Friday, October 02, 2009

Freebie Friday with Marissa Doyle

Happy October!

This month, we're going to go supernatural with our Freebie Fridays. To kick it off, I'm pleased to bring you Marissa Doyle, whose magical YA novel, BETRAYING SEASON hit the shelves this week.

Marissa studied archeology and history in college, and loves bringing the past alive in her writing. She lives in historic Massachusetts with her family and what she calls a "ludicrous number of books" and has a love for rabbits.
BETRAYING SEASON is the sequel to book one of the Leland sisters' adventures, BEWITCHING SEASON. Here's the book blurb:

Penelope (Pen) Leland has come to Ireland to study magic and prove to herself that she is as good a witch as her twin sister, Persy. But when the dashing Niall Keating begins to pay her court, she can’t help being distracted from her studies.

Little does Pen know, Niall is acting upon orders from his sorceress mother. And although it starts as a sham, Niall actually falls deeply in love with Pen, and she with him. But even if he halts his mother’s evil plan, will Pen be able to forgive him for trying to seduce her into a plot? And what of Pen’s magic, which seems to be increasingly powerful?

Booklist calls BETRAYING SEASON a "…full-bodied story that wonderfully combines elements of romance, fantasy, and history.... invigorating."

Kirkus says, "The mixture of historical detail and magic makes this...another page-turner...."

And VOYA calls it " utterly delightful."

Now on to the interview:

What inspired you to write Betraying Season?
I wrote it because I wanted Pen to have her chance to prove herself as a witch and find her own Lord, Mr. Right. The twins are very separate, distinct people for me, and I couldn't not give them each a book.

Are any of your characters based on real people that you know?
No...that way lieth lawsuits and lost friendships. :) But all authors "borrow" from the world around them, and that includes aspects of people, known and unknown. I've ripped pages out of catalogues because a model looks exactly like my mind's eye picture of a character. I actually get asked this a lot because my books feature a set of twins and I have twin daughters, but Persy and Pen aren't at all my daughters, except for one thing--I modeled their close relationship on my girls'.

If you could invite anyone you wanted - living or dead - to hang out with you at a weekend retreat, who would you invite and why?
Just one? Oh, c'moooooon... Okay, I'll compromise with one living and one dead: Queen Victoria, because she saw so much in her lifetime and was the inspiration for an entire empire, and Connie Willis, because she's one of my favorite writers and I wish I could someday begin to approach her skill, wit, and light touch.

What are some of the special challenges of writing fiction in a historical setting?
Keeping your head in your chosen time period as well as you can, and resisting the temptation to write 21st century characters in pretty 19th century dresses. This can be a challenge because today's readers like "spunky", independent heroines who want it all...but who are not necessarily going to be accurate for their time and place. So it's challenging to create characters who are true to their period, but satisfying to today's readers.

It can also be challenging to present accurate history, because quite often readers have bizarre pictures of the past in their head that they think are fact...and assume that your researched-out-the-wazoo story has it wrong. All you can do is sigh and continue to do the best research you can and present it as well as you can in the context of your story.

Do you have any special writing rituals or totems to connect with your muse?
Sort of. It's not quite a ritual, but a trick I use to get quickly into my writing each day: I choose a scented candle that seems to go with my story, buy about a dozen of them, and light it every time I sit down to write. Within a week or two, that scent just becomes so associated with the story that smelling it is like flipping a switch into "write" mode. Of course, it means that the scent is FOREVER associated with that book, so I can't burn it later on without being dragged back into that story. :)

What's your favorite quote?
It is better remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. Voltaire, I think.

What are you working on now?
I'm nearly done with the prequel to Bewitching Season and Betraying Season, due out next year or the year after...and after that? We'll see...things are in the works... (she said mysteriously).

What is it about rabbits?
They're incredibly cute and cuddly, use a litter-box as well as a cat does, are incredibly cute and cuddly, don't bark, get parsley breath instead of tuna breath (which makes getting your face licked much more pleasant), are incredibly cute and cuddly, and are just as companionable as a cat or dog. And did I mention that they're incredibly cute and cuddly?

If you could choose one magical power for your very own, what would it be?
Hmm. Depends...sometimes I think flying would be an incredible power to have (and huge fun), but teleportation would be wonderful too. Dinner in Marseilles or Lisbon tonight? Great! Breakfast in Paris tomorrow, followed by shopping in London? No problem!

Milk Chocolate or Dark?
Oh, dark. Definitely. Preferably with a hint of coffee.

To learn more about Marissa, her books, rabbits or the 19th century, you can find her on her website, on myspace, and at the nineteen blog she writes with YA author Regina Scott.

If you would like to be entered to win a signed copy of BETRAYING SEASON, leave a comment below answering this question - if you could choose to live in any historical period, when would it be and why?

This drawing will remain open until Wednesday, October 5.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. Don't forget to stop by Monday for our inaugural Middle Grade Monday freebie.