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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Guest Post & Giveaway: Caitlin Kittredge, Author of The Iron Thorn

The Iron Thorn (Iron Codex, #1)
The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (February 22, 2011)
In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft's epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day.

     Aoife Grayson's family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different.

5 Paranormal Creatures You Don't Know About (But Will Be the Next Big Thing) 
by Caitlin Kittredge

            So we've all accepted that vampires, angels, ghosts and werewolves are fun, and popular, things to write YA novels about.  I don't pretend to have any kind of secret market prediction powers, but I find that overlooked paranormal types tend to set your story apart from the rest and open up fun new mythology that hasn't been raked over by dozens of authors before you.  Here's a few of my favorites:

1.      Lovecraft Mythos
Okay, I'm biased here—my novel, The Iron Thorn, centers around the Mythos, the world created by H.P. Lovecraft for many of his stories, including arguably his most famous, The Call of Cthulhu.  Lovecraft freely encouraged others to use his monsters, settings and characters, which has spawned dozens of novels and films (Hellboy is a prime example), but very few YA novels.  WHY IT'LL BE HUGE: Lovecraftian monsters are genuinely scary and not based wholly in established folklore—Lovecraft literally made up his own secret history for his world. They're also fantastic for historical fantasy, as many of Lovecraft's works are set in the Victorian era, and his modern ones don't go beyond the 1930s, as he died very young. 

2.      Native American Folklore
Every creature that's popular today—vampires, demons, werewolves or others—has an equivalent (and often far bloodier and more terrifying) creature in Native American folklore. Legends like the skinwalker, the Thunderbird, and the wendigo are ripe for stories that root themselves in traditional folklore.  This one can be tricky—you need to be sure to do your research and avoid whitewashing your cast, but the lore is deep and comprehensive, and the stories are magical.  WHY IT'LL BE HUGE: Native American folklore is a largely untapped market in fantasy, as are Native American characters.  We need more!

3.      The Loa
Loa are part of Vaudaun, or voodoo, a religion springing from Haitian and Afro-Caribbean traditions.  Loa are patron spirits similar to saints, and represent voodoo's two distinct sides, dark and light. Vaudaun can heal the sick or reverse a curse, but it can also cast the same curse or create a zombie, in the traditional sense—a person under complete sway of the practitioner.  Loa such as Papa Legba lend power during a ritual, while Baron Samedi watches over the dead and can help rid yourself of ghosts.  WHY IT'LL BE HUGE: Vaudaun's loa spirits would make fantastic characters to base a paranormal YA around, and they have a rich historical tradition as well as many varied settings for a novel—vaudaun is found in Haiti, West Africa, and the American South, just to name a few. Again, research and cultural sensitivity are key.

4.      Kitsune
Kitsune are mischievous fox spirits, originally found in Japanese folktales.  They can shapeshift into human form to further their mischief, or to watch over and protect their human companions.  Kitsune are known for wisdom, loyalty and bravery.   They sometimes pick a specific human to watch over and often protect them from the machinations of more evil trickster spirits, or demons such as oni.  WHY THEY'LL BE HUGE: Kitsune are already wildly popular in manga, and the YA market is ripe for a new type of shapeshifter with a new mythology to go with it. Plus, who wouldn't love having their very own fox spirit to watch over them?

5.      Valkyries
Citizens of Asgard who ferry fallen warriors to Valhalla, valkyries are both awesome and terrifying creatures.  Equally capable of falling in love with a human warrior or presiding over his death, you'd have to look hard to find a more kick-ass group of women.  When not helping their einherjar (slain warriors) prepare for Ragnarok, the valkyries are the servants of Odin, and frequently act on his bidding. WHY THEY'LL BE HUGE: Norse mythology is popular, but not as popular as Greek, Celtic or Judeo-Christian.  There's a serious need for butt-kicking valkyries and a YA version of the Norse gods—who also embodied many strong females, including goddesses Freya and Sif.

What are some of your top picks for the next big thing?


Want to win my finished copy of The Iron Thorn?

TO ENTER: Just leave a comment answering Caitlin's question (along with your email address) so I can contact you if you are the winner.  
OFFICIAL RULES:  Entrants must be 13 years or older to enter and have a valid  U.S. MAILING ADDRESS
This is a FOLLOWERS ONLY contest. Sorry- shipping is expensive!
Books by Caitlin Kittredge

My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon

Caitlin started writing novels at age 13. Her first was a Star Wars tie-in. Fortunately, she branched out from there and after a few years trying to be a screenwriter, a comic book writer and the author of copious amounts of fanfiction, she tried to write a novel again. Her epic dark fantasy (thankfully) never saw the light of day but while she was struggling with elves and sorcerers she got the idea of writing a story about a werewolf who fought crime. Two years and many, many drafts later, she pitched Night Life to a bevy of agents and one of them, Rachel Vater, sold the series to St. Martin’s. Caitlin collects comic books, print books, vintage clothes, and bad habits. She loves tea, loud music, the color black (especially mixed with the color pink) and ghost stories. She can drive a stick shift, play the violin and knows more English curses than American ones. Visit her  Official Website
Be sure to check out tomorrow's blog tour stop at
Steph Su Reads—Thursday, April 21st . 


Bethie said...

