Kailin Gow is the author of over 30 books for all generations, but her specialty is the young adult/teen genre. Her books have been recommended by PBS Kids, the PTA, homeschooling organizations, and on the Best Teens Books list. She is a mentor for young women, has founded 3A for Autism (Actors, Artists, and Authors for Autism), and runs a publishing and production company known as Sparklesoup, a mid-size publisher and production company.
Her latest young adult fiction novel is Rise of the Fire Tamer.
You can visit her website at www.sparklesoup.com or join her Facebook Author page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/YA-Books-from-Kailin-Gow/104549539596369.
Q: Thank you for this interview, Kailin. How did the idea for Rise of the Fire Tamer come to you?
My 4-year-old daughter London inspired me to write a book about gamer teens. She loves video games, and I wanted to write a series that would help girls (and boys) develop a sense of good sportsmanship, leadership principles, and teamwork with this series. At the same time, I wanted to break stereotypes (especially among teens) with the characters in this series.
The story came about from my own experience having played video games and even having scripted and produced a video game before. However, this isn’t a video game, but a novel much like Chronicles of Narnia and other fantasy adventure young adult novels.
The Wordwick Games is also a way of introducing SAT words into everyday vocabulary. Incorporating SAT words into the novel as Ruler Words, their meaning and usage are reinforced over and over again in the story.
The Wordwick Games in the series is a massive online game with millions of fans and users. It is a virtual world like Avatar and Warcraft. Gamers get highly involved. The Wordwick Games was invented by Henry Word, who had set up a contest to find the best players of his game. The best players happen to be the five teens who won the contest to go visit Henry Word and Word Castle, which is prominently featured in the game itself.
Q: You have five teens involved in this…can you briefly tell us about them?
Most of the point of view is from Gem, who is the gorgeous rich cheerleader-type, but really hates being known as that. She wants to be taken seriously, and she has a lot of depth in her, especially kindness and generosity. She doesn’t take the easy way out and constantly proves herself beyond the stereotype.
Rio is the bad boy from East L.A. who is good-looking, charming, and knows it. He thinks the world is out to get him, and he distrusts most people. Throughout this quest, he learns that he has to begin trusting people at some time in order to survive.
Sparks is the clean-cut handsome football jock from Texas who seems like the obvious hero, but he has more to him than good looks and athleticism.
Kat is the Goth Girl from London who fits a gamer girl profile. She loves to skateboard and loves a good challenge. She can’t stand authority and her rebelliousness can help and hurt her.
Jack is a walking encyclopedia and a diehard gamer. He wears glasses, is smaller and younger than the rest of the gamers, and is nervous around Gem. The challenges and tests in Anachronia will either make him more confident or kill him.
Q: If you could live the life of one of your characters for one day, who would it be and why?
From Rise of the Fire Tamer (The Wordwick Games, #1), it would have to be Gem at the moment she wears Princess Chelsea’s dress and puts on the golden cloak. That is a magical moment where her destiny is revealed.
Q: Can you tell us more about Anachronia?
Anachronia is another world. Based on the word, “Anachronism”, it is where everything is out of sync. It is a fantastic world set in a fairy tale setting where there are castles, knights and ladies, dragons, ogres, trolls, werewolves, zombies, and wizards. The world of Anachronia looks familiar to us because of its medieval appearance, yet it is meshed with modern day technology, thanks to the Wordwick Games.
Q: Open a page at random. What’s happening?
Gem and the players including the young wizard Goolrick and his men have just entered a cave inside the mountain where their next obstacle in the game resided: the three-headed dragon.
A: p. 128 – “Every archway held human sized figures, some little more than bleached bone, some mummified and wrapped in bandages, while a few looked perfectly preserved. Every figure wore armor of some sort. It was battered and rusted, but Gem was willing to bet that it would still work. So would the weapons, probably, and there were plenty of them.”
Q: Most, if not all, of your books are for young adult readers. Why did you decide to write that particular genre?
There is so much going on in this age group that is rich for writing and also for discovering. Things are new, things are dramatic, things are always a life and death situations. I love that. I can relate to that, but I’m also much older and have a lot more life experience to provide a wider perspective for teens.
On a personal note, I find myself becoming an informal mentor to a lot of teen girls and I’m constantly being asked for advice on relationships, career, whatever. My mom friends also point their teen daughters my way whenever they want them to have a mentor or role model. I’ve been a teen mentor, in this way, and even a college/young adult mentor, for years since I was in college.
I’ve always loved reading books in this genre, and they have helped shape who I am today. I grew up reading Judy Blume, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien. And I read all the Sun Fire series and Sweet Valley High series.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring young adult authors?
Writing for young adult is different than writing for adults. Get to know your audience and write your characters from that perspective.
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Kailin. We wish you much success!
Thank you so much for having me. You can find me on Facebook. Add me as a friend and join my YA Books page there. http://www.facebook.com/pages/YA-Books-from-Kailin-Gow/104549539596369
Believe it or not, I couldn’t get the domain name under my own name because someone else has it already? So I have an official web page now called, Official Kailin Gow. Http://www.officialkailingow.com