The end of September is fast approaching, so we're winding up with the blogoversary posts. This time I have author Deva Fagan as my guest. Deva is the author of Fortune's Folly, which was just released this year. So here's my interview with her with my questions in bold.
Typing or longhand?
Definitely typing, now. Both because I type faster than I write longhand, and because I would go crazy if I couldn't back up each day's work. I did write my very first novel (which was quite terrible and full of purple prose and cliches) in two spiral notebooks when I was 12 though. It's fun now to look back at those and see all the doodles of dragons and maps sprinkled throughout!
What is your writing environment like?
Currently I write at my desk in our spare room, usually with my dog snoozing on his bed nearby and a cup of tea close at hand. I do most of my writing early in the morning so I sometimes light a candle for inspiration. I also have a postcard right below the monitor with an old photo of one of my favorite authors, Maud Hart Lovelace, writing at her own desk when she was a girl. And I always set my computer background to something thematically inspiring for my current project. Right now I have one of the beautiful Hubble images of the Orion Nebula, because my current project is about an intergalactic circus.
At the moment my desk is also cluttered with two cheap costume tiaras (for a panel on strong female characters I'm doing at the Bar Harbor Book Festival with fellow authors Erin Dionne and Megan Frazer), a recipe for lemon curd (I am throwing a tea party in October with some friends), a card from my wonderful husband congratulating me on my first book sale, a vial of orange perfume, and assorted owls (I like owls, and my family and friends know it!).
Here's a picture of what it looks like when I've cleaned up a bit.
Any other hobbies besides writing?
Too many! I love to cook (especially using local produce from the farmer's markets) and to work in my flower garden. I have dreams of getting together a regular Irish style ceili with other fiddlers in my hometown someday, but right now I'm lucky if I pick up a bow once a month. I love to read, of course. I also help run and participate in live-action gaming events, which is kind of like telling a giant collaborative story with some of the most creative people I know.
I understand you like to travel. What’s the best place you have ever visited?
I only discovered that my love of travel was more powerful than my fear of flying in the past 5 years, so I haven't actually been to a huge number of places. I kind of regret not taking more opportunities to travel before this! The trip that turned everything around was a wonderful week in Paris. It is such a beautiful city! The thing that surprised me most was how my favorite part of travel wasn't going to see the art or even the delicious pastries (which were amazing!). What I loved best was just wandering and absorbing the feel of the place: discovering funny streetnames (Rue du Chat qui Pêche, the "street of the fishing cat") and sitting in the Luxembourg gardens and watching all the people strolling hand-in-hand, or eating a picnic dinner, or walking their dogs.
We're actually going on another big adventure next month: Italy! I have never been before, but I spent a lot of time looking at pictures of Tuscany and Venice when writing Fortune's Folly (which is set in a fantasy world loosely based on renaissance Italy). I am really looking forward to seeing the real landscapes that inspired my book. And to eating lots of gelato and pasta!
Do you have a favorite fairy tale?
My favorite of the traditional western fairy tales is Beauty and the Beast. Partly because I like that the girl gets to be more proactive than in some other tales, and partly because it's the first fairy tale I remember reading as a novel re-telling (BEAUTY, by Robin McKinley).
Anything new in the works you can tell us about?
I have a second book coming out in the Spring of 2010 called THE MAGICAL MISADVENTURES OF PRUNELLA BOGTHISTLE, from Henry Holt. Here’s a blurb:
All Prunella wants is to be a proper bog-witch. Unfortunately, her curses tend to do more good than harm, and she hasn’t got a single stinking wart. When her mixed-up magics allow a sneaky thief to escape her grandmother’s garden, Prunella is cast out until she can prove herself a true bog-witch. It’s hard enough being exiled to the decidedly un-magical Uplands, but traveling with the smugly charming young thief, Barnaby, is even worse. He’s determined to gain fame and fortune by recovering the missing Mirable Chalice. And to get what she wants, Prunella must help him. But what if the aspiring villain and the would-be hero are on the right quest . . . for the wrong reason?
It was a very fun book to write, so I am thrilled to be able to share it. Plus, it has a giant alligator in it!
Thanks for coming by to celebrate. It's been fun!
Thank you so much for interviewing me! And happy blog anniversary!
For those of you who've never heard of Fortune's Folly, here's a trailer for you:
Deva likes searching for patterns, which is how she explains both her degree in mathematics and the echoes of old fairy-tales in her stories. She also loves tea, gardening, and playing the fiddle. She lives in Maine with her husband and her dog. You can visit her at her website.