Saturday, October 23, 2010

Author Interview with Kersten Hamilton

Today we welcome author Kersten Hamilton (author of Tyger Tyger) to my blog. This is day two of the days of Halloween hosted by my blog and Book Infinity. I had the opportunity to interview Kersten Hamilton.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in a trailer in the mountains of southern New Mexico. I escaped electrocution when a typhoon blew power lines down over yet another trailer in a swamp in Washington state, and drowning when a station wagon spun out of control and onto thin lake ice in Alaska. Most of the bullets missed, and none of the incidents with bears, snakes, wolves, and angry moose were fatal.
I went to school as little as possible, and read as much as I liked, and raised goats.

I have worked as a woodcutter, a horse wrangler, and a wilderness guide, as well as other, more boring things. Right now my life is relatively tame, but I do enjoy hunting dinosaurs in the Ojito wilderness now and then.

2. What is your book, Tyger Tyger about?

Goblins. And literature. And best friends. And true love.

A blogger friend of mine named Pat Esden, summarized it nicely: “Tyger Tyger is fast paced adventure with a backbone of myth and heart of romance.”

3. Goblins aren't very popular in YA books. Why did you choose goblins for your book?

When I was a child, a goblin crept out of the dark and slipped her paw into my hand. The creature’s name was Lina, and I met her in a book by George MacDonald.

Lina was a dog–like creature with green eyes lit by amber fire, and a huge mouth with icicle–like teeth. Curdie, the hero of the story, could feel the real hand of any creature inside its flesh glove, and when Lina put her paw in his hand “a shudder, as of terrified delight, ran through him…instead of the paw of a dog, such as it seemed to his eyes, he clasped in his great mining fist the soft, neat little hand of a child! The green eyes stared at him with their yellow light, and the mouth was turned up toward him with its constant half grin; but here was the child's hand!”

When I read those lines I felt it. Lina was a small part of George MacDonald’s book. After I met her, I knew that when I grew up I wanted to write a book full of that kind of goblin creature.

But the book took several years to grow into its present form.

Tyger Tyger actually started out as a picture book called Loveleaves and Woodwender. Once I started expanding it into a novel I realized that it had roots reaching back into stories and poems I loved as a child.

One was Tam Lin, the story of girl who must muster all her courage to save her love who has been taken by the Sidhe.

Another was The Lords of the Grey and White Castles, a fairytale by Francis Brown, Ireland’s blind storyteller: The Lords of the White and Grey Castles is the story of two children- a girl and a boy- who must travel to the goblin realm to save a loved one who has been stolen by the goblin king.

Ginny Greenteeth, a goblin in my novel, has more than a smidgen of Monro’s goblin from Overheard on a Saltmarsh in her:

4. Can you relate to any of the characters in Tyger Tyger?

I can’t conjure characters from thin air. I use little chips of my own soul to animate the good guys, so I relate to each of them at some level. The bad characters are a different story, of course. Ms. Skinner moves and breathes with the stolen soul of an evil dogcatcher.

5. Are you currently working on any books? If so, what is it?

I just finished book two of The Goblin Wars, In the Forests of the Night, and then I wrote a very young picture book, Big Bus. Now, I hope to finish a young MG steampunk novel before In the Forests of the Night comes back for copy edits.

6. How would you survive a zombie attack? Or would you?

I would. In fact, I have been training since I was a small child to survive the coming Zombie Apocalypse. I never walk into a room without scanning it for potential weapons. Are their blunt objects which can be used for battle? An iron poker by the fireplace? A fire extinguisher, perhaps?

Bring it, zombies. This writer’s ready and willing to rumble.

Thank you for your time Kersten! I encourage everyone to pick up a copy of Tyger Tyger when it comes out on November 15 or pre-order it today! Come back to my blog later today for a giveaway of Tyger Tyger!

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