Friday, January 8, 2010

A Magical Inspection: Jackie Dolamore

Hi Jackie! What was your inspiration for writing Magic Under Glass?
Various aspects of Victorian culture and "secrets in the house" novels like Jane Eyre, The Secret Garden, and Rebecca.

I read that you wrote this while querying for another book. How did that turn out?
I think I had mostly finished querying my first novel when I started writing this one, but in between drafts of Magic Under Glass, I wrote and queried another novel. No one wanted to see that one. I think it was for the best... that other novel was very near and dear to my heart -- probably too near and dear for a debut. It is also kind of a quirky book, probably better for the future. I'm actually finishing a rewrite of it now.

The tone of Magic Under Glass is really unique. How would you describe it?
That's a hard question... frankly, I'm so close to my writing that I'm not sure my perception is always the best. I'll get to that in a minute with question about family and friends reading my writing... but, I was going for a tone that was evocative of the 19th century while being clear, and holding a bit of magic.

How concerned are you then with the tone and the shape when you're drafting? Are you simply writing to find a story, assuming that you're going to go back and change everything later?
I don't write crappy first drafts (on purpose). I outline, although the outline always changes, and as I tell the story, it's important to me to have the feel of the story right from the start -- details of setting, beauty of language... and, if I hit a point where I realize the story has gone off course, I have to go back and make all those changes right then. With the last novel I finished, when I wrote the end, it was basically done. I had already been going back over the bulk of the novel to shape it many times, so I just polished up the end and sent it off!

There’s a rich history about Nimira’s homeland, and about the wall that went up between Nimira and Erris’s countries that might (will?) be explained more in book 2. Was it mirrored after any country in real life.
Well, the wall went up between Erris's country and Lorinar, not Nimira's home country, or maybe that's what you meant. Nimira's country draws from aspects of many real countries, including China, Japan, Thailand, India, and the Middle East (my grasp of cultural nuance there is not as fine as Asia, you'll have to forgive me for lumping it together). That's really broad, but I wanted the exact inspiration to remain vague, so you can't draw a total parallel to a country on earth.

Is there going to be a book 2? Can you give us a hint?
Okay, disclaimer: it's a little awkward right now because Bloomsbury has not bought a sequel yet. So, I don't want to sound presumptuous and say there will be one. But, considering my editor wanted me to revise with a sequel in mind, it would be pretty weird if they didn't publish one. So don't panic when you get to the end!

Too late, Jackie.

I *have* already started poking at a Magic Under Glass sequel. I can tell you that while the first book is about starcrossed lovers getting out of a hopeless situation, the second book is about what happens when starcrossed lovers really get to know each other...

If you could choose one fictional character to bring into real life,who would you choose?
Well, it would have to be one of my own. One of my own from unpublished works, Det Arianni. Because I know he would invite me over and make me wonderful food and I would just be dying that he really existed. I mean, can you meet your own character? Or do you explode like meeting yourself while time traveling?

Have you ever written something that you feel uncomfortable writing, knowing that your family and friends will probably end up reading it?
Okay, it's a funny thing. When I wrote Magic Under Glass, I thought, ooh, it's so dark and sexual and gothic and it has all these politics in it, and there are some people I'm so nervous about reading it, and then it goes out into the world, and it's like "a magical novel that would be perfectly fine for precocious 10-year-old!" and "it reminds me of a Disney movie!" Which, I don't mind at all. But it was a funny lesson about how much I project into a book in my mind and don't actually put on the page, apparently...

What is the strangest thing you have ever gotten inspiration from?
I definitely get inspiration from weird things. I mean, a major inspiration for Magic Under Glass originally was the TV show Lost. Would you guess that in a million years? No, probably not. It just made me think about making a plot more twisty.

Are there any upcoming projects that you can tell us about?
Well, my next book is about a mermaid and a winged guy who was her childhood friend, meeting again after years apart when she goes looking for her sister who ran off with a human. That one is with my editor. So that is definite. Right now I'm finishing that aforementioned quirky novel about a girl whose mother was a potion maker in another world, telepathy, the "potions Mafia", and living doll people. I don't know a good way to explain it.

Potions Mafia? Why does Severus Snape come to mind? Thanks for the interview Jackie! Anything you’d like to say to the readers?
Thank you so much for reading this interview, and thank you doubly if you go read the book! I'm so lucky to tell stories for a living, but it wouldn't be any good without you all to read them.

Jaclyn Dolamore
Cross-posted at: LiyanaLand! on 21 December 2009.


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