Interview and Giveaway: Kirsten Imani Kasai, author of Tattoo

Please welcome the lovely Kirsten Imani Kasai to the blog today! Kirsten graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions, and has also offered *signed copies of Ice Song and Tattoo* to one lucky winner, so be sure to check out the giveaway details at the bottom of this post!

Kirsten, you’ve done many things, including styling hair, waitressing, and even box office sales. Did you always dream of being a writer?
I’ve been making up stories since I was six. My mom gave me an electric typewriter in high school and it really kicked off for me then. It’s been a slow and steady uphill plod to get published, but it’s been a great journey so far.

What are some of your biggest literary influences?
Fairy tales, Greek mythology, gothic horror and pulp fiction. I also love survival epics and tales of explorers, historical figures and royals—notably their journeys, madness, delusions and struggles.

I know that gender roles and feminist themes are important in your work. How do these themes come into play in your new novel, Tattoo?
The thread running through the characters’ individual stories is woven of exploitation, whether commercial, sexual, emotional or environmental. They each attempt to rise above it by making moral choices to help those in need or by succumbing to its temptations. Today, there are more people in enslaved than at any other time in history due to sex trafficking, yet the trade is invisible to most of us. Globally, women’s rights are in constant peril, so I hope that my writing will help to illustrate how the female population is abused—and encourage readers to share in the effort to fight for greater political and economic equality, and improved health, safety and education.

Is Tattoo a standalone novel, or are there plans for a series?
Tattoo is the sequel to Ice Song, but both could be read as standalone books. There is more to the story of Sorykah and the child, Teszla, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to bring 1-2 more books to market sometime soon to complete their adventure.

What’s been one of your favorite characters to write?
I truly adore Queen Sidra the Lovely. She is quite her own creation! I wish she were real. I desperately want to be her friend and visit the Erun city. There’s a bonus short story about her included in the e-book of Tattoo, and I had the best time with it. If it’s possible to fall in love with a fictional character, then she’s my crush.

What’s one of your most unusual writing quirks?
I’ve noticed that I sometimes write backwards/out of sequence, so there’s sometimes a lot of cut & paste involved in bumping paragraphs further up the page. On that note, I can actually print and write cursive upside down and backwards! I tried for a while to become ambidextrous but my lefty’s a bit incompetent so it didn’t pan out.

I noticed that you also offer writing/coaching services. What’s the best piece of advice you could offer struggling writers?
Learn and practice your craft. Understand the technical aspects of storytelling so that you will know when you can bend or break the rules. Above all, trust your own voice. If it’s truthful, it will find an audience.

What book is on your nightstand right now?
The Lotus Shoe Book—a tiny “how to” booklet about foot binding and Night Watch, by Sergei Lukyanenko. I just purchased three books: Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas, The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers by Josh Kilmer-Purcell and The Vaults by Toby Bell. Toss up to see which one I’ll start first. I’ve also been reading Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry before bed—I find it very soothing.

I read that you love to travel. What destination would you recommend, and why?
Hmm, that’s a tough one! I think it depends on what most appeals to you: art, culture, nature, adventure, history, architecture, people, food…on my list is the Ice Hotel in Lapland, a walking tour of the UK (moors & highlands), Tunisia, France and a boat tour to see the medieval German villages along the Danube and Mosel rivers.

If you could pack up tomorrow and go anywhere, where would it be?
New York! I love the city.

What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
Wow! Umm, probably can’t share it in public but packing up and heading off to Europe by myself at 18, working as an artist’s model for life drawing classes and having a natural birth at home.

Is there any other news about upcoming projects or events you’d like to share?
In Bed with a Book Contest Aug 1-7 on Facebook
Official book release party Aug 21 in San Diego (open to the public), and I’ll be participating in LitQuake/LitCrawl on Oct. 15 in San Francisco. Details on my website www.icesong.com.

Giveaway Details:
1. Giveaway is for signed copies of Ice Song and Tattoo to one winner!
**Giveaway is now closed! Thanks so much to everyone that entered!**

41 Comments:

  1. Great intereview! Sounds like a very good read. I’ve added it to my “To Be Read” list.

    I’ve followed Kirsten on twitter. +1

    kcrochet002@gmail.com

  2. Can’t wait to read. 🙂

  3. I’ll keep my eye out for these books. I love to read new authors and tell my friends about them. I even pass along books to friends. I wish Kirsten Imani Kasai a long and fruitfull writing career.

    • It was such a pleasure to interview Kirsten! Keep an eye out for my reviews of Ice Song and Tattoo!

