Here's a round-up of the blog posts and interviews I've written and given for the release of City of Islands! In them, I talk about writing for children in these dark times, the lessons I learned as a bookworm child, and the importance of fun adventures for young readers.
All of my blog posts and interviews, present and past, can be found on the Other page.
Hailing from landlocked Colorado, seascapes always held an almost mystic allure for Kali Wallace. That lingering childhood fascination, combined with a Ph.D in geophysics, had been steering Wallace towards the world she envisions in City of Islands—a city spread out across the sea, a culture defined by the natural world it inhabits—but it took quite some time for the story to emerge in a way that felt true.
Adults ruin everything. It’s an abiding theme of children’s stories: to have an adventure, you’ve got to ditch the parents and guardians. It might be a trope, but it’s one I’ve always rather liked. It’s always seemed to me the closest a story can come to capturing the moments a uninhibited, unsupervised make-believe of my 1980s go-play-in-the-ditch-behind-the-house childhood.
The city was born first. Everything else came after. It doesn’t always work that way. Some stories begin with characters, others with scenarios or single images. But City of Islands began with the city. It was so vivid in my mind, and the more I wrote, the more vivid it became. It was an archipelago city in a stormy, dangerous ocean. There were sea serpents, trading ships, noisy docks and boisterous taverns, palaces and slums. It was beautiful; it was also terrible.
By the time I was twelve years old, I had learned a number of valuable lessons from books. I had learned how to make dessert for a dragon dinner party. I had learned how to argue with fairies. How to find a magical world on a concrete patio or an abandoned cow field. How to pronounce Welsh. How to know which rules are worth breaking, and how to break them. How to run away from home. How to go back. How to kill the Witch-King of Angmar. How to cross the universe and face down powerful evil. How to know if your pet rabbit is a vampire.