Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Interview with YA Author Lisa Mantchev

She's here! She's here! Lisa Mantchev is here with us today!


Eek--I'm blowing it. I promised myself I'd be cool this time!  

*switches to serious interview mode*

*looks at the lovely Lisa and giggles uncontrollably*

*clears throat*

Okay, I can do this! *straightens posture* 

S: Thank you so much for visiting us today Lisa--I've been looking forward to this day for months! And since I know you're very busy and important, I'm going to jump right into the questions. Had you always planned for Eyes Like Stars to be a Trilogy? What were the challenges of plotting the story to spread across three books? How did you decide where Perchance to Dream ends? And do you feel guilty at all for making your fans wait a whole year from now to finally read the conclusion? :)

L: I ~never~ planned on writing a trilogy... In fact, my beta-reader teased me without mercy about writing an epic fantasy that spanned countless volumes, and I repeatedly told him shut the heck up. In the beginning, I was just trying to make it through writing a single book, and then realized I had at least four more major story arcs to contend with (the identity of Bertie's father/trying to rescue Nate, reuniting the family/settling the love triangle.) So Perchance To Dream ended itself with the resolutions to the questions I'd asked myself: who is Bertie's father, and does she rescue Nate?

Other than having some idea in my head as to where the story needs to go, I don't really plot ahead. Instead, I try to pull things in from the previous book(s) so that bits I've already used suddenly have more meaning and resonance.

Right now, I am up to my eyeballs in revisions on So Silver Bright (Book 3) and while I am thrilled that everyone is so enthused to read it, part of my brain is panting and wheezing, just trying to get it done!

S: Aw, I know what it's like to be up to my eyeballs in revisions, so I feel your pain. But the selfish fangirl in me says get crackin--we need So Silver Bright stat!!! :) Although it won't be good for my waistline. Your books ALWAYS make me want to snack as I read them--particularly on buttered toast and cake. Do you have the same problem as you write them? What is your snack of choice, and why?

L: I am terrible about nibbling... I like little things (trail mix, crackers, dry cereal, candy) that I can munch as I go. The bad part is realizing I just nommed my way through an entire bag of whatever and all I have to show for it is crumbs and a sore jaw!

S: I'm sure there's also an amazing story to show for it! One of my favorite things about your books is how distinct each character is. I can always tell who's talking before I read the dialogue tag. Are some characters easier to write than others? Who are the easiest to write? Who are the hardest?

L: The fairies are, hands down, the easiest to write. Their dialogue almost writes itself, because it's the snarky, wise-mouth stuff I always think and try not to say. Ariel's voice is the hardest, because I don't always know what that boy is thinking or what he might do next.

S: Ah...Ariel. *sighs* *drools* I'll admit--I'm TOTALLY Team Ariel. *pauses to let Team Nate whine and roll their eyes* I mean, Nate is great (hey--that rhymes!) but...he's no sexy Air Elemental. Now, I WANT to ask you what team you're on--but I know you'll do the noble thing and say something like "both," so I won't bother. I am curious about the challenges of writing such a compelling love triangle though. Do you worry about how to keep fans on both teams satisfied, when clearly only one can win?

L: It _is_ hard... trying to give the guys equal time on stage, so to speak, trying to make them equally compelling in different ways. I think I've noticed that readers are more likely to align themselves with one of the boys less because of something I've done and more because they are drawn to a particular archetype (which, honestly, takes a bit of the pressure off!)

S: Hm...so I guess that means I'm drawn to hot guys with long silver hair who can control the wind. I wonder what my husband would say about that...

L: .........

S: *stares into space to daydream about Ariel*

L: *shifts in seat* *clears throat* 

S: *blinks* Right. Sorry. *blushes* Back to the interview! You're one of my favorite people on Twitter--not just because you're hilarious--but because you're so great about responding to @replies, even from slightly strange blonde girls who threaten you with creamy onion face (LONG story! *coughs*) Which makes me wonder...how do you balance social networking with a busy writing schedule, self promotion, your family, plans for world domination, etc.?

L: Honestly, I don't feel like I balance it very well at all, some days. Right now I am having to prioritize the To Do List heavily in favor of revisions and an Incoming Baby/Family Life, which automatically means less time on Facebook and Twitter and my blog. I try to duck in various sites for a few minutes each day, just to say hi to everyone, but right about now I could use a clone or four to get everything done.

S: Ooo, if you figure out where to get one please let me know. I could use a clone or four these days too. And since a lot of my followers are currently unpublished writers--including myself--do you have any secrets you'd like to share to help us on our path? Is there anything you've learned along your journey that you wish you'd known at the beginning? Are there any mistakes new writers make that we should try to avoid?

L: I started off in short stories, so I was attending conventions and submitting to editors a long time before I ever approached an agent or tried to write a query. I think the important bit is to always think of yourself as a writer (we were ALL unpublished writers at some point in our careers!) and to treat the writing as a job, putting in the hours and behaving professionally with others.

S. Aw, that is such great advice. This is the publishing business after all. It's always important to be professional, and not do things like fawn and slobber all over your favorite authors when they visit your blog.

L: ...........

S: *clears throat* Rumor has it So Silver Bright is almost put to rest. I'll be good and refrain from asking for info (*grumbles about being impatient*) but I am curious if you have any plans for different projects. Is it strange thinking about new characters and worlds beyond the Theater Illuminata? 

