Is ‘Inanimate Objects’ a stand-alone, or will there be more in a series?
Inanimate Objects is actually a combination of many stories that have been in my head for the last ten years, so elements of them were borrowed from here and there and elements of them are still very unresolved in my mind. I told myself when I finished that it was a stand-alone, but time has both made me miss the characters and get a lot of new ideas for them. Not too long ago I talked with some friends about how much I missed Leo (one of the protagonists of the book) and we devised a plan to put together an anthology based around him (The Reconstructed Life of Leonidas Bondi). This will be my chance to bring him back to life in some short pieces, which is really exciting.
It’s very possible that I’ll write many books in the world of this story, because it’s such a huge and free world to work in, but none of them will be straight across sequels. Or, so I say now!
The main elements are issues of art, family and mortality. The magic elements are very matter of fact (this man creates curses for a living, this woman is 326 years old, etc), which was intentional. It’s the non-magical people, such as Leo, that strive to create their own stamp on the world, their own reality, and most of that comes across in the form of art. Leo is fighting to become immortal through his creativity and Elisha is fighting against his immortality through revenge and self-destruction. Both are convinced in some way that the other has the ideal life. They’re distorted mirrors of each other, and both have complicated family situations or relationships.
I think what keeps the story so fresh and original is that the magic and mythology are blasé to almost everyone, including Leo.
What is the defining aspect of your fantasy world that you created?
That muses, immortality and magic live among us in a very commercial way. Curse-creators have offices in their mansions and win awards for their potions and sometimes forget to spend time with their sons. Muses are flesh and blood beings that draw from their subjects in a mental, emotional and spiritual manner. There’s an overwhelming sense of melancholy, because everything is touched with so much of the darker side of reality.
The setting of ‘Inanimate Objects’ is the London underground art scene. Do you have personal experience with this community/area?
Oh gosh, I wish I did! I have an England obsession, to the point that, when I was little, I would tell my mom I was going to marry a man from England. Thanks to the internet, I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of very cool and supportive friends over there, and they’ve been good about giving me pointers. And I’ve watched a lot of movies and read a lot of books, watched a lot of documentary pieces about musicians over there. One of the greatest compliments anyone ever gave me was that a reader asked if I was from England. That was a spazz attack right there!
The other thing that made it easier is that all of the locations are heavily filtered through the distortion of the story-world.
Have you used any famous people for inspiration, in regard to your character?
It’s funny, the original idea for Leo came from a photo I saw of a very young Matt Bellamy and I sort of combined that with the style of Brandon Flowers. Over time, Leo sort of became his own person and then when I finished the first draft, one of my early readers sent me a photo of Chris Corner (from Sneaker Pimps and later, IAMX) . She said Leo reminded her of this guy, and I ran off to google and Youtube and not only became a fan but also totally saw the connection. During the rewrites, he was my biggest inspiration. Aside from him having brown eyes instead of blue and being a decade older than Leo, he was almost exactly the image that I had in my head. Later, when I became friends with Ricky Prime, I was given a real life, age-appropriate Leo, which has been absolutely dance-inducingly awesome!
Elisha came from a dream I had about Chris Martin (Coldplay) standing in a graveyard for the funeral of someone he didn’t know. That’s never changed!
What do you think is an integral part to a Urban Fantasy?
I’ve always thought it’s the mixture of real life with elements of magic or mythology. Urban fantasy has changed a lot and it seems that it’s usually associated now with vampires and werewolves almost exclusively. Maybe it’s because so many clever writers were able to make it big with those storylines, but to me, it’s a much broader genre. My favorite Urban Fantasy is and probably always will be Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.
What do YOU thinks makes a book stand out?
When a writer writes his or her book in a way that reflects their love affair with the story, it has a better chance of holding my interest. I have so little time to read that I tend to reread favorite books. My favorite books (The Time Traveler’s Wife, Neverwhere, The Winter Prince, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Dress Lodger, Interview with the Vampire, The Great Gatsby are just a few examples) have this sense that the writer is completely enamored of their world and, usually, of their protagonists. I love killer diller details, humor, and an intimacy with the characters.
Where do you get your inspiration for your characters?
My stories usually are split down the center with characters inspired by friends/family/people I meet and characters inspired by various muses such as musicians, actors, etc. Of course, personality and style and physical appearance tend to be fluid between people I know and people I’m inspired by, so everyone is a bit of a mix.
What are some of your favorite authors?
Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, Sophie Kinsella, Jane Austen. Songwriters tend to be very influential on me too, especially Andrew Bird, Florence Welch, Stevie Nicks, Chris Corner, David Gray.
What is your favorite paranormal creature?
Oh gosh… I’m going to have to go with either muses or with Anne Rice style vampires!
What would you like your readers to understand about your novel? Is there something that you would like to them to feel, or experience while reading your book?
I think that the main thing I can share with them is that we are not always our parents, we are not always doomed or destined- or cursed- to become something. And that everyone is complicated, complex and a lot deeper than they seem on first sight.
Kendra L. Saunders is a 25 year old novelist, freelancer, poet, interviewer, short story writer, tea enthusiast, lover of all things English, record-shop-haunter and marketing coordinator for Spencer Hill Press. She’s won Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Book Awards and is currently promoting her magic realism novel, Inanimate Objects, as well as traveling the known universes with her steampunk friends and a hot cup of tea. Her website is www.kendralsaunders.com
Muses can be dangerous to have! Especially an ancient muse with expensive taste in champagne and a particular joy in ruining the lives of her young artists as soon as she’s finished with them. Matilda August is one such muse, taking interest in the flamboyant, offbeat artist Leonidas Bondi and intending to use him for everything he has. But is she using him? Or is he using her…?
Inanimate Objects is a dark and glittering urban fantasy of artists and magicians, muses and immortals, and the decadent world of the London underground art scene.
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