Today's author spotlight is on Kirsten Spiteri, a Maltese Novelist who writes mainly in the genres of Fantasy and Science Fiction aimed at the young-adult audience. With two published books under his belt and a third in for publishing consideration, Kirsten has added a new dimension to the concept of story writing and continues to reach new heights. Read on to learn more about this versatile author and the books he has written.
What inspired you to become an author and how long have you been writing books?
I’ve been writing since I was a little kid in primary school. I’ve tried many forms of writing like poems, scripts for short films, and letters which were eventually published by local newspapers like The Malta Independent and Malta Today. At age 12, I submitted my first ever work of literature about the extinction of dinosaurs, to a monthly school magazine named Sagħtar, and it was published. My first book got published last year, and my second one this year. Many of my ex-teachers have encouraged me to write, and some good friends encouraged me when I was giving up.
Name your ultimate favourite book that you have ever read and why?
Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. This book is an outline of Western philosophy that is very well set in a fictional story. It goes from pre-Socratic philosophy all the way to Jean-Paul Sartre. The comparison between different philosophers throughout the book is truly remarkable. I enjoyed the book immensely, and consider it to be life-changing.
How did you come up with the idea for your books?
Since childhood, I have been much influenced by Japanese Anime, particularly by those written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. I think that these Japanese influences, distinguish me from the majority of other Maltese writers. This is where I get the majority of my ideas.
Can you provide readers of this article with a short synopsis about your books?
The Wave is set after World War III which has left the world as we know it unrecognizable. The United States and European Union using nuclear and atomic weapons have destroyed most of the earth’s surface, with just a few islands remaining. Survivors name this terrible period in history, The Wave. Berk is a young man alone ﬁghting for survival on an island when he is rescued and learns that the world that awaits him is vastly diﬀerent than the one he knew before. The society he faces makes him feel more imprisoned than safe. While there are no police, everyone around him is willing to spy on one another and report him to the New World Order in exchange for a few privileges. Only Pirate, an older man who builds boats, sides with him and together they join forces to survive their altered universe.
Far From Home is about Rob who awakens in a cave in Buskett, frightened, with no memory of who he is or where he came from. Sensing that he is diﬀerent, people he encounters feel threatened by him and he knows he is in grave danger. The world he ﬁnds himself in is vastly diﬀerent than his own, they hurt animals, steal and lie. The Bondins, a Maltese family shelter him despite great danger to themselves. He must ﬁnd a way to get back to his own world, his own family, before it’s too late.
What do you think readers will find most appealing about your books?
The fact that the endings are phenomenally optimistic.
Tell us about your main characters.
The protagonists of my books are often feared and persecuted because of their astonishing abilities or extra-terrestrial origins, and I use this as a clear metaphor for racism and other types of prejudice.
What do you hope readers will learn from your books?
That good people deserve to escape to a place worthy of them.
Are you currently working on any other writing projects?
I am always working on some kind of writing project. A few months ago I submitted my third novel to the publisher, but am awaiting a definitive reply whether it will be published or not. In the meantime, I started writing the fourth one.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
The best way is through social media. I have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads & Linkedin.
Do you have any words of advice to parents who may have children who do not readily look to picking up a book to read?
The easiest way to make sure that we raise literate children, is by showing them that reading is a pleasurable activity, and that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read. Make it interesting. Use reading time as a time for bonding. It should be a time when no phones are being checked and the distractions of the world are put aside.
Do you have any suggestions or tips to children when choosing a book to read?
Children should choose books that makes them daydream and imagine.
I’ll tell you why!
Look around you. I mean it! Pause for a moment and look around the room you are in. I’m going to point out something so obvious that it tends to be forgotten. It’s this: That everything you can see, including the walls, was at some point, imagined. Someone decided it was easier to sit on a chair than on the ground, and imagined the chair. This room and the things in it, and all the other things in this building, this city exists because, over and over, people imagined things. They daydreamed, they pondered, they solved things that didn’t quite work, and they described things that didn’t yet exist to people who laughed at them.
....and to conclude
Special thanks to Kirsten for taking the time to participate in this interview and I wish him continued success.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and will make it a point to discover Kirsten's wonderful work.
Many of you who have been following this blog know all to well how much importance we should all give, adult and child, to reading and as has happened with previous author spotlights I will be running a free to enter competition where the prize will be a copy of one of Kirsten's books, 'The Wave' or 'Far From Home.' There will be 5 copies of each book up for grabs. Special thanks to both Kirsten and Faraxa Publishing for making these copies available for this competition.
Click on the following link to enter this competition.