Second Kiss with Robert Priest

Second Kiss with Robert Priest

Posted on April 20 by Robert Priest in Interview, Teens
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How did you come up with the title?
In book 1, The Paper Sword, the main character, Xemion, after considerable yearning gets, to his surprise, one kiss. The first kiss. Book 2 among other things is about whether there will ever be a second kiss and I can only tell you that it's not something you'll find out in the early part or even the middle part or much of the last part of the book. But I do think it's the perfect title for the book.

Tell us a little about the overarching theme of your work, and why you felt compelled to explore it.
In terms of the spell mechanics at work in the plot there is a theme about connection versus non-connection. This shows up in the starcrossed nature of the romantic relationships and it also shows up in the various crossed spells that affect the materials, characters and even the geography of the Phaer Isle where this takes place. There's another theme about the importance of language — particularly literature. Because their enemies think that the origin of spellcasting is in literature the culture of the Phaer Isle has had all of its great works banned, burned and forbidden. For fifty years there has been no reading, writing, singing or reciting. The people have been made illiterate. What happens when a nation with a great cultural history is stripped of its achievements and must start out anew?


What's the best advice you've ever received as a writer?
I'm not really a Michael Chabon fan but the movie made of his novel Wonder Boys is about a writer and contains a most valuable piece of advice. The writer in question has had a well-received first novel and has spent loads of years since then stuck in the follow-up. One of his students finally reads whatever he has of it and she tells him that "a writer is someone who makes decisions". At least that's what I remember. There are many choices about which way a plot or character could go and a lot of writers I think get backed up in the back and forth, never quite making the choice that will allow them to branch forward. Seeing that movie made me realize that the only way for me to move forward in the book I was working on was to make the necessary decisions. Usually if I get stuck these days 75% of the time it's because I'm not making decisions.

Who did you read as a young adult?
When I was a young adult books that impressed me were Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, The Catcher in the Rye, Jon Lennon's a Spaniard in the Works, the Conan series by Robert E Howard, Isaac Asimov's The Foundation trilogy, Lord of the rings, A Tale Of Two Cities by Dickens, Prester John by John Buchan, Peyton Place, Homer's The Odyssey, and poetry by Leonard Cohen. 

Robert Priest

Posted by Kendra on October 30, 2014
Robert Priest photo

Robert Priest

Robert Priest has written plays, songs, picture books, and poetry for young readers. His critically acclaimed fantasy novel Knights of the Endless Day was compared to the Narnia Chronicles. His latest three-part series, Spell Crossed, includes The Paper Sword, Second Kiss, and Missing Piece. He lives in Toronto.