Book Rat: Today, Book Rat welcomes exciting debut author Andrea Cremer, whose book Nightshade (out tomorrow!) has been causing quite the flurry of excitement! Welcome, Andrea. Now let's get down to business:
The characters in Nightshade are really dynamic and memorable; how did the "cast" of Nightshade come about for you? Do you have a favorite main character? Side character?
Andrea Cremer: Thank you! I don’t know how to describe the way the characters came into being. Calla inspired the story and her pack mates just kind of showed up in my head – each bringing his/her own quirks, hopes, and faults. Picking a favorite character is like choosing a favorite child – it’s their differences that make them special and I love them all.
BR: I found the mythology of the Keepers and Guardians really intriguing -- it was fleshed out enough to be believable, but murky enough to keep things interesting and provide room for the serious to grow, as well as make sense from Calla's (limited) pov. How much research was involved in creating this mythology and background?
Is it based on any "real" myths in particular?
AC: My ‘day job’ is that I’m a history professor and I specialize in the early modern Atlantic world (1500-1800), so the history and mythology of witchcraft is a big part of the era I teach. The Witches War is based on the idea that the persecution of witches in the 16th and 17th centuries was actually part of a secret conflict between witches that had simply spilled over into our world at that time and that the war is still going on today. Calla’s pack are the soldiers fighting on one side of that war.
BR: You also pull in a nice dose of (real world) philosophy/philosophers. Why was the choice made to incorporate this, and how did you go about incorporating it and deciding what bits to include?
AC: Philosophy is also tied into my work as a history professor. I’m interested in competing ideologies about human nature and the formation of society. Nightshade is in many ways an allegory for those debates.
BR: The end of Nightshade finds Calla in a dangerous position, and I'm sure we can expect some turmoil for her, Shay, Renier and the pack; anything you can tease us with about their fates?
AC: Sorry! I have a strict no spoilers rule.
BR: Damn. Well, there are two more books in the Nightshade series, plus a companion book, but you've said you're also working on a 19th century steampunk series (yessss!) -- any chance will be seeing any of that any time soon?
AC: I hope so because I love the steampunk series, but right now Nightshade is taking me through fall of 2012. When I have news about 2013 I’ll let you know
BR: Random Quickfire Fun:
BR: Zombie name?
AC: Aaaeiaaagh Reeorrgh the Messy
BR: Best Halloween costume?
AC:After a bad breakup I took one of my former prom dresses – it was white bodice and black full ballgown skirt and pasted cut-out hearts onto the skirt, wore a tiara, and carried around a meat cleaver as the Queen of Hearts. It was very cathartic.
BR: Worst Halloween costume?
AC: I can’t think of one – I love costumes so I tend to really like putting them together.
BR: Would you rather...
-- be a Guardian or a Keeper?
Guardian – I’d love to be a wolf.
-- be with Renier or with Shay?
I won’t ever pick a team
-- be a strong and stoic Alpha or just a care-free member of the pack?
I’d want to be an alpha. I like to lead.
BR: Reader Q: Giada wants to know: What is the first book you remember reading, and has there ever been a book that changed your life?
AC: The first book I remember reading was at my Grandma Opal’s house: Dr. Seuss’ One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.
I honestly believe that every book I read changes my life, even if just a little bit. Reading is an inherently transformative experience; every book is a world unto itself.
Well, there you have it, folks! A big Book Rat thanks to Andrea Cremer for stopping by and chatting with us; thanks, Andrea!
Make sure to check out my review of Nightshade, and enter to win your very own copy!