I had a chance to ask Kaza Kingsley a few questions recently. I tried to cover the comparison of Erec Rex to Harry Potter, how she views her works and her interaction with her fans. Here are the questions I came up with. Some of her answers surprised me.
She’ll be checking in during her blog tour, so feel free to ask her your questions in the comments.
Living In Harry’s Shadow
2xKnight: Harry Potter is huge, any book that resembles it in any way is going to be compared to it. So I have to ask a couple of questions involving that series.
How do you think your books stack up against JKR’s?
Kaza Kingsley: Oh, that’s a wicked way to start … you bad boy! From my perspective, and I’m sure others would look at it in other ways, I can break down a few things between the two series.
HP: I love her voice. Love the Brit accent and humor.
ER: More action. Erec does a lot more on his own, gets no help from a Dumbledore-type character. No sitting through a year of school. Erec’s adventures take him into the wilds of Otherness, all alone (save a butler.)
HP: A great escape
ER: A great escape (I hope!)
There – you made me do something I hate to do! I really think they are two series, along with a lot of other fantasy series, that hopefully each stands on their own for their readers.
I’ve had a lot of kids tell me, in fan mails, and in person, that they like my series better than the Potter one. I am sure, however, theirs is not the only opinion. I love the Harry Potter series, myself.
2x: Who would win in a fight, Harry or Erec? Oh, and none of that “They’d be on the same side” stuff either, just assumed they were both tricked into thinking the other one was evil…
KK: This is a fun one! And a toughie.
For one, it would depend of weather Erec is wielding a scepter at the moment. In that case, there is no question. Erec’s power with the scepter far overshadows Harry’s wand abilities.
But, since Erec is not currently in possession of the scepter, and has no wand, I think he’d be toast. Erec has a remote control that could help him do magic, but he can barely do anything with it. The only thing he has learned is to move objects a bit – and he doesn’t do that well.
Now, when they reach full maturity, in the future, when Erec has learned to use his dragon eyes and has acquired the huge powers he’s gaining as he goes through the quests to be king, I think he’d win hands down.
2x: One last HP question then we can move on…
If there was one part of JKR’s success you wouldn’t want… What would it be?
KK: I really don’t know! I can tell you a lot of parts I would want! But I do wonder if that amount of fame might somehow disconnect you from who you really are. Maybe she can’t just go into a grocery store without getting bugged. That would get old.
2x: Ok, the 1 Billion Pound Gorilla has been acknowledged. (HA! English currency joke)
The World of Erec Rex
2x: In a lot of fantasy stories that contain magic there’s an entire system set up to explain it. Could you give us a brief overview of how magic works in Erec’s world?
KK: One crucial theme is that magic existed everywhere in our world, until something happened in our past that made us “Losers” lose our memory of magic, and made it all reside in the Kingdoms of the Keepers, “Keepers” of the magic. Of course I know the specifics of this. Some has already been revealed. Thanatos Baskania has played a role in keeping us Losers away from the knowledge of magic – and he created the Kingdoms of the Keepers as well.
Magic is all around us – carried in channels called “Aitherplanes” via the “Substance.” Something has happened to the substance that is making it so that we can no longer see or do magic in Upper Earth. It’s skewed now, so that most of the substance is concentrated in the Kingdoms of the Keepers. But this problem in the substance is causing many other problems, especially in the Kingdoms. Nobody seems to know how to fix it, either.
So, in the Kingdoms of the Keepers, magic manifests in three main ways.
- Bought magic. There are magical items that are made (often in Vulcan stores, founded by Heph Vulcan.)
- Innate magic. Everyone is born with one special gift (or it can feel like a curse.) Erec’s gift is his precognition ability (in his “cloudy thoughts.”) Bethany’s is an amazing mathematical talent. Etc.
- Learned magic. Only some people have the ability to learn magic in the Kingdoms of the Keepers. Using remote controls (to control one’s surroundings) is the easy way out, for the less powerful folk.
There are also rules of magic for the powerful scepters, dragon eyes, and so much more! I could write pages and pages….
2x: How did you decide on that system?
KK: Constant questioning. The more things I came up with, the more I had to ask, “Would this work in this situation,” and “What if this happened?” The rules have to be firm and consistent to work and be believable. That said, it is not all spilled out in Book One. Readers learn as Erec does.
One of the things that bothered me in the Harry Potter series (and I can’t believe I’m saying this, it’s hard saying anything negative about such great books) is that there were a few glitches. For one, there are rich and poor wizards. Yet, they have wands and can make or attain anything. So why can’t they create money or expensive items if they want them? The whole thing about rich and poor wizard families made no sense to me.
