Takamine Kakeru, the published Japanese author of “How to Melt the Ice Queen’s Heart” said he’d join Reddit several weeks ago, and asked for advice gain more attention for his light novel. He’s known to be very active in interacting with his fans, and frequently responds to comments and messages over on Twitter. We reached out for an interview to try and introduce him and his work a bit to our fans, and we are happy to post it now! You can read the questions and answers he gave us below.
For starters, can you explain your choice for the title for your novel?
I tried to describe my novel concisely and accurately. I thought it would be a beautiful and wonderful title.
We’ve noticed that many light novel titles are extremely long. Why do you think that is?
That question is so great. This background is a long story to explain. Many Japanese readers now want the title alone to explain the entire novel. They use the title to decide whether to buy a novel or not, which is why a detailed explanation is required. Inevitably, there will be many long titles. I didn’t like that, so I made mine a short one.
Are there any light novels or authors that have inspired you and your story?
I can’t explain it in detail, but maybe if you read it you’ll understand. It’s one of my favorite novels and one of the few I’ve read.
You seem to enjoy a variety of video games as well. Are you currently playing any online games or have any games that inspired you in writing?
I play a lot of FPS. Specifically, APEX and VALORANT. Games that help me with my writing? They are just getting in the way of my writing lol.
Besides writing, you are also a VTuber. What originally made you interested in each of these topics?
Due to the COVID-19, I’ve been spending a lot of time at home. During that time, I got hooked on VTubing.
As both a writer and a VTuber, you must have quite a workload. How do you manage your time to be able to meet deadlines and also stream?
Well, I’m a VTuber as a hobby, so it doesn’t take up much of my time. I just write when I want, and stream when I want.
To follow that up, what’s the typical day of a light novel writer like?
I’m not a writer all day long. I’m basically a student, a gamer, and a comic book fan, so it’s hard to describe my day. I am living a free and easy life.
Have you ever experienced a “writer’s block” or a time where you had trouble finding inspiration? How do you deal with those?
You may be surprised to know that I’m not particularly motivated for writing novels. It’s tiring, it’s long, and I have so many other things to do. However there are many fans waiting for my work. I’m happy to say, not only from Japan, but also from overseas. The support from my fans is the biggest motivation for me to keep writing.
Have you ever changed your original plan about the story or a character based on an idea from someone else?
That’s hardly ever the case. If I listen to other people’s opinions, it’s not my work. The exception to this is to consult with your editor. They’re experts at it. But basically, I write novels based on my own ideas.
When working with the illustrator, what factors did you both consider when coming up with designs for the characters? Did you already have a specific image in mind for them?
We tried to create illustrations of the characters as they appeared in the novel. I have a specific image in my head, so it was difficult to explain it. However, Mr. Kagawa (my illustrator) was able to incorporate my image into the illustration perfectly.
When it comes to illustrations, do you instruct the illustrator on what to draw, or let them pick the best scene to work with?
The former is the correct answer. The author and editor will come up with an idea, and we will then ask the illustrator to draw it.
How would you describe the light novel community in Japan? Did you receive a lot of support?
The Japanese light novel community tends to favor the most popular works. That’s not surprising, though. That’s why unknown debutants like me are put in a tough situation. However, the fans are very passionate about their favorite works and so writers try to write great works and hope that the LN fans will like them.
Have you ever brought your work to LN events with other creators? How did it feel to meet fellow authors and share your work with new fans?
I don’t have that experience. I know a lot of the other writers, and I talk to them. Those connections are very meaningful.
We think that it’s really cool for an author to personally engage with their fans. What is it like to interact with international fans in comparison to Japanese fans?
Overseas fans are very passionate in their support. One of them replies to me every time, one of them summarizes information, and one of them introduces my work on his website. I feel very respected and much appreciated. For me, everything is new, fresh and fun. I should be grateful for SNS.
Is there any advice you would give to an aspiring writer or author?
Don’t stop writing. Enjoy your work and keep doing it. When a hobby becomes a pain, everything takes a turn for the worse. That’s why I think it’s important to have fun first.
What do you want readers to take out of or learn from your story?
The importance of communication. How wonderful it is to try to understand the other person.
What would you say to encourage people who are just starting out in reading light novels? As an author, is there anything in particular that you want people who are unfamiliar with light novels to know?
Reading and writing letters may not seem very interesting in this day and age. I actually feel the same way. Comics and games are more visually pleasing and simply more fun. However, there are some things that can only be expressed and enjoyed through novels. I hope you enjoy LN.
We would like to thank Takamine Kakeru-sensei for accepting to answer our questions. His novel “How to Melt the Ice Queen’s Heart will release in English early in June this year, which is when we’ll able to show our support!
If you think it sounds interesting, you can also read the synopsis for the story:
Asahi Kagami—a rather outgoing guy with a tendency to try to help anyone in need—happens to be neighbors and classmates with a girl named Fuyuka Himuro. At school, she’s been nicknamed “The Ice Queen” by her classmates, and for good reason: she prefers to keep everyone at arm’s length and seldom talks to others.
Neither Fuyuka nor Asahi have had a chance to interact with each other yet, but Asahi’s tendency to meddle in other people’s business slowly but surely marks the beginning of a relationship that blooms into something more…
This is a love story between two adolescents. It is a story filled with laughs, tears, and character-focused development.
You can also read more anime & manga stories here!