Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Author Chat: An Interview With Kamilla Reid (and a Giveaway!)

Recently, I "sat down" (virtually, anyway) and had a fascinating conversation with Kamilla Reid, author of The Questory of Root Karbunkulus. She had some great things to say. Be sure to read the whole thing, because I put all the really important stuff at the bottom!

Me: I know you have been writing since you were a kid, even publishing at a young age. How do you think your writing has evolved over the years?

KR: I would have to say that the biggest thing that has evolved over the years, the thing that, I think makes all the difference in the world is confidence. I have grown more confident in my abilities and so I feel like I can just be me now (only took me 40 years! :). When that happens, it allows that curious and wonderful thing called Voice to come out, which is everything to a writer.

Me: You have a background in theater. What have you learned from acting/directing/writing plays that has helped you in crafting fiction?

KR: The theatre definitely helped me develop a solid grasp on natural dialogue, which I think is very important. Also, as a playwright/director I gained the confidence to admit when something really sucked; I learned the essential craft of re-writing. I get so many comments about how visual my writing is and how the book has movie written all over it. I wonder if it’s because of my theatre background, where it was all about the visual. I must have taken that with me into my books. Or maybe that’s why I was drawn to theatre in the first place…Hmmmmm…

Me: I ask this question of every writer I interview, because I'm so fascinated by how authors work. What is your writing routine? Where and when do you write? Do you plan your stories down to the last detail or just let the ideas flow freely?

KR: I know, I remember I had this book called WOW (Writers on Writing) and I was always scouring the routines and rituals of other authors ! I write early in the morning…really early…some, like my 8-year-old daughter, Tylar would say ‘stupid early’ but it’s nice and quiet and one of my dogs, Stogie (yes, I’ve immortalized him ) sleeps at my feet. I drink lots of Chai green tea and I go like that until I can’t anymore…sometimes a whole day (if Tylar’s not home) and sometimes a whole fifteen minutes (if she is!).

I absolutely have to work out the plot, all the plots ahead of time. So, before I even started book one I had to work out every major plot point and every main character’s arc for all six books first. Sometimes I have no idea what the event specifically will be, only that something has to occur that will plunge so-and-so into emotional turmoil or great joy or even death…that sort of thing. Once that's done, I let it fall out organically as I go along. I love it. Even now, writing about it gets me all giddy and excited :)

Me: I know a t.v. show (The Amazing Race) inspired The Questory of Root Karbunkulus - from what other sources do you find inspiration and ideas for your stories?

KR: I get my ideas from so many different things around me, sometimes a conversation will spark an idea or a picture or a song. Actually a lot of my inspiration comes from the natural world, whether that be the particular behavior of unique animals or trees or insects or sea creatures. There's a wealth of 'what if' there :)

Me: Ever since J.K. Rowling came on the scene, sci fi/fantasy novels for young adults have been all the rage. Did the popularity of this genre convince you to write this type of story or have you always been a sci fi/fantasy nerd? In other words, what made you choose this genre? And how do you make yourself stand out in such a saturated market?

KR: Y'know it's funny because I never liked fantasy, or what I thought was fantasy before I learned it had sub-genres. I'd see book covers and cringe at the half naked women with their ginormous swords. So, I'd had this limited, ignorant perception, thinking that was Fantasy. All I knew was that I loved magical stories, like the Camelot tales of old and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Princess Bride. I still don't even know if those are classified as fantasy. But I did know that they were the kind of stories I loved and wanted to write. And so I did :)

As to standing out, gosh...I've done a few things, like a really cool website and book trailer and a fun tour, but in the end you just have to trust and hope the story speaks for itself.

Me: Who are your favorite authors? Which writers influence you most? Are there any genres you simply can't stand?

KR: Right now I am soooo loving Terry Pratchett. He's just so funny! And there's an example of how I've grown as a reader. I had categorized him in that original fantasy genre that I'm not really partial to (I guess you could call it adult fantasy?). But, as time goes by I'm opening up to all sorts of genres that I'd never have read before, romance for instance, though it's not high on my list. I've been inspired by a lot of great writing but I'd have to say JK Rowling's personal story is what inspired me to get off my butt and write! When I saw that she wrote as a single mum I realized, being in the same circumstance that I could do it, too.

Me: If you were asked to participate in a competition like "The Amazing Race" or a DreAmm treasure hunt, would you do it? What would be your strengths? Your weaknesses?

KR: Oh yeah! That would be so cool! I think one of my strengths would be that I am very calm under extreme circumstances. Oh, and I think I'd be pretty good at keeping morale up. I'm kinda cheerleaderish that way. My weakness would probably be something social. If there was a dinner party I'd be there with bells on :)

Me: If you could choose your teammates for such a competition, who would they be (they can be real or fictional) and why?

KR: Man, that's a great question! Hmmm...does George Clooney count? Okay, let's see. Gandolf because he's sorta been there, done that and brought back the winning t-shirt. Um....Jack Sparrow 'cause he's Jack! And...Ellen 'cause she's brilliantly funny and nice and then we could all be on her show!

Me: Great answers, Kamilla. Thanks again!

KR: You're very welcome and thank you so much for letting me share with you and your readers. I have truly enjoyed your unique questions! All the very best to you, Susan!

Kamilla was kind enough to send me an extra signed copy of her book, plus 2 fun dogtags featuring her characters. To enter, answer the same question I asked Kamilla - If you could choose your teammates for a magical Amazing Race-type competition, who would you choose and why? I will randomly choose a winner on August 9. Good luck!

5 comments:

  1. This book sounds like a lot of fun, I'd love to win!

    I've never seen the Amazing Race, so I don't really know who I should want to bring, but I would say my husband. I am a total wimp, but if he's there, I am willing to try just about anything, and that's probably necessary for a race around the world.

    Thanks!

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  2. Let see, I think I would choose:
    Wolverine (X-Men)- because he can take a beating and keep going.
    My dad- because he is always prepared for everything, maybe even a little over prepared.
    Brian Reegan- because he can really lighten the mood.
    And Alsan- everyone wins with him!
    Hopefully it was ok to choose fictional characters, because I did!

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  3. Just discovered your blog and have had a blast reading through random posts!

    I loved watching the Amazing Race. If I had to do it, I would love to take Wolverine too... how can you go wrong with that?
    He's so handy, indestrucible and darn cute, too!

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  4. I'm very much enjoying your blog.

    I love the Amazing Race and my dream team would include:

    My husband... he is great with directions and navigating

    My son... he is a daredevil and willing to try anything

    and Jack Bauer... for obvious reasons

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  5. Hmmm. An Amazing Race team, huh? I would have to choose my husband because we're not much separately, but together--we're good! I'd also have to call forth our friend Stillman Ellis from heaven because he was a modern mountain man! And my third daughter Jaime because she's such a joy on all endeavors. I'd love to win this book so I could donate it to our school library because they're in a bit of a budget crunch this year.

    ReplyDelete

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