Friday, 17 May 2013
Exclusive Interview with Amy Butler Greenfield, author of Chantress + Win a copy of Chantress and Swags (Intl)
Me : What inspired you to write Chantress, a historical YA fiction with elements of fantasy?
Amy : I’m fascinated by the past, and everything I write has some history in it. I’ve also loved fantasy fiction since I was small. Chantress is my way of putting those two favorite things together.
Me : Chantress was set during 1600’s England, how did you balance the elements of fantasy and the historical backdrop?
Amy : I set Chantress in the 1600s in part because I wanted to write about a time when everyone—even scientists—believed in the possibility of magic. But in Chantress, magic really exists, and of course that’s had an effect on everything: people, culture, politics, society. So the book is mostly fantasy, set in a world that’s a skewed version of 1600s England, with twisty streets and underground crypts and would-be alchemists—and a tyrant Lord Protector in the Tower of London.
Me : Would you like to tell us about your research on that era?
Amy : I was lucky enough to know the period really well before I ever thought about writing Chantress, so that was a huge help. But I still had plenty of questions crop up as I was drafting the book—about the clothes my characters wore, the foods they ate, the streets they walked on. I could find some answers in books, but sometimes I needed to go to museums and historic houses here in England to see things for myself—which was the best research of all.
Me : Would you like to share your experience in the way of publication?
Amy : Chantress is my first YA book and my first fantasy. I needed and wanted to write it, but it was so different from what I’d written before that I wasn’t certain it would ever sell. But once I was finally finished (which took years), I quickly connected with a wonderful agent, and within days of submitting the manuscript, we had competing bids coming in. It was very exciting!
Me : As Chantress is the first installment of a trilogy, would you like to share few words about the upcoming books?
Amy : I don’t want to give away any secrets, so I can’t say much! But I can promise you that Lucy and Nat will still be at the heart of the adventures to come, and that there are new things in store in Book Two, including one of my very favorite characters in the whole series.
Me : What is most difficult thing about creating a character?
Amy : Figuring out what really makes them tick. Sometimes the answers you get at first are the wrong ones, and you don’t learn the truth until a draft or two later. The other tricky thing is making a character consistent enough to be understandable, and yet unpredictable enough to be real.
Me : The magic in Chantress is based on music. Would you like to share your idea about developing such kind of magic? Is there any particular song that inspired you in doing so?
Amy : I didn’t have any particular song in mind, but I wanted the magic in Chantress to have a visceral power, and to me what expressed that best was music. And it felt right to me that it should be music without words, or at least no words as we understand them. The human voice is an incredible instrument, one that can makes us laugh or smile or shout or dance. It can bring us to tears or make us rejoice. And I loved the idea of a world where Chantresses could hear music in everything.
Me : How long did it take writing Chantress? Would you like to tell us about experience during writing the very first draft of Chantress. How different it was from the final version?
Amy : It took me two years to write the first draft of Chantress, and almost six years to get to the final draft. Part of that was because it was such a busy time: During those same years, I became a mom, I had a major health crisis, and our family made an international move. But what also slowed me down was that Chantress was a new kind of writing for me. The book went through a lot of drafts, and the first was very different from the last—but with each draft I understood the people and the world better.
Me : Any advice for the aspiring authors?
Amy : Read, read, read. Write, write, write. And when you write, be brave and be true to yourself!
Many thanks to Amy for time her time and consideration for this interview. Also, a humble thanks to her for offering a copy of Chantress along with some beautiful stickers and bookmarks. Please enter via the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open internationally.
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