Welcome to Barren Island Books, an interview show in no way related to a popular music-based radio programme. Every Thursday, I will be exiling my latest guest to a remote island with only five books for company, selected from the categories I give them. It’s up to them to make sure they choose wisely, because they’re going to be stuck with these books for a long, long time …
My interviewee this week is Evelinn Enoksen, author of the Guardians of Evion trilogy (of which the first is Destiny). When she's not being banished to a desert island, Evelinn can be found at www.enoksen-art.com.
Evelinn, thanks for joining us. First of all, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself – just so we know who it is we’re sending into exile. Illogical fears, unusual birthmarks, whether you’d rather wrestle a bear or punch a shark, that kind of thing.
Being exiled to an island sounds wonderful. The only sounds are of insects buzzing and waves crashing against the white sandy shore, a warm breeze carrying the scents of the ocean … Exotic birds chirping … Complete and utter solitude … Wait, where were we? Ah yes, I’m Evelinn Enoksen and I actually live on an island, but it’s in Norway and far from any popular vacation spot. But there is a beach here, though the sand in it is more of the grainy brown sharp rocky sort, and the only time there would be a warm breeze is during high summer for exactly one week, the one week before my vacation starts. The good thing about the weather, though, is that it gives me a good excuse to sit indoors in front of my computer or in front of my canvases creating worlds I see in my mind. Oh, and as for my fears … I’m afraid of the dark, don’t laugh.
And what about your own work? What are the inspirations behind it? What would make someone else choose it to accompany them into exile?
I like to write in the science fiction and fantasy genre, mostly because I’ve grown up watching shows like Star Trek and movies like Star Wars and reading books written by Asimov and Terry Pratchett. I also have writers and artists in my family who have influenced and inspired me, and I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. My first book is Guardians of Evion volume one, Destiny, and it’s a story which has lived with me since I was a teen. I’ve rewritten it countless times, mostly because I used to be very self-critical and anxious, but certain wonderful people around me helped me get over my neuroticism, at least some of it; in the words of my mother, “what’s living without a little craziness?”
I couldn't agree more! Now let’s move on to the books you’re going to take to the island with you. First up, it’s your favourite childhood book – perhaps the one that got you interested in reading in the first place, or the one you read over and over when you were young. Which will you choose, and why?
My all-time favourite series is Anne McCaffrey’s Dragons of Pern. Anyone who has read these books and then read mine will see where I got most of my inspiration from. I haven’t dared to read them again in a long time in fear of discovering just how inspired I was.
Picking a whole series, huh? I can already tell you're going to try and get away with as many books as you can carry … but I'll let you have Dragonflight, since it's the first :-)
Next, the book that made the greatest impact on your life. This could be one that inspired you to become a writer, or one that made you look at the world in a whole new way – maybe even one that resulted in real-life romance or adventure.
There are many books that have made an impact in my life. I remember spending a summer at my uncle’s place on a farm in Sweden and when I was there I read Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series (one or two volumes, they are massive!). I have fond memories of sitting on the porch in the sunset and being eaten by mosquitoes, or running around in the wheat fields with a stick pretending it was a sword. And if you’re wondering, I think I was around eighteen at the time.
You're never too old to run around with a pretend sword. So, The Eye of the World it is. For your third book – and you’re probably going to need this one, all alone on a remote island – I’d like you to choose your greatest comfort read. You know, the one you turn to when you’re sad or ill or just need a little pick-me-up.
My comfort read would have to be books by Terry Pratchett. Sometimes I just need to laugh a little and look at life without taking myself too seriously.
There isn't room in your suitcase for all of Pratchett's vast oeuvre, so I'll give you Going Postal, which is one of my own favourites. Next, and fourthly, it’s your unexpected treasure: a book you didn’t expect to like but did, maybe one outside your usual genre or that you picked up with low expectations but were pleasantly surprised …
I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law trilogy. I didn’t know anything about the books or the author. A friend lent it to me and shortly after I ran to the bookstore and bought all his books. Apparently I was not alone in being a fan because the bookstore had a “most popular” table and his books were easy to find.
I guess I can let you get away with a mere trilogy after all those series you tried to sneak past me! And finally, I’d like you to choose your instant classic – the book you think most deserves to be read and reread by future generations. It’s up to you whether this book is already considered a classic or is something more obscure.
I know it’s a cliché, but as a writer of sci-fi and fantasy my classic “must read at least once in a lifetime” books are Tolkien and Asimov. For me they are the founders of my genre.
Darn it, I really shouldn't have given away my Achilles heel last week – now you're all trying to use my indecisiveness against me! Plenty of Barren Islanders have picked The Lord of the Rings, so let's be a bit different and give you Asimov’s Foundation.
So, we’ll get those five (or possibly fifty) books packaged up ready for your journey. And since we’re not completely heartless here at Barren Island Books, we’ll also let you take one song/piece of music, one film and one other item of your choice into exile with you …
Music is a great source of inspiration to me and I have written many chapters listening to a specific song which I’ve found suitable to the scenes I work on. Or I’ve heard music later which has reminded me of a piece I’ve written or something I’ve read (I write some romance, so the likelihood of compatible music is quite high). When I wrote Destiny I listened to Enya. When it comes to my favourite movie, of course it’s Dragonheart – what else could it possibly be? And as for an item I could take with me into exile on the island, I would feel very conflicted between bringing my packet of cigarettes or my lighter …
I'm sure you can find a way of making fire, so I'll give you the cigarettes! Now, before we whisk you away, you have one last decision to make: where you want your remote island to be located. You can choose anywhere you like for your exile, in this world or another.
If my island could be anywhere, I think I’d like it to be on Evion, somewhere around the equator preferably.
That’s it, then – you’re ready to go. Thank you for joining us, and enjoy your trip!
If you are an author and would like to take part in a future edition of Barren Island Books, please get in touch with me via the Contact page.