The Booktopia Book Guru asks
author of The Book of Days
Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
This feels very Dickensian: “To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born on a Wednesday, at eleven o’clock in the morning”. I grew up in Brisbane, left for almost a year to try living in places where it actually snowed, and am now back again to enjoy its two-day winters and its mosquitos.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
When I was twelve, I was deep in the grip of disaster movie mania. I wanted to be a smart-mouthed, always right, looks-good-when-running-away-from-danger vulcanologist/seismologist/archaeologist.
At eighteen I wanted to be a writer. So I could write smart-mouthed vulcanologists.
I haven’t reached thirty yet, but when it comes around we’ll see if I still enjoy this writing lark.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
I was certain that at twenty-six I would have found Prince Charming, had a couple of adorable children, and been at the peak of my career. Not so much.
4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?
Treasure Island by R.L. Stevenson and the other great classic adventure stories. There was always a deplorable lack of girls. Wanting to remedy this led me to first become interested in writing.
It sounds silly, but I had a maze book as a kid that had the most fantastical illustrations. I used to want to write about all the settings – lost temple, islands connected by bridges, a burrow filled with cosy rooms.
The soundtrack to the 2002 The Time Machine movie. I think most writers like to write while listening to music, and this soundtrack got me through three drafts of The Book of Days.
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
Ever since I was a child, I’ve been drawn to telling stories. Believe me, if there was an avenue for selling abandoned stories written on post-it notes, I’d be rich. As there isn’t, I turned to the next best thing: novel-writing.
6. Please tell us about your latest novel…
The Book of Days is about a girl who:
a) wakes up with no memory of who she is and
b) finds out that a bunch of not-very-nice people are trying to kill her.
It’s a little steampunk, a little adventure, and hopefully a lot of fun.
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
I hope that they come away from it having enjoyed the ride, and hopefully wanting more!
8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
I admire a lot of speculative fiction writers who create their own worlds: Tolkien, Martin, McKinley. World building is a passion of mine, but it’s only since I started writing The Book of Days that I realised just how difficult it can be.
To take over the world and move to Mars. Maybe a tad too ambitious, but realistically I’d like to be able to write full-time.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
It may be clichéd, but never give up. The best writers don’t necessarily get published. The ones that do have talent, perseverance, a little luck, and far too much stubbornness for their own good.
Kirilee, thank you for playing.
by K.A. Barker
Most people believe the best way to forget someone is to throw them down a well. Or lock them in a room with eight keys, or bury them at a crossroad in the thirteenth hour. But they’re wrong. The best way to forget someone is for them never to have existed in the first place.
Madame Marisol’s Unreality House was where you brought people to make that happen.
When Tuesday wakes from sleep for the first time when she is sixteen, she opens her eyes to a world filled with wonder – and peril. Left with only a letter from the person she once was, Tuesday sets out to discover her past with the help of her charming and self-serving guide, Quintalion. Along the way she runs into a one-legged mercenary, flying cities, airships, and a blind librarian. But danger shadows her every move. The leader of the merciless daybreakers is hunting her, convinced that she killed the only woman he ever loved. Tuesday will need all her wits to survive long enough to find out who she is and her connection with the mysterious Book of Days: a book that holds untold power…