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Since erupting onto the literary scene in last summer, Innovera Yakov: The Journey of A Thousand Eyes by Kia Garriques is slowly becoming the next best teenage read. More than 62,000 copies of the book have been downloaded to date and right from the start, Kia was thrown into the public sphere.

kiagarriques_retouchedHer recent visit to Whiteheath Junior School, Ruislip saw her give a talk to the whole assembly of 300 students where she asked them to prepare a collage board of their hopes, fears and dreams, prior to her visit. Here she wanted to explore how art and creativity can unlock a positive future for young people and help them talk about their careers with ease. Her book, Innovera Yakov: The Journey of a thousand eyes, has quickly developed a following amongst university students, college students and teenagers as well as the older audience who have said that Innovera Yakov, which possesses “all the strengths of the fantasy genre with immersion into another world that coupled with descriptive language, portrays a world of captivation and intrigue beyond the everyday imaginings of our own.”

Other readers have said that it is a kaleidoscopic literary page turner, brilliant yet endlessly upsetting while it explores an alien planet populated by a race of beautifully enchanting young beings. It beautifully blends fantasy and adventure and explores the tension between reason, creation and reality as much as it does the tension between good and evil.

Innovera Yakov taps into a basic human fear of mind control from within where possession will amount to the ultimate violation of one’s integrity. At its core, the popularity of Innovera Yakov also owes much of its success to the provocative religious theory and mythical themes.

Recently, there were whispers of a cryptic puzzle or code embedded within Innovera Yakov which many fans are striving to solve. Kia has admitted that she wrote the book with secret messages and will now update the book in April will these coded illustrations so as to tempt readers to solve the hidden puzzle.

These cryptic messages supposedly came into being due to Kia’s biblical upbringing, cryptic dark dreams and the movie Revolver.

Kia herself has confessed that, in the digital area of fast media consumption, she was urged by others to dumb down her book; one that many are calling very intelligent and years ahead of its time. The novel itself challenges the status quo of perception, reality and creation, duality and existence. She wanted Innovera Yakov to be about the celebration of the “humanity and the secrets of creator of the universe.”

Today, we catch up exclusively with Kia Garriques to find out what Innovera Yakov is really all about, why there is a buzz brewing around her and her magical world of Innovera Yakov. She shares with us some questions from the fans who love her best and answers many of the burning questions that they have.

Here are those all important answers that aim to demystify the myth of Innovera Yakov: The Journey of a Thousand Eyes:

Hi Kia, really like your book Innovera Yakov and I am really enjoying the character of Ayana as I feel that we are quite similar. Often, I feel that people often make decisions for me and so I liked how Ayana took control of her own destiny in the end. But, as I kept reading, I wondered whether her brother and Vinton are a figment of her own imagination? And isn’t Ryder rather than Vinton her real protector? Also why she is half white and half black?

Hey! I’m glad you love Ayana as she is my favourite character too! I am tempted to say that Vinton isn’t a figment of her imagination as later on he appears to everyone when they are leaving Innovera Yakov but I really wrote this story with the real intention of forcing the readers to question reality a bit more, for example what is real and what isn’t in life.

For me, Ayana represents the diversity in the world. My characters are all multi-coloured but no one makes a lot of reference to these differences at all. In fact, Ayana’s obsession with perfection is more to do with how she sees herself rather than how others see her. I don’t want to spoil it for the readers but throughout the book we see a girl constantly feeling ashamed of who she is, never strong enough, intelligent enough, pretty enough but ultimately it is her scars – that dirty thing that she tried so hard to get rid of was which brought hope to all around her.

I also wanted to highlight that inner voice – our own internal guide that we can sometimes miss or neglect to listen to. In a way, Vinton is like Ayana’s inner voice but whether he is a good or bad influence is yet to be seen. I cannot reveal anything about Ayana’s brother just yet and so you’ll just have to keep reading.

I love how confident and rude Blu Tara is! I would never have the courage to act in this way. On the other hand, Gamma seems to be very quiet and reserved and often isn’t very sure of herself. The complete opposite of her twin sister! So I was thinking…is Gamma even real? I mean, she seems to be very beautiful but doesn’t have much of a personality. Am I wrong?

kiagarriquesThis is a very interesting question and I can see why you would come to this conclusion. There are certain clues in the book about this. For instance, where are Gamma’s real friends and why does she seem so lifeless and easily influenced? What is her personality and what does she even stand for? On the other hand, Blue Tara is aggressive, daring and deadly. She goes after what she wants with such vigour and passion and often gets it. Many might question Gamma’s true existence because, the twins share one heart and whatever happened to one happened to the other.

Blue Tara does turn herself into Gamma to win the guy she wanted but who is the true host of that body and mind? Also, I have always believed in this quote – “the greatest enemy lies in the last place you will ever look to find it”. Ultimately Gamma didn’t even make it out alive in the end? Or did she? For me the twins represent dark matter and light matter- good and bad. Sometimes darkness prevails over light- or we are given this impression. You can only know the true winner if you make it to the end- so I do hope you read the next series to find out who the real winners are.

