Today I am delighted to have Kristen Stone on my blog to talk about her eco-thriller novel Edge of Extinction.
Me: Welcome to Writer’s with Vision Kristen. Can you tell us how you initially came up with the idea for the plot of Edge of Extinction?
Kris: Thanks for having me, and please call me Kris. How long have you got? I started Edge of Extinction years ago as an experiment to see if I could create an unbelievable character and make him seem real. I suppose such ideas are not unique, comic book characters regularly appear in films and the directors are trying to convince us that they are real people, living amongst us. Batman and Superman have been given this treatment, and very well, I hasten to add. Having created Kianda I had to find somewhere to place him. Having established that, I needed a reason to tell the world about him, a story that would be more than just the day to day details of his life.
Me: I described Edge of Extinction as an eco-thriller but which genre(s) would you say describe it best?
Kris: Pass! I think eco-thriller is possibly the best description. I’m very bad at trying to write to a specific genre. The story comes first. In the list of the eight (or ten – depending on whose list you are looking at) of types of story that books fall into, I would say this is probably a ‘quest’ because Kianda is on a mission to find out what is causing the problems at his village. It also deals with perceptions and values, but I didn’t discover that until after I had written it. I didn’t set out to write any sort of morality tale about the evils of modern industry or the desecration of natural habitats. I quite often surprise myself when I read what I write, especially when I come back to something after not looking at it for a while.
Me: I found Kianda Mala and the Chachinka tribe fascinating but what gave you the idea to give your main character a tail?
Kris: Would you believe it came from a song I heard when I was a Brownie leader? The song was called Tails, and was all about imagining what it would be like to have a tail and what sort you would choose. One line in it went ‘And if it were prehensile what tremendous fun t’would be, the envy of your neighbours as you swing from tree to tree.’ Well, that set my imagination flowing and out of that song came Kianda Mala, the Chachinka people and Edge of Extinction.
Me: What do you think are the hardest lessons Kianda has to learn during the story and why?
Kris: I think it really shocked Kianda to learn that nobody cared about his people and the way they were considered to be of no worth.
Me: Are Kianda and his people based on any real Amazonian tribes?
Kris: I suppose I should say yes, the whole book is based on years of research and study. But, No. There are isolated tribes still living in the Amazon. There is pollution and destruction of the rain forest going on, but I have used my imagination to create the story. If it comes across as if you feel it is really happening then I have done my job well. It may touch on general issues of conservation but it is not based on any true events.
Me: How do you think you would react if you came across someone like Kianda in real life?
Kris: It all depends on what you mean by ‘someone like Kianda.’ In some ways you can view him in two separate ways. Yes, he is a man with a tail but he is also a man who has innate dignity, who leads and commands respect by his actions. He is very principled as we find out when he is in the jungle with Hannah. Although he is uneducated by our standards, he is skilled in his own environment. I think I would be honoured and humbled if I ever met anyone like him, tail or no tail!
Me: Who is your favourite and least favourite character in the book and why?
Kris: My favourite has to be Kianda, of course. It’s hard to pick a least favourite because there isn’t really a baddie in the story. If pushed I might say Jon, but even he is fairly sympathetic. Because the story is told from Kianda’s POV you don’t really get to see ‘opposition’. I suppose Warbeck is the least likeable because he is the mine boss.
Me: What do you hope people take away with them when they finish reading Edge of Extinction? It’s more than 2 years since I read the book but I have never been able to forget Kianda and the plight of his people.
Kris: Exactly that. I would like people to sit back and think ‘Wow, that was a good book, I really enjoyed it’ and have it stick in their minds. I know people do feel like that if the reviews are anything to by. Many have said I’ve made Kianda seem real, which is what I set out to do. I don’t expect people to take up banners and protest about anything, I just want to share a good story. I know it’s a difficult book to attract attention, the fact Kianda has a tail puts some off. Friends have read it out of a sense of duty and then come back to say they genuinely enjoyed it. It’s something different.
Me: Well, thank you for joining me, Kris, and I sincerely hope this interview regenerates interest. You can buy your own copy of Edge of Extinction here. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Edge-of-Extinction-ebook/dp/B007YNQ9YM/ and all other Amazon outlets around the world.
Kris: And thank you for your support. If you followers would like to find out more about me and my books, they can find me on my website at http://www.kristen-stone-the-writer.com/short-stories.html my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KristenStoneWriterandEditor or my Blog http://kristen-the-writer.blogspot.co.uk/ . I suppose I’d better put something interesting on all those now, just in case someone looks.