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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

CLOSED Interview with Jaclyn Dolamore + swagness

PhotobucketWith us now, we have Jaclyn Dolamore, author of Magic Under Glass and the upcoming Between the Sea and Sky. Jaclyn was homeschooled in a hippie sort of way and spent her childhood reading as many books as her skinny nerd-body could lug from the library and playing elaborate pretend games with her sister Kate. She skipped college and spent eight years drudging through retail jobs, developing her thrifty cooking skills and pursuing a lifelong writing dream. She has a passion for history, thrift stores, vintage dresses, David Bowie, drawing, and organic food. She lives with her partner and plot-sounding-board, Dade, and two black tabbies who have ruined her carpeting. So now, I give you, Jaclyn:


The "Serious" stuff:

~ Even if not direct fairy tale retellings, your stories definitely have fairy tale-esque elements. Is this intentional on your part, or just a by-product of the tales you like to tell? Any plans to do a direct retelling?

Well, so far, my intention with any story is to take a period of history and run it through an otherworldly, magical filter. I guess the fairy tale part just comes in as a by-product. Certainly, I read a lot of fairy tales as a child; we had an old book of Perrault stories as well as some of the Lang Fairy Books, Russian tales and Hans Christian Andersen (way to traumatize me as a child, Hans), and I read many retellings. One of my favorite things are stories that mash-up a bunch of tales like the mini-series "The Tenth Kingdom" (seriously, it is so fun, if anyone hasn't seen it yet you should), the musical Into the Woods, or the comic Fables. I always thought that would be fun to do, but I'd have to come up with a new take on it because it's already been done so well by others. I've often thought it would be fun to do a fairy tale retelling, but I'm waiting for the right one to cross my path, something a little creepy but also romantic in just the right way... Of course I've seen a lot of comparisons between Magic Under Glass and Beauty and the Beast so perhaps I DO retell fairy tales in some ways.

~ Your ideas are really original and interesting, with great juxtaposition (a dancer falling for an automaton, a mermaid falling for a winged man, etc): can you tell us a little bit about where these stories come from?

I am a SUCKER for star-crossed romances between two outsiders. Magic Under Stone, of course, continues the Erris/Nimira love story but there is also a jinn whose master pits him against the girl he loves. (To be very vague about it... I don't want to be spoiler-y.) All my books have some element of this and I doubt that will change anytime soon. I am especially attracted to stories about two like minds in unlike bodies...a girl and an automaton, a girl with a fish tail and a boy with wings...I guess they are kind of stories about how human hearts cross boundaries.

~You mentioned in a past interview with another blogger (I’ll link to it) that you wanted to see more Victorian era fantasy, so you wrote Magic Under Glass: what was the research process like for this? Beyond the rest of the Magic series, do you intend to set any more books in the Victorian era, or is there another time period calling your name?

I've always loved the Victorian era, and history in general, and I am a total non-fiction book junkie, especially when it comes to the details of domestic life such as houses, clothes, social mores, etc. so I wrote the first draft of Magic Under Glass without any research. But, the more detail, the better, so I also read many books while writing it, and looked at a lot of period photography of people and places so I could capture details like what you would really see when you walked down the street or what accessories a woman would wear with her dress.

As for other time periods, well, Between the Sea and Sky is set in that world's equivalent of 1800, so it's earlier than Magic Under Glass, and now I am working on a novel based loosely on the 1927 German silent film Metropolis, so the settling is based heavily on Weimar Berlin. Which has proved to be a pain to research. Most books on Weimar Berlin seem geared to really intellectual political or art scholars and as an extra bonus, were translated from German and read very stilted, and it's been hard to find much information on everyday life. Even memoirs and diaries have been kind of hard to find. I've cheated a bit and read a lot about 1920s Paris... There is a silent film called "Berlin: Symphony of a Great City" that is nothing but scenes of everyday life in 1920s Berlin, though, so you do find these little tidbits...

~I know Between the Sea and Sky is a companion novel of sorts to Magic Under Glass, but do you intend it to be a stand-alone, or is it going to spin-off into its own series?

