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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Interview with Brenna Yovanoff, author of The Space Between

For the last couple of months, I've been telling everyone who will listen about this fantastic book I've read called The Space Between.  For realsies, the love I had for Brenna Yovanoff's writing after reading last year's debut, The Replacement, was just cemented with her follow-up.  The Space Between is exactly what it should be and then some, and I can't wait to share my thoughts on it with you.
But I am going to.  Wait, that is, because first up, I have an interview with Brenna!

Where did the idea for The Space Between come from, and how much did it change along the way?

I actually had the very first spark of an idea for The Space Between years ago. I was an English major in college and my school had a basic requirements class called Mythical and Biblical Backgrounds. All the reading was divided up by theme, rather than culture or time period, which I'd never seen before. One of the units was called "Journeys to the Underworld," and I started thinking about that—about where you would have to journey to fulfill your story-requirement if you already lived in the underworld, and that was pretty much the first inkling of Daphne.

As far as changes, well. Daphne's name was always Daphne and she was always the daughter of Lilith and the book always started in Hell. Other than that, pretty much everything else has changed a hundred times.

How much research was involved in writing The Space Between?

The short version: a lot. But most of it was stuff I didn't wind up using in the actual book. Looking back, it's kind of surprising how much research I do when I'm drafting, since I usually wind up giving my stories such an extensive overhaul that by the time they hit the shelves I'm only using about a tenth of what I learned. I think I just need to follow that well of information all the way to the bottom—to have that background—before I can safely proceed. Even if I wind up throwing most of it out in the process.

Follow up: During the research process, did you discover any interesting tidbits, religious or otherwise, that didn't make it into the book but that fascinated you?

Oh, about a billion! One of my favorite was a little piece of Lilith apocrypha which says that if pretty girls look at their reflections for too long, especially while combing their hair, that Lilith will appear beside them in the mirror and corrupt them.

Tell us a bit about the creation of the two worlds, Truman's  earthly world and more importantly, Daphne's not-so-earthly one, and how Truman and Daphne are reflections of those worlds.

I knew early on that I wanted the worlds to be in sharp contrast with each other. In The Space Between, Hell is depicted at this very clean, static place. It's glossy and mechanical, but kind of frozen, and all the self-indulgence and the debauchery is on a purely personal level—it doesn't leak out into the world. And then when Daphne goes to Earth, she finds this huge, chaotic mess of violence and dirt and people just doing whatever they feel like doing.

In a lot of ways, Daphne's a very orderly person. She doesn't necessarily have a lot of respect for the rules, but she's fairly logical and likes to weigh her options. In contrast, when we first meet Truman, he's just kind of flailing around trying to get a foothold. His world is a lot bigger than Daphne's and a lot more unpredictable, and when Daphne gets to Earth, she has to start facing some of the things he's been dealing with all his life.

If you could introduce one character from The Space Between to one character from The Replacement, who would you choose and how would they react to each other?

Hmm . . . honestly, I'd enjoy putting Moloch in front of just about anyone—maybe the Lady. I think he'd go out of his way to be entirely rude and naturally, she'd be scandalized.

Any hints of what you're working on now?

Right now, I'm working on a book about ghosts, serial killers, and a heaping dollop of guilt. It's tentatively called Paper Valentine and should be out at the beginning of 2013.

Silly Random Quickfire:

In The Space Between, all demons have a protective mechanism in their blood that reacts in unpredictable ways when spilled on Earth: if you were a demon, what would you want your blood to do?
This is going to sound weird, but I think that if I had demon blood, I would bleed geysers of water—I mean, like a fire hydrant. I don't know why, but I dislike water so much that I just can't see it any other way.

Your personal sin from the Seven Deadlies?
I'd say either Pride or Sloth. I am not only scandalously lazy, but I can also be stubborn to the point of irrationality.

If you could have one supernatural ability, what would it be?
Some kind of prophecy, I think. Maybe reading tea leaves or weather patterns. Or scrying in a bowl of ink?

Any foreseeable drawbacks to that ability?
Prophecy always has drawbacks—pretty much every story about seeing the future ends in some kind of tragedy.

Cupcakes or french fries?
French fries! (I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but I am a salt fanatic.)

The Space Between Playlist:
Daphne's Song: Laughing With by Regina Spektor
Truman's Song: Smile Like You Mean It by The Killers
Moloch's Song: He has one, but I can't tell you what it is here, because it is way, way too rude and we're in polite company and I want people to keep thinking I'm a nice girl. At least a little?
Tease. How about Beelzebub's Song: Dropping Like Flies by Firewater
Azrael's Song: Sweet Dreams, as performed by Marilyn Manson

Thanks for having me, Misty!

Any time, Brenna!  Happy to have you.  =)
For all of you reading this, make sure to keep checking back.  Not only am I going to share my gushing, somewhat fangirly review of The Space Between with you, but Brenna has also offered up a copy for one of you lucky lovelies!  Trust me, you don't want to miss the chance to own this fab book for yourself.

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1 comment:

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