Interview with KALEENA FRAGA
Kaleena Fraga is from Bainbridge Island, Washington. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2013 with a double major in History and French. Currently, she is spending a year in France teaching English in the small Normandy town of Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished MADDADDAM by Margaret Atwood. It was the third in a series and really fantastic! I'm about to get started on THE LUMINARIES by Eleanor Catton. I’m also rereading HARRY POTTER in French, because I’m in France now and trying to immerse myself in the language.
What first sparked your interest in writing?
I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't write. Even before I knew how to hold a pencil, I loved telling stories. I was the kid who had dolls with detailed backstories and, of course, an imaginary pet dog/sidekick.
What do you love the most about writing? The least?
I love it when one idea leads to another, and another, and another, and I look down and I've been writing for an hour without realizing it. It's the feeling you get when the ideas come so quickly you can barely type fast enough. Basically, I love to be immersed in a story. I do and don't like starting things. On the one hand it's exciting and new and that can be a great feeling - but to find the right inspiration, the right way to approach the story, to think about the characters and their journey takes time (sometimes a lot of time) and I'd rather just start writing than over-think things.
Tell us a little about your writing process.
I take an idea and run with it. I read about how some authors have detailed outlines of what will happen in their novels/stories...I’m not organized enough for that. I've always just written and written and surprised myself with what appeared on the paper.
What are your passions?
Writing and reading, of course. I'm passionate about history, especially presidential history, and I have a budding passion for long runs.
What inspires you?
The people around me, things I see on the news or online, and questions I have about the world that I try to understand by asking my characters to struggle and figure it out for me. Writing, for me, is a way to understand the world. If I don't get something, maybe I'll understand it better through the eyes of one of my characters.
Why speculative fiction?
I really like the blurry line between fact and fiction. With speculative fiction you can either stay close to that line or go much, much further. I prefer to write stories where, among the characters living normal lives, one thing is slightly off. I love how much freedom speculative fiction gives to the writer to explore that one, strange thing.
As both a writer and reader, do you prefer either science fiction or fantasy over the other?
I prefer science fiction because the "science" part can be discreet - normal people, normal lives, one odd occurrence. That being said, I am waiting along with the rest of the world for George R.R. Martin to finish up with the next GAME OF THRONES novel!
How was “Island of Dreams, Island of Fears” born?
I think I was fifteen or sixteen when I wrote "Island of Dreams, Island of Fears." I was travelling with my family when I first saw the news coverage of the tsunami in Sri Lanka and it really stuck with me: the incredible tragedy of the event, the sheer destructive power of nature, and all the stories that the people who survived started to tell. It made me think about how sudden death can be. So I took that idea and tried to explore it through my story.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Just to write, write, write. And read!