Today I'd like to welcome Kari Aguila, author of “RUN Ragged” to The Thursday Interview. Before we get started, a quick intro!
Kari Aguila was a geologist for many years before deciding to take on the challenge of raising her three children. She has numerous scientific publications, but took a strong bend into fiction with her first novel, WOMEN'S WORK. After winning an IndieReader Discovery Award and being voted one of the Best Books of 2014, Aguila plunged into the sequel RUN RAGGED, due out Fall 2015. She participates in book clubs all over the country via Skype to talk about her thrilling and thought-provoking characters and themes. Aguila lives with her family in Seattle, Washington, USA.
OK - HERE WE GO !!
No.1 No.1 Would you break the law to save a loved one? .. why?
I started answering this question one way, but changed my mind half way through, swung all the way to the other side, and eventually settled in the middle. The very essence of this question is a kind of law itself. One side of the law is “Never break the laws.” The other side is “Definitely break the laws.” Polarized thought is one of the biggest problems in society today. It doesn’t matter what I think. It doesn’t matter what celebrities or talk show hosts think. We are each required to use our brains and come up with the solution that works best for us in each situation.
No.2 What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
We have a very old dog. He’s almost 16, and he has been slowing down the last couple years. He can’t see, he can’t hear, he’s sore and rather grumpy about half the time. As pet owners, we have the responsibility of deciding what medical care to give him, how far to take it, and when to call it quits and euthanize. My god, that’s a tough decision. We’ve been through this before, and I like to think that the dog, cat, horse, whatever, is somehow able to tell you when it’s the right time, but am I just fooling myself? Do I look back on the last time and convince myself that my dog did show me when he was ready to be done with this life? Am I just easing my conscience? Quality of life is more important than life alone. Isn’t it?
No.3 What motivates you to write?
The story for RUN Ragged began to form in my head over a year ago and started to play out during the quiet times of my waking day. I started to see scenes from the book while I walked around town, noting people who looked the part or landscapes that fit the scenery. When I had about half the story ‘written’ in my head I couldn’t help but sit down at my laptop and start typing. I didn’t know all the details yet, but I got really excited when I figured out how one scene transitioned into the next. RUN Ragged is a story that I wanted to read, but I couldn’t find at the bookstore. Nobody has ever written anything like this.
No.4 Why do humans want children?
Not all do. One size does not fit all, and that is certainly true about kids. I have three, and they are the joy of my life, but I fully support a person’s decision to not have children. A big part of the feminist movement was the idea that a woman can be a whole, successful, happy human without children of her own, and yet there is still so much flack about women who choose to avoid motherhood. There are so many different paths to choose in this world, and if you are a person who wants children in your life, great. If not, that’s ok, too.
No.5 What was the biggest challenge in creating your book "RUN Ragged" ?
Creating any book requires money – for editors, for artists, for Ereader conversion, and for publication. RUN Ragged is a Kickstarter funded project, which means I rely on backers to fall in love with the story and help me produce it. If it sounds like something you would read, go to kickstarter and explore all the great rewards and extras you can get by supporting this story. RUN Ragged walks a fine line between genres in that there are elements of sci-fi, feminism, suspense and survivalism incorporated into the story line. The toughest one to work with was feminism. That is such a hot-button word these days, and many people have misinterpreted it and use it to polarize people. In RUN Ragged, the main character, Rhia, is a strong and independent sea captain in a dystopic matriarchal society. She knows that some of the new rules and laws are wrong, but she is just trying to keep her head down and do her job. Through a twist of fate, she is forced to become the reluctant hero her society needs, and she has to come to grips with her feelings of fear, anger, and betrayal. The women who have taken over under the banner of peace and equality have slipped down the slope to oppression, and it was challenging for me to find balance between showing the strength of women along side the horror they can perpetrate. I didn’t want RUN Ragged to be man-bashing, but I also didn’t want it to be woman-bashing. It’s a thought-provoking and suspenseful story that will keep you thinking long after the last page.
No.6 What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?