L: I actually have a not-quite-steampunk (I jokingly refer to it as "Retrofuturist NeoVictorian") novel that needs another set of revisions. I started writing it between the first drafts of the second and third theater books while hanging out waiting for contracts and revisions letters. I was very aware of not wanting to repeat myself, especially with the characterizations of my female protagonist, but I think I have a thing for spunky girls.

S. Aw, I don't think you can ever go wrong with spunky girls. Besides, what Retrofuturist NeoVictorian novel would be complete without one? *grins* Okay, I've taken up enough of your day, but I would be completely remiss if I didn't ask about your other exciting news this year. How is your pregnancy going? Any cravings that would put your fairies to shame? Any names or updates you feel comfortable sharing? And where should we look for the official announcement once the happy day arrives? (*desperately hopes you'll post a baby picture*)

L: *glows and beams like all expectant mothers do* We're due in mid-August, and according to the ultrasound tech, having a boy. No name picked for certain yet... we want to see his little face before saddling him with a name (though, left to my own devices, I'd pick something old-timey English, like Sebastian. *G*)

The weirdest food thing I've done is eat almost an entire head of celery one stalk at a time, dipped in a jar of organic peanut butter. NOT something the fairies would touch with a ten-foot pole, I think!

The nesting has turned the house upside-down, mostly because it required swapping several rooms of furniture and cleaning out every closet. The nursery, which we'll finally get to start assembling decorating soon, will have a pirate theme.

When he arrives, the official announcement will certainly be splattered all over my blog and the other usual announcements... I am really bad at keeping good news to myself.

You better not keep it to yourself--some of us can't wait to eat a cupcake in his honor! (And no, I'm not just looking for an excuse to eat a cupcake. Well...not completely) 

Thank you SO much for stopping by Lisa--it's been a blast having you here (if you can't tell by my overall giddiness). And to everyone reading this, I can't emphasize enough how much I love these books. I also highly recommend you cyberstalk Lisa at any and all of the following places:

Be sure to stop by tomorrow as Lisa Mantchev week continues, and remember, I'll be giving away extra entries in this week's contest to everyone who leaves a comment on the posts. Which means if you want one more chance to win those amazing Lisa Mantchev prizes, leave me a comment today. And make sure you let me know what name you entered the contest under, so I can find your entries in the spreadsheet.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you back tomorrow! :)


  1. Wow what a rockin interview!!! Great job you two!! I love learning about new books and making sure to write them down to buy them! Series are awesome for me as well!

    I love how you never realized at the beginning you'd write a series for it, only trying to get the first book out! I feel like I can relate to that!

  2. Awesome interview.

    And Lisa, if you're reading congrats on the little one!

  3. LOL. Love the news of the new baby! ;)

    Great interview! Now I must go find a yummy cupcake to eat.

  4. Awesome interview!!!

    You are such a doll Shannon & Lisa you are lovely!

    So fun!

    Um you know my name ;o)

    Visit My Kingdom Anytime

  5. Thanks for the interview; I loved it. I liked hearing about the baby too.

  6. I really love the cover art on that book, which I know has nothing to do with the writer, but still.

    Anyhow, great interview.

  7. This was too fun! Shannon, your energy, enthusiasm, and humor could make a pet rock dance contest exciting! (Um...I have no idea where that came from)

    Great job, ladies! :-)

  8. Loved this interview. Fun!

  9. Fun interview, ladies!

    I too love the covers. Very pretty.

    I'm hoping for some luck, because I'd really like to win them!

  10. Such a fun interview! The two of you together were cracking me up. I love to hear both of your voices coming through...and now I totally want to read the book/series!

  11. Really great interview guys! You played off each other really well. Your fangirlishness worked great Shannon!

    This was so entertaining and I can't wait for her next book!

  12. I'm going to get EYES LIKE STARS this week and read it. I'm excited. Great interview Shannon! Congrats to Lisa on their little boy who's on his way. :)

  13. She is so nice! But ewww celery and peanut butter is a little gross. Now apples and peanut butter...yummm.
    Her books are on my list!!!

  14. That was a fun interview! Eyes Like Stars is on my nightstand. I haven't started it yet but I'm SO looking forward to it, even more so now :)

  15. Fun interview! And Lisa, so congrats on a boy! Very exciting. :)

  16. Amazing interview!! I'm really intrigued by that Retrofuturist NeoVictorian novel now >D Aww, she's having a boy! Sebastian would make a great name :)

  17. Awesome interview, Lisa and Shannon! Nate? Ariel? I totally need to get in on this!

  18. When you ladies figure out the whole clone thing, I'm in!

    I love the pirate themed baby room -that's awesome :)

  19. Great interview. I think I need to take your advice to balance the writing with social networking more.

    Can't wait to read more tomorrow.

  20. What a great interview! Very fun :)

    Ooh, and I have an award for you on my blog!

  21. su-hu-hu-per awesome interview =) oh, how I heart Lisa even more now!!!

  22. What a great interview!! How cute are you girlies? Love it!!

    (my name is pretty much the same everywhere) :)

  23. What a wonderful interview! I'm glad you rec'd this story Shannon, so now I can put it on the TBR list! :) (I should have a list of everybody's recommendations up on Monday)


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