Saturday, November 10, 2012

Interview with Isabel Kunkle

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

My parents, until they retired this year, were both faculty at various boarding schools—my dad was the headmaster of two, and my mom taught Latin, worked in college counseling, and ran the library—and I went to one myself. (Unlike Connie, I didn’t go to the school where my parents worked. We lived in California, and I wanted a place with “real seasons,” because I was extremely dumb.)  I have a lot of memories of my time as both a faculty brat and a student, and I thought it’d be fun to write a novel based on some of them. It was!

What is it about the paranormal, in particular vampires, that fascinates you so much?

The paranormal in general intrigues me for two reasons: it’s mysterious and deals with the potential for things beyond what we can currently see, and so much of it, at least in fiction, depends on an individual’s will and faith and imagination. 

I also like how vampires differ from culture to culture, but almost every culture has some kind of similar concept. Playing with archetypes is my idea of a good time, which might be why I don’t get invited to many parties. ;)

Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?

Autumn was tough. Quiet characters are always tough for me—I am, er, Not Quiet, especially around people I know—and when the story’s not from their point of view, it’s even harder. 

Julio was also a challenge, because I don’t spend a whole lot of time around kids, and it’s been a long time since I was six.

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?

All of them were great, but Jenny was particularly fun. I always like the sarcastic ones.  I also had a good time with Connie’s mom (…wow, that sounds wrong) because being the head of a school requires such a mix of idealism and cynicism and patience.

Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?

As I mentioned above, I work with archetypes a lot, and that goes for my characters as well as my monsters. Usually, I’ll pick something like “Sarcastic Punk Chick” and then see how I can play with it, adding qualities or changing things until someone like Jenny takes on a personality of her own.  With Connie, I also felt it was important to make her different from me, since I was already drawing a lot from my own experience, so she’s athletic and Latina and likes math and science.

Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?

Connie’s world is very much like ours on the surface. Magic exists, but it’s rare that people know how to use it, particularly now—mostly because it’s never really been reliable. People can’t actually see or tap into magical power by themselves: they have to make deals with things that either come from outside the world or exist on a level that we can’t normally perceive. Since these things have their own wills, and some of them think we’re tasty, magic is a dangerous thing.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

Often! It helps to have an outline planned, though. I don’t stick to it entirely—if I decide that I need to take the plot in a different direction, I do—but it means that if I’m not feeling inspired, I can sit down at my computer, look at my outline, and start work on whatever comes next. Usually just working clears up the block: for me, it’s a lot like going to the gym, where you don’t want to go until you’re there.

When did you consider yourself a writer?

Probably the first time I got a story published. It was a short little sf thing: romantic angst after Neo-Tokyo has exploded. I was in college at the time, slumping around my room because it was January and I’d just had a breakup myself and blah blah twenty-one, and got this email all “Hi, we want to pay you fifty bucks for your story.”

Squealed like a goddamn anime schoolgirl. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t have a roommate.

What are your guilty pleasures in life?

I don’t feel guilty about very much, but probably men, musicals (I…kinda love Disney films), really bad candy (I am the only person I know who likes circus peanuts), fanfic, extremely dangly earrings, and clothing with glitter on it.

Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?

I’m incredibly geeky, and thus play both tabletop and live action RPGs, in addition to video games—although I’m consistently behind the technology curve with those, and am still midway through Dragon Age 2. Some friends and I indulge in ballroom dancing on occasion, I used to be a fair skater and would like to do more of that, and I’m teaching myself to sew.

Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?

I wish! Most of my reading these days happens on the T, so mostly I’m trying to concentrate on my book while someone is industriously putting his elbow in my spleen. When I go on vacation, though, it’s different: I go to the library near my folks’ place, get a stack of books as tall as I am, and occupy the living room couch for days. It’s fantastic.

November 9 Interview
Michelle @ Mom With A Kindle

November 9 Promo
Monique Morgan 

November 10 Interview
Fang-tastic Books

November 11 Interview 
Roxanne’s Realm

November 12 Guest blog
Celestial Reviews

November 12 Guest Blog
PW Creighton
Paranormal Perceptions guest post series

November 12 Promo
Inkk Reviews

November 13 Guest blog
The Creatively green Write at Home Mom

November 14 Guest blog

November 15 Review
Publishing the Paranormal 

November 15 promo

November 16 guest blog

November 16 Review

Hickey of the Beast
Isabel Kunkle

Genre: YA / Fantasy

Publisher: Candlemark & Gleam

ISBN: 978-1-936460-22-9
ASIN: B004S7B21C

Number of pages: 272

Cover Artist: Kate Sullivan

Book Description:

Connie thought freshman year might suck. She never thought it’d be literal.

Bad dreams? No big deal. After all, Connie Perez is starting her first year in the prep school her mom runs. Anyone would be a little stressed, right? When she starts dreaming about strange creatures and places that don’t make sense, she doesn’t think much about it: there’s other stuff on her mind. Then she starts noticing that the people she dreams about get sick right afterwards.

Then everything gets weird.

There’s something bad on the campus of Springden Academy. Something that feeds on students and warps their minds. And, as Connie and her friends try to figure out what’s going on, it starts to look like she’s the only one who can stop it. Freshman year was hard enough without having to fight evil after class.

 About the Author:

Isabel Kunkle lives and works in Boston, where the winters have yet to kill her. She’s been the headmaster’s kid at a number of prep schools and attended Phillips Academy Andover herself, but has yet to develop mystic powers, unless you count the ability to eat nearly anything. When she has a moment, she likes reading, roleplaying, ballroom dancing, and watching bad TV from the Eighties.

No comments: