Interview with Kacen Callender, Author of Infinity Alchemist

Kacen Callender is a bestselling and award-winning author of multiple novels for children, teens, and adults, including the National Book Award-winning King and the Dragonflies and the bestselling novel Felix Ever After.

I had the opportunity to interview Kacen, which you can read below.

First of all, welcome back to Geeks OUT! For readers who might be new to you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Kacen, a trans masc demiguy who spends about 70% of my time living inside the stories in my head.

What can you tell us about your latest book, Infinity Alchemist? What was the inspiration for this project?

One of the biggest inspirations was the desire to write a fantasy where there wasn’t a chosen one, or a special, magical group of people. In this world, everyone has the capability to be magical.

As a writer, what drew you to the art of storytelling, specifically speculative fiction?

I’ve always lived in the magical worlds in my head, so the stories and characters need a place to go. Luckily for me, I get to put those stories into books.

Growing up, were there any stories in which you felt touched by/ or reflected in?

I really loved Animorphs; that was the first time I saw a Black main character who wasn’t just a part of the supporting cast.

As a writer, who or what would you say are some of your greatest creative influences and/or sources of inspiration in general? 

Right now, meditation is my greatest source. More ideas are able to drop into my head, and there’s more clarity about what I want to write, versus what others might expect me to write. Meditation also fuels that creative energy, so that I feel like I can write for days.

Many authors would say one of the most challenging parts of writing a book is finishing one. What strategies would you say help you accomplish this?

I think the challenges are specific to every writer. For me, the biggest challenge is getting distracted by what I think others will want to see in the novels I write, instead of staying true to the story that wants to be told. Usually, that distraction takes me off course and makes it difficult to write the book. If I feel that familiar hesitation and uncertainty, I look back at what I’ve written and the plot I’ve planned, and ask myself if it’s really the story that I want to tell, making corrections that are more authentic to me.

What advice might you have to give for any aspiring writers out there?

Find your authenticity and stay true to the story that you want to tell.

Are there any other projects you are working on and at liberty to speak about?

I’m finishing up a YA mystery, published by Abrams and expected either next year or in 2026, and I’m working on the sequel to Infinity Alchemist.

Finally, what LGBTQ+ books/authors would you recommend to the readers of Geeks OUT? 

The Wicked Bargain by Gabe Cole Novoa!