  4. Both books sound really good! I added them to my TBR list. Great interview, look forward to more stories by Kirsten Imani Kasai! Waiting for the reviews of both books 🙂

  5. This series sounds excellent!!
    GFC follower

    Vivien
    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  6. Victoria Zumbrum

    I am a follower and email subscriber. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read these books. Tore923@aol.com

  7. I would love for a chance to win these please!! =)
    Thank you for hosting this giveaway!! I hope your having an awesome (remaining) summer ^_^

    GFC Follower: SpadesHighReads
    SpadesHigh @ http://SpadesHighReads.com
    TValeros18 AT gmail DOT com

    +1 Twitter Follower of Kirsten: @SpadesHigh

  8. Thanks for the giveaway. I really like the covers.

    GFC follower – Andrea I

    Follow Kirsten on twitter. @lillieblue613

    lillieblue613(at)gmail(dot)com

  9. Thank you for the opportunity to try and win these books. I got introduced to them through San Diego Comic Con, but have as of yet to get copies for reading. I would love to read them and then write a review for my blog. Thanks again for the contest!

    I follow Kirsten on Twitter: @Ldyskyfire and though it was not mentioned, I also follower her on Facebook.

    My email address is: Ldyskyfire@hotmail.com

  10. I want to read this book so, so bad!!! Thanks for the chance to win a copy:)

    I am a GFC follower.
    I follow Kirsten on Twitter: @jwitt33

    Thanks again!!
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  11. Thanks so much for giving Kirsten such a warm welcome!

  12. Sounds fantastic…..plz enter me in the giveaway
    dugasvitale@yahoo.com

  13. Thanks for the giveaway! I follw Kirsten on twitter (Bookluver1208)

    bookluver1208(at)gmail(dot)com

  14. The author is new to me and I would like to try her books. Thank you for the giveaway.

  15. I love the cover, thank you so much for the giveaway! edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

  16. I would love for a chance to win these please!! Thanks for the giveaway!!
    +1 Twitter Follower of Kirsten: @saii15
    GFC Follower: Sarah E. Cruz

    ebbith0115[AT]gmail[DOT]com

  17. These books look wonderful! Thank you for the chance!
    Twitter follower – @LiederMadchen

    liedermadchen(at)hotmail(dot)com

  18. It looks like a great series.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  19. Great interview thanks.

    Areeths AT new DOT rr DOT com

  20. Can’t wait to start Tattoo. Great interview, congrats, Kir.

  21. Thank you for this wonderful interview and giveaway opportunity. I am a longtime follower and glad to be 🙂 I recently signed up for the twitter thing so hopped over and hit follow for Kirsten and tweeted for your site. You are so awesome to us all and are appreciated.

    Denise Z
    dz59001[at]gmail[dot]com

  22. Great giveaway-thank you this book looks excellent!

    GFC: ML

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

  23. Please count me in. 🙂 Thanks.
    I follow via Twitter @quixoticweetzie

    quixoticdreamer(at)hotmail(dot)com

  24. thanks for the giveaway these sound great!!
    mbermasjan@yahoo.com

  25. Wow, thanks for following me everyone!
    Enjoy Tattoo!

  26. Wow, this sounds amazing. I love the interview and can’t wait to start this book.
    I follow Kirsten on twitter +1

  27. Thanks for the giveaway. These books sound very interesting, will have to put them on my list.

  28. I am addicted to books, looking forward to this one

  29. Raven In A Blue Room

    Google Friends Connect – following you publicly as (Louis)

    Thank you for hosting this giveaway

    Louis
    pumuckler {at} gmail {dot} com

  30. Raven In A Blue Room

    following @KirstenIKasai on twitter @left_the_stars

    pumuckler {at} gmail {dot} com

  31. Sounds good!! =D
    Kait.Reader at gmail dot com

  32. Love reading new books!

  33. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  34. I follow Kirsten via twitter (@KirstenIKasai) w/ katklaw777.

  35. Katherine Wigginton

    I would love to read these books, whether i win or not i’ll still be checking them out …reading is my addiction =)

    Rosebud5192@yahoo.com

    i follow kirsten on twitter–@rosebud501

  36. Great interview! These sound like fantastic reads. Love the covers.

    Kirsten’s twitter follower – pams00

    pam00 @ aol.com

  37. Just read about Tatoo over on Locus. Sounds like my kind of book.

    olegreypaganbear(at)yahoo(dot)com

  38. Thanks so much!

    Followed Kirsten on twitter! (mictsu613)

Comments are closed