T.R. Allardice Interview Part 2
1. Out of all the characters in The Queen’s Gift who is your favorite?
I’d have to say Karen Kim. She’s so conflicted and desperate to fit in, when there’s no chance of that happening.
2. Why place the book in Tokyo?
Because it’s one of the coolest cities I’ve ever been to by far. The scale of the city is mindboggling. It’s the only place I’ve ever traveled that you cannot see the end of the city no matter what direction you look. I also really like the Japanese people, though that may not come through in the first book.
3. Will the other books be set in Tokyo, too?
It’s funny, but I’m actually trying to decide that now. When I originally planned The Queen’s Gift, I intended to change the location for each year she’s in school. There would be specific mythology based on each location. I even have the other cities picked out, photographs and all. When I entered a writing contest—The Queen’s Gift won First Place YAY—one of the things the judges brought up was keeping the book in Tokyo. It came up enough that it made me wonder if I was doing the right thing with changing locations. Ultimately, I think it will be up to the characters.
4. How did you come up with the lead character, Jean?
Jean started with one question: What would happen if you were a Genie and couldn’t grant wishes? To make it worse, I made her mother one of the most skilled Genie’s in the world.
5. How did you come up with the idea for Jean’s world?
I wanted to write a story that poked fun of a lot of books that I’d read over the years. I looked at all the characters that have populated books and noticed most were portrayed in a positive light. What I mean by that is that most were super cool, amazing looking, great at everything, love triangles, etc.
No characters seemed to be suffering from typical school issues like zits and other maladies. None of the characters really had to face not getting the guy or girl of their dreams. Every time I read one of these books, I thought about my high school experiences. I realize I was reading fiction, but it made me go in another direction.
For example, Karen Kim is a ghoul with greenish colored skin who dreams about being a super model. She’s the size of a linebacker. She will always be the size of a linebacker. Stefan is a fainting vampire. He’s always forgetting to get his iron shots from the school nurse. Chloe has to worry about bursting into flames every time she sneezes or farts. Like I said, I wanted to write something a little different, so I did.
6. You said that you wanted to make fun of the tropes you’ve read about, yet there is a love triangle in your book. Why?
I do have a sort of love triangle happening in The Queen’s Gift. The big difference is that it’s resolved by the end of the book…maybe. ;)
7. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I have so many places I want to travel to right now. My top six are: Thailand, Vietnam, New Zealand, China, Egypt, and Jordan. Given the unrest in the entire Middle East, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to make it to Jordan and Egypt, but I’d really love to see Petra and the pyramids before I leave this place.
8. Do you have any travel plans?
I spend quite a bit of time in the United Kingdom. I’ll be hitting it again in the summer.
9. What are you working on now?
I am currently working on the first book in a new young adult series. I’ve had the idea for quite a while and I need to get the first book done so the characters stop bothering me.
10. Final question. What do you do for fun?
I read. I go to the movies a lot. And I travel. Thank you for having me.