It's my pleasure to announce today my guest is Marissa Doyle, author of Bewitching Season and it's newly released sequel Betraying Season. And can I say before we go on that I love, love, love the covers of both books! Okay, tangent over now. You'll find our interview below with my questions in bold. So without further ado, take it away Melissa!
How is being a published author different that you thought it would be? Or is it exactly what you thought it would be?
I think it's a little hard to understand post-published life when you're unpublished. Because you're so intensely focused on that goal of receiving "the call", it's easy not to think about what happens after... and what happens after is just more writing, complicated by things like doing publicity and worrying about reviews. It's like anything in life--once you achieve a goal (getting published), new goals appear to replace it (like staying published!) But you do gain a certain sense of accomplishment and validation--after all, selling a book doesn't happen to everyone--and that can help you through the black moments that all writers have.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Being able to tell the stories I have in my head. Being able to create for a living. Not having to be "on" all the time--very important if you're an introvert. Being able to wear whatever I want to work (no pantyhose!) Being my own boss--yes, I have to satisfy my agent and editor, but I have to be happy with my work first.
No pantyhose would definately be a plus for me. Do you base your characters off of real people?
Not off whole real people, if that makes any sense...but I think all writers borrow aspects of real people, be it appearance (a lot of writers scan magazine and catalogues to find images of what they think their characters look like) or quirky behaviors (which is why writers often love to people watch) or individual characteristics/aspects of personality. I think writers will often have a character in their head already and maybe borrow some of the above aspects from real people they've observed--yes, I've done that. But I've never transplanted all of a real person into a character...that's no fun!
From your bio it sounds like you’re a regular history buff. Any particular time period you enjoy studying more than most?
I'm not so much a regular history buff as a super-sized, over-the-top, fully-fledged history geek. One of the things I loved most about writing historical YA is getting the chance to show teens that history isn't just dry boring dates and lists of events--it can be vital and fascinating and full of juicy stories. I co-host a blog with fellow author Regina Scott called Nineteenteen (http://nineteenteen.blogspot.com) that focuses on 19th century teen life and culture--and yes, I have to say that I love late 18th and 19 century English history, though early American history also fascinates me as does Tudor England (my first love, back when I was a kid).
Tudor England was definately my first love too. Still is. Now I have this thing where I ask about pets. So what can you tell us about your fondness for rabbits?
Buns rule! They're the perfect pet for a writer since they don't bark, can be litter-box trained, and generally sleep during my peak writing hours (9am-3pm). And they're just ridiculously cute and snuggly and loving and full of personality, once you learn how to read them. Rabbits are not at all like cats or dogs--they have a completely different way of communicating since they don't vocalize (though they do "purr" when happy by lightly clicking their teeth!). It's been fascinating to learn their language.
We discovered rabbits by accident. I'd always been a vehement cat person, but my husband and son are allergic to them. We'd more or less resigned ourselves to being petless when my son's teacher asked for a volunteer to baby-sit the classroom's pet rabbit over a holiday weekend. We volunteered, were captivated and found that no one was allergic, and resolved to get a pet bun. Our first bun, Simon, had a marked fondness for Cheerios and always sat in the stereo's "sweet spot" whenever we played Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado"--he just loved it.
We were devastated to lose our beloved French Lop Maple this summer after a long illness, and shortly will be searching for a new bun (or buns--it may take two to fill his place) because the house feels empty without a furry creature in it.
Wow. Can I say cute overload? I need to get a bunny now! Any plans to branch out into other genres?
I hope so! My editor is looking at a YA fantasy (not historical) of mine right now, and I do have a few adult contemporary fantasies on my hard drive that I'd love to see published some day. But I think YA will always be my first love.
Can you give us any sneak peeks into what you’re currently working on?
I'm nearly done with the as-yet-unnamed prequel to Bewitching Season and Betraying Season due out in 2010 or 2011, which is set during the end of the Napoleonic Wars and features Persy and Pen's mother Parthenope as an important character. Here's a blurb I wrote for it...if anyone is inspired to come up with a great title, please let me know!
It's the spring of 1814 and the girls of England are rejoicing: Napoleon has been defeated and the young men of the army can come home again...and just in time for the balls and parties of the Season, too!
18-year-old Lady Sophie Rosier can't quite join in their glee--what young man will fall for a cripple who must walk with a cane, no matter how pretty and well-born she is? And then there's that small matter of her being a witch...but she certainly isn't about to advertise that fact. Why, oh why, couldn't she just be like everyone else?
Then to her surprise she gains a very eligible suitor in Lord Harry Orford...but does he love her, or just feel sorry for her? And why, now that the War is over, is somebody doing their best to kill off members of the War Office, including Sophie's father? Only Sophie and her new best friend Parthenope can find out...because only they know that the assassin is using magic. And it looks like Sophie might be next on their list...
Sounds like a great book! I'll be keeping my eye out for that one. And thank you for the interview Melissa!
Marissa Doyle originally planned to be an archaeologist but ended up as a writer. But she's okay with that, because both careers allow her to explore the past and bring back to life the people who lived (or might have lived) there. She lives in her native Massachusetts with her family, a ludicrous number of books and antiques which she of course buys purely for research purposes, and a bossy pet rabbit. You can visit her at her website or at the blog on nineteenth century teen life that she shares with fellow 2k8 author Regina Scott
And here's another contest for you lucky bugs were were smart enough to read the whole interview. I have a brand new paperback copy of Bewitching Season to give away to one luck winner. And two runners up with get a super awesome wooden fan advertising Marissa's historical blog mentioned above. I wanted to post a picture, but my camera was being stupid, so take it from me: these fans are cool, and you will want one. So to enter, just leave me a comment.
+1 for comment (make sure you mention that you want to be entered)
+5 for leaving a book title idea that I can give to Marissa for her newest book (see above)
+1 for linking to the contest (MUST post a direct link to count)
Rules: The contest is open until September 30th, 2009. This contest is open internationally! The winner will be chosen by a random number generator. Rules about claiming prizes can be found here.