Author Interview: K.A. Barker

We're excited to welcome the author of The Book of Days, K.A. Barker, to Reading Lark today.

Nicole - Wiping out your memory and starting again is something many of us would like to do from time to time, but obviously it has some pretty major disadvantages! What is the toughest thing that Tuesday faces waking up with no memory? 

 K.A. - It’s even tougher for Tuesday because she’s not just waking up with no memory, she’s waking up for the first time after having spent all her life in the fantasy equivalent of suspended animation. So she has to come to terms with an unfamiliar world while she has no clue who she is, how to act, and with someone trying to kill her… not how I’d like to start my day! 

Nicole - "Charming and self-serving" is a really interesting description, and it sounds like a recipe for trouble. What can you tell us about Quintalion? 

 K.A. - Ah, Quintalion. I probably enjoyed writing him the most out of all my characters. There’s something so delightfully fun about writing someone with absolute self-belief. He’s a little bit shady – always on the wrong side of the law, been around (and probably sold) the block a couple of times – and initially he’s interested in Tuesday solely for how she can benefit him. This may or may not change over the course of their adventures. 

 Nicole - It's obvious that there's more to Tuesday than even she knows, what is your favourite thing about her? 

 K.A. - I love her utter captivation with everything around her. She’s seeing the world for the first time and she just loves it. That innocence is refreshing to write, though it does tend to get her in trouble. 

 Nicole - The world you've created in The Book of Days sounds pretty fantastical. What inspired the setting for this story? 

 K.A. - Classic fantasy settings layered with a whole lot of history. I’m fascinated by Victorian Britain – especially the industrial revolution and the concept of ‘empire’. So in my writing there are a lot of grimy smoke-filled cities, colonies, and industry. I’m also a big fan of the steampunk genre, so I’ve managed to sneak in some airships as well. 

 Nicole - What were your favourite books when you were 16, and what are you reading now? 

 K.A. - When I was sixteen, I was deep in the grip of Harry Potter fever like the rest of the world, so those were big favourites. I also loved Melina Marchetta, Neil Gaiman, and embarrassingly enough still wanted to marry Artemis Fowl. 

 I’m taking part in the Brisbane Writers’ Festival this year, so right now I’m about to dive into some of the other panelists’ wonderful books: Sean Williams’ Twinmaker: Jump and Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. 

 Nicole - The Book of Days is your first published novel. How did it feel when you were told it was going to be published? 

 K.A. - Euphoric. I had to read the email three times before it sunk in and then I did a funny little jumping up and down dance and raced to tell my parents. It’s something I never dreamed would happen so it took a while for me to come down from that numbered cloud.

About the Novel

Most people believe the best way to forget someone is to throw them down a well. Or lock them in a room with eight keys, or bury them at a crossroad in the thirteenth hour. But they’re wrong. The best way to forget someone is for them never to have existed in the first place.

Madame Marisol’s Unreality House was where you brought people to make that happen.”

When Tuesday wakes from sleep for the first time at sixteen, she opens her eyes to a world filled with wonder – and peril. Left with only a letter from the person she once was, Tuesday sets out to discover her past with the help of her charming and self-serving guide, Quintalion.

Along the way she runs into one-legged mercenaries, flying cities, airships, and a blind assistant librarian. But danger lurks amidst the steam. The leader of the merciless Daybreakers is hunting her, convinced that she killed the only woman he ever loved. Tuesday will need all her wits about her to survive long enough to find out who she is and her connection with the mysterious Book of Days: a book that holds untold power…