Monday, March 12, 2018

These Vengeful Souls Authors Interview! Hosted by Xpresso Book Tours

These Vengeful Souls


Kelly Zekas &Tarun Shanker

See the source image

Published by: Swoon Reads

Publication date: February 20th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

England, 1883. On the run with the grieving Sebastian Braddock, Evelyn wants two things: to be reunited with her friends, and to get revenge on the evil Captain Goode. Not only has he misused his and Sebastian’s powers to rack up a terrible death toll, but he’s also completely destroyed any hope of Evelyn or her friends regaining the life they once knew.

Evelyn is determined to make Captain Goode pay for what he’s done, but is her revenge worth risking the lives of Sebastian and her friends? Or is it better to flee the city and focus on staying alive? And with the Captain spreading lies about Sebastian in an attempt to flush them out of hiding and turn the populace against them, does she even have a choice at all?

About the Authors

Tarun and Kelly met in a freshman year writing class at NYU and started writing These Vicious Masks a few years later.

Tarun is a writer living in Los Angeles whose idea of paradise consists of kung-fu movies, David Bowie and chai tea. Since completing his first horrible screenplay in high school, he’s written everything from one-act plays and film criticism to humor pieces and strongly-worded emails. He’s also magnetized, crushed and burned the hard drive where that first screenplay can be found.

Kelly is a writer and actor living in NYC. YA is her absolute favorite thing on earth other than cupcakes and she has spent many hours crying over fictional deaths. She also started reading Harlequin romances at a possibly too early age (12?), and still loves a good paperback romance.

Like what you've seen so far? Keep reading for an exclusive interview with this dynamic duo:

Interview with Kelly & Tarun

SS: First of all, thanks so much for sharing These Vengeful Souls with us. Vengeful Souls is third in your These Viscous Masks series. Could y'all tell us a little about the inspiration behind your series?

K&T: It mainly started as a silly brainstorming game about what the typical book we’d write together would be. So we just combined our favorite genres to read at the time (superheroes for Tarun and Victorian-era for Kelly) and started coming up with a list of fun combinations of tropes and “what if’s.” What if the broody gothic hero literally had the power to kill people he got too close to? What if the “perfect” charming sister actually just had a power that made people fall in love with her? And so forth. Eventually, we realized we actually liked a lot of those ideas and hadn’t really seen a world quite like this one, so we started an actual list and pieced together a story from there!

SS: I love it. So many great stories come about from circumventing tropes and turning them upside down. In your bio, you mention how you both met in a writing class your freshman year in college. What made you guys realize you worked best as a team and how has it impacted your writing?

K&T: We decided to work together because we both had an expertise in these two different genres, but we didn’t really know we’d make a good team until we were deep into writing. Since then, we’ve realized Tarun is more of a plot person, while Kelly thinks of character first. Tarun is heavy on outlining, while Kelly is a panster. And though we have different approaches, we have similar tastes for what makes a story good. So when one of us is having trouble with a certain part, there’s a good chance the other will be able to fix it because they’ll tackle it from another angle.

SS: That sounds like a dream team! Now for the serious question... As authors, what would y'all choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

K&T: If we were to pick our mascots we would probably go with a Red Panda or Fiona the Hippo for Kelly and a turtle for Tarun.

SS: You both mention backgrounds in acting and/or screen-writing. Do either of you feel this unique background has helped your writing?

K&T: We realized that acting and screenwriting are just different ways to tell stories and ultimately, that’s what we care about: telling stories. The backgrounds help, especially when it comes to things like backstory, which Kelly has always had to work on with different characters, or structure and dialogue, which Tarun had to focus on with screenwriting.

SS: Have y'all ever considered writing a screenplay together?

K&T: We are currently doing that at the moment! We don’t want to say too much about it yet, but it is a period piece set in England, so still very much on brand.

SS: That sounds exciting! Can't wait to see what you deliver. Back to These Vicious Masks, did y'all know from the beginning this would be a series or did it the story grow organically?

K&T: We always saw it as a trilogy, and while it has changed some from the original concept, we just had too many ideas on that first brainstorming list that we knew it would take a full three books to tell Evelyn’s story and develop the world.

SS: Are your characters based on people you know, or do they live solely in your imagination?

K&T: There are little bits of people we love (and maybe don’t love!) in the books, but overall the characters are just in our heads. We don’t picture any people we know as the characters and we have to give them such different circumstances and backgrounds, that it would be very hard to insert them.

That said, there is always a little slice of us in most of the main characters. Even if it’s a villain, we think it’s helpful to share a trait (or at the very least, an opinion) with them to be able to write their perspective effectively.

SS: Love the way you guys described sharing traits with your characters. Like method acting for writers. Speaking of other authors, are there any you guys are friends with, and how do they help you become better writers?

K&T: We really didn’t know other writers when we first got published! It was only once we were had a debut year group and found other Swoon Reads authors that we began to connect with writers besides ourselves. They have been a huge source of support and love these past few years. We’ve shared panels and parties with some wonderful authors who are always there to empathize and cheerlead.

SS: This is an aspect of this business I love most. It really does take a village. :) Winding things down now. Besides your Vicious Masks series, are there any upcoming projects on your radar y'all would care to share with us today?

K&T: You nailed it when you asked about the screenplay! That’s what we are working on at this exact moment, but we are excited to try out a contemporary YA soon ...

SS: Cannot wait to see how you turn contemporary YA on its head! Good luck with your current WIP's. Meanwhile, could you offer your fans a little teaser for what Evelyn and company might face in this next installment?

K&T: Well, it takes place immediately after the events of the second book, so there’s still a lot of regret and revenge and recovery in the fallout, but there’s also some big changes happening in London that’s a bit different from anything the group has had to deal with before!

SS: What you described sounds like the best kind of sequel. We can't wait to read and I for one am excited to dive into the world y'all have created. Thank you so much for sharing with us today!

Want to learn more about Tarun & Kelly?

Discover more @ the links below!

Links (Tarun):

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Links (Kelly):

Website / Goodreads / Twitter

The Tour Continues...

Don't miss tomorrow's stops!

March 13th

Bibliobibuli YA >> Guest post
Mes Livres >> Excerpt
Birdie’s Bibliotheca >> Review
Jazzy Book Reviews >> Excerpt


  1. Thanks for hosting today, Jennifer! :)

    1. I had such a blast interviewing Kelly & Tarun! Thanks for being wonderful as usual, Giselle!