The Writer’s Block: An Interview with Kamilla Benko

Last year, we had the privilege to interview Kamilla Benko, author of The Unicorn Quest series. We are happy to have Kamilla back on the blog in front of her upcoming release of the latest in the saga, THE UNICORN QUEST: SECRET IN THE STONE. She also has a wonderful news of another project, but you’ll have to read on to get the scoop!

Middle Grade Mafia: What’s something you absolutely knew would be in book 2 while you were writing book 1? What took you totally by surprise?

Kamilla Benko: I knew Claire and Sophie would meet a particular character. . . but what took me by surprise was how they ended up initially meeting! I can’t say much more than that without majorly spoiling something.

MGM: What was the most interesting part of writing a sequel? Did this help you flex any different writing muscles than book 1?

KB: Sequels are hard. Very, very, very hard. Especially sequels that are supposed to bridge to a third installment! They need to raise the stakes of Book 1, have an epic ending – but still leave room for an even more epic finale! Writing Book 2 meant that I had to be very focused on details, because I had to commit to the details I wrote in Book 1, but also seed in details that are vital for Book 3 to make sense, and while I’m always an outliner, in the case of Secret in the Stone I had to learn to really stick to my gut and my original outline that I was very used to having to do.

MGM: What are you most excited about for book 3?

KB: One of the first things I came up for the series was the ending. I’ve had the end in mind since 2015, and I’m so excited to finally be able to write what’s been in my mind’s eye all this time.

MGM: We also heard your exciting news about an upcoming Disney book! How can Frozen fans relate to the UNICORN series?

KB: It’s been an incredible dream come true to work with Disney and particularly with Frozen which is such an incredible story about sisterhood. Both stories focus on a pair of opposite-minded sisters—Anna and Elsa, Claire and Sophie— family secrets, and internal magic. They are really very similar in themes, and so sinking into Anna and Elsa’s characters very much felt like coming home.

About the Author:  Kamilla Benko spent most of her childhood climbing into wardrobes, trying to step through mirrors, and plotting to run away to an art museum. Now, she visits other worlds as a children’s book editor. Originally from Indiana, she currently lives in New York with her bookshelves, teapot, and hiking boots.

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