I am not sure what the next big thing will be. Goblins perhaps?

I follow on GFC

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

LindsayWrites said...


americangirlie1991 AT yahoo DOT com

Tiffany said...

I think mermaids will be the next big thing. I have seen a few books about them already, and I think it is a pretty interesting idea. I bet we see a ton more books within the next year or two about them.


Valerie said...

Okay, I have no idea what will be big next. I am really enjoying the current phase of vampires and werewolves. I guess I would enjoy the Native American Folklore you speak of. I love it when a book can paint a new world into existence that I have never even thought of. I see a lot of possibilities for these legends.


Martha Lawson said...

I think it will be Native American and the Loa! Needs to be more written about Native American folk tales.

follow on gfc

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Tore said...

I like native american folklore. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Blissfulrains said...

I definitely also think mythological characters will be the next big thing, if not already! Greek myths, to folk stories seem like a cool subject!


Lieder Madchen said...

I think the next big thing in books should be historical, but that is just me. :)


Lisa R/alterlisa said...

While I'm not at all tired of vamps, skinwalkers is one I think could really be huge. One I really like to see, the Invisible Man.


alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

SandyG265 said...

I think books based on mythology are going to be popular for a while. I've been seeing several come out lately - especialy YA.

I'd like to see more books based on South American and African mythology.

sgiden at verizon.net

Stephanie M. Lorée said...

I'd like to see the same kind of creatures you mention. More Lovecraft!

stephanie AT stephaniemloree DOT com

Julie S said...

I love to see books include mythological creatures in new ways. Sure, the vampire and werewolf thing has been done plenty, but there are still good options with fairies and angels.


Anki said...

I think elves are creatures that have been largely ignored in paranormal/fantasy YA. I find them fascinating actually, as portrayed by Tolkien! I should probably add Aztec and Norse myth there too, now that Greek mythology is getting popular.....

Thanks for the great giveaway and interview!


Amy said...

I'm hoping for more Native American folklore as the focus of YA novels. That's one of the things I loved about the House of Night series (until it turned crazy weird).

Thanks for the giveaway!


Anonymous said...

I agree with Caitlin about valkyries. I love them in Kresley Cole's IAD series. I hope they start making an appearance in the young adult genre.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Sniffly Kitty said...

It's not exactly paranormal, but I think we're due for some time travel hits.


kallosmango123 said...

I bet the next big thing will be Greek mythology.


travellingmomof2 said...

I have to say Norse Gods will be the next big thing.

debbie said...

I think it will be the native american myths that will be big next.

Jessica said...

OOh I have to agree with kallosmango, I want to see more Greek Mythology! Seeing a bit of it now but I want MORE!

Maybe some other mythical creatures from different cultures. I have a big book filled with different legends/creatures from different places! It's pretty cool!


samantha35 said...

I think it is time for Norse gods!
great giveaway
follow via gfc

donnas said...

I think ancient mythology will really become more popular. I love Greek myself and there is a bit of it out there now, but I dont think its come near its peak yet.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

LiLi said...

I seriously think that Demons and stories about the Devil haven't been thoroughly publicized.
Follower: LiLi

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

Since I like both zombies and owls my students keep telling me there should be a book with zombie owls! I'm doubtful that will be the next big thing tho!

themgowl at gmail dot com

Jessy said...

I think I'm going to have to go with Mermaids or Sirens.

findjessyhere at gmail dot com

Vivien said...

I think Medusa will make an appearance. But I would love for Zombies to make a resurgence.

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Sarah said...

Mermaids, zombies and unicorns. But probably the mermaids first. Have we ever had a period in YA when mermaids were "the thing"?

two_of_hearts_101 at yahoo dot com

mendy said...

I would love to read a book with a kitsune. I think demons and angels will be the next big thing.




I'm so hoping ANGELS are the next big thing they are just so awesome and GOD knows I'm sick of vampires and werwolves!!!

OHH wait a minute I wouldn't mind mermaids but I draw the line at Unicorns lol

*Hey I'm an Evil Unicorn come here to kill you with my poisoneous horn*

OHHH I'm scared lol!!!


windycindy said...

Most definitely...I am trying to become more fluent in more book
Many thanks, Cindi

missrantsypants said...

Im liking that Greek mythology is catching on as a theme in YA book. I hope it continues.


missrantsypants said...

Im sorry..I spelt my email wrong.

SpadesHigh said...

my picks for the next big thing would be...hmm.. the sandman, tooth fairy (the good one or the evil/bad one), the 4 Horsemen, and sirens.

TValeros18 [at] Gmail [dot] com

Meredith said...

How about satyrs? (just saw a book with this!)

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Laurel said...

I think it's going to be Greek Mythology, whether it's specific myths or creatures, or just the mythology overall.

laurelbookgarden at gmail dot com

Ken said...

I think that Native American tales are going to be pretty popular.


MannaB said...

I think greek myths are the next big thing!

crazypplrok at gmail dot com

Hoot said...

I agree that Mythology is the next big thing. Jessy

hootowl1978 at gmail dot com

Valia Lind said...

I think greek mythology is going to be the next big thing.


Anonymous said...

I really think that mythical creatures or Norse mythology will be the next big thing. An amazing Norse mythology book is Runemarks. I loved it.