Q&A with Nina Berry Author of the Otherkin Series
Where did you get the idea for a girl with a back brace who could shapeshift?
I had a backbrace myself from age 14 to 16. I also played Dungeons and Dragons and read a lot of fantasy. Talk about a nerd! But I had wonderful group of equally nerdy friends. In one game of D&D, I played a character who was a were-tiger, and somehow I connected that character, who was very unlike me, to the idea of a girl who wore a back brace. I felt that the two things both touched on the idea of body image which so many teens (and adults) struggle with. I started thinking about all the ways animals and people combine in legends throughout history. I really enjoyed building my own world and system of rules to explain it. Then the character of Dez the boy she likes, Caleb, came to me, and I thought their adventures would be so much fun to hear about, I had to write the book.
How did having a back brace yourself change you?
It made me learn how to deal with adversity and pain over the long haul. I learned that I am pretty strong when it comes to those things. On the other hand, I stuffed down a lot of my negative emotions along the way, and had to deal with them later. In a way, this book is another way of dealing with the anger and frustration and shame that came from having to wear a back brace during some very key years in my life. I figure other people have had to deal with those emotions during their teen years for various reasons, and I thought maybe they could relate.
Who are your favorite authors?
William Shakespeare, George R. R. Martin, David Simon (of TV’s The Wire), Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Dorothy Dunnett, C.S. Lewis, Neil Gaiman, E.B. White, Judy Blume
How did studying film and TV affect your writing?
Film and TV scripts are very strongly structured, so I always plan out my book before I write it with a fairly detailed outline. However, things change in the writing, and I always leave myself open for that. To write a scene, I think about how it might “look” on screen, and describe the action as it plays out in my head. I also love to write action, and try to give those scenes are real cinematic feel.
Short & Sweet with Nina Berry
What is your favorite word?
Pulchritudinous. I saw it on a poster for the Ka’anapali Railroad when I was a kid, and it fascinated me. Here’s the poster: http://travelphotobase.com/v/USCAA/CABSR18.HTM
What profession other than your own would you care to attempt?
Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Bubbles from The Wire, a TV show. And Lucy from the Narnia books.
What is the sound or noise that you love?
When you’re bodysurfing, near the end of your ride, you end up in the frothy, foaming part of the wave. The bubbles hiss and pop around you. I love that noise.
What living person do you most admire?
Alan Rabinowitz, CEO of Panthera, an organization dedicated to saving big cats in the wild. His story of how and why he made saving animals his life is truly amazing: http://www.panthera.org/people/alan-rabinowitz-phd
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Bodysurfing at Bellows Beach on Oahu on a beautiful day with friends and family.
"This new series is sure to be a hit!" --RT Book Reviews
, 4 stars
I always wanted to know where I came from. Now that knowledge could destroy me.
Dez thought she knew who her mother was, who she was. Thought she had friends, a boy who loved her, and a school where she finally fit in.
But across the veil linking our world and the next lurks a monster which can annihilate. . .or liberate her. Now she must confront it there with help from one boy who loves her and one who can't stand the sight of her.
Dez thought she understood her tiger form, her deepest self. But in this treacherous place, she'll have to choose between the two halves of her soul--and determine which world survives.
"Be prepared to lose some sleep. Otherkin is full of non-stop action and suspense, and you're not going to be able to put it down!"