Author Interview: Kea Alwang

Young Adult author Kea Alwang

Young Adult author Kea Alwang.
Photo Credit: Lakefront Photography

If you’ve read my reviews of Treehugger and Risktaker, you may have noticed that I’ve become a huge fan of Kea Alwang. While meant for young adults, her books have a unique way of connecting with geek girls of all ages. She was kind of enough to spend some time talking to me about her books, her inspiration, and our mutual love of Pippi Longstocking.

Claire: Your series is titled Based on a Dream. Can you elaborate on that….

Kea: I used the title Based on a Dream to sum up Chloe’s/Star’s flight between her dual lives, since there wouldn’t be a story to tell without it. Her journeys between Earth and other places in the multiverse kick in during the period of sleep we call REM (Rapid Eye Movement) state. That’s the stage of sleep in which we dream. Only at some point during Star’s REM sleep, the Ethimarrow uses those over-active brainwaves to jump start her onto an appropriate pathway through vocipholes and time lines. So, theoretically, Chloe/Star’s alternate life is based on what begins as a dream before becoming a separate reality. Without giving away a spoiler, you’ve seen in Risktaker that Star can leave Earth via the Ethi without the aid of REM state. However, as you will see in Book Three, her secret life can get rather muddled that way!

C: and what your inspiration was for Jacondor and your main characters?

K: Jacondor came straight out of a desire to create my own planets as George Lucas had. In particular, the field and mountain range areas of Jacondor developed out of a bungalow cooperative I spent a lot of time at when I was little. I would sit in the fields behind the houses, sometimes climb trees (much lower than the ones Star climbs!) and be alone with my thoughts. The city of Tenoray was something that I just visualized on my own. It just sort of sprang into being. Although, my love of old castles came into play at the top of Tarthimum’s tower. Star, CK, and Leada–believe it or not–were inspired by those old movies of Pippi Longstocking and her friends Tommy and Annika (based on the books by Astrid Lindgren). I was fascinated by the idea of this strong, confident, super-capable girl with her two super loyal friends. Since I was bullied a lot in my younger years and was a huge Star Wars geek girl–two traits that seemed to feed each other–I wound up dreaming about being strong and powerful and having friends like that–except they lived in off-world scenarios. Eventually, I drew the characters and wrote snippets about them. Decades later, when I wanted to write fantasy, they had not been forgotten.

C: Funny enough, I loved Pippi Longstocking when I was little (especially in movie from 1988). I always wanted to be Pippi, I used to try to talk my mom in to wiring my braids so they would stand out. 😀 Between her and Anne of Green Gables, I think I dreamed of being a red head who didn’t take any crap! Star Wars and Doctor Who were my first real fandoms when I was a kid.

C: What brought you into the geek world?

K: Star Wars was my first true fandom. Battlestar GalacticaBuck Rogers and the animated Battle of the Planets soon followed.

C: What drew you to Star Wars as a kid? I know for myself it was the adventure, the thought that something else could be out there that was way better than where I was (I was bullied a lot too).

K: What drew me to Star Wars? I saw it in the theater when it first came out and I practically kicked and screamed that I didn’t want to have to watch some dumb space movie just because my little brother wanted to. I drove my parents nuts on line. I ranted and raved at how stupid it would be. When I left the theater? My entire world(s) was changed. It was the ultimate in transformations. I no longer saw the need to try and fit in with every other kid. My mind suddenly had other places to go. (And I think Han Solo was my first official crush.) My imagination had been kicked into overdrive …. uh …make that hyperdrive. Because of that, people can rant and rave about the choices Lucas has made over the years, but I’m so grateful for his work that all I can say is, “His story, his choices.”

C: Who are your musical inspirations?

K: U2, Genesis, Def Leppard, Train, Imagine Dragons, Enigma, Maroon 5, Pink, Mumford & Sons

C: Best show on TV right now?

K: Supernatural and The Big Bang Theory.

C: I JUST started watching Supernatural… I have a lot of catching up to do, but I can’t believe I put it off this long. Big Bang Theory is great too. I find myself quoting it at work and unfortunately no one else there watches it! I’m really loving Revolution and Once Upon a Time right now too.

K: I love the brother relationship aspect of Supernatural and how Sam winds up making the worst choices because he has the most noble intentions. When I was watching the first season (I started late, too) I fell in love with the way they compensated for each other because it was similar to the way Star, CK, and Lea operate.

C: What are you reading at the moment?

K: I just finished Barbara Kingsolver’s, Flight Behavior. I love her work purely for the gift she has with imagery and language. Now I’m a few pages into Strange Fall by Kyle Andrews

C: And anything else random you want to say 😀

K: Sure. I’m starting to discover that, although I set out to write a Young Adult fantasy series, I have actually found a more definitive niche of readers: fan girls / geek girls (with some guys mixed in). The fun thing about that is that I find myself identifying with fans of my work as they seem to identify with my story/characters through their reviews and comments. There’s a certain fan girl camaraderie in that. I love it!

Haven’t check out Risktaker or Treehugger yet? You’re in luck! For today and tomorrow (September 3rd and September 4th), the Kindle edition of Treehugger is free on Amazon! In addition, we are giving away TWO copies of Risktaker below!

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5 Responses to “Author Interview: Kea Alwang”
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