INTERVIEW WITH CAYLA KLUVER:
How did you get started writing?
According to my mom, I dictated a book to her when I was two, and told her where to break the pages (then “illustrated” it afterward). I don’t remember this at all! My first solid recollection of wanting to write professionally is from the fourth grade, when I started a story that I thought would be my first novel. I was wrong of course, but I did get a taste of the cruelties of critical reception when my best friend told me the chapters were too short.
Who influenced you?
My mom was, and continues to be, the biggest influence on me. She taught me that dreams are worth pursuing, and how to kick butt and take names as a woman in a tough world. In terms of other writers, big fantasy names have always been influential to me – J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling in particular. I also love Philippa Gregory and Shirley Jackson. And I’d be leaving a gaping hole in the answer if I didn’t mention Robert Louis Stevenson and Victor Hugo.
Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
My favorite book of all time is probably Les Misérables. I love epic settings and sweeping plots with huge ramifications. Les Mis is a perfect example – the June Rebellion and the French Revolution as a backdrop to a story that rips apart the definitions of good and evil. I’m obsessed with high stakes. The higher, the better.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
You have to find a balance between confidence in your writing and openness to criticism. On the one hand, only you know the direction your book should take. Only you know what messages you want to send, and what the driving force behind your writing is, and it’s important to stay true to that vision. Sometimes criticism will be at odds with that vision, and that’s when confidence in what you’re doing is important. But confidence can cross the line into arrogance and hurt feelings, and that will hold your work back from evolving. It’s a balancing act!
Where is your favorite place to write?
I have to move around in order to maintain focus. Sometimes I’m in my bedroom, sometimes at the kitchen table, sometimes outside on the hammock, sometimes at a coffee shop. One of my favorite places is the swimming pool in the summer. There’s something about the warm sun on my skin, and getting a tan while being creative. Two birds with one stone! And there’s a convenient way to cool off right in front of me.
What else would you like to tell us?
I really hope you enjoy The Queen’s Choice. Thank you so much to LitPick for having me, and thank YOU for reading!