Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Interview with Such Wicked Intent Author, Kenneth Oppel

Congrats to Pica Reads for winning the giveaway! She chose a hardcover copy of Such Wicked Intent. Enjoy the fantastic read, Pica! And thanks to all of you who read and commented!

I'm embarrassed to say that I hadn't heard of Kenneth Oppel (not having read much YA before 2008) until I was fortunate enough to be on a panel with him at ALA this summer. And everything he had to say about his young Victor Frankenstein books got me more and more excited to read them--in fact, I was the first in line to get my own signed copies after our panel. ha! Today, I'd like to welcome Kenneth to the Enchanted Inkpot with an interview and also an international giveaway.

To enter, simply comment in this post. I'll select a random winner next Wednesday, 9/11, and the winner can choose a copy of This Dark Endeavor (first book in the series) or Such Wicked Intent, which just released. Please be sure to leave an email so I can contact you! Winner will be announced in this same post on 9/11. Good luck, everyone!

cindy: Could you tell us the first time you read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and what drew you most to the novel? 

ken: I didn't read it till after graduating university, so I never had to study it, just enjoy it as an amazing literary pleasure. For me it has everything a good story should: a driven hero, a surging plot, a monster, and a rich subtext which poses lots of questions about man's responsibilities for (and to!) his own creations. Franmkenstein poses moral questions that are still very relevant today, about the reasonable limits of scientific ambition -- and the repurcussions of really bad parenting. Mostly though, I enjoyed it as a terrific piece of storytelling. It's sort of the first horror story, the first sci-fi story, the first monster story.

cindy: I never did read Frankenstein, either. But after reading both your young Victor novels, I've got it on my list! I love love gray characters. And we talked a little about writing them on our panel together. As gobsmacked and reviled as I am by some of the things that Victor Frankenstein does and says in your novels, I find him utterly compelling as a character. How was it for you writing a hero (or some might argue, antihero) that was so rash and arrogant? I felt that you walked the fine line between hubris and human foibles so well. 

ken: I loved writing Victor. As a writer I think you strive to create characters that exercsie the full range of human behaviour and emotion -- and often these things are not heroic or noble or attractive. Victor is certainly a larger than life character. He's smart, arrogant, rash, selfish, but also loyal and loving and brave -- in short, he's no more an antihero than most of us on the planet. It's huge fun to let loose a character with a temper, but also with a passion and a plan. I think you sympathize with Victor's sense of inferiority around his perfect identical twin, and any reader would sympathize with someone who tries so hard to be good at things, in the shadow of another. Sometimes envy makes people do rotten things. So Victor's not always nice, but you always want to watch him -- and I think you want him to get what he wants, even if it's a bit appalling. I mean, he's Victor Frankenstein, not Harry Potter.

cindy: I think you created a fantastic character in Victor--and he was one of my favorite things about these books. You mentioned that This Dark Endeavor will be made into a film. How far along are you in the process? Did you write the screenplay? And how have you found the film making business compared to publishing? 

ken: The book was optioned by the producers of Twilight before it was published. So far they've got a great director attached (Matt Reeves, who directed Cloverfield) and a team of screenwriters who are working on a second draft of the script. And that's about all I know. After all, I just wrote the book, so I'm quite unnecessary in the whole process! I did not write the script -- I was busy writing the sequel (Such WIcked Intent) and wanted to concentrate on that.

cindy: These books would be spectacular as films. Really hoping that we'll get to see them in the theatres in the future. What is it that draws you to writing speculative fiction?  

ken: I'm attracted  to stories that take me out of my own world to a world of wondrous possibilities. It's more fun for me to remake the world than to try to capture the one I live in. I know that as a reader I want a story to show me something new, and take me someplace I've never been, and seduce me with a voice I've never heard. For me, I find it easier to create stories that have some element of the fantastic, within a world that feels a lot like our own. I guess it's the idea that there are hidden wonders in our own world, that we might discover if we search hard enough. I've written about the world of bats, and an alternative past with airships and a new flora and fauna in the sky -- and Frankenstein was a way of re-entering a favourite story from a new perspective, and showing readers new things about Victor Frankenstein. 

cindy: I think we are very similar readers, Ken! And perhaps, even writers! Could you tell us a little about projects you are working on now? 

ken: Right now I'm working on the screenplay for a film adaptation of Airborn, and writing the first draft of a new fantasy novel.

cindy: I love how vague you are with this answer. ha! humphs! But I understand some need for Authorial Secrecy. =) And last but never least, what is your favorite pastry? (Anything sweet that must be baked!) 

ken: How about a profiterole: pastry AND ice cream combined!

cindy: I LOVE the way you think! =D 

Thanks so much again to Kenneth for stopping by. Lovely Inkie readers, be sure to leave a comment with an email to enter to win either This Dark Endeavor or Such Wicked Intent. Reminder: to enter giveaway:
+1 if you leave a comment for this post
+1 additional if you are or become follower to
Enchanted Inkpot. (let me know in comment.)

Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. The sequel to Silver Phoenix, titled Fury of the Phoenix, was released in April 2011. Her first published short story will appear in Diverse Energies, a multicultural YA dystopian anthology from Tu Books (October 2012). Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade. Visit her website at


  1. Enjoyed reading this interview. Sounds like an interesting book. I would love to win!

  2. Sorry forgot my email

  3. Gray characters are awesome! I'd love to read it. Becky (underscore) vallett @hotmail (dot) com.


  4. Oh I finally got around to reading this interview, just in time! I do SUBSCRIBE on google reader, don't know if that counts as following, but you were followed on livejournal!

    I love his answer to the speculative fiction question. I feel the same way!

  5. After having read this interview Cindy, I must say, more than just my curiosity has been piqued! I am putting this book on my must read list and I have subscribed to The Enchanted Inkpot...looking forward to more great posts...

  6. I love grey character. I so wish to win.

  7. Augh. TDE freaked me out so much when it first came out. So clever yet SO dark. And yet here I am hoping to win a copy. Yeesh. ;)

    Also, I'm an RSS follower.

  8. I just saw the National Theater film version of Frankenstein staring the Cumberbatch and JLM, and then I saw this book sistting at Barnes and Noble and I thought, I must have it!
    So here's hoping I win. Because it saves me a trip to B&N :)

  9. I'm a huge Frankenstein fan, and I'm going to look into this series. Thanks for the interview.

    Ps: I'd like to win the book giveaway too!

  10. Kenneth Oppel + Frankenstein... I think this is a good time to introduce myself to his books. Also, I'm already an email follower--thanks for the giveaway!

  11. Oops...forgot to leave my email address with my previous comment. It's melissa_oxborrow@yahoodotcom.

  12. I love Kenneth Oppel. His Airborn series is wonderful, so I was excited when I learned he was writing a prequel series to Frankenstein. This Dark Endeavor completely creeped me out---in a good way. I especially love the way he makes Victor a sympathetic character, even though he has serious issues. :) After reading it I recommended it to our library director to order as a great YA read, especially for guys.
    (I commented and am already a follower - 2 entries. YEA!)

  13. I love stories that show me something new, and take me someplace I've never been as well!

  14. I just can't get over how much I love Kenneth's writing. Airborn is one of my all time favorite series. I was very lucky to meet Kenneth this weekend but unfortunately did not have this series to be signed (and now I MUST get them and get them signed!) I find as a writer I would want to create worlds just as he does which is probably why as a reader I sit there and say "This was perfect" Kenneth just masters exactly what I want in a story, it's hard to put into better words.

    (I commented and followed so 2 entries for me! :) )


  15. Awesome interview! I've read three books by Kenneth Oppel now, so it was cool to hear from him.

    I'm a blog follower. :)

  16. Would love to win one of these! :) Really enjoyed the interview too! Tara8716 (at) gmail (dot) com

  17. Loved the interview. This series sounds amazing!
    New follower of the blog
    laurlamb (at) yahoo (dot) ca

  18. Great interview! I haven't read This Dark Endeavor yet, but I've wanted to ever since hearing about it. :)

  19. I've been wanting to read this series for months!!! I love Frankenstein so this has made it to my wishlist :)
    GFC: Vivien

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  20. These books sound so good! They're on to-read list for sure!
    (Follower of the blog!)
    nheck at natashamheck dot com

  21. There are very few retellings of classics that I have liked, and Oppel's Frankenstein book is one of those few. And now I've found this website and subscribed. And now I have to look up all the new YA books from the cover posts.

  22. The covers of these books are so compelling! Quite interested to read them now!
    Thanks for the interview, Cindy and Ken!


  23. Great interview! I just excitedly opened my copy of This Dark Endeavor and this interview makes me even more eager to dive into the story. Thanks, Cindy and Ken!

    Pica @ Pica Reads (Follower!)

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