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Friday, March 16, 2012

(M MG M) Interview- Kathryn James

I want to thank Kathryn James for being a part of the March MG Madness and for stopping by to answer a few of my questions. Be sure to check out my review to learn more about Kathryn's MG book Mist.

Q. What three words best describe your MG novel Mist? 
Urban Fantasy with Elven

Q. In one sentence, tell readers why they should read your book. Come on, really sell it!
After a mysterious Elven boy kidnaps her sister and takes her through the mist to the dangerous world beyond, brave but unlikely hero Nell has got just one day to pull off a breath-taking dare-devil rescue.

Q. Now, using as many sentences as you like, could you tell us a bit more about Mist?
Mist relates the story of how quiet worrier Nell rescues Gwen, her popular alpha-girl sister, from the clutches of a rogue Elven, out to try and regain his place in our world.
Although the Elven are seen as dangerous, unpredictable and not to be trusted by the Watchers, who are the only humans to know of their existence, Nell comes to realise that there’s a lot more to them than that. When Elven boy Evan helps rescue her sister, she learns that the Elven have a reason for wanting to come back to our world, but history, fear and prejudice will never allow that to happen.   
The story continues in January 2013 with Frost, where Nell and Evan have to literally save the Elven world all by themselves.

Q. Where did the idea behind Mist come from? 
Some of the ideas for the Elven came about when I was working with gypsy and traveller children. Learning about gypsy life gave me the idea to write about a secret people who live amongst us, but that most people don’t know about. There’s quite a few similarities between the travellers and the Elven – both are mistrusted and misrepresented sometimes. Both have a love of gold and sparkly things. Both have striking looks and can be proud and tough.
The idea for their world through the mist came about when we were walking in Grisedale forest in the Lake District, whilst on holiday.
I love forests, they’re so beautiful but also spooky. And as we walked I saw an eerie mist through the trees. And I remembered all the myths that say ‘don’t walk through a mist in the woods because you’ll come out in a different world, and when you try to go back you’ll find that although you think only a few minutes have passed, you’ll be old and grey.
When I hear myths like that I always try to work out why a mist should lead to somewhere else – is it a bridge between dimensions? How would such a world have formed? Why would you get old in a day - is the mist world poisonous, or does time run differently there?
So after seeing the mist in the forest, I began to work out what lay beyond, who did it belong to, and what would happen if a human girl had to go in there for some reason. 

Q. Why Middle Grade Fiction? why did you choose to write MG fiction and what do you love best about reading and writing MG?
When I started out writing I didn’t choose MG especially, but that’s how it came out! I suppose it’s because there is something very special about MG books. There’s more action and less worrying about things. I’m not saying that deep emotions and problems aren’t tackled because they are, brilliantly in lots of cases, but they’re written with a lighter, simpler touch that I like.
Also the emphasis is often on fantasy which I love. Real life books are fine, but I like to escape into another world when I write or read.   

Q. Why do you think MG appeals to such a wide audience, from very young readers to adults like you and I? 
I think its because the heroes of MG fiction are at that magical moment in their lives, poised between childhood and young adult, where all the magic still happens but there’s more depth to the stories and more complex characters.

Q. What’s your current favorite MG book? Your favorite MG book of all time? 
I’m just rereading The Mouse and his Child at the moment, which I read years ago, and was prompted to get out again after the death of the author Russell Hoban. I’d forgotten how beautifully and simply it’s written, and how funny in places. I can’t actually remember how it ends, so it’s like I’m reading it for the first time.
I tend to have lots of favourite books, so here’s a few. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Loved it as a child and still love it – the idea of going through a wardrobe into Narnia, what’s not to love? We have a meadow near us, with a path through it and a lamp post, and when it snows it looks just like Narnia.
Also the books by Alan Garner – the Weirdstone of Brisingamen (it has the most brilliantly terrifying account of an underground journey through a very narrow tunnel that I have ever read, especially if you’re claustrophobic like I am!) and the follow up the Moon of Gomrath. And a stand alone book called the Owl Service, which is very strange and odd, but quite addictive.
And I loved One hundred and One Dalmatians, by Dodie Smith. I can’t see a Dalmatian dog now without immediately thinking of that book.
I know I’m going to shock everyone here, but I wasn’t keen on Harry Potter. *runs for cover* I don’t know why. I read the first one alongside my son at bedtime, and really I should’ve liked it, but didn’t. I could never see what all the fuss was about.

Q. If you could switch places with any MG character from any book, who would it be?
Well, it wouldn’t be the boy in the Weirdstone of Brisingamen who goes through the tight tunnel (see above). But I wouldn’t mind being Artemis Fowl and getting to know the Fairy community below ground. Or perhaps Tiffany Aching in Terry Pratchett’s series that starts with The Wee Free Men, because I love the world he’s created in the Disc World, and I especially like the witch characters and Tiffany.

Q. Who’s your favorite MG villain? who do you just love to hate or hate to love?
Cruella De Vil, from One Hundred and One Dalmatians is everything a villain should be. She skins puppies and wears them as a coat – you cannot beat that! She also has the best villain name ever.

Q. If you were to create/bake a Mist cupcake, what flavor would it be or what would it taste like, and what would you call your tasty masterpiece?
This is my all-time favourite question!
My cupcake would have a dark chocolate sponge, rather like the dark bark of a fir tree in a great Northern forest. At its heart there would be a filling of black cherry jam, to signify the warmth at the heart of the misunderstood Elven.
The icing would be an exuberant swirl of white blonde flavoured with vanilla - the same colour as an Elven’s hair. And decorating it would be a dark chocolate-drop, cut in half and set at angle to each other, to signify the Elven’s charcoal, slanting eyes.
I would call it the Evan River cupcake, after the Elven who helps Nell in Mist.
OK – I now want a cupcake! Someone please give me a cupcake! No one? Then I shall make some for myself.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed answering these questions – and bye for now.

Be sure to stop by the March MG Madness home post and enter the big month long giveaway to win a box of MG books, including a signed copy of Mist, and swag! You can earn extra entries in the big giveaway by answering a question whose answer can be found in the interview above...go HERE to enter

Find the author: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook
Purchase: Amazon 
Kathryn writes full time.She has worked with gypsies and travellers documenting their lives.Mist draws on and is influenced by her work with this community.Kathryn lives in Leicester with her family.She has one cat and three hensand is aunty to two dogs. 

1 comment:

Amy said...

Ohh that cupcake sounds really yummy! Sounds like a cute and interesting book.