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 Ky Grabowski, an author and award-winning blogger whose short story ‘The Demons Inside’ is featured in the anthology 2013: A Stellar Collection. When she's not being banished to a desert island, Ky can be found at kygrabowski.wordpress.com.
Ky, 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.
Hi! Thank you for having me.
Bear for sure, no unusual birthmarks, and I’m terrified of bugs – any, they all freak me out.
I’m a young adult, debating on college and writing a new book. I’m short like a hobbit but with small feet, clumsy and always cheerful. I hope to do great things and change the world – with or without a unicorn ...
Fingers crossed it’s with! I think the world could do with a few more unicorns. 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 love to tackle issues people don’t and change stereotypes. I really like to make things unpredictable in my writing. I find more comfort in having troubled characters than good – I enjoy showing their journeys from where they once were to where they will end up. I think character development is such a key to a story. I want the readers to learn from the characters I create.
Inspiration truly comes from anywhere, a song, a dance, even dreams. I write everything down and pull it all out when I’m in need of an idea. I think on an abandoned island, the fight I always put into my writing or characters would help people survive and hope :)
Great, 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?
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.
Goodness, it was forever ago I read this book. I fell in love with the idea of magic and the adventures that they held. I’ve always been fond of that stuff and interested in learning more about things like that. I think it’s so neat and people are always creating new stories with magic – pretty impressive.
I mean, I didn’t get my acceptance letter or anything ... Not like I waited, of course ... or still am.
Of course not! Me neither. *hides adult-size wizard robes at back of wardrobe* 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.
Honest Illusions by Nora Roberts.
The oddest book I thought would ever inspire me to write more. I read it years ago as a family friend gave it to me. The way Nora set it up from child to young adult to the future really stuck with me. I loved the growth, and the connection I got to have with the characters. It also opened up the world of romance to me – I saw a different way to write romance, as I had never been comfortable doing so before.
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.
No Choice But Seduction by Johanna Lindsey.
I always laugh when I read this book, while it’s mainly a romance it has a hilarious and huge family involved. The main characters wind up in a strange but humorous situation and how they handle it just makes me laugh.
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 …
James Patterson’s Run for Your Life.
I was never into big mystery, thriller books. I hardly have any, but this one took me by surprise. I had to choose a book to read for an English assignment. I never brought one in and when the teacher called on me to tell him what I had chosen I ran to my locker to grab a book I had forgotten in there. It was this one; I ended up reading it and fell in love.
It had a great family aspect to it, danger, mystery and even hints of romance. I really enjoyed it and loved how James told this story. I really never thought I would like it or that James Patterson’s book would save me yet another detention. Haha!
Well, you have to love a book that saves you from detention! 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.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
Must read. The entire series is fantastic!
Oh, definitely – it’s a classic. We’ll get those five 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 …
Dog Days are Over by Florence & The Machine, Iron Man, and can I have a chef? I am so terrible at cooking. I set an entire table on fire, blew up an egg and dropped garlic bread into the sink full of water. So – I’d love a person who can cook :D
No problem. We don’t want you burying your island in exploded cake mix or showering it in charred onions – though we must admit, we are all now wondering how on earth someone blows up an egg …
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.
The Marvel universe! :D
That’s it, then – you’re ready to go. Thank you for joining us, and enjoy your trip!
Thanks for this free trip – with a package of great books!
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.