 I want to say that I love my boyfriend and so I don’t think I would survive very well in Innovera Yakov. Love seems to have a price here and is more of a distraction rather than anything else. Gamma and Krave are the only real couple and they seem to be happy together but I feel that their little moments are just taking them away from their bigger purpose in Innovera Yakov. Also, is merging a way for the characters to get intimate or is it just another supernatural moment in the book?

I am very glad that you are happy with your boyfriend and it takes a long time to find someone special like that. Trust me, that in real life, I would not want any person to experience the devastating effects of love in Innovera Yakov. Merging is not just about intimacy. For me, merging is about becoming one with that person when you finally give yourself to them and ceasing to exist as a singular soul. Currently, Gamma and Blu Tara are merged creatures as they are twins. This is why Blu Tara doesn’t want Gamma to merge with Krave as that leaves her life in peril.

I think in life the most precious gift you can give someone is love. It seems free and everyone think it is but it does have a price. It is not only about loving someone, it’s also about having an effect on someone. Love can be great or it can be deadly. Innoverans must choose wisely who they merge with because ultimately merging or on our world we call it being intimate with the wrong person is deadly and can cost them their lives. Love and intimacy is a toll that makes you stronger or weakens you if used.

If Gamma does exist then is she is actually the bad ‘twin’ sister In Innovera Yakov rather than Blu Tara if Ice is in love with her? Very confused as to why the pure character has been paired up with who seems to be the most evil of them all.

I strongly believe that perception is in the eye of the beholder. How one person views an object, or subject will not be the same for another person. I deliberately wanted to explore duality of meaning and perception and I think both twins play beautifully with this theme. I have had readers empathising with Blue Tara and loving her for the fierce person she is – claiming that she is misunderstood and was only looking out for herself because no one else was and everyone thought her to be evil.

I’ve had people condemning Gamma for being selfish and deliberately putting her sister at harm just for her own self interest. She knows falling in love with cost her sister and her life but she is so blinded by love that she cannot think rationally. But, I have had others saying that Gamma is good and Blue Tara is bad. What’s interesting is how that reader relates to their definition of good or noble and the emotions that can encourage someone to do corrupt things.

My question is, if your life was at risk- how far would you go to save yourself? It comes down to what each and every one of us stands for in life. The ultimate standoff is between us, our ideology and our desires.

The more I read it the more I feel that Innovera Yakov is not just another fantasy book. It’s quite nice to see that the characters are always aiming for a better life even though the world constantly makes it difficult for them. So, is Innovera Yakov about survival and how we can survive as humans?

You know I am a great believer of faith and hope. It’s all things unseen and that’s where the power of creation resides. Very few people try to understand this concept because we have been taught to believe in what is before us – what we can see. Throughout the book you will hear the characters talking about the journey. They know nothing of it but that it is a long and dangerous road and you don’t know how or whether you will survive it.

The only clue they have is that they must work hard and prepare themselves for that journey – be the best that they can be and leave everything else to the magic of the unseen. I think this more important than anything else that I get across. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or it’s not there. For a long time no one saw my vision but me. It was invisible but I could touch it- I would literally reach out and try to touch my dreams. This was enough to keep going even in the face of doubt and all the odds against me. I kept that journey of what I could be one day, right in my heart and I went after it. That’s what I want to say to anyone with a goal or dream that they feel is too big for them.

“You know I am a great believer of faith and hope. It’s all things unseen and that’s where the power of creation resides”

I think the ending in Innovera Yakov is brilliant although I literally wanted to kill Odors Apeno, apart from a few other people! You don’t really describe his physical appearance and I think that somehow, he must be similar to the Wizard of Oz. So is Odors Apeno actually human and is he controlling the commanding voice to all the students in the Learning Dome from a machine? Also, did he leave Innovera Yakov when the characters started to make their way to Verheer?

All will be reveal in the next book. If I answer this question now then that would be telling and I love to surprise people.

Towards the end of Innovera Yakov, we’ve lost Ryder, Gamma has been taken, Krave has no one to love and Ayana has lost all hope. So I wanted to ask you what’s next for Innovera Yakov?

I am tempted to tell you but I would urge you to wait for the second book in the series when all will be revealed. I can say one thing – it will be more explosive than before and no it will not be dumbed down! That’s for sure.

After reading your feature in Fault magazine, you have come across as a very diverse character. I love that you have Caribbean roots but you also have French and German roots. You also seem to focus a lot on your dreams and you are lucky that these dreams can provide you with an actual book. But what else do we not know about you?

I don’t know what to say. I am humbled by the fact that you have asked me. All I can say now is that I am very determined and one day, I hope to inspire others to be the best they can be in this world. Maybe one day, I can talk more candidly about my life. Today, I am just a normal girl going after her dreams and trying to make it happen. As long as I can touch one person, then I know that I have achieved something.

 You can follow Kia on twitter @kiagarriques or visit her at www.kiagarriques.com

 

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