Welcome to Barren Island Books, the author interview series that’s in no way related to a popular music-based radio programme. You know the rules by now: my guests are exiled 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 those books for a long, long time …
My interviewee this week is Kasper Beaumont, author of the Hunters of Reloria trilogy (the last of which, Dragon’s Revenge, has just been released). When she’s not being banished to a desert island, Kasper can be found at huntersofreloria.weebly.com or on Facebook or Twitter.
Kasper, 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.
Oh, you’re after my deepest, darkest secrets, hey? OK, well, I’m mad keen on dragons, travelling, and medieval re-enactment festivals. Sometimes I wonder if I was born in the wrong era. In another life I could have been Brienne of Tarth. Oh, can you tell, I enjoy a bit of Game of Thrones too. Dragons, medieval themes, what’s not to love?
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 think the Hunters of Reloria series harkens back to the glory days of sword and sorcery where fantasy was about an unlikely group of heroes on a quest to combat evil and save the world. Sounds epic? Yep, this sure is. Imagine fairies, halflings, elves, dwarves, centaurs and a bad-ass dragon fighting giant Cyclops with laser beams shooting out of their eyes. Like a favourite dish with a punch of chilli to spice things up.
Wow, that’s quite a combination – you’ve certainly got me intrigued! 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?
The book I read the most growing up was the Belgariad series by David Eddings. These books got me dreaming of far-away places and unlikely heroes who can achieve great feats with self-belief and the help of friends. There are five small books, so maybe I can squish them together and pretend it’s one ;-)
Hmm, well, we’ve let guests get away with worse in the past, so OK! 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.
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay is another book which had a big impact on me as I was growing up. Peekay has a miserable existence, being unwanted and bullied, but he rises above his race and circumstance to become a hero to the people. It’s a cracker of a book!
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.
I’d go with Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. One I go back to time and time again.
With you on that one :-) 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 …
The True Blood series by Charlaine Harris. The show was a bit confronting for me and I must confess the books are a guilty pleasure.
I think we can only let you have one this time, after the five Eddings books, so we’ll make it Dead Until Dark. 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.
River God by Wilbur Smith and the succeeding two novels. One of the best trilogies I’ve read and it’s about ancient Egypt, one of the most enthralling periods in our history. I would call it a classic already, although a lot of readers choose to wait 100 years or so to see how they stand the test of time.
There you go again, trying to sneak another series past us! We’ll get those five, er, eleven books packaged up ready for your journey. 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 …
Surely we can stretch it out to an entire CD. Any one song would drive me crazy after a week. How about a Gorillaz album? That’ll make me happy.
One film, better make it a lighthearted classic: The Princess Bride.
One other item: hmm … OK, I’ll go with Captain Jack Sparrow. He’ll bring the rum :-)
Good choice. Plus if you decide you want to escape, he can always rope the two of you a couple of sea turtles to make a raft ;-) 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.
I’d go with a nice warm place … the Great Barrier Reef off Australia. Beaut scenery and pretty fish to swim with. I’ve had a couple of great holidays there and would love to return with the family.
That’s it, then – you’re ready to go. Thank you for joining us, and enjoy your trip!
Gee, I think I’m going to enjoy this holiday. It’ll give me a chance to write some more books. Thanks for having me here today, cheers, Kasper :-)