Sixteen-year-old Jules Verity knows exactly what’s in store at her new job at castle-turned-dinner-theater Tudor Times. Some extra cash, wearing a fancy-pants dress, and plenty of time to secretly drool over the ever-so-tasty–and completely unavailable–Grayson Chandler. Except that it’s not quite what she imagined.
For one, the costume Jules has to wear is awful. Then there’s the dead body she finds that just kind of…well, disappears. Oh, and there’s the small issue of Jules and her episodes of what her best friend calls “Psychic Tourette’s Syndrome”–spontaneous and uncontrollable outbursts of seemingly absurd prophecies.
The only bright side? This whole dead body thing seems to have gotten Grayson’s attention. Except that the more Jules investigates, the more she discovers that Grayson’s interest might not be as courtly as she thought. In fact, it’s starting to look suspicious…
Interview with K.C. Held
Look whom I managed to drag to the blog 😉 It’s so so good to be able to talk to authors about their book-writing process, and today, K.C. gives us a little behind-the-scenes, and tells us the all about Jules, the psychic extraordinaire from Holding Court!
- One of the most curious things about Holding Court was how Jules blurted out the most random things that made absolutely no sense whatsoever. How did you come up with this idea at all?
I knew I wanted to write a mystery featuring an amateur sleuth with an unusual ability, and at first Jules just randomly blurted out premonitions that were pretty straightforward. For example, telling her best friend Cami, “You’re going to have six kids!” But at some point I realized it was much more fun if the blurts initially made no sense at all. And yet somehow, they all eventually come true.
- What I loved most about Jules, what everyone is going to love about Jules is her ability to laugh at herself. It’s so rare to see genuinely happy teenagers who have the ability to make light of their own faults, and I think you’ve done a wonderful job showing that. What was your inspiration for creating Jules?
Aww, thank you! I think humor is one of the best weapons we have in life and it’s definitely a weapon I wanted Jules to have as she discovers that this ridiculous psychic gift she doesn’t want and can’t control might not be the total liability she thinks it is. I stumbled on this anonymous quote after I wrote HOLDING COURT but I feel like it totally describes Jules:
Love is my sword,
Goodness my armor,
And Humor my shield
- The Verity women all had very unique gifts that clearly showed that your creativity knows no bounds! If you were to have a special gift, what would it be?
Ooh, good question! But it’s a tough one to answer because all gifts come with a cost, don’t they? I was going to be altruistic and say that I’d like to have some sort of healing gift but those never seem to work out very well for the healer. So, I’m going to choose teleportation. But I’d like my special gift of teleportation to take me from a just-woke-up-with-hideous-bedhead-and-sheet-creased-face state to a fully-groomed-and-stylishly-dressed state when I arrive at my destination.
- I know that you’re a historic costume enthusiast, and costumes played a substantial role in the book! What is the weirdest thing about period clothing that you found while researching?
There are so many interesting things to choose from! But I’m going to go with the codpiece as Henry VIII seems to have been a pretty big fan of this particular item of clothing if his portraits are any indication. Instead of pants as we know them today, Henry wore something called hose, which consisted of two separate pieces (similar to modern tights) that ended at the top of the leg. These two pieces were joined together by a triangular piece of fabric called a codpiece. Which makes sense. But how the codpiece went from something that was meant to conceal, to the outlandish protrusion it became at the height of its popularity, I can’t fathom. But I understand they made pretty good pockets.
- How has your debut journey been so far? Was it anything like you’d expected it to be?
It’s been a madcap adventure! I have some published author friends so I kind of knew what I was in for, but still, nothing prepares you for the moment when you get to hold your book baby in your hands for the first time. Or for the first time you discover a perfect stranger has read your book and GETS IT! It’s the best feeling EVER!
- What’s next for you this year? Do we have a sequel to look forward to? PLEASE SAY YES.
LET’S HOPE SO! I’m currently working on another project that’s similar to HOLDING COURT in that it features quirky characters in a picturesque setting.
Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by the blog! People, you need to read this book ASAP because it is frikkin brilliant! Humour, drama and dead bodies. PERFECTION. And here’s a little excerpt to convince y’all! Enjoy :*
I’ve just entered the main hallway on the ground floor when I hear voices coming from somewhere down the wide stone hall in front of me. I would know one of the voices anywhere. It belongs to none other than Prince Charming himself, Grayson Chandler. Without thinking, I duck into an alcove to my left that holds a suit of armor. I’m trying to squeeze between the suit and the wall when my elbow bumps the handle of the ax held aloft by the armored glove. The ax drops forward, there’s a loud grating sound, and the little circle of stone I’m standing on starts to turn.
