AMIE KAUFMAN is an internationally bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy. She lives in Melbourne with her husband, daughter, and rescue dog, and huge personal library.
Her latest novel is The Isles of the Gods which is the first in a new fantasy series featuring magic, romance and gods. Good Reading for Young Adults caught up with Amie to discuss everything from books, her inspirations to her characters.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Selly has saltwater in her veins. So when her father leaves her high and dry in the port of Kirkpool, she has no intention of riding out the winter at home while he sails to adventure in the north seas. But any plans to follow him are dashed when a handsome stranger with tell-tale magician’s marks on his arms commandeers her ship under cover of darkness: He is Prince Leander of Alinor, and he needs to cross the Crescent Sea without detection so he can complete a ritual on the sacred Isles of the Gods.
Selly has no desire to escort a spoiled prince anywhere, and no time for his entitled demands or his good looks. But what starts as a leisure cruise will lead to acts of treason and sheer terror on the high seas, bringing two countries to the brink of war, two strangers closer than they ever thought possible and two dangerous gods stirring from centuries of slumber …
WHAT’S ON AMIE KAUFMAN’S BOOKCASE?
What are you reading now?
I’m reading A Hunger of Thorns by Lili Wilkinson – it’s witchy and botanical and full of mood and mystery. I was lucky enough to read a very early draft, but now it’s coming out, I’m so enjoying sinking into the luxurious experience of reading the final book.
Where is your favourite place to read?
After wanting one for years and years, I finally treated myself this year to a gorgeous reading chair for my office. That’s definitely my favourite place – curled up with my feet up, the door closed!
Do you read one book at a time or multiple?
Definitely multiple! I always have an audiobook on the go, plus a paper book, plus an ebook on my phone—I read instead of scrolling social media, when I have some spare time.
This question is torture! How am I meant to choose? I know I’d bring The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, as that’s my favourite book. After that … it honestly depends on the day! Can I cheat and say I’d bring four notebooks, so I could write whatever stories I wanted to read?
Do you use a bookmark or fold the corners of pages?
I don’t fold page corners, but I don’t know if you could call what I use bookmarks … it’s more a collection of receipts, old tickets, pieces of string …
Where did you get the inspiration for your latest novel The Isles of the Gods?
The first spark came when I found out that tall ships were still sailing in our world in the 1920s, delivering cargo – that was much later than I thought! I grew up sailing and took my first steps on a boat, and I love everything to do with the sea. I wondered what could have kept those tall ships – they were called windjammers – sailing even longer, and realised that if you had magic that could control the weather and promise you calm seas and fair winds, that would certainly do it. Then I started to wonder about the clash of old and new technology you’d get in a world like that, and soon I had this world where tall ships existed alongside cars, and neon lights alongside carriages.
What myths or legends did you draw on for your book?
J R R Tolkien talked about the idea of your creative compost heap – the idea that all the things you see and hear and experience and read and generally soak up come together to form the soil from which your ideas grow. He said that you can be deliberate about what you put on that compost heap and I definitely am. I didn’t go to myths and legends for this book so much as particular worlds and authors – like Tamora Pierce’s Tortall, for example, or David Eddings – and lots of non-fiction, like books full of pictures of windjammers, which I talked about in my last answer.
There are a variety of personalities in your book from Selly, Laskia to Leander – was there a particular character that you enjoyed writing the most? If so, why?
I truly couldn’t choose, but I do know that I loved writing Keegan – and he’s already a favourite with early readers. Keegan is a bookworm who absolutely did not volunteer to go on a quest. He was just trying to run away from home and get to a university with the world’s best library. Now he’s in the middle of an adventure with a boy he didn’t even like at school, and he really just wants to curl up with a good book and pretend none of this is happening …
What do you like to drink or eat while reading?
When I’m settling in to get to work, I really love making myself a cup of tea with a beautiful cup and saucer … and of course if you’re going to drink tea, you need a cookie.
If you could meet one author (living or dead) – who would it be and why?
I’d truly love to have had the chance to meet Anne McCaffrey. She was a trailblazer for women writing science fiction and fantasy – decades before most authors were doing it, she was creating the most amazing, diverse worlds. Worldbuilding is one of my passions, and I’d give anything for the chance to chat to her about hers.