Here’s another great author interview with interesting answers. Check out Jordan Elizabeth’s new book KISTISHI ISLAND!
Serena has always been plagued by imaginary friends… But what happens is they aren’t imaginary?
Serena Cole can kick serious butt thanks to young women only she can see. School bullies aren’t a problem, but Serena’s mental health might be. To shield Serena from a dark secret, her family tries to convince her that her friends are imaginary. Fleeing her distrustful aunt, Serena joins her mother on an archeological dig at Kistishi Island. There, Serena discovers an ancient scroll and realizes her invisible friends are goddesses native to the island, and they are in danger of enslavement for their abilities. Only Serena can save her friends if she can discover the past her family has hidden her entire life – the reason why only she can see the goddesses.
What inspired you to write this book? I wrote this book during college. I was studying childhood education, and one textbook discussed how healthy it is for kids to have imaginary friends. I started to think about what it would be like if you were a teenager and still had those imaginary friends.
That sounds really cool! How long have you been writing? Forever! When I was an infant, my grandmother wrote my stories for me. Eventually I started writing my own in notebooks, but my handwriting is atrocious. My stories really took off when I got my first computer.
Are you an outliner or pantser? Definitely a pantser! I never know how the book is going to end until I reach the final page.
Although I love outlining, I completely understand how your stories will take you on a roller coaster ride. Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block? I take a walk. Even just a walk around the block inspires me to continue the story, or sometimes to start a new one.
What are your hobbies aside from writing? I love to make jewelry and paint.
We have so much in common! I love to paint and make jewelry. Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before? A haunted castle in Europe. I can just imagine all the stories it would inspire.
If you were just given an Island, what would you name it? And who would live there with you? Kistishi Island! Serena’s imaginary friends would live there with me…and it would be awesome.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I have no idea! I love food. I guess tofu? People think that’s very odd (but it is one of my favorite foods).
Tofu is the staple of every vegan and vegetarian. There’s so much you can do with it! If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be? Clark Treasure from TREASURE DARKLY. Is it bad to have a book-crush on your own character?
Do you have any advice for other writers? Don’t take rejection personally. Everyone likes something different. It can feel crushing, but you have to find the perfect place for your writing.
Jordan Elizabeth writes down her nightmares in order to live her dreams. When she’s not creating art or searching for lost history in the woods, she’s updating her blog. Jordan roams Central New York, but she loves to travel. Follow her on Facebook!
You can purchase here and read the first chapter of Kistishi Island below:
“How are your imaginary friends?” Serena read aloud from the black marker scrawled on her locker. Her dry lips stuck together with each word as the sarcasm stung her mind. The janitor might scrub the permanent marker, but it would always remain a faint reminder of how much people ridiculed her. The washed out marks from last week, “Schizo,” “Fake,” and “Your imaginary friends hate you,” still showed up against the brown metal.
“Aw, someone cares about my day.” Krieg hovered behind, picking fuzz off her dress. “You should answer them. Write ‘Krieg says hi’ underneath.”
The last thing she needed was people knowing how much she still communicated with Krieg. Serena glanced down the hallway, but the students strolling by didn’t look her way. Who could have written the graffiti? Roxanne? Her hand trembling, Serena spun the combination on her lock and jerked open the dented locker door. The hinges rattled.
Did it hurt them if she had an invisible friend? As she exchanged a textbook for her social studies notes, someone bumped her butt. She lost her balance, flinging out her hand to grab the locker.
“Whoops,” a boy said and snickered.
Serena’s cheeks burned as she stuffed her supplies into her messenger bag. One more hour of high school and she could go home. Tomorrow she would bring another marker to scribble out the words that branded her.
Krieg leaned in close enough for Serena to smell her peppermint bubble gum, and said, “Bludgeon them. It’s the only way to get them to shut up.”
“No one’s talking about me right now.” Serena’s sneakers squeaked against the tile floor as she ducked into the classroom. Afternoon sunlight reflected off faded Holocaust posters on the off-white walls.
“It’s annoying when you allow the little rodents to torment you.” Krieg stuck her tongue out at the few students settling into their seats. “Where are the beheadings and crocodile pits? How about some maiming? I want to hear screaming and bones crunching.”
“This is the suburbs in the twenty-first century. People don’t do that stuff here.” Serena took her favorite seat in the back near the globe and opened her messenger bag to remove her notebook. Glancing around the room at the few students, she smiled. Since the teacher hadn’t arrived yet, she could grab a few minutes to work on her novel. Hopefully, the story would be done by her mother’s next visit. Look what I did, Mom!
