Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Interview with Lisa Mantchev

I interviewed Lisa Mantchev back in April (2009). She is the author of the YA fantasy novel Eyes Like Stars. (Don't you just love that cover???) I hope you take some time to go back and read the first interview...but I was very happy to be able to think up a second set of questions just for this tour!

Let's talk about Ariel. He's a character from Shakespeare's The Tempest obviously, but I'm curious about how you transformed him into one of the hottest fictional heroes I've ever read about. Could you talk a little bit about that process? How did your Ariel come to be? How did he evolve into such a hottie?!

ELS started life as a short story, and Ariel was there from the beginning. I knew, going into that very first short piece, that I needed a character who wanted to escape the Théâtre Illuminata and would stop at almost nothing to get out. The yearning to be released from Prospero's servitude is the Shakespearean Ariel's most outstanding trait, so I grabbed onto that.

In The Tempest, it's never specified if Ariel is male or female, young or old. I've seen productions in which the character was played by a young boy. The character of Sorrel (a teen girl) plays Ariel in Noel Streatfeild's Theater Shoes, and I've seen adults of both sexes portray the role. I never made a conscious decision to make my Ariel young and male, though. He turned up that way, with his smirk and his butterflies, to tempt Bertie.

What do you think it is about Ariel that makes him so appealing? Do you think he's the ultimate bad-boy that women hate to love and love to hate?

I think it's the a mystery about Ariel, the inability to really know--beyond freedom--what he really wants. So far, readers have had strong reactions to him, and it's either HAWT or NAWT, with very little middle ground.

Let's talk tango. Can you give us a behind the scenes look into how that scene evolved? That's one of my favorite scenes, and one quite honestly that I could put on repeat. It just sparkles to me. (And not in the Edward-in-the-meadow way.) I'm curious about how this scene can to be, did it come to you all at once? Did you know it was just-right from the beginning? Or did it take some work to make it so steamy?

The tango scene is one of the very few scenes in the entire novel that did not get taken apart and put back together during editorial revisions, although originally Bertie was *ahem* smoking the caterpillar's hookah, not sneaking sips from the "Drink Me" bottle.

Fancy footwork wasn't in the outline, originally, but I needed an interlude between two crucial moments. I do believe we were watching Season 2 of So You Think You Can Dance at the time, and one of the couples did a hot-hot-hot Argentinean tango, and then I KNEW I wanted to add one into the manuscript. I put "The Assassin's Tango" from Mr. & Mrs. Smith on my iPod and listened to it, nonstop, for about three days as I choreographed that scene.

Nate and Ariel are so completely different from each other. Which do you think is the better match for Bertie?

I'm not actually certain, honestly. There's Nate, with his innate concern for her safety, his sense of propriety (odd, for a pirate!) but he has just as bad a temper as Bertie, with small strains of chauvinism that really chafe. Then there's Ariel, who is beguiling, but has so much going on that he doesn't let anyone see... which makes him very, very hard to trust.

And I think Bertie harbors some very sweet, very wistful ideas about love that evaporate the moment she deals with the realities of a person, not an ideal. I also don't think she is the sort of character that believes in "happily ever after" yet, and for all that she's attracted to Nate and Ariel at different times, she's not looking to throw herself into a man.

Other stops on the blog tour:

The 160 Acre Woods, A Christian Worldview of Fiction, A Patchwork of Books, Abby the Librarian, All About Children’s Books, And Another Book Read, Becky’s Book Reviews, Dolce Bellezza, Fireside Musings, The Friendly Book Nook, Homeschool Book Buzz, Homespun Light, Hyperbole, KidzBookBuzz.com, Never Jam Today, Reading is My Superpower, Through a Child’s Eyes

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Suko said...

I, too, love the whimsical cover. Thanks for presenting this interview. I enjoy learning what writers think beyond the pages of their books, and that they can be inspired by So You Think You Can Dance, a show I adore.

DesLily said...

ok i ordered it.. you will get a bad blogger point!

Book Reviewer said...

Oh could you please tell me how to put a picture next to the words.