Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Author Inerview: Karina Fabian!

I’ve been given the awesome opportunity to interview Karina Fabian, the author of Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem, which I reviewed in my last blog post. Her book was not just fantastic because of the writing and the creative characters; it hit a personal spot for me because it’s set in central Florida—my home area!

Read on to learn a little more about Karina’s adventures writing a story set in the Sunshine State…

Kat: I’m a Florida native, so dealing with tourists and being barraged by theme park merchandise are things I’ve had a lot of experience with. But you’re not from Florida, so how much of the book was based on personal experience?

Karina: When we lived in Virginia, we went to Disneyworld twice, and with four little kids, we had to battle the temptation to buy all kinds of drek. And of course, there are whole streets dedicated just to restaurants and souvenir shops! In the end, we actually bought more t-shirts than we needed (it rained on us a lot!), but my oldest is still wearing some of them. Alex used the rain ponchos for sails on a pretend ship just last year, and still has his Mickey Mouse plate, which we actually bought in the grocery store. However, I can also remember my mother shopping on vacation for souvenirs for all our friends and relatives, and I had to fight that temptation, too. After all, who really needs a Florida Keys key chain?

The hotel was really just a composite of every convention hotel I've ever been in, as were a lot of convention scenes. I must admit, however, that I did get help on the detail of the World Gathering from fellow Mensans who have been there. For example, the color-coded hug buttons is an actual Mensan tradition. My friend and editor, Shirley Starke, let me in on the fact that you need to be certified by the health department to run a con café. I can't even remember now what BAC stands for, but we must know how to fight it!

My daughter was in the star-struck stage not long before I started writing this book, so Garn's desire to "be discovered" comes from her--and the rest came from my own cynical opinion of the people who think they the road to stardom is easy, and that the exceptions to the rule are the rule. (Although, as it turns out, Garn does get a bit part in "Live and Let Fly," the super-spy flick in my next novel, also named Live and Let Fly.)

Kat: What about the fire alarm scene? Surely, you haven't experienced that first hand.

Karina: Oh, no! For that one, I actually picked a southwest Florida fire department at random and called to ask them what the procedures were for false alarms at a hotel. I love asking off-the-wall questions like that, but I always have to backtrack and explain myself. One day, I'm going to ask the wrong person the right question and Homeland Security is going to knock on the door. I'll sign a book for them!

Kat: One of my favorite scenes was Gater Louie--especially the accent! Florida tends to be stereotyped as a tourist state and I think people forget we natives are Southerners. I could really relate to the Gator Louie accent (not that I sound like that, of course :).

Karina: I have a pretty fair ear for accents, but I have my husband to thank for making sure it was right. His grandmother, Amy, came from good Southern stock. She was even raised on a plantation, and lived in a small east Texas town with all the cousins. So, even though he was an Air Force brat, he had absorbed enough of the accent that once I wrote the draft, he could fix where I mutilated the accent.

Interestingly, the Fabian side of the family boasts two generals on each side of the Civil War. We're pretty sure we found a picture of one of Rob's ancestors at one of the battlefields in Fredericksburg, VA. At least, our youngest, Liam, has the same "I'm gonna take that hill!" expression.

Kat: How about some of the other Florida scenes?

Karina: Most of that was just good research. I adore the Internet. I can find maps and photos of wildlife, descriptions of places, even sounds. Whenever I had a scene I thought needed fleshing out, I'd stop, browse the Internet, get what I need, and move on. You probably noticed that I don't spend too much time describing stuff, either. I prefer to give a few details and let the reader fill in the rest with his or her imagination.

Kat: Vern has now been part of the Firestorm of Dragons anthology, and featured in his own book, Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem. And you mentioned an upcoming book, Live and Let Fly. Is there anyplace else we can find Vern?

Karina: You can read more of his adventures at http://www.dragoneyepi.net/. I have several stories for sale and give a free story to anyone who registers up on the website. Vern and I also publish a bi-monthly e-zine, "A Dragon's Eye View" with special offers and fun columns.

Thanks, Karina! It was great learning about you and your writing. And I can’t wait until your next novel comes out!


Hannah Nicole said...

Very cool! :)


Jacob R Parker said...

Yes, cool interview. I especially liked that part about asking off-the-wall questions. I've sometimes wondered if the only way for us writer types to become socially accepted is to get published. :)

KM Wilsher said...

Nice interview! You have opened up a whole new world for me, Kat :)

Victoria Horea said...