Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kelley Armstrong - Guest Blogger - Day 1

Please welcome guest blogger and author Kelley Armstrong to the Island. I'm pretty sure Kelley doesn't need an introduction. But for anyone not familiar with her work, Kelley writes The Otherworld urban fantasy novels which started with Bitten, and the Nadia Stafford thrillers the second of which, Made to be Broken was published at the end of February. Her website can be found at http://www.kelleyarmstrong.com/. Over to Kelley. (LesleyW)



Desert Island Keepers. The first time I heard that phrase, I had no idea what it meant, but I quickly learned, as “what book would you want on a desert island” became a popular interview question. And each time I got it, I lied. Totally lied.

No, I didn’t pick obscure classics to make myself look smarter. Or obscure hip-lit to make myself look cooler. I’d choose a favourite book like “Pride and Prejudice.” But if I was really stuck on a desert island, would I want “Pride and Prejudice”? Hell, no. I’d read it a few times, then kick myself silly for choosing a skinny little 200 page book that would barely light a month’s worth of fires.

If I really had to choose a book for a desert island, I’d take War and Peace because, stuck there with nothing else for entertainment, I might actually read the damn thing. More importantly, though? The book is a whopping 1300 pages. Do you know how many fires that would start? Better yet, if I took Les Miserables I could get an extra 200 pages. I’ve already read that one, though, and really have no raging desire to do so again, so it’s a trade-off.

Yes, I know, I’m being shortsighted here. It’s not all about fire fodder. It’s about the book, too. So, on second thought, I’m changing my vote. I’m taking the US Army Survival Manual. I do have a copy, but I want a new one, because mine’s a little outdated, from back when I was writing a post-apocalyptic fantasy. Never finished the novel. I got ¾ of the way through when another otherwise wonderfully supportive fantasy author said the only problem with it was that it was written in first-person. I tried to change to third, got frustrated and abandoned it.

But the Survival Manual still came in handy—writing about werewolves, knowing how to field-dress severed limbs is very useful. And on the back, the first thing it promises is how to “overcome the desire for comfort,” which I will really need to do, stuck on a desert island without my cappuccino maker. So that will be my desert island keeper. And, if I get a second book, I’ll print out that fantasy—the original version—so I can edit it and, with all that free time, maybe even use the blank backs of the pages to finish it.

With each of my entries, I’ll give a signed copy of one of my backlist. To enter, just comment. Can’t think of a relevant comment? Tell me a useful book you’d take on your desert island exile.

55 comments:

Lea said...

Hi Kelly!

Well thought out books to take on your desert island excile.

Lets see, a useful book I'd probably take would be the "SAS Survival Guide Handbook" by John Lofty Wiseman, because I'd need all the help I could get...

Great post Kelly.
Best Regards

Jenre said...

Very interesting. Hmmm, a long novel to take on a desert island. Well, you could try to be pretentious and take Finnigan's Wake by James Joyce but after a few hours of ploughing through it, trying to work out what the heck is going on, you may wish that you'd taken Pride and Prejudice, despite the short length.

Perhaps a better bet would be the complete work of Jane Austen! :)

Tracy said...

LOL - what a great post. I guess when I picked my DIK books I wasn't thinking about kindling. Silly me! lol

I love that the survival manual has the first item of business as "how to overcome the desire for comfort"! It makes sense but I guess I just never thought about it.

If I'm thinking fires and book the telephone book comes to mind but alas with no phone it wouldn't be very interesting - I couldn't even make crank phone calls.

ciaralira said...

lol. Good idea with the survival manuel. Alternatively a book on boat building would be helpful. I've no interest in reading War & Peace - ever - but my dad read it and talked about it nonstop for months, so I feel like I've read it. ;)

I've enjoyed following you on twitter and am looking forward to reading this scene in a future book:
"2yrs since been to Chuck E Cheese. Now remember why. Must send Clay in a book for twins' b-day. Good authors always torture characters."

Thanks for visiting!

ciaralira said...

PS: for building fires, another good book would be the Boy Scout Handbook.

Willa said...

Lol - I would take some magazines - you know the ones with the 'collect the next 2,000 copies and you too can build your very own boat' *grin*

LesleyW said...

Hi Kelley - no need to enter me in the contest. :)

I would probably take my Worst Case Scenario handbook, which among other things covers how to stop a runaway camel and how to foil a UFO abduction. :)

Bridget Locke said...

Hmmm...relevant book? Hoo-boy, that's a toughie. I'd say probably some sort of survival guide. Preferably one that would work w/ things you'd probably have if you were stuck on a desert island. :)

Pamk said...

my idea of a good book would be something showing what was edible on that island and what would poison me lol

Michelle said...

Love your books and love the Survival Manual!! I'm married to an engineer so I keep learning all types of things that I shouldn't know in normal circumstances!!

seanachi said...

Hm, I might have to get a copy of that survival guide for my own work. As for what I'd take. The compendium edition of all seven Harry Potter Novels. I can tear out and burn the parts that annoy me and still be left with plenty of story.