It stands alone. I do have some sequel ideas, although they would focus on characters that are children in Between the Sea and Sky. But whether my publisher would buy a sequel depends on whether the book does well.

~What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you? And what’s the thing that makes it all worthwhile?

Challenging: There is always a sticky spot somewhere in the middle of a book. Also, endings! Sealing the deal is one of my weaknesses for sure. I don't really LIKE things to end... In my mind my books keep going, but of course I can't write endless sequels to everything, so I have to find a spot to wrap everything up, it's just hard. And action scenes. Augh. As a reader, I usually skim fights and escapes. I wish I could skim them as a writer too...

But except for those occasionally sticky spots, I love every part of writing; the research, the early development, the first page, the part where you really start to know where it's going, the editing, the line editing, the copy editing... And sharing that story with others and hearing from fans is a huge rush, although I have to be careful not to get caught up in advances or awards or fans (or the flipside--the lack of those things) and stay focused on the writing itself.

~What is your writing process like? What do you do to prepare and get yourself in the mood to create worlds?

I'm a workaholic, really. I do take days off. But I feel very guilty about them, unless I take an actual vacation away from home. Even when I'm not writing, I think about both my current project and think ahead to my next project almost constantly. It's a constant struggle not to zone right out of my real life and back into my invented one. One time I was apparently in 7-11 with an old man clad entirely in lime green spandex and I didn't notice. I got to the car and my boyfriend was like, "Did you see that guy in line in front of you and his crazy outfit?" I was like, "Uhh, I was thinking about my characters..." Even as a kid I was like that. I'm just glad I found a way to make a career out of it...

~What’s your favorite scene you’ve ever written?

@_@ Ever?

Boy, that's tough. I do love the climax of Between the Sea and Sky, with its mingled vulnerability and yearning. And kissing and rain. Who doesn't enjoy that mix?

Jaclyn as Little Red Riding Hood, age 6
Quickfire, Silly and Random stuff:

~Rapunzel is named after lettuce; what odd thing would you be named after if you were in a fairy tale?
Hmm, not to steal the produce thing, but I could be named after an apple. I think they are nature's most perfect food! Plus they turn up in fairy tales a lot.
~ Using that name, give us a line from your life as a fairy tale:
"When the weather was fine, Jonagold and her sister Gingergold would play in the scrub pine forest, catching minnows in the pond and crawling under the palmettos hoping to spot rabbits, but they never ventured into the swamp, for that was where the fairies lived."
(Note 1: Apples don't make for very good names. Especially if you are trying to find some that match. Note 2: I really did grow up on a 5-acre property in central Florida with a swamp in back and I wouldn't be surprised if some North American breed of fairy lived back there.)

~Best fairy tale villain and why?

Bluebeard. Talk about creep-tacular; it plays to my love of the mysteries behind locked doors, but in a far scarier way than The Secret Garden. The first time you hear that story you NEVER forget it... Although I also love crone archetypes in general which includes a lot of women you wouldn't want to cross paths with like Baba Yaga.

~Favorite tale from childhood? Favorite tale as an adult? Least favorites?

In childhood my favorite tale was in a collection "Princess Tales" by Nora Kramer. I no longer have this book and I'm not sure if it was an original story or based on an older tale; the collection did have The Twelve Dancing Princesses in it so I'm not sure, but I vaguely recall it was about a painter who painted an ugly-but-honest picture of the king or something and was thrown in a prison with a tiny window, but a blackbird would visit him, and in the end just as he was about to be executed the birds saved him. I was enthralled by the poor painter trapped with only one window and the birds rescuing him. I need to get a new copy of that book... As an adult my favorite might be The Seven Swans; I always feel for the poor mute girl weaving shirts of nettles and I always wonder about the brothers who lived as swans and the boy who was left with one wing in the end. I like birds, clearly. There is actually a fairy tale I invented mentioned within Between the Sea and Sky called "The Girl Who Fell in Love with a Bird."

~If you could be any fairy tale character, or live through any fairy tale "happening," who/what would it be?

