DV: Tell us a bit about yourself!
K. K. Llamas: I’m a Filipino-American with schizoaffective disorder. My condition is a bit difficult to manage, so a good portion of my income comes from artistic endeavors, rather than traditional work. Right now I do a lot of watercolor.
DV: What inspired you to write “Carbon Transfer” for I Didn’t Break the Lamp?
KKL: I submitted on a lark, to be frank. I found out about the anthology and wrote it in an evening. The roommate situation is an amalgamation of former apartments and bad roommate stories from an old Facebook group I used to frequent. As for the more supernatural aspect, it draws partly from my own experiences with my mental illness.
DV: The characterization you give the two flatmates in your story feels very realistic and whole, even in a story with a relatively short word count. What do you think was the key to painting such a clear picture of these two young women with a limited amount of words?
KKL: Living with others tends to be a mixed batch; sometimes it’s great, and sometimes you’re sharing a small box with strangers. I thought about what makes a bad roommate, and not cleaning is the top of the list for a lot of people, followed by personality. It’s essentially distilling favorable and unfavorable traits and focusing on only details involving two contrasting personalities trapped in a glorified tuna can. Because the story has a confined space, in both word count and setting, I left everything out that could not fit.
DV: Without giving too much of your story’s plot away, the protagonist of your story treads a fine line between the real world and something else. Would you say that the “imaginary” acquaintance in your story is more real or more imaginary?
KKL: I left it open to interpretation–it could be entirely a fabrication of a young woman’s loneliness, or it could be something else entirely. I feel that the modern world has filed away a lot of the unknown’s teeth with science, so for me, it’s more real than not.
DV: If you had an imaginary friend growing up, what was their name, and what were they like?
KKL: I had one whose name I forgot. Jon? Jonathan something. He used to ride on top of the car when all the seats were occupied. I don’t remember much of him other than that he was very kind.
DV: What’s on the horizon for you?
KKL: I don’t write often, but this anthology has inspired me to submit to more. Right now I’m working on illustrating a graphic novel for a client, and by next year I’d like my own comic.Follow us online: