Today we're talking with K. Lippi, author of 13 Days: The Dark Circle.
FQ: The setting of your story on Black Bird Island at the St. Clara Asylum was so realistic one could almost imagine tendrils of fog surrounding the upper reaches of the buildings. Did you have any real asylum in mind when you created this setting?
Actually no, I combined different scenes from different old movies. Iím an avid movie watcher and I love old black and white movies. St. Clara Asylum was a combination between Hill House from the movie The Haunting, the castle from Young Frankenstein (I adore that movie) and the asylum from Shutter Island.
FQ: For some time now people have been fascinated by reality shows. 13 Days appears to be a combination of a few of them and especially reminds me of the show Survivor. In this instance our characters have to survive the demonic influences lurking in the Asylum. If you had to quickly choose one of your characters that you would want to win (even if he or she didnít) who would you select and why?
I too have been taken over by reality shows, but Iím not addicted Ė at least Ė I hope not. I have my favorite reality shows and I make sure not to miss one episode and yes, 13 Days was influenced by Survivor, it is one of my top three favorite reality shows, and Big Brother, not on my list of favorite reality shows. I watched the show when it first came out in Germany and never got into the show but the idea was perfect for my book. The different personalities of the cast, I plucked them from different reality shows I regularly watch and if I had to quickly choose one of my characters to win, it would probably be Yolanda Perez. I love her fiery and kind personality. She was based on my best friend back in Middle School. We both arrived in Germany in the same year and we both spoke no German but we were able to communicate through our native tongue. She was from the Dominican Republic and spoke Spanish to me while I replied to her in Italian. In the end, I learned Spanish while she learned Italian and we both learned very little German.
FQ: When we hear that little girlís voice whispering, we know that one of the characters is about to be eliminated. The effect on the reader is, in short, downright creepy. The hair on my arms went up more than once. Would you tell our readers where the idea of the little girl came from?
From the many horror movies my older cousin forced me to watch as a little girl. Fabrizio, my cousin, had a period in his early teens where he watched gory horror movies from an Italian movie director, Dario Argento, and he wanted to share his passion with his little, cowardly seven year old cousin Ė me. I was so disturbed that I still remember the directorís name, his movies, and the many horrid scenes he created. One of the movies was so frightening that I couldnít go to the bathroom for months. I was afraid that the witch in the movie would come and take me away. That year I couldnít wait for school to start, so I didnít have to visit my cousin.
FQ: Speaking of creepy, are there any books youíve read that have a similar effect on you?
It by Stephen King. I couldnít finish it. I had to stop reading the book when one night I entered the bathroom and imagined glowing, red eyes watching me from the drain. That was it.
I wrote about this specific experience in one of the scenes in my book, 13 Days.
FQ: In your book you attribute paranormal gifts (or curses depending on how you care to view it) to several of your characters. Are you psychically gifted in any way or is this simply a topic that interests you? If it is a topic of interest, perhaps you can tell us how you became interested.
I wish I were gifted. I would love to read people's minds, move objects, or see the future, not so much seeing the afterlife though. I had a few friendly encounters that made my skin crawl. Anyway, those encounters pushed me to want to know more about that part of the world and that led to me starting my own investigations. From that moment on, I was captivated by the paranormal.
FQ: When a character was going to be eliminated from the Asylum I could almost imagine hearing the staccato notes from a violin as I watched the story unfold on a movie screen. If you were going to pop some popcorn, grab a soda, and watch a rerun of your favorite horror movie, what would you be watching?
Jaws Ė most defiantly. I love everything about that movie and still today Iím not able to swim in the ocean. As soon as the water reaches my knees the theme song starts to play in my head and I quickly walk back on the beach.
FQ: You had an amazingly diverse cast of characters that sometimes I admittedly had trouble following, but I did enjoy each and every one of them as I worked my way through the book. I actually dreaded the thought of the next ďelimination.Ē William Hawthorn was the most complex character and most intertwined with the St. Clara Asylum. Will we be seeing William or the likes of him in another book?
Yes and some of the other casts members too. The Dark Circle will be a supernatural, soap opera series. Iíll be starting to write the second book in the spring. I already have the outline written. The biggest problem I have is that I multitask and tend to bounce from project to project. At the moment Iím writing three books at the same time and hope one of the three will pull me in to finish it.
FQ: Your first book, The Awakening, also dealt with the supernatural. Perhaps you can tell us a bit about this book and how and why you decided to work in the specific genre targeted toward the teen and young adult audience.
Awakening was my first book and it was completely unexpected. In 2007 I graduated from College and while I was looking and hoping for a position in one of the animation studios, I begun writing Awakening. The animation job never came, but instead I published my first novel. Never in my life had I imagined writing books or being published. I always wanted to be an animator, but as I began writing the book, the more I wanted to be an author. I love to put my stories and characters down on paper and sharing my unconventional world with others and hope they enjoy it.
I wonít deny it, being an author is not as easy as I thought. I didnít know much about the profession and down the road I had, and still am, learning a lot, and it is a lot of fun. The best part of the job is encountering new people every day. Awakening is a love story between Emilia Miani, a teenage girl from San Diego and Shin Kurosaki, a Kitsune (a Japanese vampire) assigned by one of her ancestors 500 years ago to be her guardian angel and protect her from her destiny. As they meet, supernatural events begin occurring to Emilia and they continue to escalate, and she soon discovered her many family secrets. Her grandfather was a death angel hired by God and she is his heir, forced to step into his shoes by God and Lucifer. They order her to stop Markus, an ex-death angel set on destroying them in order to become a new god. Emilia also discovers that she has a special blood - a divine blood - running through her veins; a blood that kills anything it comes into contact with, including her. Awakening is a seductive entertaining love tale between a guardian demon and itís human.