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 Ingrid Seymour, author of young adult sci-fi novel Ignite the Shadows – out today from Harper Voyager! When she's not being banished to a desert island, Ingrid can be found at ingridseymour.com and fictionbound.com. She is giving away a gift card and an e-copy of Ignite the Shadows to one lucky participant, so stay tuned for the giveaway at the end of the interview.
Ingrid, 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, there. Thank you for inviting me. No, I don’t have any unusual birthmarks or illogical fears. I do have a problem with frizzy hair, would I be allowed to bring my anti-frizz serum? Please tell me I would! No? Oh, well, I suppose I can do without. I grew up in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, after all, where it isn’t humid, but anti-frizz serum is not an accessible commodity. I’d also love, love to bring a computer, but I know there won’t be any electricity, so what’s the point? Hmm, solar panels?? You see, I’m a software engineer and a writer, so that means I spend a lot of time in front of a computer monitor, with ready access to YouTube and Twitter and all those nifty things that keep me entertained. Gosh, this exile is going to be a b*tch getting used to, better grab my big girl panties.
And what about your own work? What are the inspirations behind it? What would make someone else choose it to accompany them into exile?
Inspiration seems to be in the air for me. I’ve found ideas for books in the strangest places and situations. For my current release, Ignite the Shadows, the idea came to me when someone I used to know was going through fertility treatments. I don’t think she would appreciate the turn the story took. If she were the one going into exile, I would definitely not recommend she take my book along, because she would end up worrying to death about the fate of her test-tube kids. As for anyone else, if they don’t mind getting spooked a little bit, I’d say go for it.
Spooked is good, particularly on a deserted island! 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?
Keep back the tears as I tell you this story. Honestly, I cannot tell you about any childhood books because, beside my grammar ones in school, I only had but a couple—neither one of them worth remembering. You see, I grew up in Honduras where accessibility to bookstores and libraries is pretty much nonexistent. I know, it’s a crime, but there you have it. Books weren’t available to me until I entered high school where there was a small library and reading assignments became part of the curriculum.
That said, for the first book I’ll take to the island, I give you: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. Now you see why I wanted to tell you my sad story? It wasn’t to make you cry. It was because I didn’t want you to think I was such a prodigy that this was my sort of reading material at such a tender age :)
I admit, that would have been scarily impressive as your favourite childhood book! 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 book that inspired me to write was most definitely On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. It may not be the kind of book you are looking for in your question, but this book tweaked something inside my mind. It truly changed my life and, for me, holds some sort of indescribable magic. It’s definitely going with me.
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.
For this, I will go with a classic: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. There’s nothing better to lift one’s spirits than a bit of well-deserved revenge and Edmond Dantès dishes it out like the best of them!
That’s fine, as long as you’re not planning to take tips from it and hunt me down when you get back from your exile! 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 don’t normally read graphic novels, but Locke and Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez opened my mind to the genre with its amazing story telling and fantastic art. So, in this case, I’ll be taking the slipcase set, which contains all 6 volumes. No, this isn’t cheating. One volume is only 1/6th of the story. I need them all!
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.
Ahh, a book I would read over and over and would recommend to anyone who is a fantasy fan would be Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. It is filled with such wonderful characters and amazing world building that I know it will transport me while you so cruelly send me into exile. I guess this is already a classic of sorts.
Definitely – it’s a wonderful book! Anyway, 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 …
Aw, you are so kind (*yeah right!*) Ahem, well … how to pick one song? One film? One lonely item? So hard! But I guess I must try.
For a song I guess I’ll pick Nessun Dorma from Turandot. It was one of my father’s favorite pieces and I definitely need something to remind me of him. For a film, I will select The Matrix, just 'cause I’ve already watched it numerous times and I’m not tired of it yet. That must mean it has a good chance of surviving any loneliness-induced rages I might go into while in exile. As for an item, it would have to be a notebook or anything I can write on. Who knows, I might be rescued and be able to sell my adventures to some amazing publisher ;)
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.
A tropical island, for sure. I’d say somewhere near my home country. Roatán would be lovely!
That’s it, then – you’re ready to go. Thank you for joining us, and enjoy your trip!
Thank you for having me!
Now enter the giveaway to win a copy of Ignite the Shadows and a $25 gift card …
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