The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Kai Meyer

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Kai Meyer


Summary: Arcadia Awakens is a super blend of action thriller and paranormal romance set in Sicily. We recommend it for for interesting characters and wonderful scene-setting and, of course, jumped at the chance to chat to Kai about it.
Date: 12 March 2012
Interviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy

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Arcadia Awakens is a super blend of action thriller and paranormal romance set in Sicily. We recommend it for for interesting characters and wonderful scene-setting and, of course, jumped at the chance to chat to Kai about it.

  • Bookbag: When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

Kai Meyer: Mostly the readers I see on Facebook every day. My private account is closed with 5000 friends - that's the limit Facebook allows - and the public fanpage account has a few thousand more. There is a core group of maybe hundered or more people who a very active and comment on most of the stuff I post. Many are girls and young women between sixteen and thirty, but there are quite a lot of men, too. .

  • BB: We loved the Sicilian setting of Arcadia Awakens. You write about it in a very evocative way. Is it a place with special meaning for you?

KM: I went there to do some research and just take in the atmosphere. And it's a very peculiar region, totally different to - for example - Tuscany or Veneto or Rome and it´s surroundings. Southern Italy is quite poor and very religious, much more so than the north. And Sicily always had an important part in Mediterranean mythology and history. For example, it's where Odysseus fought the Cyclops.

  • BB: What gave you the idea to blend the mob with an ancient myth as the basis for your story?

KM: I was looking for something new and exciting - I knew I would have to spend three years with that story, so it better should be something that captures my interest for such a long time. And I was always fascinated by the Mafia and the modern myths surrounding it. As I love fantasy and horror, it seemed like a good idea to combine the fanastique with the Mafia, which has its own in-built set of strange legends and characters.

  • BB: Rosa is an interesting character whose motivations are complex. But she always shows great courage. Is she based on anyone you know?

KM: No. But I knew her as soon as I had written the first two or three pages. I know this might sound pretentious and it never happened to me before, but Rosa just walked into that book like an actual person. I never had to think twice about what she would do or say next. That's a cliche and, as I said, usually it's not that easy, but in Rosa's case it was.

  • BB:You're not afraid to kill off important characters. We love this because the next page is always unexpected. But do your readers ever complain that their favourite bit the dust  ?!

KM: That's part of the fun, isn't it? When I killed one of the main characters at the end of The Glass Word I had no idea that people would still complain about it twelve years later. But they do. All the time.

  • BB: What is the best thing about being a writer? And the worst?

KM: I was a journalist at a newspaper before I went full-time as a novelist in 1995, so I still remember how nice it was to have people to argue with or watch MTV together while writing articles (back in the early nineties MTV was still watchable). And usually I was the guy with the remote.. But, to be honest, I don't miss it too much. I was quite young then, in my early twenties, and as soon as I began to work full-time at home I really got to love everything that came with it. I try to be as disciplined as possible, writing from Monday to Friday, ten pages per day. Never on weekends. On some days it might be only six or eight pages, but that's okay as long as I know I tried hard enough and achieved something I can stand behind

  • BB: What advice would you give to young and aspiring writers ?

KM: Write. And read. It's as simple as that. Lots of people dream about writing and never actually write a thing. And try to finish everything. That's an ability you will need if you ever try to become a professional writer

  • BB:What's next for Kai Meyer ?

KM: Arcadia Burns and Arcadia Falls will be out in English in 2012 and 2013. Here in Germany my latest novel is called Die Gebannte, book three in a series I began in 1998 with Die Alchimistin and continued in 2001 with Die Unsterbliche. It´s a generational epic about a dynasty of immortal alchemists. Back in the nineties the first one was actually my first bestseller, selling several hundred thousand copies in Germany alone. It's also out in France and Spain and a few other countries. The main character, Aura Institoris, even has a short cameo in Arcadia Burns.

  • BB: Thanks so much for talking to us, Kai. We're really looking forward to the next two Arcadia books!

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