Monday, May 25, 2009

Interview: James Kennedy


Q: Favorite color?

JK: Well, actually that’s a rather interesting story. I was seven years old at the time, and

Q: Favorite kind of soup?

JK: Huh . . . ? Um, anyway, I was seven years old, and I had never seen a

Q: Favorite smell?

JK: Are you even listening?

Q: Favorite movie?

JK: Seriously, slow down, I can’t ev

Q: Favorite kind of sports car?

JK: Jesus. The Ford Kumquat. What do you care?

Q: Favorite author?

JK: What the hell. The moon.

Q: Favorite book?

JK: You know what, I’m actually going to try to answer this one, because this is important to me. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t interrupt. I first came across the immortal works of Marcel Proust when

Q: Favorite song?

JK: You have got to be kidding me.

Q: Favorite website?

JK: Is there a website where I can finish my answ

Q: Favorite T.V. show?

JK: Anything where you die.

Q: Favorite food?

JK: Your skull.

Questions about writing:

Q: Where did you get the idea for The Order of Odd-Fish?

JK: I first got the idea for The Order of Odd-Fish when . . .

When . . .

. . .


. . .


. . .

Okay, so the idea for The Order of Odd-Fish came to me in bits and pieces over the years. I didn’t

start off with a clear idea of what it would be about; it grew from a gradual accumulation of dozens of smaller ideas that all shared a certain spirit.

I had written a short story called The Cockroach and the Music-Box in 1995, when I was i

n college. That story has almost no similarities to what became The Order of Odd-Fish except it had a girl named Jo and a vain cockroach named Sefino. Over the years, I kept adding things and deleting things from the story, and it became a kind of dumping-ground for whatever ideas I happened to have over the years. Soon I had hundreds of pages of this kind of stuff.

Once I had a critical mass of little ideas—jokes, scenes, characters, mechanisms, voices, and plot twists—and they started bubble and boil on their own, I was able to organize them into a proper


I didn’t want the story to cramp the improvisational, anything-can-happen feel I felt the first dozen chapters had. That said, I didn’t want to let it get too undisciplined. A bunch of wacky, arbitrary situations strung together is not really a good story.

So I made all these seemingly random elements serve the main story, which actually was one of the last ideas I had—of a girl, Jo, who comes to live in a fantastical city, and falls in love with it, only to realize she is destined to destroy it.

Jo joins the knights of the Order of Odd-Fish, whose purpose is to aimlessly dither and pursue dubious, pointless research. Since dithering about, and spending time on various random, unrelated

endeavors was what sparked the idea for Odd-Fish, I made that attitude central to the Order itself!

Q: Will there be a sequel to The Order of Odd-Fish?

JK: I have planned two sequels and a prequel. The Silent Sisters and the Belgian Prankster aren’t

done with Jo Hazelwood yet. There are aspects of the legend of the All-Devouring Mother that have not yet come to light.

Ken Kiang will also continue to have his role in the books—he still must find his place as a knight in the Odd-Fish. Fiona Fuorlini’s character will become much more important, even central

. We will learn about the other orders of knights, and explore the sprawling, fascinating, dangerous world outside of Eldritch City. And I plan to end the second Odd-Fish book with a shocker that I mustn’t reveal now.

Of course, the question of whether these other Odd-Fish books get written at all d

epends entirely on how the first one sells. So get out there, my pretties, and buy them!

Q: Do you listen to music while you write?

JK: I do! And in fact, this is a perfect opportunity to mention the soundtrack that I compiled for The Order of Odd-Fish.

The music blog Largehearted Boy has a running feature called “Book Notes” in which th

ey invite authors to compile a mix of songs that are appropriate for their book. I put together a “soundtrack” for the imaginary movie of The Order of Odd-Fish that only exists in my mind. I’ve included punk marching bands, French ye-ye, Kinshasa street bands, puzzling blippitty-bloopity electronic stuff, and a lot more. You can listen to a stream of the songs, and read my explanations for why I chose those songs, here:


Q: Are you writing anything right now?

JK: I am working on something unrelated to The Order of Odd-Fish, a sci-fi comedy adventure called The Magnificent Moots. It’s a combination of The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with a little bit ofEnder’s Game, leavened with A Wrinkle in Time and sprinkled with The Royal Tenn

enbaums. With a generous dollop of Battle of the Network Stars on top. Sounds like a mess? It’ll be a glorious mess.There might be a graphic novel aspect to it, but that’s still up in the air.

Q: If you could give a specific color to describe each of your main characters’ personalities, what would the colors be?

JK: You know what, I feel entirely at ease now! I’m glad you’re actually letting me answer your questions without interruption. And I’m particularly happy you asked this question, because I’ve worked out an elaborate color scheme, in which each character in The Order of Odd-Fish is assigned a particular wavelength of the visible spectrum.

In fact, by carefully considering each character’s corresponding color, one may deduce the names and personalities of future characters in the planned sequels for Odd-Fish—much in the same way that scientists can predict the physical properties of yet-undiscovered elements in the periodic table, merely from the numbers of protons and neutrons in the nucleus!

For instance! Colonel Korsakov is assigned the color yellow, which of course corre

sponds with the element cadmium on the periodic table (or, for sticklers, the compound cadmium sulfide), and so we can conclu

Questions about the author:

Q: How many states have you been to?

JK: I should’ve known.

Q: What YA book are you looking forward to that is coming out this year?

JK: This is like Lucy with the football. You just love to make me suffer, don’t you?

Q: If you could be any mythical creature, what would you be?

JK: “Happy interviewee” seems pretty close to mythical right n

Q: If you were stranded on an island and you could only bring five things with you, what would you bring?

JK: Your body, in five separate bags. Seriously, I want to tell you about th

Q: What is your weirdest work experience?

JK: You have reduced me to tears.

Q: Where would your dream vacation be?

JK: You have ruined my life.

Q: What would your dream library look like?

JK: I will never dance again.

ME: Thank you!

JK: I hate you.

Hahaha, this is certainly the funniest and one of the most interesting interviews!

Thanks James!! It was fun interviewing you!

-Senfaye :)

P.S. James' has a really cool blog that you can check out here.

P.P.S. His book Order Of Odd Fish is amazing and you can buy it here.


  1. So FUNNY!! Love this interview..HA!!

  2. Sweet! Lol, this totally grabbed my attention right away!
    Great interview! It cracked me up!

  3. This was a very insightful bit of interviewing, i feel like i know Mr. James Kennedy to the absolute core now. I hope that, soon, we get to realize...

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.