An opening appears in the wall behind me and I give a yelp of surprise and panic when I realize I’ve triggered some sort of secret entranceway. The stone circle grinds to a stop and I find myself in total darkness. I stand still for a second, trying to get my bearings, then put my hands out and take a step forward, feeling for something solid in the darkness around me. I turn slowly until my fingers come into contact with the suit of armor. I shift slightly to my left and run my hands over the rough stone wall to the side of the alcove, searching for a light switch or a doorknob or something that will either help me figure out where I am or get me the hell out. I reach higher on the wall, and my hand brushes against something that feels like a post set inside a metal bracket. I run my fingers along the post until I find a small knob at the top. I hold my breath and twist the knob.
There’s a soft click and a wall sconce flares to life. I step back from the sudden glare and stumble over something lying on the floor behind me. I do a kind of hopping chicken dance as I try to regain my balance but end up landing on my elbow on the hard stone floor. My eyes fill with tears from the sharp pain in my arm and I lie there for a second trying to decide if my elbow is broken or just missing the top layer of skin. Once I determine it’s bloody but functional, I sit up, and that’s when I see the girl lying on the floor staring up at me.
“Oh, jeez, I’m sorry,” I say. “I didn’t mean to step on you, I had no idea anyone was in here. Um…are you okay?” She doesn’t say anything, just stares at me with these bulgy bloodshot eyes, and then I notice the chain wrapped around her throat, biting into her skin. “Oh, crap. You’re dead, aren’t you?”
When she doesn’t answer, I reach a finger out and touch her forehead. She doesn’t respond. I let out a whimper and scramble backward. And then I hear something in the passageway behind me. Something that sounds like heavy breathing.
I stand up and throw myself at the suit of armor. “Help!” I scream. “Someone get me out of here!” I run my fingers over the stone wall again, searching for a mechanism that will open the secret entranceway. I hear a scraping sound behind me and I scream again. I grab for the ax, desperate for something to protect myself from whoever, or whatever, is in the passageway behind me. Instead of coming free, the ax tips forward and the circle of stone begins to move again.
I’m still screaming when I find myself back in the main hallway, face to face with Grayson Chandler and a guy holding a very large sword. Before I can stop to think, I throw myself at Grayson, burying my face in the folds of his billowy white shirt.
“Grayson! Oh my God, there’s a girl in there. And she’s dead!”
I don’t think I can thank Entangled Teen enough for tossing this book my way! Holding Court might very well be the cutest, funniest YA Contemporary Mystery that has come out so far this year!
Holding Court follows one summer in the life of sixteen year old Jules Verity. With her mom gone away due to a job, Jules decides to take up a job at the “castle-turned-dinner-theatre” Tudor Times. She hopes to wear fancy dresses and have a little extra in the cookie jar. Of course, there’s the tiny incentive of getting to see Grayson Chandler, her long time crush. Except, nothing goes quite as she planned because her costume is a pain in the MFA, and Grayson’s girlfriend is so damned nice, that Jules feels bad drooling over him. And then, there’s the issue of her having discovered a dead body while on the job.
Jules a completely normal teenager with all the normal teenager melodrama and eye-rolling, except for the fact that she blurts out nonsensical prophecies at the most inopportune moments. Jules’ best friend refers to this problem as “Psychic Tourette’s Syndrome,” and man, she’s so right! Jules’ “prophecies” make absolutely no sense, watching her sometimes shout it out in peoples’ faces made me cringe for her. Juliet was a very cute character, and she’s exactly the type of person whom you would want to be best friends with! Basically, this girl made every part of the book completely laugh out loud worthy!
The mystery around the dead girl Jules discovers, her seemingly absurd prophecies, and the entire concept of Tudor Times was brilliant! I love how everything was tied up neatly by the end, and there’s no doubt that the book was very, very well constructed. The setting and the costumes especially added to the cute/funny/creepy aura that the book created, and what’s even more interesting is that Jules was not the only person with gifts! I loved to see her stumbling around, though, and the author has exceptionally good comic timing 🙂
The writing in Holding Court is what really impresses. It is a debut, but it most definitely does not read like one. I loved the romance—it’s super spoilery, so no talking about it—but it was so swoony! There wasn’t too much of it, what with PEOPLE DYING and everything and so it took a backseat, but I almost prefer it that way. It made the book all the more realistic. Holding Court is a kind of book you don’t want to see end—I certainly didn’t—and I’m definitely recommending it to you if you love fluff and humour with your mysterious dead bodies!
K.C. HELD was born and raised in California with stopovers in Honduras, Mexico, and France. Married to her high school sweetheart, and mom to two avid bookworms, she holds an MFA in costume design and has worked as a freelance costumer in opera, theater, film and television. K.C. is represented by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. Her debut young adult novel, HOLDING COURT, will be published by Entangled Teen on March 1, 2016.