Saturday, June 4, 2011

Interview with Dawn Metcalf, Author of Luminous

 Today, I'm lucky enough to have debut author Dawn Metcalf, who penned the spectacular fantasy book that is the soon-to-be Luminous on A Myriad of Books for an interview!

The Interview: 

 Bold= Kat
Normal= Dawn

--First of all, how does it feel to be debut author?

Close to something like this: AHHHHHHHHH!

It's one part elation, one part reality check and at least two parts stress ball.  *squeak squeak squeak*

This is Kat's haiku picture.  Yep.
-- Could you tell us a little bit about your debut novel, Luminous?  Could you tell us about it... in haiku format??

HAHA! Well, I can try:

Create a new skin,
Save a stranger, save yourself.
Maximum impact.

-- The world of Luminous is amazing, unlike any other I, for one, have ever read about.  How did the world of the Flow first come to you-- in other words, that age-old question: what inspires your story ideas and how do you go about weaving a plot and characters from them?

The first epiphany came mid-rant about there not being any good minority superheroines lately and why all the skin-tight costumes for saving the world? I thought of a female skeleton in a flowered hat (a famous caricature by Mexican artist Jose Guadelupe Posada that I remembered from a college textbook) and I said, "I'd like to see them sex-up a girl skeleton!" and the image stuck. Mix in Quantum Leap and Joss Whedon TV and my love of cultural anthropology, myth and folklore and that was the beginning of Consuela and the Flow.   
-- When you're not writing, where are you likely to be found?

Sleeping, eating, or playing with my kids. 

 --Consuela has the ability to strip down to her bones and create new living skins out of anything-- including those gorgeous butterflies on the cover.  If you could wear a skin made out of absolutely anything in the world, would it be made of?

Velvet. I'm a hedonist. 
-- The influence of Mexican folklore and writers-- namely Octavio Paz, whose thought-provoking quotes at the beginning of each chapter were VERY cool-- is deeply rooted in Luminous and in Consuela.  What made you decide to explore Mexican traditions like the Day of the Dead in your fantasy novel?

To touch on what I mentioned before, I really adored Octavio Paz's Labyrinth of Solitude and couldn't believe it hadn't been included in my entire academic career in literature. I also fell in love with Dia de los Muertos, something completely outside my experience of things like Samhain or Halloween or my own questions and fears about loved ones and death. Delving deep into research was both incredibly satisfying and strangely comforting. Oddly enough, both the Mexican holiday and my novel are much more about life than they are about death, but it is there because death is a part of life.

Personally, I love reading stories that bring to life real-world myth and legend--Neil Gaiman's AMERICAN G-DS, Cindy Pon's SILVER PHOENIX, Karen Healey's THE GUARDIAN OF THE DEAD or modern faery tales by Holly Black and Melissa Marr are all some of my favorite things to read. I believe having one foot balanced on the old stories that shape our world makes fiction feel real.  
-- Which of your characters would you say was the most fun to write... the most challenging?

The most fun characters to write were Abacus and Tender, each had a rather "interesting" viewpoint that was both manipulative and arrogant but also somehow friendly or alluring. Both were really complex characters maintaining a delicate balance. The most challenging character to write was probably Consuela. Sometimes I wanted to hug her and other times I wanted to smack her, but that's how it is with the main characters in your book!  
-- How has Luminous changed from the early drafts to that shiny finished product?  I know it initially had a different title, Skin & Bones-- what made you decide to change it and in what other ways have the story and characters evolved since you first started dreaming up your book?

Well, while the title SKIN & BONES is certainly appropriate to a person who can craft skins out of anything around a beautiful, pearly skeleton, the fact that I was writing a YA book puts it in a certain context and we didn't want anyone thinking that this was somehow a book about anorexia or bulemia! So while the title changed and certain characters like Abacus, Yehudah and V changed some characteristics or motivation, the core of the story was always the same even when it went through revisions. I was fortunate to have had an incredible editor who spoke nuggets of gold.  
-- Do you have a sequel, or another novel set around the Flow in the works, or maybe just floating around in your head somewhere?  A story about... V or Sissy, perhaps? *nudge, wink* 

There are ALWAYS more stories floating in my head somewhere! Whether they are shared with the rest of the world depends on how much readers like this book. Luminous was written as a stand-alone with the possibility of more to come.  
-- You mentioned that Carrie Ryan (author of the epic Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy) has been your debut mentor. *squeals-- that's so awesome!*  SO, when it comes to the all-important question: Zombies or Unicorns, do you side with her and the flesh-eaters, or do you stray to the pink pastel and sparkly rainbow side?  (As for myself, I've been firmly in the unicorns' camp since age four. :)

As one of the Tenners, we each had a Deb mentor and mine was the incredibly smart, funny and talented Carrie Ryan. As much as I admire her savvy and zombie-skillz, I must admit that I am all Unicorn, although less "sparkly rainbow" and more "rampant coolness". What? A beautiful mythic creature, prized and powerful, who is keen on virgins and has a giant phallic symbol for a forehead? What's NOT to love?

Yes, I know. The book's not normal, either.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Dawn!

Extra Stuff: 
Dawn's website     Dawn's blog: Officially Twisted
my review of Luminous     Luminous on Goodreads


Shooting Stars Mag said...

haha I love her reply for the last question. That's great. And what a fun concept. I like that it deals with Mexican lore and everything. that's great.

-Let's Get Beyond Tolerance

Aylee said...

LOL! Love the haiku synopsis! Brills.

Maria Behar said...

How COOL is this? First a terrific review of "Luminous", then a fantabulous interview with the author!

I LOVED your interview questions. I'm going to be putting this book in one of my "On My Wishlist" posts for sure! (Probably the very next one.) Dawn struck me as a very together person who knows exactly where to take her tales. The fact that she was inspired by Mexican folklore is quite interesting. You don't see much of that in fantasy literature, whether YA or adult.

I was especially impressed by the fact that she included Octavio Paz quotes at the beginning of each chapter. I read a book of his some years ago, titled "Hombres en Su Siglo" ("Men in Their Centuries"), which was just amazing! It was a book of essays. I really have to read more by this great writer!

I also enjoyed the haiku thing. Beyond cool!

Oh, and by the way, I'm firmly in the unicorn camp myself! : )

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...