Saturday, July 5, 2008

Interview with Kamilla Reid, author of The Questory of Root Karbunkulus

It's a pleasure to have you here, Kamilla. Do you consider yourself to be a born writer?

Well, I remember I was eight years old and we were still living in the orange and white house. We moved around quite a lot and that's how we remembered our homes, by their colors. So, it was while living in the orange and white house that my teacher gave us an assignment to write a story. I cringed at first because it meant serious interference with my playtime, in particular with Terry M, my puppy love (despite the fact that he liked Jamie but alas, another story).

Anyhow, being the keener I was back then (what happened?) I got to work on my story that very first day after school. And never stopped. Suddenly, playtime didn't matter. Nor did supper or gasp! -Terry M! All I wanted to do was continue with this wonderful feeling of creating. I wrote and wrote and wrote. And then I asked my teacher if I could also draw the pictures.

When my 'masterpiece' was completed I got an A+ and my teacher sent it in to Owl magazine, which published it. After that I was hooked.

Tell us about your recent release. What was your inspiration for it?

I had the idea for DréAmm, the location for my book many, many years ago and because I was involved in live theatre I wrote it as a musical. But I never really liked the feel of it in this format. It felt limited. Plus, I hadn’t quite come into the ‘hook’ yet, that thing that made me go “yes, this is it!” It wasn’t until years later when I caught a snippet of that TV reality show “The Amazing Race” that I finally got that ‘aha!’ moment. I loved the idea of teams of kids all racing against each other in a glorified kind of scavenger hunt to find something very, very important. DréAmm then became a magical land where virtually anything could happen. That’s when the main character, Root Karbunkulus just showed up and showed me around. Of course then the plot got really got good with all sorts of agendas going on, personal and otherwise. In the end, the name ‘DréAmm’ stayed but everything else was ditched.

Around this same time I was leaving the theatre and facing a new role as Single Mum; the perfect combination for finally doing that thing that you promised yourself that you would do but never did.

Tell us about your children's books.

The “Questory of Root Karbunkulus” is a teen fantasy series of six books. Each book involves a race for a new item of great importance, with a team being eliminated at the end. Here is a brief synopsis:

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

Some writers go on long walks, others keep a journal, write at a café, or listen to music. What do you do for inspiration and unleashing your creativity?

If ever I’m feeling kind of blocked I have a bath. I’ve come to know now that a relaxed mind is a creative mind. So when I’m trying too hard I just plop in the ol’ tub with a bit of lavender and almond oil and it starts flowing again. Of course then I have to jump out soaking wet and get it all down J A morning jog with my two pooches is great as well.

Describe your working environment.

I like quiet, away from synthetic noise. I live right on a lake and so I throw my windows open and invite the sounds of geese and ducks and grebes and chickadees and robins in. This is the perfect peaceful, creative environment for me.

Are you a disciplined writer? What is your working style?

Yeah, I’d say I’m pretty disciplined. I get up most days at 4:30 or 5am, jog around the lakes with my dogs and then get to writing. I love writing in the mornings when I feel most refreshed and in tune with myself and my work.

Do you like to outline and plot ahead, or are you more of a stream-of-consciousness writer?

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. But even in the forging of the plot I feel as creative as when I am writing or dialoguing detail. It all melds together with each level getting more and more specific. I love it! It’s like when I was writing and directing for theatre from scripting, to rehearsals, to decorating the set to honing the timing down to within a second. Every bit as important and exciting.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your works?

Oh yes! I have an amazing website that will blow your socks offJ. It has my award winning book trailer and all sorts of very cool things including a forum and downloads and contests and reviews. The graphics and music are truly incredible. It was an absolute blast to make and best of all, kids love it! They can order the book from there, too.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

I love hearing from readers and post many emails on my blog. Come and join me there!

Thank you so much for granting me this time to share with you and your readers. It was a thrill and a pleasure.

Thank you, Kamilla! And good luck with your book!


Donna McDine ~ Children's Author said...

Mayra...great interview...I always enjoy reading how other writers approach their writing...whether it be in outline, plot, etc. Thanks!

Lindsay said...

I like reading about how writers approach their writing too. I find that a lot of writers are morning people, up at 5 a.m. to write before the rest of the world is awake. I am not quite a morning person, but I enjoy quiet time to think and reflect. I relax in the bath as well. I also like to find a quiet spot at a park and sit under a tree with a book, notebook and my dog.

Kamilla said...

Good morning!

First of all, thank you so much, Mayra for this interview! It was great fun!

I am here today to talk about my book and some of the things I have done to get it 'out there'. So, if anyone has any questions at all that they'd like to ask, I will be more than happy to answer.

A lot of people ask me about my book trailer as that seems to be gaining importance in book marketing. You can check it out here:

I did the whole thing for about $400 and just used a bunch of old halloween stuff!

Dorothy Thompson said...

Wonderful review! Good luck on your vtb, Kamilla! And thank you, Mayra, for hosting her! BTW, Mayra, I left you an email...just wanted to give you the heads up on that.

Cheryl said...

Another writer who takes a bath to get creative. I love it! This sounds like a great series for teens.

Good luck with your tour.


Kamilla said...

Thanks so much, Cheryl and thanks for stopping by!


Trish said...

Sounds like a great read for my kids!And awesome website BTW!

Kamilla said...


Thank you so very much for this interview and for sharing your wonderful site with me and your readers today. I enjoyed it immensely!

All the very best to you!


Mayra Calvani said...

It was a pleasure to have you here, Kamilla! Thanks so much for stopping by and good luck with your book