I’m sure someday someone will find glitches in Erec Rex. It’s probably unavoidable. But I’m working hard to keep it from happening.
2x: If a movie were made from your books, who would you
like cast in it?
KK: I’m not sure. One thing that I’d love, though, if it was possible, was if I could have a small walk-on role in each film. Kind of like Hitchcock did.
2x: Would you want the movie to be live-action, or animated?
KK: Live-action. Definitely. Animation can be great, but it makes viewers a little more removed, makes the story a little more childish.
2x: Would you agree to give up creative control on the movie for a giant pile of money?
KK: Um … yes! Maybe if I have more money in the future I’d change my mind about that. But, for now, the giant pile sounds really good…
2x: Would you do it for a Scooby Snack?
Sorry… wrong interview.
KK: Rhat repends on row big the Rooby Racks rare.
The Erec Rex Fandom
2x: What do you think of fan created works, such as fan fiction?
KK: I actually haven’t read a lot of fan fiction, but I’ve recently met people who have written some. I think anything that gets people writing is great.
I would be honored if people thought enough of Erec Rex to write fan fiction based on it. It would be fun to read, too. But I might have to wait until I’m done writing the series before I read it, to make sure nobody else’s ideas infiltrated my own with the story!
2x: If you could write a book in someone else’s world, which one would you choose?
KK: Oz. Hands down. I just loved that series so much. I’ve even thought about doing some kind of rewrite of it, making it more accessible to today’s youth. Because there’s a lot of great stuff in there.
2x: What author would you consider letting write a book in your world?
KK: Aside from fan fiction, I wouldn’t want another author to write in the Erec Rex series. I just have too clear of an idea where I want it to go. Maybe when it’s finished it would be fun to see side books by Tom Robbins or Steven King. What different takes they would have!
2x: If you could collaborate with any writer, who would you want to work with?
KK: Mann … collaborating would be so weird for me! It might be really fun, but I’m so used to making all the decisions in my fantasy world.
I think it would be really fun to collaborate in a pure comedy book. Something like silly lists, funny commentary. So, I guess, I’d go with Steve Martin He’s funny and smart, too.
2x: From looking at your blog, it seems like you’ve been doing a lot to promote your books and meet your fans. How has that gone?
KK: That has been one of the best parts of this journey for me. I love writing, but it’s a very solitary activity. I’m alone in my world a lot. But then, on book tours, I get immersed in the opposite experience, which is a very social one. I think an author’s life is kind of schizophrenic like that.
I love the contact with fans, and the email and letters I get from them. It really makes me feel like what I’m doing is worth while. When I can connect with a person like that it feels great. I just got a really sweet message tonight off my website. It really means a lot to me!
I am trying to do everything I can to help Erec get known, and it means a lot of traveling. It’s been fun, I’m glad to do it. I just wish I could look into one of my Inquizzles and find out how well the series will end up doing!
(An Inquizzle is a magic object that answers 1 question absolutely correctly, but it will only answer “Yes” or “No”. –2xKnight)
2x: What’s your favorite part of interacting with your fans?
KK: I think one of the best things I’ve done is have an open discussion lunch at some local schools. It’s a really informal thing, where kids who are into the Erec Rex series sit around with me and shoot questions off the top of their heads. It really amazes me to hear some of the things they come up with!
2x: When you meet your fans, what makes you think “Oh God, not again!”?
KK: You have to understand – I’m kind of in love with my fans. So it’s really hard for any of them to upset me. They love my work – I completely appreciate them! Maybe if one of them was always throwing up on my shoes…
2x: In all the interviews and discussions you’ve had about Erec and the books, what’s the one question you dread to hear?
KK: “So, this book is just like Harry Potter, right?”
2x: What is the question you’d most like to answer?
KK: “How does it feel to have the most successful book series in the world?”
(Ya gotta have dreams…)
I’d like to thank Kaza Kingsley for being kind enough to answer my questions. I’d also like to encourage you to ask her your own questions. This is a great opportunity to satisfy your curiosity, but try to keep the spoilers to a minimum. Ok?
[tags]Fandoms, Books, Fantasy, Fun Stuff, Young Adult, Author, Kaza Kingsley, Blog Tour, Interview, Q and A, Q & A, Erec Rex, Magic, Fan Fiction, Fans, Harry Potter, JKR [/tags]