Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Interview with Lisa Mantchev...and giveaway!

As promised, here's an *exclusive* interview with the lovely and talented Lisa Mantchev, author of EYES LIKE STARS. (which I reviewed yesterday) No fairies were harmed in the process of this interview. (well, MUCH)

Susan:Eyes Like Stars is based in an art nouveau-style theater, which happens to be magical and populated with Shakespearean characters. Bertie, the main character, is kind of stuck there. Would you want to live in the Théâtre Illuminata? Who would be your favorite characters to hang out with?

Lisa: I would move there in a heartbeat. Seriously... a messy bed that disappears below the stage, Mrs. Edith to do my laundry for me, food appearing in the Green Room? Sounds like a frazzled writer's dream-come-true! And I'd probably spend the majority of my time with Bertie, the fairies, the comedic characters, because I love to tell inappropriate jokes and have a good laugh. Cue Beatrice and Benedick, if you please...

Susan: One of the primary themes of ELS is Bertie's search for herself: her past, and her future. I'd think this would relate to just about any teenage girl. Did you plan that as a theme, or did it just develop through the story?

Lisa: Bertie's search for her mother and herself was part of the novel from its earliest incarnation, but I wouldn't say I thought about it in terms of "theme" when I was writing (mostly because "theme" is one of those words that got used in my high school English classes that made everyone groan.) Once I'd revised the novel four or five times, I could see the self-discovery was integral in a way that will make movie trailer voice-over guys say things like:
"A girl without a past.... *cue dramatic swell of orchestrated music* will seek the truth beyond the footlights."

Susan: The pirates are yummy. Tell me about the pirates.

Lisa: Oh, Nate. Well, he's got the requisite ship, muscles, accent, earring, sword, and "interesting tattoo" but he really does spend more time offstage with Bertie and the fairies than on it buccaneering and shouting "Arrrr, matey." In fact, he'd probably look askance at anyone who ran up to him and yelled that. In a conversation with Dan Bostick, who's directing the Full Cast Audio version of ELS, we discussed the need for him to have pirate-lilt rather than sounding like Long John Silver. And while I'm a huge fan of Johnny's Captain Jack, Nate's origins have more to do with the pirates in Peter Pan than those sailing the Caribbean.

Susan: Obviously you've been in the theatre a lot. What's the favorite part you've played, and why?

Lisa: I played the Stage Manager in a production of Christopher Durang's The Actor's Nightmare. Not a huge role, but I gave her this super-high Brooklyn accent that deepened when she also got shoved onstage to act; she went from Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors to a husky-voiced homage to our department's movement instructor in one line, and the transformation made everyone howl.

Susan: I've always thought there was a parallel between the ability to lose yourself in a part and in your characters while writing. Agree? Do you think the skills tend to overlap, to some degree?

Lisa: Absolutely. Nine times out of ten, when a scene is flowing, it's because all the characters in it are yammering away in my head... then I'm just transcribing the crazy. And then the writing is just limping along, it's usually because one or more of them has taken a coffee break and wandered off to the Green Room without telling me.

Of all the characters, the one most likely to disappear is Ariel. There's just something about that boy that makes me want to staple his shoes to the floor.

Susan: What would you like to tell readers, about Bertie and Eyes Like Stars? C'mon. Make it juicy. Something sekrit that happened offstage, maybe?

Lisa: Oh, there is much juice to be had... and those sorts of behind-the-scenes/offstage moments are going to be a feature at the Théâtre Illuminata website. (note: also PRIZES!) I've decided to write up some flash fiction to tide readers over until the sequel. *runs before you kill me with sticks*

Oh, all right, here's one thing I haven't shared anywhere else: Nate gets 95% of his accent from Gerard Butler. OM NOM NOM.

Susan: WHEN OH WHEN is the sequel coming out?

Lisa: PERCHANCE TO DREAM will be out in the Fall of 2010, and the third book (yes, Virginia, it IS a trilogy!) will be out in 2011.


Now that you've fallen in love with the book and are dying to read it...I don't have an ARC to give you. WHY? Because I loved it so very much I promptly passed it on for others to love. Still, there's no fun doing an interview without giving away goodies. So instead of an ARC, I'm going to give the winner a choice of one of these 3 Shakespearean goodies, from

Shakespeare Action Figure!

Shakespearean insult mug!

Shakespeare magnetic poetry kit!

Rules: Contest will be open until midnight MST Thursday, June 25th. You get one entry for posting a comment on this blog, and an additional entry for linking to the contest/interview on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog (just include the links in your post below, or send me an email at susan dot adrian @ entry for each proved posting! Winner must be in North America, due to shipping costs.

Let's spread the word about this fabulous book!


Linda G. said...

Sounds like a fantastic book! I'm sure an old theater broad like myself will love it -- can't wait to buy & read it.

Precie said...

Oh, that sounds like so much fun! Must add that to my Amazon wish list! Thanks for the great interview too.

BN Book Blog said...

The book is AMAZING!!!! We adored it. Thanks for the great interview and we tweeted about it (we're bnbookblog).

Beth & Nathan

Retard-O-Bot said...

Oh, love it! tweeted and blogged it!

Tweet: a_digital_waste



shelburns said...

What a great interview! I would have to join Lisa in the green room and with the fairies as they are my favorite characters from the book. I too wouldn't mind if Ariel disappeared!

shelcows AT gmail DOT com

shelburns said...

Tweeted about this!

Jonathan E. Quist said...

Sounds like a fascinating premise, Lisa.

Did you have a specific theatre in mind as constructed the Théâtre Illuminata, or is it a composite of theatres you know? (Or, did you just whip it up of whole cloth?)

p.s. Hi, Susan. Haven't been tweeting lately, but I'll be back...