Kelly Braffet – The Unwilling

Kelly Braffet - The Unwilling

It was so much fun to talk to Kelly Braffet about her newest book, The Unwilling -- and her love of writing. She is just so nice and it was great to get to know her. She's the kind of person you would like to meet on a bright and sunny day at an outdoor restaurant over gimlets.

This epic story of a foundling named Judah, who shares a supernatural bond with Gavin, son of and future Lord of the City, is rather dark and definitely not a YA Fantasy. That being said, Kelly has a way with words -- and she has spent a great deal of time and talent in building a world that is complex, compelling and shows her amazing creativity. There are underlying themes corruption and power -- and perhaps a glimmer of hope for the world.


About the Author

Kelly Braffet describes herself like this: Kelly Braffet writes stories about unhappy people making bad decisions, occasionally with magic. She is the author of The Unwilling

But she is so silly and funny and has a delightful laugh -- so it is hard to think of her as dark....she is really a pure joy. 

She is a graduate of Columbia University and Sarah Lawrence College. Her first novel, Josie and Jack, has been made into a feature film starring Olivia DeJonge, Alex Neustaedter, and William Fitchner, and directed by Sarah Lancaster. It was released in October 2019.

Her works have also appeared in Fairy Tale Review, Post Road, and on

She is married to Owen King, who has also been a guest on Joy on Paper to chat about his book, Double Feature. Kelly describes him as tall and dreamy -- and one of my listeners sent me an email calling him adorable!

People are talking about Kellys book...

[Note from PatZi : This is NOT a cozy mystery.]

"This idea of two people being able to feel each other’s sensations—both physically and emotionally—is brilliantly executed. The Unwilling is about sharing joy, and sensing fear and cruelty, and caring beyond ourselves. Kelly Braffet managed to make an adventure story about empathy.”--Vanity Fair

"Kelly Braffet is extraordinary... Familiar yet entirely unique, The Unwilling is the sort of story that seeps under your skin and pulses there, intimate and vibrant and alive. Fantasy at its most sublime."--Erin Morgenstern, NYT bestselling author of The Starless Sea and The Night Circus

"Suspenseful, magical, wonderfully written, and never predictable, Braffet's first foray into speculative fiction is an essential addition to all epic-fantasy collections." –Booklist, STARRED Review

"Drips with atmosphere and intrigue… Braffet’s tale is a study in suffering and cruelty but also in determination... Readers who enjoy complex characters will find much to savor here.” –Publishers Weekly

“Braffet has a real gift for dialogue, and Judah’s quick cleverness is a constant joy… Readers will fall in love with the contemplative pace, brisk dialogue and rebellious heroine of The Unwilling.” –Bookpage

"A juggernaut of an epic fantasy novel with ingenious, thrilling twists and turns. Put this on the shelf beside Naomi Novik and George R. R. Martin. Kelly Braffet is a marvel and I'll read anything she writes."--Kelly Link, MacArthur Genius Recipient, award-winning author of Get in Trouble

"Kelly Braffet's The Unwilling is a viscerally powerful book. Full of complex and compelling characters, this is the story of the corruptions of power and the strength it takes to resist. This is an incredible, brilliant story."--Kat Howard, author of Roses and Rot

"Gorgeously told, The Unwilling is at once a sweeping epic and an intimate portrait of being trapped in an oppressive regime. Meet your new favorite fantasy writer."-- Gwenda Bond, NYT bestselling author of Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds

"Wow...The characters, the world, the magic and greed and politics and pain--all of it adds up to something wonderful. I love it." –Ellen Datlow, award-winning editor and anthologist

Visit Kelly Braffet's website...

She has a great website...

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Cheers, Kelly & Owen!


Hope to meet you for gimlets!

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