To think before I answer interview questions. I used to be much more reactive and impulsive, and I know I have hurt people along the way that didn’t deserve it, as well as supporting people along the way that I should have left. I like to think that mellowing is a natural process of aging, but a part of me knows it is something I’ve had to actively work on. I try not to judge people. I try to walk a mile in their shoes. I try to think before I speak.
No.7 How did you come up with the title "RUN Ragged" ?
My first book, Women’s Work, was a great title because it’s eye catching and evokes a visceral reaction in some people. However, it was so visceral that a lot of people walk away without looking at it. Some men think they shouldn’t read it because it’s just for women. People assume they know what it’s about before they even pick it up and miss out on this award-winning story. So, with my second book, I wanted to tone it down. Rhia is a ‘runner’ in the story – she ferries goods from her neighborhood to the regional trade, so I wanted ‘RUN’ to be in there. I thought about “RUN Rhia” but that sounded too much like diarrhea, and I didn’t want to give critics that little gem. To be “RUN Ragged” is to be pushed to your limits, frazzled and nearly broken. It’s when you are down, but not beaten yet, and you are teetering on the edge of falling into the depths or rising back up.
No.8 How do you handle personal criticism?
Why? What did you hear? Did someone say something mean about me?! Actually, I am pretty good at criticism as long as it’s constructive. Everybody has a different point of view, and if something I’m doing is bothering someone, I’d rather have them just tell me about it instead of letting it fester and grow into a big deal. If you are criticizing my cooking, maybe you just have different tastes than I do. If you are criticizing my writing, maybe you like a different genre or style. If you are criticizing my children, though, watch out, because I’m about to clean the floor with your backside.
No.9 Why should people read your book?
As with Women’s Work, RUN Ragged is a gripping, thought-provoking story about a society that has swung the pendulum of gender politics too far in one direction. In addition to being a suspenseful page-turner, it sheds light on the injustice of our current system by reversing roles and switching assumptions about the labels we put on people. RUN Ragged will break your heart at the same time it restores your faith in the human spirit. It’s such a timely and fascinating story readers will want to have discussions about its themes and characters. I love talking to Book Clubs, and can Skype with people around the world, so I hope to hear from people about what they think.
RUN Ragged is a high-quality, professionally edited and developed book that has a strong indie feel. It will probably never sell a million copies, but I didn’t write it for the masses of unthinking readers who just want to read what everyone else is reading. This is one of those underground books that gets passed around by word of mouth and has a low hum of urgency and danger about it. It’s a book you will tell your friends about.
No.10 Why is there something rather than nothing?
I think there is a lot more ‘something’ than we even know about yet. Imagine living three thousand years ago and only knowing the world as the small place you had your home. You would only see maybe a hundred people in your lifetime and travel was something you might only do to follow your herd of sheep. In Galileo’s time the idea that the world could be more than just the small bits we can see was still heresy. A hundred years ago we couldn’t have imagined seeing photographs of Pluto or digital television. Our experiences shape who we are and what we believe, and determine the mental limits we have for the ‘something’ that is the known universe.
I often wonder what people will know and see two hundred years from now. Could there be a scientific breakthrough that allows us to see into another dimension? A world that exists right along side our own that we just couldn’t see before? Maybe we will learn how to see the chemical pollution in our air and water. Maybe we will learn how to hear the sounds plants make and find out that they communicate. Maybe we will learn how to ask cancer cells to politely leave our bodies. Or maybe we all exist on a tiny speck of dust floating in a great jungle, and a kindly elephant named Horace will stumble across us one day.
Thank you Kari :)
For taking the time to answer my questions
& the best of luck with your new book!
Check out “RUN Ragged” on
Would anything change
if women ruled the world?
Fifteen years after the Last War devastated families and infrastructure, women have taken over under the banner of peace and equality. Only too late do they realize it’s a slippery slope to oppression.
RUN Ragged is the thrilling second story by the award-winning author of Women’s Work. This brilliantly imagined novel is both a scathing satire and a profoundly poignant look at the price we are willing to pay for peace and what we are willing to ignore to keep our conscience clear.