Fairy tales are becoming the go to topics for Young Adult books. However, retelling a fairy tale doesn’t exactly leave the biggest mark in the literature world. Meet Kimberly Karalius, an author who decided to create her own fairy tale without the total help from Disney. Interviewed by Tania Lasenburg, Kimberly explains why college was worth it and how is it that she can write so much!
How has your college courses help you write your first book? Was it worth going to college to be a writer or was it an experience you can do without?
In college, I was raised as an English major despite my core classes being writing. We didn’t have a creative writing program. Whatever stories I wrote were entirely on my own time, staying up late in my dorm room with a binder full of ideas. I did write my first novel in college, but I never finished it. I planned too much, leaving me no room to improvise in my first draft (a good example of when organization isn’t you best friend).
Meanwhile, I studied Keats, wrote a paper on 16th century pastorals, and learned how to pick symbolism out of ancient mythology.
It wasn’t until graduate school that I really got to focus on “being a writer.” I had never been exposed to so many craft techniques and exercises, literary journals, and perceptions that came out during heated workshops. Because my fellow grad students were also aspiring writers and poets, good conversation about books, films, and video games were never lacking. These days, graduate school is a choice for writers. Do you need to go? I don’t think so. But for me, dedicating three years to honing my writing skills was time well spent!
It states that your book is an original fairy tale. What made you decide to do a take on fairy tales? What inspired “Pocket Forest”?
Most of my stories are inspired by fairy tales, so it was second nature to go that route with Pocket Forest. However, inspiration for Pocket Forest didn’t stem from a particular fairy tale, but rather a subculture: mori girls.
Mori girl (or forest girl) is a fashion movement created in Japan. Mori girls embrace a natural and woodsy look, wearing loose-fitting dresses, layers, and blushing cheeks. While the style is endearing, the philosophy caught my attention. If you’re a mori girl, you take life at a slow pace. You trust your feeling above everything and enjoy the tiny details in life.
After reading about them, I knew I wanted to write about a mori girl. Thus, Harriet (and her mori boy counterpart, Stig) was born.
You have several writings displayed on Figment.com. How are you able to focus the story you see in your head and place it on paper?
One step at a time. Sharing my stories on Figment has certainly helped in that area. While some ideas are harder than others to wrestle down on paper, I’ve found that knowing I have readers waiting for the next installment is motivation enough to keep writing.
As far as authors go who do you look at as inspiration to do what you do better?
When I’m looking to improve my description, I love settling down with one my poetry collections. Sara Teasdale is by far my favorite poet; she writes plainly, but her poems are full of lush images and feelings. I have a few favorite authors that I reread, not only to enjoy their stories again, but to also see how they handled certain scenes or dialogue. My list of favorite authors keeps growing, though!
Finally, how would you describe your success as a writer not only with “Pocket Forest” but with all your stories?
I think writers succeed when they are heard. For me, nothing makes me happier that receiving emails from my readers. The fact that they liked my writing enough to take the time to write me is a magical thing. After Pocket Forest was released, seeing the reviews on Goodreads and quotes from my chapbook being circulated on tumblr was very exciting. Still is, really. It’s one of the wonderful aspects of being a writer.
Kimberly loves what she does and loves sharing it with people so follow her here to stay constant in her fairy tales