What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
K D Berry is the pename of Diane and Kevin Berry. We both were born in Christchurch, New Zealand, lived in Britain for 16 years and then returned to live in Christchurch. We have written three books together, all set in the same humorous fantasy world.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Our latest book is Growing Disenchantments. A summary could be: The search for ultimate power goes ultimately wrong for young sorcerer, Ragonnard. Time travel, thievery, imps and gargoyles all add to the chaos.
All our books are light and funny in tone, but with serious moments. Some of the characters have real dilemmas to face including having to chose between good and evil, friendship or wealth, falling in love or devoting themselves to having ultimate power.
Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
Definitely our third book, Fountain of Forever, to be published late 2012 flowed easier than the first two. The more experience you have, the more writing you do, the easier it becomes.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre?
Our third book, Fountain of Forever is set in the same fantasy world and will be available late 2012.
What genre would you place your books into?
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Yes we do. Reviews help others to decide whether they might like the book.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes we do. It is valuable to get insights on how others perceive the books – and helps us improve our skills for the future.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
The title often invents itself during writing.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Sometimes we are trying to convey a certain image eg ugly, coarse names for goblins. For place names we also try to convey an image eg, a place name that conveys somewhere exotic, hot and arid or green and familiar. The names just kind of come to us, usually. Though sometimes we look in name books and choose names that suit from there. For example, Gunora, the name of the glamourous warrior queen in our first book, Dragons Away! comes from an Old Norse name meaning 'war.'
Are character names and place names decided after there creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
We usually think of the character and then look for a name that suits. Sometimes, the name will change during the course of writing the book as we invent or discover a name that suits better.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
The basic traits are decided before we begin... but as the characters develop their own voice they will develop a life and set of characteristics of their own. Drewdop, who is an illusionist frustrated with his own lack of real magic, became more irascible, cynical and sarcastic as the books progressed, though his heart is still in the right place.
Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
Definitely outline a basic plot. That's not to say that the characters might take it in a different direction if they choose. It's really important to know where you are going even if you take a different route.
Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
Writers of humourous fantasy such as Terry Pratchett, Diana Wynne Jones. Connie Willis is a favourite of ours and we both enjoy the classics from Dumas to Jane Austen.
What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
One of our favourites is Doomsday by Connie Willis. It is about a time traveller who gets trapped in medieval England just before the plague arrives. It is meticulously researched, really makes you think hard about the hardships people endured in that time, the confusion and lack of understanding about the world around them. It is the world in which fairy tales originated. Beautifully written and effortlessly melding the visits to the medieval world with a future Oxford where the time travellers come from.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
Yes. Movies can bring something different to a book. Sometimes they can focus on the crux of the message of the book and be more accessible to a larger audience. Other times, the message is lost and the underlying themes obscured by terrible screenplay or bad acting. One of the worst transfers to movie I can think of was Captain Correlli's Mandolin. For me, totally missed the mark.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
No. Plenty of people want that physical copy of special books to keep on their bookshelf.
Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
Yes. There is a big emphasis on this at our son's school. They practice writing stories every day and are strongly encouraged to use imagination.
Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
In our early work we jumped between the points of view of different characters too quickly and too frequently, which can be confusing for the reader.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
The more writing you do, the better you will become. Try and let the characters influence the story rather than just having to go through the actions of your plot. Do lots of revision and make sure you eliminate basic errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation. If you're not sure about the rules, buy a book or find a website with information about correct grammar etc.
Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
We use a pen name of K D Berry which is a combination of our initials.
Where can readers follow you?