Thursday, January 7, 2010

Interview with Daniel Nayeri

Let's welcome one half of the dynamic duo who made Another Faust possible: Daniel Nayeri.

Tell us about research for the book. Did you travel around the different cities to get a feel for how life is?
Well, Dina and I have lived in all the locations we mention in the books, so thankfully we were sticking to the old adage, “write what you know.”

Tell us more about the Faustian bargain.
I have always liked the pre-Renaissance paintings of people in woods making deals with the devil. One, because back then they thought you had to kiss the devil’s butt in order to seal the deal…so, instant childish humor right there, and in a museum no less. And two, because it showed people in the woods at night, dancing with the devil. That always made sense to me, the idea that the bargain isn’t just a one-time exchange. It’s not so clear-cut. It’s more like building a relationship, communing with the devil over a long period of time, in order to get something you want. In the images, the devil dances in front of everyone, tantalizing them on. That’s one reason we had Vileroy staying with the kids, continuing them down the path she wants for them. It wasn’t just, “sign on the dotted line…great, and now your soul, please. And here’s your change.” It’s over the course of a whole life.

If you could make your very own Faustian bargain, what would you make it for?
I should probably come up with a better answer for this, but I don’t have one. I’m a huge fan of rice pudding….

*hands rice pudding* Why did you choose to focus on five kids?
Five adults would be boring. Five chickens would make for terrible dialogue.

How was the writing process? Was it hard working together? I imagine there must have been squabbles, as can be seen here. :P
Yeah, we squabble a lot. Thankfully, we have our mom to arbitrate. And when that doesn’t work, we consume a lot of chocolate. No kidding. You start to feel all those endorphins rushing through your system, and all the squabbling just melts away.

Who's your favourite character, and why?
Buddy. All the kid’s gave up their souls, sure, but of all of them, you get the feeling Buddy lost the most.

What song would you attribute to each of the major characters? It'll be the one song that (if this is a movie) will play when the character is introduced to the viewer for the first time, in slo mo.
Nicola Vileroy – Welcome Home by Coheed and Cambria
Victoria – Skullcrusher Mountain by Jonathan Mountain
Valentin – The Feel Good Drag by Anberlin
Christian – All that I’ve Got by The Used
Bice – Heaven Forbid by The Fray
Belle – Flashing Lights by Kanye West

Do the children miss their families?
I don’t think many of them remember their families. It might have been included in the part they gave up.

Did they make the wish consciously, or did they make it without knowing? Why did they have to leave their families?
Well, they definitely had to leave their families. I think the devious part of Vileroy’s way is that she meets you where you are. And she’ll let you make the decision however you like.

Let's talk about the governess. What was Madame Vileroy before she became what she is now? Was she ever a human, or an overambitious demon who doesn't now when to cut her losses? Are there many of her kind, or better yet, only one of her but in many different forms?
Vileroy can take on a whole lot of forms, but that doesn’t mean she’s the only one. I think she has plenty of rivals, friends, and superiors that may rear their ugly (pretty?) heads in the future.

What does the red and blue box represent?
My favorite poem has the line, “…there will be time / to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.” I think the boxes represent something like that, the façade that the children had to build to interact with their peers.

Did Belle know what she was giving up, and made that choice anyway?
I think like most of us, Belle didn’t exactly think through all the consequences of her desire.

Tell us five good to know facts about you.

  • I dated my college sweetheart for 8 years before we got married a year ago.
  • Pink is my favorite color (my pink Converse are my favorite piece of clothing).
  • I have a cat named Kitten-Bear who head butts me every time I come home.
  • I’m a huge comic book, video game, board game geek.
  • I have a scar on my nose where I picked my chicken pox in the third grade.

Thanks for the interview, Daniel!

Cross-posted at: LiyanaLand! on 23 August 2009.


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