Kali Wallace is the author of several books for teens and the middle-grade novel City of Islands, which stuck out to us particularly because of its incredible plot and world building. We’re thrilled to get the chance to feature her as this month’s interview!
RapunzelReads: City of Islands has an interesting world, with unusual magic. How did you go about creating that world?
Kali Wallace: I always start by imagining a world I would really, truly want to visit. If I'm going to expect readers to go on a journey in my invented world, it has to be one that appeals to them, right? So when I was imagining the City of Islands, I was thinking about foggy, beautiful, ancient, and mysterious islands. A place where people from all over the world travel and trade and live. A place where people live crowded on steep, rocky islands, all in a tumbling, scrambling, vibrant, lively symphony of life and noise and light.
I wanted it to have a rich, long history, one full of stories and myths--and those were some of the most fun aspects of the world to invent! Making of myths and stories for an imaginary world is always a delight. I have always been fascinated with tales of lost worlds or underwater cities, and I wanted to create a world in which those stories were true.
But I also wanted it to be a place with deep unfairness and inequality. There are rich people and poor people, masters and servants, and magic is one way that people like