Monday, March 14, 2016

Happy Pub Day!

Tomorrow is the pub day for Jessica Arnold's sequel THE LINGERING GRACE!  The first book in the series, THE LOOKING GLASS, was something that I read back when I was an assistant at Writers House, and the haunting story of a girl who wakes up in the 19th century version of the B&B where she and her family are staying on vacation stayed with me when I went to Prospect.

This book is about everything that happens after the protagonist, Alice returns to her real life, but of course after her escape from the hotel.  Here is Jessie's interview about it!

Tell us about THE LINGERING GRACE and what is was like to write a follow up book to THE LOOKING GLASS.

In The Lingering Grace, Alice finds herself immersed in a world of magic once again when a new friend asks for her help doing a potentially dangerous spell. It is a sequel to The Looking Glass—in which Alice had to break a century-old curse. The Looking Glass was inspired by the amazing short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” and by Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking GlassThe Lingering Grace was more inspired by the concept of magic as a game of exchanges. One question drove the story more than any other: How much are these characters willing to sacrifice to get what they want?

I didn't expect to be writing a sequel to The Looking Glass until Month9Books offered a two-book deal. There are two types of book series in the world. You’ve got your Harry Potters, where each book clearly leads into the next. Then you have type two, in which the first book really could stand alone, so the follow-up has to function as a stand-alone as well. Writing another stand-alone book that was also a logical sequel was no walk in the park, but I was surprised by how rewarding it was to push my character further than I expected. In The Lingering Grace, I got to ask the questions I didn’t have time to deal with in The Looking Glass. For instance, in The Looking Glass, Alice has to harness magic to break a century-old curse. I always wondered about the possibility of having her create spells of her own, but that particular plot element didn't fit in the original book. In The Lingering Grace, however, that's something that Alice actually does, and I Iiked exploring what that magic would look like and how it would function.

The first book was inspired by Alice in Wonderland.  Did you retain any of that inspiration when writing THE LINGERING GRACE?

Nope! Because The Lingering Grace needed to function as another standalone, I didn't want to rehash the Alice in Wonderland theme. Usually I love drawing inspiration from classic literature, but I didn't use anything but The Looking Glass as a jumping-off point for The Lingering Grace. It's entirely its own thing!

Now that you've written about Alice and her world more than once, do you think you have a specific writing style?  Anything you've learned about your writing as time has gone on that you want to share?

I had a writing professor in college who told us that only true masters of the craft have actual writing styles—and none of us were good enough to have a "voice." (I know. He was awful.) Ever since then, I haven't been able to think of myself as having a writing style. What I have noticed is that I have some kind of annoying writing tics. Like—case in point—the previous sentence. I use the phrase "kind of" ALL THE TIME. I had no idea I was doing that until someone (*cough cough, thanks Carrie*) pointed it out. I also use a lot of looooong sentences to convey action when something exciting is happening. It can be effective sometimes, but all the time ... no. People notice these things.

The cover art for this book changed along the way. which I didn't even realize until recently.  Tell us about this cover and  what it means.

Yes! That cover change was a recent surprise development. The switch had nothing to do with the first cover not matching the book—it was an issue contacting the designer, who has fallen off the face of the earth (hope she's ok!). The new cover is great, though. The little girl on the front is the little sister of Eva, one of Alice's friends; she tragically drowns at the beginning of the story. The plot centers on her accident and (I don't think this is giving too much away) whether it can be reversed.

Now fun question!  If these books were turned in to a movie (or movies ::salivates::) who would you cast to play the main characters?

Wouldn't that be awesome! Something to dream about, right? The one person I've had in the back of my mind to play Alice is Molly Quinn. I was a huge fan of Castle for a long time, and I've always thought she would be perfect! Logan Lerman would be a good fit for Tony, and Chloe Grace Moretz for Eva. Ah, if only ....

Be sure to pick up a copy of the book and learn more by checking out the blog tour!