Can you believe it’s been 20 years? June 26th is the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone! To celebrate I’ve put together the Ultimate Harry Potter Gift Guide!
I decided to ask author Jeffrey Kinsey a couple of questions about the creation of his latest novel, Areh. Here are his responses. You can also read my review of Areh here.
‘Areh’ will be a completely unique and new experience for many readers – how does it make you feel that your work will have this impact on readers?
If that is indeed the case, and in a positive way, of course it feels good. Amelia, Mia, and myself created Areh as an example of how beautiful a physical book could and should be…so it’s job-well-done I suppose.
Where did you get the inspiration to write ‘Areh’ from?
My late twenties included some intensely rough weirdness – enough to provide material for plenty of messed up novels. Areh was my way of processing my narrative into something beautiful…that combined of course with an awesome metaphor of strapping a corpse to yourself and taking a long stroll!
Do you have a favorite character?
I know it’s a pretty lame answer, but I honestly can’t pick one. I think they’re all equally cool and dynamic, funny and totally messed up in their own ways. Though, if under the gun, I would probably have to say ‘brad.’ Who doesn’t like a filthy-ass goat that only knows one word?
Were there any characters that didn’t make the cut?
Originally Areh was a much smaller cast, so if anything, there were more characters born with every draft. I can’t recall any that got axed.
There are many turning points for the characters in the book, where once a path was walked there could be no turning back. Were there any alternate endings that you considered?
Nope. I wrote the last paragraph, or at least something approximate to it, in the first draft, and it stuck. It’s probably the only thing that didn’t shift dramatically as the writing progressed.
There are a lot of situations that are thrust upon the reader throughout ‘Areh’ that force us to think about our own ethics and morals, would you say there is a moral to your story?
There isn’t one dominating moral, but many little pauses for thought throughout. I don’t like being so straight forward. It doesn’t feel fun.
How important were the illustrations to you for ‘Areh’?
The illustrations, elegance of the visual layout from page to page, and the quality of the print are what separate Areh from her peers even a glance. They were crucially important. They helped shaped the story itself. Without the artwork, Areh would be just another well-written story with cheap skin.
You clearly have great passion for ‘Areh’, did this make it easier or harder for you on your creative journey?
Total dedication, especially when taking on a project of this scale single-handedly, is utterly necessary. The level of frustration involved when trying to make all of this happen by yourself is maddening. Areh required every disposable bit of my being, and more, for many years. And the result is worth it.
Are you working on another story?
Of course. Any real artist is always working on the next project. Even if they aren’t putting pen paper, the idea is swimming and growing. But, yeah, I’m working daily on the next novel. It’s a brand new and super interesting take on the super hero story. And it will of course be illustrated.
Is there anything you’d like to say to readers and future readers?
Not a whole lot, that’s what the books are for. Just, Thanks, and I hope you enjoy!
You can find out more about Jeffrey and his work by visiting his website.
Illustrated books tend to divide readers – some love them and think they add to the story and others think that they limit the reader’s imagination. My preference depends on the book’s intended reader. For example; I’m all for illustrations in books for children (and here I’d like to differentiate between ‘children’ and ‘young adult’) but I don’t usually like to see illustrations in any other books unless they are special illustrated editions – such as the gorgeous Harry Potter books illustrated by the amazing Jim Kay!
But Areh promises a “decadently lush visual experience quite unlike any other” – so naturally my interest was piqued. Illustrations, to me, are usually a nice addition to books, but with Areh they are just as much a part of the book as the words are. Continue reading
My TBR list is huge and the books I see on bookstagram are a large part of the reason why. Caraval by Stephanie Garber was a book I kept seeing over and over again – but with various covers – all over my feed and there was a lot of hype around it. So naturally I went out and bought it.
We are told time and time again in the book that at Caraval nothing is what it seems – and unfortunately this is a reality for us in the real world too, as Caraval is definitely not what it seems. Continue reading
Pachinko was one of those books that I’d started seeing all over bookstagram and I just kept thinking two things – that cover is gorgeous and I had to have it! Then I found out more about the story and I knew that this had to be moved to the top of my TBR list immediately. Luckily for me my amazing friend had seen my enthusiasm for Pachinko and bought me a copy as a present – thank you Dena!
Pachinko is a 4 generation family saga set in both Korea and Japan that starts in the early 1900’s, before a divided Korea, when Japan annexed Korea and it goes through times of historical importance, such as World War 2, and ends in the 1980’s. It is utterly heart-breaking but an essential read. Continue reading
Bizarro is a genre that is very, very new to me. It’s not something I’ve ever read before, or even had much experience of in other media such as films, but I thought I’d give Strange Medicine, a short story collection of weird tales, a go.
My understanding of bizzaro is that it’s very much like Abstract or Modern art. What I mean by this is that you might need to suspend your belief, challenge yourself or open yourself up a bit more to appreciate it or you might just not get it. Each of these was true for me for some of these stories. Continue reading
I’ll admit it – I’ve never really been a candle person before, but since graduating university I’ve found that I like to see the flickering flame of a candle and have a gorgeous scent fill my flat! Finding the perfect candle can be difficult, but Meraki Candles makes it really easy! Continue reading
I’m really excited to share some great news with you!
I have finally started working on a new project that I’ve been wanting to start for quite some time – I have begun designing and making my own magnetic bookmarks! Continue reading