Monday, October 25, 2010

Interview with Kersten Hamilton (Tyger Tyger)

Kersten Hamilton Kersten Hamilton
Bio from her website:
"I was born in a trailer in High Rolls, New Mexico, in 1958.

My parents, who were not very practical people, neglected to go to the hospital or inform anyone of my arrival, so some Official Document Confusion existed for a long time as to the exact year and date.

 By my sixth birthday, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a writer. I was fascinated by the sound of words, the sweep of story. I wanted to make word magic and tuck it inside the covers of a book.   So I found a pencil and tried my hand at literature:"

Tyger Tyger coverHer YA book: Tyger Tyger
Lock the windows and doors.
Turn on every light.
And pray.
Because the goblins are coming.

Clarion, Fall 2010

And here is the interview:

--Can you give us a brief description of Tyger Tyger in your own words?

Sigh. I can’t. This is my great downfall as a writer. I know I am supposed to be able to do this. I am supposed to have something called an “elevator pitch” in which I rattle off a ream of reasons you should buy my book in the time it takes an elevator to get from one floor to the next. But I can’t do it.

I always end up saying something like, “Uh…I wrote a book. Wanna read it?” Not very compelling.

Since I do want your readers to pick up my book, can I call in three lifelines? If I borrow (with proper accreditation, of course) the words of bloggers who have read Tyger Tyger, I can get through this.

On her blog, Pat Esden said, Tyger Tyger is fast paced adventure with a backbone of Celtic myth and heart of romance.”

Roxane, from The Honeyed Knot said, “… it was so utterly different from other YA fantasy novels. It was all at once touching, hilarious, action–packed and fast–paced.”

Ello at the Enchanted Inkpot said: “Teagan is smart and brave and doesn’t do dumb things that make you want to pull your hair out. Meanwhile Finn is absolutely sexy and cocky and sexy and brave and sexy…They’ve got great chemistry.”

So, if I smash them all together, and make it kind of my own, it would read something like: “A fast paced adventure laced with Celtic myth and romance; touching, hilarious and utterly different from other YA fantasy novels. The heroine is smart and brave, the hero is sexy and cocky, and together they’ve got great chemistry!”

How does that sound? J

--How did you get the idea for the story? Did you do much research for your book?

Years of research went into the building of The Gobin Wars world, years of reading Celtic history and legend. Of course, I added science and culture, learning and storytelling to round the story out. The first true glimmer of what became Tyger Tyger came when I was a child, when a goblin crept out of the dark and slipped her paw into my hand. The creature’s name was Lina, and I met her in a book by George MacDonald.

Lina was a dog–like creature with green eyes lit by amber fire, and a huge mouth with icicle–like teeth. Curdie, the hero of the story, could feel the real hand of any creature inside its flesh glove, and when Lina put her paw in his hand: “a shudder, as of terrified delight, ran through him… instead of the paw of a dog, such as it seemed to his eyes, he clasped in his great mining fist the soft, neat little hand of a child! The green eyes stared at him with their yellow light, and the mouth was turned up toward him with its constant half grin; but here was the child's hand!”
When I read those lines I felt it. Lina was a small part of George MacDonald’s book. After I met her, I knew that when I grew up I wanted to write a book full of that kind of goblin creature.
That book is Tyger Tyger!

--Which character would you most/least like to have dinner with?

I would love to have diner with Mamieo, because I love fortune cookies.

I would not like to have dinner with Roisin…I wouldn’t touch that pudding with a ten–foot pole. People will understand why as soon as they read the book! J

--Can you give us any teasers from the sequel? What about tentative dates for release? (There will be one right?)

I can tell you that I finished book two, In the Forests of the Night, and sent it in a couple of weeks ago; that I am still thinking about a couple of points that I will change when I get my copy edits back, and that is darker and scarier and a little sexier than Tyger Tyger. It should be out in the fall of 2011!

--What are some of your favorite books? Do you still have much time to read?

I do read a lot of books. When I am writing, I stick to non-fiction and research. But in between my books I devour novels.

One book that I just read and loved was Dia Calhoun’s White Midnight. It is one of those books that drags your soul out and scrapes it with sandpaper—but it’s brilliant. Dia packs so much meaning into one little button….

A very new book that I loved just for the fun of it is Paranormalcy by Kiersten White.

--If a fairy godmother told you your life could be like a favorite book for 24 hours, which book would you pick and why?

Where the Wild Things Are. I would like to try to tame Wild Things with the magic trick of looking into their eyes without blinking.

--Do you need anything to write (music, coffee, etc)?

All I need is my heart. It must be in good working order. If it is, I will laugh out loud during funny scenes and cry during sad ones. People do give me the strange looks when I write in public. J But if the scene is not honest enough to make me laugh or cry as I write, how could it possibly touch my readers?

Are there any songs on the Tyger Tyger "playlist-" songs that inspired you or that were playing while you

Teagan’s song has always been Fix You by Coldplay: because of this line: “lights will guide you home…and ignite your bones…and I will try to fix you.” That’s Teagan’s heart for the world!

Finn’s song is Teardrop, sung by Newton Faulkner, because for Finn “love is a doing word.”

Teagan and Finn together have a song: Run by Snow Patrol:  “Light up, light up as if you have a choice…even if you cannot hear my voice.”

John Paul’s song is 100 years by Five for Fighting:

Aileen’s song is Dante’s Prayer by Loreena Mckennitt:

--If you could have any superpower what would you choose?

It’s not a magical power, actually.   I would want to be able to mend broken people, and give them courage and strength. To me, that would be better than flying, better than traveling in time. Better than any super power ever.

--Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?

I hunt dinosaurs and prehistoric beasts—well, their bones, anyway—across the badlands of New Mexico!

--Is there anything else you want to add or say to your readers?

Yes! 2010 has been an awesome year for YA books so far. I’m hoping your readers buy and love lots and lots of them—including Tyger Tyger!

Hurray for books!


  1. Fab interview and questions! Love the dinner one. I have this book on my list to review.

  2. Great interview! I love the playlist. I have this book on my Netgalley review list. I look forward to reading it.

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  4. Great interview. I like the superpower Hamilton choose :)

  5. Awesome interview! I loved her playlists for the character (I was mildly surprised that I knew some of the songs; usually when authors list songs for their books, I've never heard of them before!).

    I've had Tyger, Tyger on my netgalley tbr (I have a netgalley tbr, how sad is that? Darn you, school!) and I REALLY can't wait to get into it. After my midterms, for sure. I'm a fantasy nerd, and I especially love folklore, so this book seems right up my alley. :)

  6. Great interview! I love all the songs on her play list (and like Kristina I'm glad I've heard of all of them!) especially Tear Drop and Fix You. Your questions are brilliant, by the way! :D

    And Tyger, Tyger looks absolutely fantastic. The mash-up of blogger comments in the pitched convinced me of its awesomeness :)

  7. Great interview!

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  8. Lock the windows and doors. Turn on every light. And pray. Because the goblins are coming - how scary are those words?

    A great author interview, thanks for introducing us to Kersten.

  9. Really great interview! I enjoyed this book quite a bit and I can't wait to see what happens in In the Forests of the Night, too bad we have to wait until next fall! Loved her superpower answer:) Thanks Brandi and Kersten!

  10. Great interview! I love the unique questions and Kiersten's answers. It's really interesting to see that the idea for Tyger Tyger came from another book.


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