Category: Interview

Blog Tour: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter [Q&A]

Posted June 29, 2017 by Stephanie in Blog Tour, Interview / 0 Comments

Blog Tour: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter [Q&A]The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss
Published by Saga Press on June 20th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, Retelling, Mystery
Pages: 416
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Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.
Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.
But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.
When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

Q&A

How did you come up with the idea behind The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter?

I’ve always loved Victorian gothic fiction, by which I mean books like Dracula, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Island of Dr.Moreau. I first came up with the idea for this novel while trying to finish a PhD in English literature, writing a doctoral dissertation that asked why there were so many stories about monsters published in 1870-1910, a period we call the fin-de-siecle. This is the period that gave us Count Dracula, Dr. Jekyll, the Beast Men of Dr. Moreau, the vampire Carmilla, and the Martians that invade in War of the Worlds. As I was studying these sorts of narratives, I noticed something strange: in many of them, a mad scientist tries to create a female monster. Sometimes he succeeds, sometimes he fails, but in the end the female monster almost always dies. And in most of these stories, she never even gets to speak before her inevitable demise. I started wondering why, and more importantly, I started feeling as though it just wasn’t fair. How come the Puma Woman in Island of Dr. Moreau never gets to say anything before she escapes, kills Moreau, and is herself killed? I mean, I want to hear from her . . . And that’s where the novel came from, that desire to hear what the female monsters have to say. Some of my characters also come from classic monster narratives published earlier in the century, but they are all the female monsters who didn’t get to tell their own stories–until now.

Were there other literary classics that you considered using? If so, why did you choose the ones you did?

Yes, there were, and some of those will appear in the sequel!  I chose which ones to include in the first novel because of the characters. For example, I’ve always been intrigued by Beatrice in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” in which Dr. Rappaccini raises his daughter in a poisonous garden so she becomes imbued with poison herself. I mean, wouldn’t you want to hear from her? And in the novel Frankenstein, Victor starts to create a female monster, but disassembles her and throws her body parts into the sea because he doesn’t want her mating with his male monster. It’s a powerful image: there he is, literally taking her apart, limb by limb. What I remember thinking, when I read that, is This is so unfair! Maybe she wouldn’t even have liked the male monster? Maybe she would have wanted something entirely different for herself? He never created her, so she could never tell us. I chose the characters I wanted to write about, the ones whose stories I wanted to tell. But some other classic monster narratives will appear in the second book.

Do you want to write more in this world?

Yes, absolutely! Writing about this world (imaginary late nineteenth-century London) was a real challenge, because I had to do a lot of research–I went to London twice, over two summers, and did a lot of reading as well as online research. There were days when I crawled around on the floor, with two maps spread out, of both modern and Victorian London, trying to figure out the different locations where events would take place and how long it would take my characters to get between them. But it was so much fun! At the moment I’m revising the second novel, which takes my characters to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, so I had to do a lot of research on nineteenth-century continental travel. I had to learn about passport requirements and the exchange rates between English pounds, French francs, and Austrian krone. Also, I had to go to Vienna and eat cake. For research, of course . . .

What’s a typical writing day like for you?

I actually don’t have a typical writing day! I also teach academic writing at Boston University, as well as creative writing in the Stonecoast  MFA program, so every day is a juggling act. I have classes to prepare and teach, papers to grade, students to meet with. I guess my typical writing day consists of a bunch of teaching tasks, and then fitting in writing everywhere I can, into every spare corner! Sometimes I write early in the mornings, sometimes late at night (or late into the morning!), sometimes on planes going to conferences, sometimes sitting up in bed and falling asleep on my notebook . . . The good thing about this is, I’ve learned to write anywhere, anywhen. The bad thing is, I’m tired a lot!

What was your favorite piece of research while writing The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter?

I think it was going to the Hunterian Museum in the Royal College of Surgeons, near Lincoln’s Inn Fields. It houses a collection of anatomical specimens–basically, body parts in jars. In the Victorian era, they were used to educate medical students, but also displayed as objects of curiosity–Victorians were fascinated by the grotesque (as, admit it, are we!). Honestly, it’s a bit gruesome walking among shelves filled with tumors in jars, or examples of embryonic development gone wrong, because of course a collection for medical students will focus on diseases and abnormalities. But it’s also a fascinating glimpse into who we are as human beings, at how complicated our bodies and their processes actually are. And of course it gave me a great setting for an important scene in the novel.

What is your go to writing drink and snack?

I have to be very strict with myself, because it’s so easy to snack while writing. You’re expending a lot of energy thinking, and yet you’re not exercising at all, except for your fingers. So my writing drink is water. If I must have a snack, I usually choose something like graham crackers and dark chocolate broken into small squares, because if you have to eat multiple pieces, you can fool yourself into thinking that you’ve eaten a lot before you’ve eaten too much. I love writing, but I have to be honest about the fact that it’s not a very healthy activity. I do physical therapy to deal with repetitive motion problems, and I’m careful about snacking. This is not the glamorous side of the writing life! When you see a ballet, you don’t think about the ballerina’s feet–similarly, when you read a novel, you don’t think about the writer sitting in front of the computer, late at night, in pajamas, trying to eat graham crackers without getting crumbs on the keyboard. And you shouldn’t–we’re in the business of creating wonderful illusions. But that’s a glimpse of what it looks like behind the scenes!

