Author Interview: Kristen Duvall
Femmes du Chaos
They messed with the wrong girl this time.
From heroes to villains, Femmes du Chaos sets out to show the world what the fairer sex is really made of. You’ll meet women of all ages and from many different walks of life... Warriors and schoolgirls, side-by-side in one place. One thing connects them all, and that is their ambition. Whether they use their ambition for good or evil, well that’s for them to decide. Gritty, fantastical and sometimes uncomfortable to read, Femmes du Chaos is a tour de force that holds nothing back. There will be violence and there will be blood.
Here are a few of the femmes you'll meet in this thrilling collection:
Sylvia: The bounty hunter with a dark past who is hellbent on revenge. When the justice system fails her, she sets out to correct their mistakes.
Layla: The ballerina who wants to be a star who's spent her life being overshadowed and under-appreciated. What happens when she stumbles across magic that makes her sister the star she's longed to be for so long? Let’s just say, you’ve never seen sibling rivalry like this before.
Mallory: A young girl who can see the future in her dreams. She’s saved lives in the past, and her dreams are warning her to not return to the world they all left behind. Faced with starvation, no one wants to believe her about the multitude of horrors that wait for them above. After all, monsters don’t exist... Or do they?
Some will survive and come out stronger in the end... And some will let the darkness consume them. After all, no two girls are ever alike.
Femmes du Chaos is on my VSTBR (Very Soon To Be Read) list of books, and was just released today! Author Kristen Duvall was kind enough to visit my blog and share some thoughts about girl power and the dark side.
Brie: All the stories in Femmes du Chaos feature female protagonists. What was your inspiration for writing a collection of stories like this?
Kristen Duvall: Honestly? I wrote the stories before settling on that theme. It only occurred to me as I was compiling them that I tend to write mostly from a female perspective, even when most people would traditionally assume male. I write female characters because I like seeing strong females, both heroes and villains. I like seeing female characters in traditionally male roles. It's just something that interests me and my writing happens to show it.
Kristen Duvall: I like flawed characters, so anyone who is too perfect, too beautiful, too sweet is not for me. I like seeing flaws. And when talking about strength, it doesn't always mean they win or that it was easy... it means they handled it and never once buckled under the pressure. They never asked for someone to step in and save the day for them. It's not always easy and some of the characters struggle a great deal with their inner demons, but in the end, they have an inner strength that comes through. That being said, I also wrote a few few female villain pieces... and in those cases, a strong female character meant that they could be just as ruthless as any male can be.
Brie: Which character’s story was your favorite to write, and why?
Kristen Duvall: I wrote most of these stories in the span of three years for an online writing content called The Real LJ Idol (therealljidol.livejournal.com). I wrote many more pieces than I included, and I mostly picked my favorites. So all of them are special to me in their own way. My favorite is probably Sylvia though and that's because her and I are a lot alike. I can't say much more without giving away the ending, but let's just say that if I were in her shoes, there's a good chance I'd be in jail for murder because I'd be tempted to do exactly what she did too. I also loved writing a truly bad-ass female bounty hunter killing the men who wronged her, it was way too much fun and I'd love to play in her world some more if given the chance.
Brie: Which character’s story was the most challenging?
Kristen Duvall: Teacher's Pet includes a woman who is a psychopath. She was challenging because I've never written from the POV of a villain like her before. In fact, I tend to prefer writing from the protagonist more often than not. Not to mention, one scene with her is just... uncomfortable and will probably push a few buttons.
Brie: Why did you choose to explore challenging territory in this book?
Kristen Duvall: It wasn't really a choice I made intentionally, it's just the way my brain is wired. In real life and with my nonfiction, I am very lighthearted and friendly. But my fiction has always been darker and I can't explain why. My brain comes up with some of the most disturbing ideas, and they are often ideas that make others uncomfortable. Finding that balance is important though as I do want to make sure the reader enjoys themselves too.
Brie: What draws you to write horror, dark fantasy and dystopian-flavored stories?
Kristen Duvall: It's what I like to read. I like pure escapism when I read. I like different worlds, things which aren't possible in the here and now. There's a part of me that's still very much a child... I like make-believe and world building where everything and anything is possible. The dark side, well... I'm a twisted person and always have been. Just ask my family ;)
Brie: Do you have any more titles planned in the future?
Kristen Duvall: Yes, I do! I have a novella that will be released as soon as I can finish editing it called The Devil's in the Details. It's about the devil's right hand man and explores what his job might be like stealing souls and whatnot. It's dark, but also a bit more fun than a typical horror story. A bit more whimsical, perhaps.
I also have one novel completed that I need to edit called The Caged Girl. It's the first in a series. I like to describe it as a romantic story between a boy, a girl and decapitation.
I'm writing another novel which doesn't have an official name, but I jokingly call it The Princess and the Piper because it's accidentally similar to The Prince and the Pauper only set in a utopian future and features lesbians. It's a lot lighter than my usual fair, but still has hints of darkness beneath the surface.
And far off in the future... I have Here There Be Dragons which is YA or perhaps middle-grade fiction. It's fantasy and about a girl on an adventure to prove that she has what it takes to be on the Royal Guard. Again, much lighter than my other works and probably intended for a younger audience too.
Grab a copy of Femmes du Chaos!
About the author:
Kristen Duvall is a writer of tales both real and make believe. Born and raised in the Midwest, she now resides in Southern California with her boyfriend, her Great Dane and her rescued calico kitty. She's been writing and sharing her work online for several years now, and has decided to take the plunge into publishing her work for the world to read. She dabbles in horror, science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction. She enjoys both Adult and Young Adult fiction and loves to write strong female characters. You may follow her on or visit her .
The Princess and the Piper (title may change) - A utopian version of The Prince and the Pauper, only with lesbians.
The Caged Girl - A romantic tale of a girl, a boy and decapitation. First in a forthcoming sci-fi/dystopian series.
Here There Be Dragons - YA or possibly middle-grade story of a girl on a mission to do the impossible.
The Devil's in the Details - A horror novella about the devil's right-hand man.