Friday, 16 March 2018

Our interview with Kallie George

1. What got you so interested in magical animals or fantasy?

I have always loved reading fantasy books. My favorite series as a child 
included the Narnia series (by CS Lewis) and the OZ series (by L. Frank Baum) 
and, in high school, the Harry Potter books. Magical animals often feature 
prominently in all of these series.

2. How did you think up the conflict between Oliver and Clover?

I always like writing about conflicts that are easily understandable and relatable. 
Clover and Oliver are both jealous of each other, and I think almost everyone—
kids  and adults—feel jealous of another person at one point or another. It’s how 
we work through these feelings that’s important. Comparing ourselves to others is 
so impossible and unfair. Rather, we should celebrate our individual strengths 
and differences.

3. How did you come up with the names for the potions?

Potion names are tricky and fun! I usually try to think about the purpose of the
 potion or what it’s made from and the name comes from there.

4. Do you have a love for animals like Clover does?

Yes, I most certainly do! But, like Clover, I always thought I might be unlucky 
with . There was a terrible incident when I was seven years old: I came home 
one day to find my pet fish lying on the bottom of his tank. I poked him with a 
pencil and he didn’t move. I was sure he was dead. I had read/heard somewhere 
that if your fish is dead you take it to the toilet and flush it away. I was crying and 
I took my fish to the toilet and I flushed. Then, just as the water was spinning 
down, my fish began swimming! It wasn’t dead after all—just sleeping. I didn’t 
know what to do! Should I stick my hands in the toilet? Before I could make a 
decision, my fish was sucked down the drain. On the one hand, I was happy my 
fish was actually alive. On the other hand—I was so upset that I had flushed my 
LIVE fish down the toilet. It was around then that most of my stories began featuring 
animals because I felt like maybe I was too unlucky to be with animals, but I could 
certainly write about them.Now, I still don’t have a pet, but I do really want to get 
a pet puppy soon!

5. How did you come up with such unique names for the different species of magical

Some of the magical animals in my series are from traditional myths and stories 
of magical animals (like unicorns and dragons). Other magical animals in my stories
I have created myself, like the fairy horses. I love coming up with new magical 
creatures. Naming, though, can be tricky. I often have a long list of potential names 
for the animals that I keep adding to, until eventually one of the names feels just 

6. What did you work at before becoming an author?

I went to school for a long time (I did my Masters degree in Children’s Literature). 
I was a nanny for a while and I also worked at a tea shop. Mostly, I have worked 
as an editor for picture books and as a teacher of creative writing to both children 
and adults.

7. Who are your favourite authors?

I have SO many! I already mentioned CS Lewis, Baum, and JK Rowling. But 
I also adore Kate DiCamillo, Roald Dahl, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Jeanne Birdsall… 
the list goes on and on!

8. Do you have any tips for young writers?

Write about what you love! Don’t get too hung up on making sure your spelling
and grammar is correct (this is important but you can always edit your work), 
but rather focus on finding ideas that inspire you and describe everything as best 
you can. Share your writing with others. Make sure you have fun! If you are 
very interested in becoming an author, start looking for writing contests where you 
can submit your work, or youth or teen magazines that publish young people’s work.

9. What do you do when you get stuck when you are writing?

I love to go for hikes in the woods. That’s where I get a lot of my inspiration. And 
it’s great because in beautiful BC there are so many trails and mountains to choose 
from. I also like to ask my friends and my family for help—I share with them my 
story and what I’m stuck on, and often they provide an idea that gets me unstuck. 
Sometimes they don’t have an idea, but just talking about the story gives me an idea! 
It is very helpful to share your stories!

10. How long have you been writing for?

I wrote my very first book when I was five years old—so you could say I’ve been 
writing my whole life. But, my first published book came out when I was in my early
twenties. So I have been professionally publishing and writing for just over twelve 
years now.

11. Are you working on another novel in this series?

I’m actually done writing all the books in the Magical Animal Adoption Agency 
series (there’s three altogether), but there’s a new chapter book series that I’ve been 
working called Heartwood Hotel. It’s about a hotel for small animals, deep in the 
woods. There four books in total for that one, and the first three books are out!

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