About the Author

Theodora Goss’s publications include the short story collection In the Forest of Forgetting (2006); Interfictions (2007), a short story anthology coedited with Delia Sherman; Voices from Fairyland (2008), a poetry anthology with critical essays and a selection of her own poems; and The Thorn and the Blossom (2012), a two-sided novella in an accordion format. She has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, Locus, and Mythopoeic Awards, and on the Tiptree Award Honor List. She has won the World Fantasy and Rhysling Awards.

LINKS: Website | Twitter 

Tour Schedule

Week 1:

6/26: TV, Books, & More … Oh My! – Top 10 Secret Societies

6/27: Resch Reads and Reviews – Makeup Looks

6/28: Wandering Bark Books – Guest Post

6/29: In Wonderland – Q&A

6/30: Avid Reader – Review 

Week 2:

7/3: Books Are Love – Q&A

7/4: Reading Is Better With Cupcakes – Review

7/5: Just Commonly – Review

7/6: Miranda’s Book Blog – Guest Post

7/7: The Book Return – Review

Let’s talk about it!

Stephanie
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Interview with Victoria Scott!

Posted March 2, 2017 by Stephanie in book blitz, Interview / 0 Comments

Interview with Victoria Scott!Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott
Published by Entangled TEEN on May 2nd 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller
Pages: 300
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DOMINO: A runaway with blood on her hands.
CAIN: A silent boy about to explode.
MADAM KARINA: A woman who demands obedience.
WILSON: The one who will destroy them all.
When Madam Karina discovers Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position inside her home for entertainers in secluded West Texas. Left with few alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam’s approval. But after suffering weeks of bullying and unearthing the madam’s secrets, Domino decides to leave. It’ll be harder than she thinks, though, because the madam doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn’t know about the person living inside Domino’s mind.
Madam Karina doesn’t know about Wilson.

What was it like to write a psychological thriller like Violet Grenade? (Did it ever make you feel crazy?)

As opposed to not feeling crazy? You do know I’m a fiction writer, correct? Ha! It was a blast writing a psychological book. Challenging, to be sure, but fun. As far as the “thriller” aspect, I’ve always tried to weave in that sensation of needing to turn the pages faster in all my stories, so that part felt familiar.

You’ve written books in a few different genres, what was your favorite genre to write and why?

I think each new genre I write becomes my current favorite because it feels fresh. And everything I’ve done in the past feels like an ex-boyfriend—Fun at the time, but also ancient history. Then again, the farther I get away from a genre, the more it becomes enticing again. Much like looking at past relationships through rose-colored lenses once old wounds have healed.

What is your favorite thing to do during the writing process, i.e.: brainstorming, plotting, writing, editing, Pinterest, etc. and why?

Drafting is probably my favorite, but only after I slowed down on how many words I tried to put on the page each day. I used to write 2+ books a year, and drafting was taxing then. Now that I write one manuscript a year, it’s become more of a treat to sit down and have creative time.

What was your favorite character to write in Violet Grenade?

Without a doubt, that character is Wilson. Wilson is the voice inside our main character, Domino’s, head. She has a rather heavy, tragic past, and Wilson was created during that time to protect her from those memories, and from what happened to her. But he has a personality, and opinions, that are his own. I love his snarky side, and the way he protects Domino.

What was the most difficult thing you encountered while writing Violet Grenade?

Probably balancing the fact that this is a modern, contemporary story, but that this house Domino goes to live in feels fantastical. I wanted this tell this story in a way that would sweep readers to another place, while keeping one foot on solid ground. That was difficult.

About the Author

Victoria Scott is the author of eight novels including Titans, Fire & Flood, Salt & Stone, the Dante Walker trilogy, Hear the Wolves (March 2017), and Violet Grenade (May 2017). She is published by Scholastic and Entangled Teen, and is represented by Sara Crowe of Pippin Properties.

Victoria’s latest novel, Titans, received two starred reviews, and Fire & Flood has been selected as a 2017 Spirit of Texas Reading Program book. Victoria’s novels have been bought and translated in fourteen foreign markets. The author currently resides in Philadelphia, and loves hearing from her readers.

Victoria Scott Links:

Let’s talk about it!

Stephanie
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Interview with Kay Honeyman for Interference

Interview with Kay Honeyman for Interference

Posted September 23, 2016 by Stephanie in Interview, Spotlight / 1 Comment

Today we have the lovely opportunity to get to know Kay Honeyman a little better with an interview! Author Links: Website || Twitter || Facebook || Pinterest|| Instagram What made you give the main character, Kate, a political background? I find politics fascinating. And somewhat omnipresent in life. On a large scale there are the […]

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Blog Tour: Pasadena [Interview]

Blog Tour: Pasadena [Interview]

Posted September 19, 2016 by Stephanie in Blog Tour, Interview / 1 Comment

Interview with Sherri L. Smith 1. What made you want to write YA Mystery? Mysteries are awesome! They are the ultimate expression of curiosity—what happened, and why? Those are the questions that make you turn the page and keep tuning in. Add a life or death situation, and who could say no? I’ve actually tried […]

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While It Lasts [Review & Interview]

While It Lasts [Review & Interview]

Posted February 14, 2015 by Stephanie in Interview, Review / 0 Comments

Title: While It Lasts Author: Paige Rion Series: Callaway Cove #2 Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance Pages: 174 Published By: Paige Rion, January 20, 2015 Where To Get:   A loan shark that doesn’t bite? Rachel Beaumont discovers her mother’s gambling debt has put their family in danger of losing their money and social status. It’s up to Rachel to do anything […]

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