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Bloody Bookaholic's Commandment:

Thou Shall Read Till Thy Eyes Bleed

Friday 20 February 2009

An Authors Whisper

Hello and welcome to An Authors Whisper. Today we have with us the lovely Lisa Mantchev author of Eyes Like stars, her coming out novel. Let me talk a little about the author before the interview.

Lisa Mantchev grew up in the small Northern California town of Ukiah. She can pinpoint her first forays into fiction to the short stories she thumped out on an ancient typewriter. Her senior year at UCI, she wrote Seeking Therapy, which was produced through the playwright's class. Lisa also won the Chancellor's Award For Undergraduate Research in Drama her senior year while studying in the Campuswide Honors Program.

After graduation, Lisa taught English at the Lycée Internationale de Los Angeles and created their Drama After School Program. In between report cards and drafting scripts for Winter and Spring productions, she returned to writing fiction.

She makes her home on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state with her husband Angel, her daughter Amélie and four hairy miscreant dogs. When not scribbling, she can be found on the beach, up a tree, making jam or repairing things with her trusty glue gun.

Just so you know this is my first interview, I hope you like it. Leave comments and tell your friends about it, everybody is welcome to be a bloody bookaholic.

Why did you decided to write Young Adult?

I didn't actually set out to write a Young Adult novel... I'd been writing short stories and getting them published for about five years before I decided to tackle a novel, and some of those short stories featured young protagonists. A lot of times, I think "YA" is a catch-all term for books that feature teenage main characters.

Is your main character influenced by your own teenage experience?

They say your first novel is the most autobiographical, and that's certainly the case here... Beatrice Shakespeare Smith has a love of theater, which I certainly did. She's a bossy, smart-mouthed, cupcake-loving coffee-swilling drama queen... that's all me. But there are differences. I didn't start dying my hair until I was in college. *G*

Who is your favorite character?

In my book? I really do love the fairies. Their energy is absolutely manic, and I can write REAMS of their dialogue without pausing for breath.

What made you write about fairies?

The book started with the fairies, actually, although it's not a "Fairy" book the way that Tithe or Wondrous Strange is a fairy book. These four are minor players from A Midsummer Night's Dream; because they are characters from a play, I had all the leeway in the world to make them into whatever I wanted.

Are fairies your favorite legendary creature?

I couldn't ever pick a favorite... there are too many fabulous legends, too many years of mythos, and I find them all equally fascinating.

Are you very interested with the mystical, supernatural or the folklore?

Absolutely. Those are the doorways to the imagination, in my opinion.

What inspired you to write this book?

The opening line popped into my head one day: "The fairies flew on wires despite the tendency to get tangled together." So I wrote it as a short story, but it just wouldn't stay short.

We all know the basic idea of the book, but could you go a little more into the story?

Beatrice Shakespeare Smith was left on the doorstep of the Théâtre Illuminata as an infant. Her bedroom is a set onstage. She gets her food from the Green Room and her clean clothes from Mrs. Edith in the Wardrobe Department. She spends her time sword fighting with the pirates and cavorting with the fairies, until the day comes when she has to find her place there or be cast out forever. This book is very much Bertie's journey to find out who she is and where she belongs.

How much time did it take you to write the book?

I started it in July of 2006 and finished the draft in September. The book went through several major revisions after that, though!

Will there be sequels?

It's the first book in a trilogy. I just finished drafting the second book and outlining the third.

Do you think of the fairy world as an escape from reality or actually is it our world enveloped in metaphors?

I prefer my escapes from reality. Neverland, Narnia, fairy kingdoms... I want them nicely set aside from our own world, because then I can get there. If you need me on Tuesdays, take the second star on the right.

If you were to give advice to the young writers of today, what would you say to them?

Do two things every day: Write, and read. You need to treat it like a job, putting in the hours, putting the words on paper. Complete the stories. Edit them to the best of your ability. Then start write something else. And read everything you can get your hands on.

Oh and I just had to ask, can you give us a little preview of the next book? anything?

I would, but the fairies have threatened to leave a big dead fish in my bed if I give anything away....


Favorite fictional character:

Anne Shirley, from Anne of Green Gables

What do you like to do besides writing? Hobbies?

I love putting together costumes, visiting Disneyland, dancing to old swing music, watching movies... I also do super-domestic stuff like make my own bread and jam.

Can you give us a list of like 5 of your ultimate you-have-to-read-because-they-are-so-awesome books?

Seriously, I'd rather have the fairies pull my toenails out with pliers than answer that question. I've read brilliant books and funny books and sad books, well-written and boring, sloppily written and fascinating... I go through phases when I read nothing but new material and others where nothing but the books I read as a kid will do. People are free to visit my MySpace page... I have a list of authors there if you want a better idea of what's on my nightstand.

And the To Read pile? Is going topple over and squash me flat one of these days.

Ky: I just love a person who can quote Peter Pan =]
Taschima: And I just love a very good author that takes her time to talk to the little people. I'm anxious to read Lisa's book, as a lot of you surely are.

If you want to learn more about Lisa, and her upcoming novel, go to her website www.lisamantchev.com, or you could visit her myspace page www.myspace.com/lisamantchev.

Eyes Like stars comes out in July 7, 2009, but you can pre-order it right now! at

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