The Island of Lote
Emily Kinney is a young author from the little town of Limerick in Maine. She has her book out on the market called The Island of Lote. We have conducted an interview with her:
What are your opinions about the literature world and why did you decide to be a book author?
My opinion of the literature world varies. It’s the same as any art medium, especially nowadays, when it seems you have to pick either guaranteed popularity or integrity. There are still, of course, those rare and marvelous cases where the end result is both. I’m not exactly sure when trending began, but I want to hope that it’s only been recently. Because it seemed like authors back in the day couldn’t care less about what their fellows were writing about and what the public was responding best to. One of the reasons I love literature so much is because of its history. No other art has had so much influence on the human race than that of the combination of words and storytelling. The grandeur and mystery surrounding books is so intense it’s almost tangible. You can’t help but be in awe of them, whether perched on a bookshelf or open in your hands, revealing paper and printed ink. Books touch people physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. That’s a lot of power. Possessing even a little bit of that power is an intoxicating thought. I’ve always been drawn to books. As a child, I saw them as a rite of passage, an exotic fruit that I must earn before I could taste. Growing up, and still today, my imagination creates worlds, and I knew that other worlds were only good if shared, so that others could escape to them too. As Emily Dickinson once said, “There is no frigate like a book.”
How did you craft the characters in your book "The Island of Lote"?
Most of the characters in Lote were crafted from necessity. The original idea for the story centered around a strong, sassy young female, so right away I had Milo. At the time I had just started listening heavily to hip-hop, and Milo’s personality came to embody the way I wanted to act, but couldn’t. She also has a lot of my own interests, such as cooking and of course rap. But she was still her own person with her own problems and history. It was only when I was revising the manuscript when I was twenty-one that I realized just what a little punk Milo was. That wasn’t my intention when I first wrote the book when I was fourteen, but it all worked out well. After her, I needed characters to play off of her. Simon, of course, was the extremely hot, but unintelligible, island boy who was unreasonably and irrevocably in love with her. Ajsha came along because I needed an interpreter for Simon and Milo, and because there also had to be a voice of reason amid all the nuttiness. I based Ajsha off of a girl I knew, who at the time was in kindergarten and just so dang cute, but at the same time had a wise, aloof look in her eyes. Bob the Conscience was created because I needed someone to combat Milo’s stubbornness and to argue with her when she was alone. Squelch is modeled after a friend of mine whom I was very close to at the time. Her name is in the dedications. I wanted to give Milo a person to alleviate the loneliness and isolation she feels. The rest of the characters, like the islanders and Milo’s parents, are all constructed to create a certain kind of environment for Milo, which in turn moves the story along. Her parents make her feel alienated, which leads to her wanting to leave, which leads to her crashing on the island. The islanders provide both conflict, like Mayor Em-I, comfort, like Mrs. Lanslo, and resolution, like Aunt Rosario.
What do you think "a revolutionary author" nowadays is like? What kind of prospects do you see in being such an author?
I think that being a revolutionary author means going against the tide. So many authors are doing the same thing, from the topics they write about, to how they interact with their audience. I want to bring back the concept of the “social author”. An author that doesn’t just hole up in a secluded sanctum and write his or her life away, but one that actually intermingles with the rest of society and gets involved in events and different media. There’s really no one right now that represents literature in today’s culture. Books aren’t given the same kind of consideration and respect as other arts, because there’s no one out there demanding that it happen. There’s no one standing up and saying, “I am cool because I am an author.” That makes me furious, because, to me anyway, authors are rock stars. And we deserve the same sort of recognition. Ah, but recognition for something particular, of course. That’s another level I want to conquer. I strongly believe in the standard of excellence. That you can’t just toss anything into the ring and have it be good. There is in fact a line between shoddy and high quality. I believe in furthering literature as an art and craft through innovation and exploration. I despise trends, and lately that’s really all there is. I want to prove myself to be a master storyteller, through range and originality.
As far as prospects go, there’s always the common list: Success, wealth, opportunity, respect, ect. But I don’t want just that. I want to be welcomed into the halls of the Greats. I want to break ground and amaze people. I want to make a lasting impact.
What are your other interests and hobbies besides writing?
I love reading, naturally. I like anything that is closely connected to the arts. I’m an arts kid through and through. I love to cook, and act. I used to be really big into sewing and making jewelry. I made quilts throughout high school. I love learning, as well as film, and playing video games. Nintendo!
If our readers want to know more about your next new book(s), where can we find you?
I don’t think any new books will be out for a while, but everything I’m doing can be found at emilykinneyauthor. I keep my facebook updated constantly and my twitter is @theshadylady. They can check out my youtube channel as well, AuthorEmilyKinney.
As a final word to the readers, and I’m excited because this is the first time I’ve done this, remember The Story-Artisan’s Creed: For all those who daydream and are not caged by reality. Together we rise above the mundane and stale, and combine forces to eradicate monotony and mediocrity. United are we who search for beyond, stand for creativity, and reject conformity. Empowered by inspiration we march forth, hand in hand, an army of originals. Nothing can detain us, for we are driven by love, bred for imagination, and fueled by whimsy.