What inspired you to write a novel for young adults?
The teenage years get a bad rap in our society, which I think it's too bad. I actually liked being a teenager, mostly. It's a time when you're starting to feel like you can handle the adult world, which is exciting and confusing, and yet you're enough of a child that a good book can still move you in a really deep, down to the core way. (This can still happen to an adult, but it's more difficult.)
Besides that, the young adult market is just a great place to be. So creative, so welcoming.
Are you currently working on any other books?
I'm about to start working seriously on the Magic Under Glass sequel. I've already started poking at it. My next book has been turned in and I'm waiting for edits -- it's about a mermaid whose childhood friend was a winged boy and they meet again when she goes looking for her sister, who ran off with a human. There is a theater show, a setting based on late 18th-century Italy, and more of a Jane Austen vibe.
Personally, what's your favorite YA book?
Anything Kristin Cashore or Maggie Stiefvater, Kenneth Oppel's Airborn trilogy, Clare Dunkle's Hollow Kingdom books, A True and Faithful Narrative by Katherine Sturtevant...so many good ones. Did you really only want one? =)
Who inspired you to start writing?
No one, really. I started writing as soon as I could write. Even before, actually, because my mom used to write down stories I would dictate when I was three. So, she was very encouraging and I must give her the most credit, but I was crazy about books from the moment my consciousness of the world went beyond food and grabbing shiny things. When I was two I fell down the stairs and had to get stitches. Why was I running up the stairs so fast? I was excited to get home and play with the typewriter...(I know, I know, I sound almost annoyingly precocious.)
Is the final cover what you imagined it looking like while writing?
Not exactly, although not that far off either. I imagined a girl in a lovely historical costume, maybe standing in some dark and mysterious corridor, holding a key. But, my partner Dade thought they would do the bell jar. So, it was pretty close to what we were talking about. I thought it would be darker looking. Apparently the book just does not read as dark as I thought it did. The UK cover was more of a surprise, but a lovely one!
Did you put any traits of people you know in real life into your characters?
No... not really. I don't really do that often like some writers do. I am more likely to draw from characters in other stories than people I know. Not to say I NEVER do it, but it's not a major inspiration.
Where did you get the idea for the automaton? Did you have to do any research on automatons before writing?
Well, I have always written stories about what I call "created beings" from the time I was a kid. I have a race of living doll people, and I've written about various "robots-with-souls" and things. Erris is really just a Victorian version of a robot with a soul. I did do a lot of research, reading books and websites. I watched Youtube videos of 18th and 19th century automata many times. The way Erris moves as an automaton is based in large part on an automaton called "The Musician", built by Jaquet-Droz in the 18th century and displayed at the court of Marie Antoinette.
The characters names are pretty unique, where did they come from?
Most character names pop right into my head. In Magic Under Glass, I also wanted them to imply a certain ancestry. The countries are not the same as countries on Earth, but I did think loosely of real countries in the attempt to make the names sound like they came from different places. So Hollin Parry is "British" and Garvin Pelerine is "French"; both Annalie Swibert and Karstor Greinfern come from a more Germanic region, and of course Nimira Safei is meant to evoke some eastern country. But lest some linguist shake a finger at me, I must warn you that I didn't do any research on names or languages... it's all about the sound of the syllables evoking the character and their background to me.
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