“Whatcha doing?” Krieg leaned her hip against the desk and rearranged the pleated folds of her silk stola. Beneath the sleeveless dress, she wore a turquoise tunic. A thin silver belt fastened beneath her breasts, and another clasped around her narrow waist.
“I’ve got an idea for chapter seven of my Jennifer Erik story.” Serena pressed her pen to a clean page. “Jennifer’s going to be caught by a gargoyle.”
Roxanne stalked from two rows over and blinked her glittered eyelids at Serena. “Did you just call me a gargoyle?”
Serena tightened her fist around her pen. “No.” Her throat constricted. Why does Roxanne always have to single me out?
Roxanne yanked Serena’s black notebook from the desk; the metal spirals scraped against the hard surface. Serena’s pen slipped from her hand and struck the tile floor, the sound eerily loud.
Fail. She hadn’t made it through that last hour of the school day. “I wasn’t talking to you.”
“Who were you talking to? Your imaginary friends?” Roxanne bent the notebook, her biceps flexing beneath the short sleeves of her skull-and-crossbones T-shirt.
Serena cringed. Even though she would still be able to read the words, her stomach twisted into a knot. It wouldn’t be the same as having the pages crisp, new.
“I told you to bludgeon everyone before they could start on you.” Krieg rubbed her knuckles together.
“Forget to do your homework again?” Roxanne asked.
“It’s not my homework—”
“Maybe they should put you in Special Ed.”
Blood drained from Serena’s head, her heartbeat ringing in her ears. Classmates stopped getting out supplies from their backpacks to stare. Of course Roxanne would have to bring that up.
Serena toyed with her nose ring to calm her nerves. I will not fight back.
Krieg flounced across the room to push Roxanne’s baseball cap off her desk and jumped aside when a boy almost walked into her. He stopped to pick up the hat, and Krieg pointed at his bottom as he bent. She lifted her foot in a mock kick. “You know you want to.”
Serena drew a deep breath, dragging her gaze away from Krieg and back to Roxanne. “Please give my notebook back.”
One, two, three… uno, dos, tres… Her last psychiatrist promised counting in foreign languages would help her calm down faster because it took more conscious thinking to do it.
Her pulse still pounded.
Serena wouldn’t react. She knew better. It was just a spiral notebook.
Roxanne, standing over Serena’s desk, thumbed through the pages, tearing the college-ruled paper with her thick fingers. “Your handwriting sucks.” Needles scraped across Serena’s skin with each rip.
“Do something.” Krieg punched her fist into her palm.
Four, five, six… no, Serena would not talk back. Seven, eight, nine… she wouldn’t say anything this time. Ten, eleven, twelve… maybe she could still make it through the final hour.
“What is this crap?” Roxanne ripped out a page. Smirking, she crumpled the paper and tossed it at the garbage can in the back of the room.
“Don’t let her ruin your story.” Disgust coated Krieg’s words; she spat them out as if they were spoiled milk. Eyes narrowed, Krieg brushed her hand across Serena’s shoulder. Electricity shot through her body, arching her back.
“Give it back!” Serena launched to her feet. No, not again. She grabbed the notebook with two hands while she jammed her shoulder into Roxanne’s sternum. The force knocked Roxanne backward, but she clung to the notebook, dragging Serena with her as she hit the floor. Roxanne rolled until her muscled frame pressed against Serena’s ribs, forcing the breath from her lungs. Serena squirmed to get away, bumping her leg against a desk. She wouldn’t fight, didn’t want to, couldn’t, not here, not again…
Krieg’s voice echoed in her mind. Squelch her. Tie her to the rack.
“Cool. A fight.” A girl sitting across the aisle from Serena laughed.
I don’t want to fight. Krieg’s electricity still burned Serena’s veins, muting her urge for peace. Even if Serena didn’t win, she wouldn’t let Roxanne walk away without a few bruises. Maybe Roxanne would finally quit bullying her. Then Serena would never have to fight again, no matter how much the urge overtook her.
“You think you’re better than the rest of us?” Roxanne bared her teeth. “All alone back here, just because your mom was in National Geographic?”
She wrapped her legs around Serena’s, and they rolled. Serena’s back hit another desk leg. Pain flared along her nerves. A few quick twists of her hands on Roxanne’s head, and Serena could have broken her neck the way Krieg had taught her, but she stilled. Perspiration broke out across her forehead as she forced herself not to move.
“Fry her.” Bloodlust tainted Krieg’s voice. Her unbound hair hid her face, purple eyes peeking out.
“You gotta see this,” a girl said from the other side of the classroom into her cell phone. “Roxanne took on Serena!”