Sunday, November 11, 2012

Interview with Isabel Kunkle

What inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always been fond of making up stories, ever since I was a kid—but really, it was a nonfiction essay that clued me in. It was one of those creative-writing assignments you get in middle school, and I wrote about the first guy I kissed and how I then beat him up some weeks later. (…as you do.) The teacher not only gave me an A, but read it aloud, and everyone not only paid attention (already unusual in seventh grade) but also laughed. I really liked the feeling of entertaining people, and for the first time I put that together with writing and telling stories.

Do you write in different genres?

I do! A lot of my short stories have been straight SF or fantasy rather than YA. I also write romance novels under the pseudonym “Isabel Cooper.” I do tend to stick to genres where I can fool around with magic and weirdness, though.

If yes, which is your favorite genre to write?

Hard to say! I like my romances for the historical elements and the potential to get really descriptive, as well as the romantic tension. I really love working with the modern world in YA novels, and the chance to use a more casual, slangy voice for my characters—and it’s nice not having to work around historical attitudes!

How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

With Hickey, the title actually came from a blog I was reading—Slacktivist—which was deconstructing the Left Behind series and used the phrase. I mentioned that it sounded like a YA paranormal waiting to happen, and then the book sort of grew around that.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I didn’t start out with one, but I can see a couple: friends are awesome, that guy who seems too good to be true probably is, don’t try and force people to like you, etc.

Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?

Springden Academy is a mixture of the prep school I went to and two of the ones where my parents worked. (There are a few elements of the third in there, but that school was California back-to-nature rather than New England bricks-and-ivy, so I borrowed less directly.) None of the characters comes directly from real life, though—I think my folks would kill me. J

What books/authors have influenced your life?

I’m going to be very cliché here, but: Tolkien. Also Robin McKinley (girls kicking ass!), Stephen King (horror and real-world details), Terry Pratchett (humor), and many, many others.

What book are you reading now?

I’m finishing up Do Butlers Burgle Banks, by PG Wodehouse. It’s a good light read.

What books are in your to read pile?

I’ve got a couple classics currently on order from the library: The King of Elfland’s Daughter and The Master and Margarita. This is one of those phases where I read books I feel like I should have read earlier—always happens around November or so, for some reason.

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.