What do you mean it doesn't exist?

DonnaB said...

Fire fodder. I never even considered that. I just assumed there would be lots of driftwood scattered about. Henry Kissinger's memoirs are a HUGE book. And one you could happily burn. But then, what about matches? Are we going to have matches on the island? Or are we going to be reduced to striking two rocks together? Good grief.

I love all of Kelley's books, and especially the new Nadia Stafford series.

DBR

Carole St-Laurent said...

Kelley, you're a riot!!

If I'm stuck on an island - hopefully an all inclusive type - I think I'd take Robinson Crusoe. Never read that one, but surely it would be appropriate?

themuseasylum said...

I love the way you approached the desert island question!

I always dither around when I think about what book I'd want. I'll read pretty much anything, so maybe one those super-thick almanacs would work. Lots of fuel and plenty of trivia for me to amuse myself with!

Lindsay

Anna said...

That is an awesome answer. Can I just take my e-book reader? It might not give me much fodder for fires, but it does mean I have room for a shameful amount of books on the one little device. That totally counts, right?

Colleen said...

I love the idea of taking an Survival guide, although the only one I have is the Zombie Survival Guide, and I'm not sure how useful that would be on a desert Island.

Ideally I'd take some sort of "turn tree leaves into chocolate" book, but I imagine that hasn't been written yet. :0(

I think I would choose the complete works of Shakespeare as my desert read. Not because I'm a huge fan, but because I've never understood any of his plays and could probably get a fews years worth of reading out of it!

foo said...

I'd pick:

The Basic Essentials of Desert Survival
by Dave Ganci

:)

LOR would be my 2nd choice.

mitzy said...

Survival guide good idea I always thought about a really big book that I love, like Harry Potter or something like that

Anonymous said...

Kelly,
Great post! I have to add that on my shelves are lots of (fairly) obscure books for reference; when you are writing just about any fiction your characters need to know things. I've got books on needlework from the 20s, as well as smocking and tatting, an Ontario Provincial Police manual, cloud formations, and collecting pocket watches. I love reading just about anything interesting! As for a desert island book ... hmm, very few books can stand constant rereading, but Jane Eyre or Stranger in a Strange Land are two reliable reads for me.
Jo in Vancouver

Kimber Chin said...

Fire fodder.
That's a great way of looking at the question, Kelley!

I'm with Anna about the eBook Reader or better yet my laptop with jacked up wifi. I likely wouldn't even want to leave the island!

Clare Greenhalgh said...

I think I would have to take one of Rick Stein's cookbooks, you can always improvise with the extras but ideas of what to do with all that seafood would certainly be a plus!

Tara Meldrum said...

I thought your choices were very... practical. You get reading material, and heat through the night. I loved it.

Carolyn Jean said...

Kelley, it is an incredible honor to have you here. Yes, do bring that unfinished ms. We will be your exclusive readers!

Okay, now you have me thinking...maybe I would want a book on communication stuff, like flashing a mirror at a plane in morse code. Is that in your survivial guide?

Or, how to make a radio out of bits of coconut and stone. The professor on Gilligan's Island seemed to think that was possible. There must be a book on constructing things like that. Or maybe one on how to train carrier pigeons.

CassChapman said...

If I were stuck on an island I'd hope to have a copy of "Boat Making For Dummies"

...And mass quantities of insect repellant.

Sinful Cinnamon said...

That is the most practical answer I've ever heard/read. I never would have thought of fodder... Anyway, I think my choice of book would have to be an anthology of fantasy. The biggest one I could find. That way I have plenty of different stuff to read. :)

Lisa said...

I think I would take a survivor guide but also the phone book for those nature calls because knowing my luck there would be no toilet paper lol.

Susan said...

I think I'd take the series of Foxfire books. Since they come as a box set, I'd hope they would be considered as one book.

FlyerGirl said...

The Life of Graham Greene - it is one of the most monolithic things ever written, an it has thin pages- perfect for nature's call, if absolutely necessary.

Patricia Altner said...

That Army Survival Guide sounds like a great reference book, but not being a practical person I wouldn't want it to be my only books. Instead I would select either a huge anthology of Paranormal fiction or one of those SF book club selections that have 3 novels by one author bound together. Not sure which one yet.

Sami said...

I so could not make a choice for a DIK, just too many good rereads out there.

But what I'm always wondering is why oh why do the people who have been chosen to go on Survivor, never read any kind of survival manual? Seriously, it makes total sense to study up on surviving before getting thrown off the boat.

Kimberly B. said...

Friendly Planet's Bhutan. It's the world's largest published book, and at 5 foot by 7 foot, I think it would also double as a good shelter. http://web.media.mit.edu/~mike/fp/bhutan/
Plus, you know, you can only get a copy by making a $15,000 donation, and if I had that kind of money, maybe I'd own my own boat!

Cheryl M. said...

