Thursday, December 13, 2012

Author Guest Post: Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Hi everyone, and thanks, Lizzy, for allowing us to drop by!

Tempestuous and Exposure, the first books in our Twisted Lit series, are modern-day spins on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and “Macbeth,” respectively. If you’re not gasping with excitement at the thought, you might be gasping with horror. In addition to being lauded as one of the greatest writers in the history of the English language, old Will manages to occasionally strike terror (or boredom) in people’s hearts, particularly anyone who’s sat through a poorly-performed play or a too-dull classroom lecture devoted to his work. To that end, we’ve decided to write a two-pronged guest blog post explaining why our books will appeal to both the Shakespeare fanatics of the world and the Shakespeare-phobes. Whether you fit into either end of the spectrum (or somewhere in between) we think our books offer a little something for everyone.

I HATE Shakespeare:
We get it. Having to translate all that Elizabethan mumbo-jumbo can be mind-numbing when all you really want to do is escape into a story. And picturing dudes wearing frilly lace collars and shoes with giant buckles? Yeah, thanks. Our books yank the Bard into the 21st century, taking his universal themes of love, revenge, loyalty, and death and setting them in situations that are thoroughly modern, with characters that are completely relatable. For example, Tempestuous, our take on “The Tempest,” takes place over the course of one night in a shopping mall, but thanks to our fresh spin, it embarks on an entirely new trajectory. We specifically wrote our novels so that you don’t have to be familiar with Shakespeare at all to appreciate them. So go ahead, pretend we never even mentioned him. (And if our books happen to be the “gateway drug” that convince you to give Shakespeare a second look, it’ll be our little secret.)

I LOVE Shakespeare:
Are you the sort of person who dreams in iambic pentameter? Have you seen Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, like, 73 times? Okay, great then, we’re speaking the same language. In that case, you’re likely to pick up on all the subtle Shakespeare references we’ve sprinkled throughout our books, and you’ll probably swoon over our chapter titles, which are direct lines from the Bard himself. Yet because you’re so well-versed in Shakespeare’s most popular plays, our aim in writing the series was to entice you with something a little bit different. To that end, Tempestuous and Exposure (which is our homage to “Macbeth”) aren’t “paint-by-numbers” retellings. Instead, we used Shakespeare as a springboard for our own unique, 21st-century take on the stories. (We’ve added substantially more girl power, for starters.) There’s a good reason we named our series Twisted Lit, and we sincerely hope you’ll give our version of Shakespeare a shot.

Kim and Amy

Amy (with Kim's dog Macbeth) and Kim
About the Authors
Kim Askew and Amy Helmes are the authors of the Shakespeare-inspired YA series Twisted Lit. Tempestuous will be available on December 18, 2012 and Exposure will be available January 18, 2013 from Merit Press. Kim and Amy been writing together since 2004, when they launched Romancing the Tome, a blog dedicated to their obsession with book-to-film adaptations. For more information on their books, visit

A huge thanks to Kim and Amy for taking the time to stop by! You can check out my review of one of their books, Tempestuous, here.


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