Friday, November 9, 2012

[Interview] With Hickey of the Beast Author, Isabel Kunkle

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.

What is one book everyone should read?
Tough question! I’m going to go slightly-less-classic fantasy geek here and vote for McKinley’s Hero and the Crown: it’s well-written, short enough not to be in the Martin/Tolkien camp of severe intimidation for people with cramped schedules, and involves a heroine who does things mostly through being stubborn and smart. 

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
Teleportation or flight, if it was reliable enough. Or the ability to summon and ride a dragon/giant eagle/velociraptor/etc. I have a lot of friends and family scattered all over the place, and I kind of hate planes. I wouldn’t mind precognition, either, if it was of the “useful warning” variety rather than the sort where you see your inescapable doom, which is inescapable. 

. If you could meet one person who has died, who would you choose?
I wouldn’t mind meeting a couple of my ancestors, actually. From everything I’ve heard from other family members, it sounds like they’d have some pretty neat stories!

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Because boarding school from a faculty brat’s perspective plus supernatural wooginess is a good time.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published
One of the people I encountered through my day job recognized my name, and told me about how he’d talked to his daughter about Hickey and, from there, about all kinds of things going on in her life. I’m always glad to entertain people, but it’s definitely a special moment when I hear about going beyond entertainment and helping people connect a little more.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
I went through a lot! Lord of the Rings, of course. A Little Princess. Gone With the Wind and, er, the sequel. Mercedes Lackey’s Vows and Honor books. Hero and the Crown and Deerskin. IT, by Stephen King. The Phantom Tollbooth, which my dad tried to read to me until I rebelled against his one-chapter-per-night policy and found his hiding place; David and the Phoenix likewise. The Borrowers series, which my mom actually did manage to read a chapter a night of, because Mom was sneakier. 

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Probably somewhere in England. The weather’s no worse than Boston, the public transportation is great, and they have really good candy. (Rose and violet creams, OH MY GOD.) I’d want to spend winters in California, though, or maybe in the Southern Hemisphere—I stopped finding snow romantic and pretty about two weeks after I moved East. 

How did you know you should become an author?
It was in seventh grade, when I actually got the whole otherwise-pretty-hostile class to laugh at something I’d written. I think it would have happened otherwise, one way or another—I’ve always liked making up stories.

Favorite Food?
Steak, cherry cordials, actual cherries, sweet potatoes, corn if it’s fresh and sweet, salmon, mint chip ice cream, bagels.

What was your favorite children's book?
I’m probably going to go back to A Little Princess. I love the heroine, I love the messages (especially the share-what-you-have one, and the thought that you’re supposed to do good with what you have: it’s like Victorian preteen Spiderman) and then the luxury-to-privation-to-luxury arc. Also, a friend and I have worked out that you could cross that story over with the Lovecraft mythos really easily.

Can you share a little about the current title you are working on?
At the moment, I’m working on a romance novel, which I publish under “Isabel Cooper.” At some point, though, I’d love to write a sequel to Hickey, as well as an eightiespunk novel: something where it’s 1982, magic exists, Thatcher’s called the “Iron Lady” because she defeated the fey invasion, and a major US city was wiped out by someone opening a Rubix Configuration.

I have Ideas. Perhaps not wise ones.

Hickey Of The Beast
by Isabel Kunkle
Genre: YA / Fantasy
Publisher: Candlemark & Gleam
Cover Artist: Kate Sullivan
ickey of the Beast

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.