Friday, May 20, 2016

Author Interview

Please welcome Mirriam Neal, a twenty­-two-­year-­old Northwestern hipster living in Atlanta, to my blog! {Not physically. She's still in Atlanta. Also, she's been here before. Not physically then either, though.} She writes hard­-to-­describe books in hard­-to-­describe genres {this is truth, my friends, unless the description used is awesome}, and illustrates things whenever she finds the time {and illustrates them beautifully, in case you haven't seen said illustrations}. She aspires to live as faithfully and creatively as she can and she hopes you do, too. {Amen.}

I've invited her to my blog in celebration of another of her books being published, and, once again, I'm thrilled to let you know about a book I love ready to enter the wide world!!

isn't it gorgeous?!?

Ginger has lived in seclusion, with only her aunt Malgarel and her blue cat, Halcyon, to keep her company. Her sheltered, idyllic life is turned upside-­down when her home is attacked by messengers from the world of fae. Accompanied by Halcyon (who may or may not be more than just a cat), an irascible wysling named Azrael, and a loyal fire elemental named Salazar, Ginger ventures into the world of fae to bring a ruthless Queen to justice.

This story was a pure delight to read, and it's basically perfect for recovery from the school year {you should buy it right now}, relaxing over the summer, or to give your brain a break through fall and winter. {See, you can read and re-read it at all times of the year - it's an easy winner of a story. Though I mean, with world of fae and cat-that-may-be-more-than-a-cat mentioned, how are you not reading this already?}

However, without further blather regarding my love for this thing of whimsical beauty, I will proceed with my random interrogation interviewing of the thing of whimsical beauty's author. {Who, by the way, is a thing of whimsical beauty herself, though mixed rather large portions of epic and awesome.} Read on for an opportunity to learn more about Paper Crowns and Mirriam Neal.

Hullo, Mirriam. Can you pinpoint the start of Paper Crowns, like the faun and the lamp for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?
Usually there's no one, specific 'thing' that jumps into my head and makes me think 'ah, I need to write a novel.' Usually it's a culmination of half a dozen subconscious things that simmer in a melting pot for a few months before I decide to do something about them.

This was clearly a rainbow melting pot, friends. The something she did about it turned out lovely awesome.

Is there a writer whose style you look to for inspiration? 
It completely depends on the book. For Paper Crowns, I didn't have any particular stylistic inspiration - I wrote it too fast to think about it! As far as the whole series goes, I think Diana Wynne Jones was way more inspiring than I realized. I didn’t see how heavily she'd influenced Paper Hearts, the sequel, until I finished it and re-read what I'd written.
I see the DWJ influence...there's a similar feel to the stories. {If any of you like a book by Dianna Wynne Jones, I'd bet on you liking Paper Crowns. Also, just wait for Paper Hearts... XD}

What is your favorite hair color in Paper Crowns
XD Oh, good. {I've been looking for a blue cat since I read the first chapter. Just sayin'.} 

Were any characters in Paper Crowns inspired by real people? 
Not exactly, no - but the way I wrote Azrael was heavily influenced by Augustus Prew, my personal casting choice for the character. I wanted to try and convey his mannerisms and 'tone of voice' across the page.

Did you learn anything while writing Paper Crowns?  
I learned that it's good to take a break from writing the gritty, tough things sometimes. It's refreshing, like a glass of lemonade between cups of black coffee. (Both of which are fave beverages of mine.) Not everything has to be heavy.
It's also good to take a break from reading the heavy things. Sometimes it's good to simply delight in joy. {Not that Paper Crowns is pure fluff...both lemonade and coffee can wake you up.}

Differences between Monster and Paper Crowns that readers should be aware of?
It's a complete 180 spin from Monster. They're nothing alike. Not at all. So if, after viewing the cover and reading the description, you're still hoping for similarities - I'm sorry. The only similarity is that I wrote them both.
#accurate. One of the things that has consistently impressed me as a beta-reader is Mirriam's ability to completely change styles, story-worlds, and messages in different books. It's incredible and awesome. :)

Imagine you are in a life-threatening situation and you need someone (alive today) to come rescue you – who would you most want to come? 
Someone alive today. This would be so much easier if it were fiction. Um…I don't know anyone with this kind of SKILL SET. Or the RESOURCES. So I'm going to pick my parents, because parents, yo. Parents get stuff done.

If you were unjustly sentenced to death, would you take life in prison instead or not? 
I would take life in prison. Not only can you continue to communicate with people (as long as whatever I did doesn't land me in solitary) but you can hatch an escape plan.

If one person in your family had to die, and you were told to choose who, would you be able choose? 

If you could trade places with any other person for a month, famous or nonfamous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
HOW DARE YOU PRESENT ME WITH A QUESTION LIKE THIS? HOW DARE YOU? This is awful, because it would only last a month. What if something happened? WHAT IF I FELL IN LOVE. WHAT IF. Still, I'm going to choose Clarke from The 100. Why? So I could fix the mess she's made, set Bellamy's head straight, and marry Roan. Not necessarily in that order.
I know, I know, it's a cruel question. But that would be a version of The 100 I could get behind, and now that I'm picturing it...I'm glad I asked. XD

What are you most passionate about? 

I thought about this for five seconds before realizing the answer: The truth. I'm most passionate about the truth of things, and I try to figure out said truths and convey them with what I write.
Whether it is that lighter stories are not less worthy of being written and read than heavy stories or that life is sacred, your books powerfully communicate truth...both the straightforward truths that should easily be seen by all but all too often aren't, and the deeper truths that make readers stop and think and realize they'd never understood in such a way before. <3

I hope you guys that you enjoyed this interview as much as Mirriam and I did! 
Now go forth and read Paper Crowns. :)

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Barnes & Noble:­crowns­mirriam-neal/1123700963?ean=9781612253367

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