Thursday, September 15, 2011 12:11 PM , 29 Comments
Labels: Author Interview , Birthday 2011 , Giveaway
Labels: Author Interview , Birthday 2011 , Giveaway
(articles and prepositions don't count, okay?)
a cook, a mom, a geek, a poet -- a smart, sharp chick.
Very nice! Now describe Plain Kate in 5 words, each with more than 6 letters.
A Russian-flavoured fairytale, about belonging and heartbreak and redemption.
Ooh, with that said, if you could trade places with one character from Plain Kate for a day would you do it? Who would it be and why?
Good heavens no.
Characters in fiction never have lives you'd want, do they? Someone said on Twitter the other day, it's never: Jane and Rochester get married and live happily ever after: noises in the attic totally just the pipes. Conflict and misery and danger make for good fiction -- but one doesn't actually want them in one's life.
Still, if one could pick a quiet patch…. I think I'd like to try out Kate herself. If there's a self-portrait in the novel, it's her, and it would be good to try the carving with masterful hands, and to meet Taggle. Hopefully Daj would cook something with lots of garlic. Drina would teach me a song. Linay would stay the heck away. Could I kiss Behjet just for fun? The book never went that direction but I always felt it maybe could….
We had a discussion on twitter about how you didn't like people using the word "depressing" when talking about your book. Can you talk a little about that now? Why do you think people feel the need to use that word, and how would you better define it?
That word, "depressing" -- I don't like that word. It means something real: it means paralysis, the loss of hope. Now, I've read and liked books like that: 1984 is depressing, for instance. Or MT Anderson's Feed. They are books that suck you in and beat you up. When you've read them you feel less good about the world -- though perhaps willing to do something about that, which is the point of such books.
"Depressing," then, is quite distinct from "sad." Depressed people in fact do not feel sad: they feel horrible pain, they feel (contradictory) numbness, and (contradictory again) rage -- but not anything as simple and redemptive as sorrow.
I will accept that Plain Kate is sad. It made me cry, and I selfishly hope it makes other people cry too. If I may channel my inner Bugs Bunny: What do you want from a Russian Fairy Tale: a happy ending? I personally think that the novel -- particularly the ending -- is ultimately uplifting and driven by hope, but it's okay with me if people don't get that layer, and feel nothing but the sadness. That's one level at which the book can be read.
But "depressing" -- no, I hope not. I don't want it to be a book that beats you up, that makes you feel hopeless and numb. That's the opposite of why I write. (I take as my motto E.B. White: "All that I want to say in books, all that I ever want to say, is that I love the world.") And so when people that the book is just too depressing to read, that's a charge that hits home.
Lovely answer! And I totally agree. You've currently got two books in the works: Sorrow's Knot, and Children of Peace. Are these in a similar style/world as Plain Kate, or are they entirely different?
Neither one of them is a sequel to Plain Kate, and neither one is set in the same world.
Sorrow's Knot is another high fantasy, set in a place that resembles pre-Columbian South Dakota -- apart from the plague of ghosts, of course. Some of the ghosts have the unsettling property of being able to turn you into one of them with a touch. (Epidemiologically, then, they are like zombies: I call this my zombie book, though the zombies are disembodied and hidden most of the time.) The lead character is a girl who has inherited the power to bind such ghosts: a power that warps her life in both good and bad ways. I would say the style is similar to Plain Kate: it has a storytelling flavour. It's the sort of book that can credibly open: "The girl who remade the world was born in winter."
Children of Peace, on the other hand, is very different. Genre-wise, it rides the edge between dystopian and science fiction thriller, with a hint of Pratchett. It's about a group of royal children from around the world who are raised by robots in a rural school, where they study classics, grow their own food, and get killed if their home countries go to war. So it's …. a boarding school novel with ritual murder in it? An us-versus-our-robot-overlords novel that also has goat breeding? It's both funnier and more claustrophobic than I'm making it sound. The kind of novel that can credibly contain the line: "In the whole history of human discourse, no good announcement has ever started with and another thing.”
Thank you, Erin! Again, school is so crazy I haven’t gotten her mad-lib ready! I have time this afternoon, though, so you can be sure I’ll be doing it then! I’ll make a new post when the mad-libs have been updated.
They had machinated, Plain Kate learned, to breed the zeppelins, a project that required both laughter and frolicsome talk, and took everyone's attention. There was earlobe business too: trading of news and washrags, songs and stories. Pan Oksar's farm was a bustling, raggedy place, even in the mud and endless pencils. So it was that when Drina sorted the fire in the center of their tent, turning the walls green and the little space cozy with flickering light for the first time that Plain Kate could remember, they were quite alone, and likely to stay that way.*mad-lib idea was inspired by Alysa at Everead!
Today you can win a hardcover copy of Plain Kate! Head on over to Smitten With Books to enter!
All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011