Well, to be perfectly honest.....I'd probably bring a book of erotica-because, ya know *cough* I'd be all alone on the island and it would get kind of lonely ;- )

Jessica said...

What a question! One that I usually end up spinning around and say what series would I take to a desert island, and then divide it into genres!

Hmm...possibly the Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance, because then I get my vampires in several stories! That way, hopefully the rescue boat or the Borders-on-a-boat boat comes to my rescue and lets me buy more!

I am an avid reader and bibliophile to the extreme, I buy my books, I don't go to the library, weird I know! So having to pick one book to survive with on a desert island is unimaginable! I would want my whole collection with me if I was expected to survive and I would sooo need my authors to be able to send me their latest release via bottle too, if I were to survive!

Lori T said...

Hi Kelly~

The Ultimate Survival Guide by John 'lofty' Wiseman.

The next choice would be The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss...they really made due on that island.

Jennzah said...

i would take Stardust, by Neil Gaiman, on my desert island. it's my favourite book and i find something new every single time i read it. :D and if all else failed, i'd take my awesome copy of "Inferno" by Dante, because on one side there's the Italian, and on the other side the English translation, and i'd spend the time making myself learn the Italian by heart. :D

Tez Miller said...

The one I'd take...I think it's called Alive!, about the Argentinian rugby players who got lost in the Andes, and ate each other to survive...

Bridget Locke said...

And I haven't read you yet. *ducks*

urulokei said...

I'd take along either the The Lord of the Rings trilogy or the Odyssey. The former because it's one of my all-time favorites (more accurately, my *longest* all-time favorite), and the latter because there's something very exciting about being stuck on an island with a book full of myths. :P

Joyce Peart said...

Kelley, I would take "Smart Packing For Today's Traveler" by Susan Foster. That way, I wouldn't overpack coming or going.
Susan also gives great tips and an interesting read.

Maija P. said...

I would probably take Bible with me. There would be a lot of pages to read and I could start memorizing the stories if I got bored.

Blodeuedd said...

I'd take the book I can read over and over again without getting bored (and it's thick) Magician by Raymond E.Feist :)

Sure it would be good to have a scout book with me too ;)

Marg said...

First off...fangirl moment... Kelley, I am so excited to see you guest blogging! Now that that is out of the way...

Now that I have that out of the way, maybe some kind of magic book would do the trick. You know then you could make fire without burning the pages of your favourite book, or kindling!

Lukos Tairov said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lukos Tairov said...

It'd be War and Peace, even though I've never read it.

*Plenty* of paper to eat, and paper to ... you know :)

Let's just say my body will be satisfied!

arlington said...

I am really sorry, Kelley. But now I actually hope you'll end up on an island for a while just so you can edit that post-apocalyptic fantasy. Haha!

Jackie M (Literary Escapism) said...

You know, I never though of using the book as a fire starter. Whenever I thought about this question, I always thought about which book I would want to continually read, but now I think I could change my answer,

What about a complete compilation of Shakespeare's plays? That would have to be a huge novel and at least there would be a bunch of different stories to read too.

Chris said...

Hmm, this is a hard one - all the epic novels (War & Peace, etc) would drive me mad long before I finished them once. But maybe being mad would make my desert island stay more pleasant... Otherwise, I'd cheat and ask for an omnibus edition of all the Nora Roberts/JD Robb books. That sucker'd be about 20 feet tall!

Jackie Ballway said...

Definitely a sticker book. It's the only way to pass the time on a deserted island!

Renee said...

Thanks for visiting the island, Kelley!

Well, I guess I'd have to show some loyalty to my childhood and bring my girl scout handbook. I remember learning how to read a map and compass and how to build a campfire,

HockeyVampiress said...

Kelley I would find it hard to pick only one.....can I pick at least 3..... I need Acheron by SK because it is so intense, Incubus Dreams by LKH because it is sooooo smutty and Haunted by KA because I laugh my *ss off everytime I read about the penalty box with Kris getting penalties all the time.

Sarah said...

Have nothing useful to say, other than I adore your books and make all my book buddies here read them. :)

Kytaira said...

Just so you know - since it's an Army manual that isn't restricted - you can download the survival manual as a PDF file for free. Just google the FM number and PDF.

I think a survival manual is a really great idea! I also liked the suggestion on native edibles. Somehow everytime I see the desert island Q I keep thinking pleasure books. Any pleasure book would get boring after reading the same one for years on end. I guess the survival manuals would be my choice as well.

Erica said...

Hi! Love your books :) I'd take one of those.. probably "Bitten"

Jasmine said...

Desert Island for Dummies??

Anita Yancey said...

I guess if I could take only one book with me to a desert island, it would have to be the Bible. Because I would need to read it and do a lot of praying to get off the island.

Copyright © 2008-2011 Desert Island Keepers All Rights Reserved. Proudly powered by Blogger

  © Blogger template Starry by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008 Modified by Lea

Back to TOP