Meet the author of the young adult fantasy Age of Darkness series, which comprises of There Will Come a Darkness (a William C. Morris Award Finalist), As the Shadow Rises, and Into the Dying Light (on sale September 2021). Katy Rose Pool shares more about her inspiration for this book, her most memorable teachers and librarians, her favorite childhood books, and more!
When describing the Age of Darkness series, what’s your elevator pitch?
Katy Rose Pool: There Will Come a Darkness is a fantasy set in a world shaped and guided by the prophecies of the Seven Prophets. The book takes place one hundred years after the Seven Prophets have disappeared, leaving behind one final prophecy that predicts an Age of Darkness. The story follows five characters who are all in some way connected to this final prophecy–an exiled prince, a ruthless killer, a dying girl, a boy on the run, and a faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart. As their destinies collide, they each must figure out if they are going to be the ones to stop the Age of Darkness, or if they will be the ones to start it.
What inspired you to write There Will Come a Darkness (the first book in the series)?
Katy: For a long time I just knew I wanted to write a big, epic fantasy series with multiple points of view and cosmic stakes. It wasn’t until I came up with the five main characters of There Will Come a Darkness that I really started to flesh out what the story was about. For me, it’s the relationships between characters that really form the story engine. The narrative unfolded pretty organically from building these relationships, like the one between the sisters Ephyra and Beru, or the one between two of the main characters, Jude and Anton, or the one between Hassan and his people. I wanted to explore big questions about fate and choice and self-determination through those relationships. In that way I was able to write about other things that interested me–things like eschatology and cults and ancient history–but ground those ideas in the characters, in what is most important to them, and in what they are willing to do to protect those things.
Tell us about a librarian or educator who made an impact on you.
Katy: I did theater in high school, which is kind of funny in retrospect because I really wasn’t a good actor, but what I did enjoy was directing. A friend of mine and I really wanted to direct this stage version of Pride and Prejudice, but about a week before we were supposed to pitch our show to the rest of the drama department, we found out we couldn’t get the rights to the play. But our drama teacher, Ms. Kraus, encouraged us to just adapt the book ourselves for the stage–so we did. Over the course of about a week, on top of all our other school work and extracurricular’s, my friend and I feverishly wrote a script.
I had written stories before, but I had never adapted anything, and I had never written anything that I really showed anyone else. But to adapt one of my favorite books and create an entire play based off it that was seen by hundreds of other students and family…it was really the first time I had undertaken a project that ambitious and actually seen it through from start to finish. I was so proud of the show we put together and Ms. Kraus was incredibly supportive, but at the same time really let us take full creative control. I’ll never forget how important it was for a teacher to basically say, ‘I see the passion and the hard work you’ve poured into this project and I trust you to make it the best that it can be.’ It’s something I still think about.
What advice would you give to young writers/illustrators?
Katy: My advice would be to seek out other stories and art that make your heart sing or, as I like to say, set you on fire. Study those stories and figure out what it is that makes them so special to you. Pick apart how the construct characters, how they build worlds and how they weave plots together. And when you read stories that don’t land with you, figure out why that is, too. I love writing advice, but I do feel that the best teachers are stories themselves.
What is the first step in your creative process?
Katy: The beginning of my creative process is somewhat of a passive process. I generally have a whole host of ideas, concepts, or simply feelings that I want to explore. When two or more of these little story scraps start to fit themselves together, that’s when I’m able to more actively develop the ideas and start brainstorming. For There Will Come a Darkness, some of the ideas had been sitting in the back of my mind for three or four years before I even started to brainstorm the book. I like to let these things sit and pick them back up, because if I’m still interested in the ideas months and years down the road, then I know there’s something worth pursuing in there.
What was your favorite book when you were 10 years old?
Katy: I absolutely loved the book Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. It’s a Cinderella retelling, which feels like a story that we’ve been reduxing for centuries, but it’s one of my absolutely favorite versions of that story. I love how Ella is such a strong, opinionated, and proactive protagonist, even though she’s under a curse that forces her to be obedient. But the way she still manages to defy her curse and seize her own agency is so remarkable and why she’s still to this day one of my favorite characters.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Katy Rose Pool, author of the Age of Darkness trilogy, was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in history, Katy spent a few years building websites by day and dreaming up prophecies by night. Currently, she resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she can be found eating breakfast sandwiches, rooting for the Golden State Warriors, and reading books that set her on fire.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool
The Age of Darkness approaches.
Five lives stand in its way.
Who will stop it . . . or unleash it?
For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations—until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.
All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. With chaos on the horizon, five souls are set on a collision course:
A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart.
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.
One of them—or all of them—could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer?
Praise for There Will Come a Darkness:
★”Pool accomplishes a masterful balance of exposition, action, and characterization . . . full of genuinely surprising and interesting twists that will have readers anxious to get to the last page. [F]ans of Bardugo’s Six of Crows will notice similarities between the narrative styles. [R]omance readers will revel in the beginnings of a few steamy relationships (one straight, one queer)..”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review
★”A well-crafted, surprising, and gripping start to a new trilogy” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★”[S]et apart by its immersive worldbuilding and compelling narrators.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review