Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Author Interview: Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

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About the Authors:
Kim Askew has been in love with Shakespeare's plays since middle school (and she's even dated several Hamlet-types). Her mom is thrilled that Kim is finally putting her BA in Renaissance Lit to good use. 

A contributor to the anthology The May Queen, Kim's writing has appeared in literary journals and other publications, including the SoMa Literary Review, Kitchen Sink, and Elle Magazine. She is currently working on her Master's thesis on Henry James at Mount St. Mary's College, Los Angeles. With her friend and Twisted Lit series co-author Amy, she writes the popular blog about book-to-film adaptations, Romancing the Tome.

Amy Helmes, co-author of Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel, is co-author of Boys of a Feather: A Field Guide to American Males and is also a weekly contributor to The Rundown, a free daily e-mail service that keeps subscribers informed on what's new and cool in LA. 

What made you want to become a writer?
Kim: I've wanted to be a writer since I could grasp a crayon.  It's just in my bones.
Amy: Having enough teachers in my life tell me I was a really talented writer made me realize I ought to do it for a living.  It's amazing what a little encouragement can do!

Where do you get your inspirations from?

Kim: My inspiration comes from travel, museums, films and classic literature, as well as real life things that may have happened to me or people I know.
Amy: The culmination of all my life experiences as well as real-world news accounts.  I'll often read something in a newspaper or magazine and think back to it while I am writing.  I'm a big history buff, as well, which I think really colours the way I write.

Other than writing books, what else do you do in your free time?

Kim: I spend my free time reading, going on hikes with my dog Macbeth, travelling and attending concerts or museum exhibits with my friends.  Amy and I have a tradition of going to afternoon tea at fancy hotels.
Amy: I have two young kids, there's a lot of "pretending to be princesses" going on in my house.

If you could work with another author, who would it be?

Kim: I'm so spoiled after working with Amy as my co-author and bestselling author Jackie Mitchard as our editor.  I really couldn't imagine collaborating with anyone else.
Amy: Ditto.  Although it would be cool to go back and work with Shakespeare just to double check that he really did write all those plays.

What are major themes of your work?

Kim & Amy: The major theme in Exposure (our take on Macbeth) is the quest for power and popularity; how do your actions and attitudes determine where you rank the world?  Tempestuous, like it's inspiration, The Tempest, also tackles power by exploring the impulse  or temptation, to control other people, and the meaning of justice and redemption.

What do you think people look for in a book?

Kim: I can only know what I look for in a book, and it is this: something that entertains me and makes me think.  I'd like to learn something new about myself or the world by reading it.
Amy: I think people are looking for an escape, a  world that's depicted so realistically that you can get caught up in it.

Are there any recent works you admire?

Kim: I recently read and enjoyed Panorama City by Antione Wilson, anything by David Mitchell, and the translated Spanish trilogy Your Face Tomorrow by Javier Marias.
Amy: I loved Where'd Do Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.  I appreciate any author that can make me laugh, and she really did.

Questions About the Book (Tempestuous):

Which character in the book do you think you can relate to the most?

Kim: I can relate to Miranda's spirit of adventure and leadership qualities, but I also see a little of myself in Ariel's enthusiastic optimism.
Amy: Even though he's a guy, I relate to Caleb.  He's reserved and very cynical, and that's often how I see myself. (Though I wish I was as cool as he was!)

How did you come up with the character's names?

Kim & Amy: Our heroine, Miranda Prospero, is a combination of The Tempest characters Miranda and her father Prospero.  Caleb is a much cuter Caliban, also from the original play.  we also borrowed Rachel Alonso's last name from The Tempest--Alonso is the villain!

Who is your favourite character excluding the main character?

Kim: Ariel is my favourite character after Miranda.  She's overly enthusiastic, but (as you'll find if you read the book) not as naive as she seems.
Amy: I agree that Ariel is adorable and was so fun to write!

What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

Kim & Amy: We'd already written Exposure, which is inspired by Shakespeare's darkest play, so we decided to go with something lighter.  After all, The Tempest begins with a violent shipwreck in which all the main characters survive!  Once we settled on staging the entire story in a mall over the course of one might, the book really fell into place.

*The questions and answers of this author interview are only for Ethereal Book Reviews to use.  If you would like to get interviewed, please visit our "Contact Us" page and send us an e-mail.