Fairy tale characters don't have very good lives! I mean, up until the happily ever after part. I guess I'd be Sleeping Beauty because at least she just sleeps through the whole thing. So many of them have to go through a lot of trials; great fun to read about but not much fun to live through.

~Would you rather:
-- live under a bridge with a troll, or all alone in a high tower?
I think I need more information about the troll and what kind of roommate (bridge-mate) he would be before I can decide...

-- ride everywhere in a pumpkin carriage (messy) or walk everywhere in glass shoes (uncomfortable)?
Glass shoes. I already have a heck of a time finding comfortable dressy shoes so maybe it wouldn't be much difference.

-- have a fairy godmother or a Prince Charming?
These quickfire questions are harder than the serious questions! ;) Well, I guess, although the term "Prince Charming" sounds shallow, I'd rather have someone to spend my life with than a fairy godmother.

A conversation with Misty and Ashley:

Misty and Ashley: Wow! Jaclyn, you are amazing! We loved the interview!

Ashley: So, Jaclyn's bio mentions that she loves to draw. It would be cruel, would it not, to brag about her mad-drawing skills and not share that with the rest of the world.

Misty: It would  be cruel.  Too true!

Ashley: So, because Jaclyn has an official saved spot at the 'Fairy Tale Cool Kids Table' and is not, in fact, a cruel person, she has offered up an absolutely stunning giveaway!

PhotobucketMisty: She is providing one lucky winner with hand-drawn bookplates, featuring the main couples from each of her novels. Aren't these covers absolutely stunning?!

Ashley: What must you do to win these bookplates? These hand-drawn bookplates?! It's simple really. You must provide us with unicorn sprinkle cupcakes. (what Misty? Oh... Ooops. Right)
PhotobucketAhem. To win this one-of-a-kind giveaway, you must leave us a comment. But, not just any comment. Because Jaclyn is putting so much effort into making this giveaway special for you, you must put forth a little effort as well. For any MEANINGFUL comment left on this review, you will be entered to win. If your comment isn't meaningful, I'm going to assume that you don't actually want to win the awesomeness that is these bookplates, and I will NOT enter you into the contest. You must also leave a way for us to contact you, if you are the winner. If I can't contact you, you can't get your prize.

This contest IS open Internationally!
Closes May 5th.


  1. I was born in Germany. A lot of the history there is really fascinating. However, I understand why it's hard to get research material. I'm sure a lot of stuff didn't make it through the war. I can't wait to dive into the new project!

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  2. Awww...the picture of Jaclyn as Little Red Riding Hood is so adorable. I remember when I was little I dressed up as the she-devil sans cleveage of course considering I didn't have any at the time. My grandma almost had a heart attack! LOL


  3. Vivien, funny enough I went to the library and two books on 1920s Berlin mysteriously appeared... That helps! But I think the biggest problem overall is that most books about that period are still in German. Oh well, I'm figuring it out.

    Clary: She-devil...hahaha! I have had a lot of weird Halloween costumes in my day. Of course I also trick-or-treated until I was like, 21. I was very reluctant to give it up.

  4. Psshaw! I still dress up. I may not go door to door, but I plunder my little sister's candy bowl. I hope I never stop dressing up and being silly for Halloween. If not then, when? It's a blank check to act a fool and have it be acceptable.

  5. Cute pic! love it

    Great giveaway
    follow via gfc

  6. I just bought Arthur Ransome's Russian Fairy Tales, and I can't wait to get started on it. I heard the stories are a little dark.

    Also, I can't wait to have kids so then I have an excuse to go trick or treating again! Love the picture by the way.

  7. Great interview!!! I believe people who write tales are talented.Αs a kid the only way to eat my food was when my mother told me tales. So I think it is important to have authors to write new fairy tales
    Between the Sea and Sky has an amazing cover.
    Thank you!!!

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  8. This interview is really interesting! So many mentions of fairy tale and popular children stories.

    I liked reading The Twelve Dancing Princesses as a child. The Seven Swans is also one of my favourites.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com


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