Kamilla Reid Interview
Posted by Michelle on July 17, 2008
Kamilla Reid is the author of an exciting new fantasy book, The Questory of Root Karbunkus (Reviewed), which although aimed at younger readers, will be enjoyed by adults too. The first book in the series is entitled ‘Item I: Miist’, and introduces us to the new and wonderful world of Dre’Amm.
Q. Let’s start with the most important part.. can you tell us a little more about your book?
A. Well, in a one-liner it’s sort of like the ultimate magical scavenger hunt. But here’s a bit more filler:
Young Root Karbunkulus gets an invitation to participate in ‘the coolest scavenger hunt of all time!’ Finally, her chance! She can escape the Aunts and prove once and for all there’s no stinkin’ “L” on her forehead! So what if she’s up against hundreds of other kids. It can’t be worse than murder ball. The rules say teams of three. Okay, okay her appointed team mates, Lian and Dwyn are screws-in-the-temples annoying…but livable…and really no worse than Goatface Kor or Hilly Punyun who, forget the panties, has a tiara for each day of the week. More rules: Can’t use magic on competitors. Doh! Oh well, at this point her magic is of the non-existent variety anyhow so…next! The first item up for grabs is the Miist of Kalliope, apparently some dead magician’s elixir. No prob. But wait. Out of hundreds of teams, there are only six of these Miists to be found? Leaving only six teams left to go after the next item? Then five, four, three, two…woah…this could get ugly….hmmm…compete and win…or go back to exfoliating those hard, crusted entities called Auntie Octavia’s feet?
Root Karbunkulus accepts the invitation. It will be a race of many, many hated things. But it will also be a contest of courage, friendship and the rising of soul. Within it Root will learn the terrifying truth behind the mysterious items. She will also discover, to her horror that she is not a player in an innocent kid’s race but a pawn in a vicious adult game.
Q. Is writing something you’ve always enjoyed, or something you’ve started recently?
A. I have always loved to write and, in fact had a really cheesy short story published in a magazine when I was eight years old. But I took my writing into theatre for many years. And as much as I loved this medium, after awhile I just couldn’t treadmill out another budget conscious 6-person musical. I was also in a major life transition at the time. So everything was pointing me toward the new, exciting world of book writing. I’m so glad I did!
Q. Where did your ideas come from, for Dre’Amm, it’s various characters, and the Quest?
A. Oh, from all over. Sometimes I get ideas from part of a conversation or a picture or a song. I get many, many ideas from observing nature. And sometimes it can come from a TV show, like the entire premise of “The Questory”. It was when I caught a snippet of “The Great Amazing Race” that I got the big “Aha! That’s it!” idea for the whole book.
Q. Obviously this is the first Quest, and there are more to come. Are you tackling one at a time, or have you already planned out the major arcs?
A. 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.
Q. When can we expect to join in the second Quest?
A. I’m aiming for the fall …fingers crossed. Once I finish my book tour I’m going to really limit outside interactions and focus solidly on book 2. I will definitely keep you posted. 🙂
Q. You decided to start by publishing the book yourself.. where did that decision come from, and have you learnt a lot during the process?
A. I knew from the start that I wanted to go out on my own first. After years in live theatre where budgets dictated everything and, as I mentioned earlier I just couldn’t treadmill out another 6-person musical, I wanted complete freedom to explore this new field on my own. I wanted to write my book and have fun creating the book cover and I wanted to make an awesome website and book trailer. I wanted to do it all for the fun of it but also to learn the business of books. It was very worth it to me.
However, wearing that many hats, not to mention the Single Mum Crown 🙂 began to take its toll. I was doing too much and getting burnt out. But the good thing is that I had managed a fair amount of success on my own, which was a great thing to bring to the tables of agents and traditional publishers.
Q. That process has included a impressive looking website and trailer.. can you tell us more about those?
A. For the website, I was very focussed on what I wanted so I researched a bunch of web designers. But most of them were just too corporate minded for me. They were more about ‘the commodity’ and they spoke way too jargon-y. Eventually I found 350 Designs, a couple of twenty year old, self-professed computer geeks who were like “Cool! This is awesome! We could do this and this and…” I knew right away they had the finger on the pulse I wanted to create.
As to the video, I had a bit of a film background and knew some of the low budget tricks like shooting lots of close-ups. I had a blast making the video and it really paid off for me, especially on my book tour. It was a great opener that the kids just loved.
You can find a pretty detailed “making of the video’ account of it on my blog.
Q. This feels like a story just waiting to be made into a film.. do you have ideas about who you would like to play various characters?
A. People say that all the time. I think I must write very visually. But, yeah, I would love to see it on the big screen! That’d be amazing! I have no idea who I’d like to play the kids’ roles but I would die to have Carol Burnett as one of the aunts. She was my idol growing up! And she’s coming to our city in the fall. I got fourth row tickets! Yaaayyy!
Q. Are you a reader yourself? What do you enjoy reading?
A. I have a mad, mad wonderful growing love affair with books! It runs the gamut. I’m currently reading yet another Terry Pratchett. And I finally got Coraline by Neil Gaiman, which I’m so excited to read! I also just picked up The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. I loved Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. It goes on…and on…
Q. When you’re not busy writing, publishing or promoting, what else do you like to do?
A. That’s funny you ask because my blog today is all about that. I try to balance my writing (which can take over everything like a rebel weed!) with being a mum and a a friend, a runner of my household, a still newbie-ish gardener, a daughter, a happy single chick, a frustrated single chick…blah blah….all of which I think make me a better writer, which makes me a better “hey, let’s go camping!” mum, which makes me a better “I’m gonna attempt a soufflé” cook, which makes that glass of shiraz a perfect accompaniment, especially with a great friend….etc etc
Thank you so much for granting me this time to share with you and your readers. It was a real pleasure.
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