrating some of the most exciting new voices in YA. This week we welcome Katy Rose Pool, author of There Will Come a Darkness, one of YA fantasy’s most buzzed about releases of 2019. What happens to a world guided by prophecy after the prophets disappear? Before their departure, the Seven Prophets foretold a coming age of darkness—and the birth of a new seer to take their place, with the power to save their world or to destroy it. Pool introduces five figures—an exiled prince, a dying girl, a powerful gambler, a faltering leader, and a merciless killer—each of whom might be the one their world is waiting for.

Here’s the author on the spark of inspiration, the books that made her a reader, and what she was like as a teenager.

Please pitch your debut in one sentence.

In a world inspired by the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, five lives are set on a collision course by a prophecy that predicts that they will either save the world or break it.

What was the spark that became this book?

Honestly it was so many things that sort of simmered together.  Some memorable inspirations for the prophecy are the prophecy poems of William Blake, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Sufjan Stevens’ album Age of Adz, and even the Book of Revelation. The worldbuilding was inspired by the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The idea of these almost larger-than-life monuments to these long gone civilizations felt very compelling. Thematically, the book is very much about an apocalypse, and so each of the characters were also inspired by this question—what happens when you have to face your own personal apocalypse?

What were the books you had to read throughout your life in order to write it?

Game of Thrones and Harry Potter both had a huge hand in turning me into a fantasy fan for life, along with Lord of the Rings (though I saw the movies before I read the books). I think Ender’s Game had a big impact on the way I approach character. Robin Hobb, Gail Carson Levine, and K.A. Applegate are all so engrained, I think any book I write will be influenced by them.

What were you like as a teenager?

The protagonists of There Will Come a Darkness are between 16 to 19 years old. At that age I thought I was smarter than everyone around me (I was not) and I was trying to be a lot of things in order to figure out who I actually was. I was incredibly ambitious in a lot of ways, though I didn’t yet know where to direct all that ambition. I’d known practically all my life I wanted to be a writer, and in high school I did journalism, and theater, where I took every opportunity I could to write (for instance, I adapted Pride & Prejudice to the stage). It wasn’t until I was around 19/20 that I finally started writing novels again.

Please recommend a YA book you love.

It’s so hard to narrow this down to just one, but I did completely devour The Merciful Crow, by Margaret Owen, and would recommend it to any fan of fantasy!

How did you celebrate when you sold your first book?

I got the offer while standing outside a Starbucks smack between Berkeley and Los Angeles. By PURE coincidence, I happened to have made a reservation at a very nice L.A. kaiseki restaurant called N/Naka with some friends who are also authors on the very night we got the offer. We turned it into a celebration, and as a result the head chef/owner knew about the deal before I’d even told my parents!

There Will Come A Darkness is on shelves now. 

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