For the first time, I didn’t only have a character come to the interview but an author also. Hitomi is the main character in The Sunbolt Chronicles, a series that I absolutely adore, and Intisar Khanani wrote said series.
Hello Hitomi and Intisar! How are you both doing?
Hitomi: I’m well, thanks. Right now, I’m out in the desert. It’s winter so it’s nice during the day and chilly at night – it’s kind of lovely. Also, no one’s currently chasing me, at least that I know of.
Intisar: I’m doing all right too! I’m trying to run through copyedits on one project while drafting another, and then lie awake envisioning revisions to a third, so I’m a bit distracted, but it’s a good life. 🙂
What was your first meeting like?
Hitomi: I’m pretty sure Intisar had no idea who I was the first time we met. I spent two years waiting for her to figure it out. But once she finally did, wow did my story get going!
Intisar: Ha! That’s so true. When I first met you, you were wandering around a city at night, watching the ice spread over the river, and trying to avoid bad things in the dark. I had absolutely no idea what your story was really about, or what you were doing out on the streets. I can’t believe it took me two years to go from those first pages to an actual story that made sense!
Hitomi: I’m mostly amused that none of that initial writing made it to the final draft of Sunbolt.
Intisar: Stories are strange beasts. By the time the rest of the book was drafted (it took two weeks, once I knew what I was doing, didn’t it?) that beginning didn’t work at all. It’s disappeared somewhere in the depths of an old computer at this point…
What was your first impression of each other? How do you feel about each other now?
Hitomi: Intisar is not what you would call quick on your feet – or is it, nimble-fingered? …She’s a slow writer.
Intisar: Thanks a lot. I will remind you that once you finally decided to talk to me instead of just wandering around watching ice grow, I was pretty quick to get your story down.
Hitomi: If there had been anything else to do in the city, I’m sure I would have done it. To be fair, though, you work really hard on getting your stories right, which does take time.
Intisar: And I really didn’t give you much to do, did I? It wasn’t until I hit that two year mark and realized what a resourceful, honorable, and stubborn person you are that the story started building. I have to admit, your ability to just keep going, no matter what happens, is something I really admire.
Hitomi: I’ve had times that have gotten me down. Everyone does.
Intisar: True, but at the end of the day, you never stop fighting. Me? I just want to take a nap.
What kind of hobbies do you have? What calms you down when you’re stressed?
Hitomi: I like to watch people, actually. Sit up on top of a building, and just watch people go about their lives. I also really enjoy a cup of tea with friends, maybe a nice meal. That’s harder to come by, of course, but always wonderful.
Intisar: I like to read, and actually, it’s really relaxing to lie in bed and envision scenes from stories I’m working on, including Hitomi’s. Unless something terrible’s happening in them – then I get even more stressed out.
Hitomi: That’s…pretty often, then, isn’t it?
Intisiar: You could say so, yes. So… I like to read!
What do you think the future will hold for each other?
Hitomi: I’ve learned not to think too far into the future for myself. But I know Intisar will keep working at it until she gets my story right, and even if she’s capable of a lot of terrible things, I’ve got a feeling she’ll find a good ending for my story. Eventually. I also know Intisar is going to keep writing generally – I can’t really imagine her without stories in her head.
Intisar: So true! I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t telling myself stories. And I’m not completely evil! You (almost) always make it out alright, one way or the other, even if there’s a (high) price to pay along the way. I am so excited to see where you go–in the desert, and eventually back to your adopted homeland where you started, because every story has to come back to where it starts, doesn’t it? I am thrilled to write that story for you.
Intisar’s current projects include the re-release of her debut, Thorn, from HarperTeen (2019) and her indie epic fantasy series, The Sunbolt Chronicles.
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