Tell us a bit about your book and where it’s available.
Here’s what’s written on the back of the book:
MEET LIZZY SPEARE…
…a normal twelve year old girl with a talent for writing, who has a very normal family secret. And when Lizzy’s father vanishes, that secret will change her life in ways unimagined.
Then Lizzy and her best friend Sammy are kidnapped, awakening in the faraway land of Manhattan. Their host is Jonathan Muse, whose job is to protect Lizzy from becoming the latest victim in a family feud going back nearly five hundred years. Is that why the mysterious, eye patch-wearing Dmitri Marlowe is after her? Is Marlowe after Lizzy’s family fortune rumored to be kept in the tomb of that bald guy with the goatee? Does he seek artistic immortality? Or Revenge (with a capital R) for a death long, long ago?
In a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, Lizzy and Sammy are thrust into the realm of the mythical and fantastic—from satyrs and Cyclopses to Middle Eastern cab drivers and Brooklyn hipsters in what is truly “an improbable fiction” as the Bard himself once wrote.
But the book is also about figuring out who you are and very much about how messy and complicated and beautiful family can be.
Right now it’s only available on Amazon but that should be changing soon to include iBooks, B&N, Smashwords, etc.
What was the inspiration for your book?
I was in a Barnes and Noble in downtown Brooklyn and saw a book called Eddie Dickens by Philip Ardagh. It was a cute story about a boy named Eddie Dickens living in Victorian London. I thought it was such a clever idea. On the way home, thinking about Shakespeare, my favorite writer, I started to imagine his descendents and then I had Lizzy, and Jonathan and Dmitri Marlowe. Of course at the time they were very different than they wound up being in the final version. But that’s where it began.
What was your aim for this book? What did you want readers to think and feel when reading it?
Wow that’s a really good question. Ultimately I wanted to write the kind of story that I would have wanted to read when I was ten years old - a story with action and a ton of heart and main character that I could relate to. Hopefully that’s what I did. As for as how reader’s feel – I want them to feel however they do but if anything I guess it was important to me to show my bad guy, Dmitri Marlowe as not just bad but maybe very hurt and very misunderstood. Since the world isn’t filled with evil bad guys and perfect good guys I didn’t want to fill my story with them. Both Jonathan and Dmitri have done things they weren’t proud of. The situation is always shades of grey.
Do you have any other books currently available?
I have a book of poetry entitled The Wanting Bone which was published by Six Gallery Press in 2008. And I have a second book of poems slated for release from Tainted Coffee Press entitled Crashing to Earth.
What will you be working on next?
I’m currently working on the second Lizzy Speare book which is tentatively called Lizzy Speare and the Hall of Hecate. I am also working on a YA book about time travel, chess, street kids and doppelgangers. It’s my first foray into serious Science Fiction.
How did you originally get into writing?
I always like telling stories. I think maybe that’s how a lot of people wind up becoming writers. When I was younger I used to bore my friends to tears re-telling the books I was reading or whatever it was that I dreamt about the night before. I have an overactive imagination. It just seemed natural to start writing them down.
What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
I love the Act of Creation. That moment when you are first coming up with an idea and your brain is firing out of control and you’re flooded with all these ideas. Then the revision part – with all the clean up – comes. That’s less fun.
What do you find hardest about being a writer?
Keeping myself in check. My books tend to get very long (my current YA manuscript is 550 pages long) and I have trouble figuring out what needs to be cut, what is repetitive, what needs to be changed. That’s the great thing about having beta readers. They’ll tell you what is working and what isn’t working.
Who or what would you count as your main influence?
Probably the books that I’ve read – especially when I was 9-12 years old. They were the things that made me want to be a writer. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe especially was one book that I remember finishing and thinking, This is a job? I want this job!
What do you enjoy reading?
I read a little of everything. I still read middle grade books to keep myself fresh and I’ve always loved YA. I read poetry but not as much as I wish I did. And I love non-fiction. I’ve been really interested in polar exploration lately so I’ve been reading a lot about Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shakleton. I also recently read a book on Mallory’s summit attempt on Everest. Currently I’m reading a bio on Mozart and another on the notion of mindfulness in the character of Sherlock Holmes.
Who is your favorite author?
I don’t have one single favorite author. I can’t imagine only picking one when there are so many great writers out there. As far as my favorite authors from when I was younger – C.S. Lewis and Madeline L’Engle took the cake for me. But I love more current MG and YA writers – of course Rowling and Pullman and Snicket. Also, I love Salinger and Virginia Woolf. Marie Howe and Sharon Olds are two of my favorite current poets. Fantasy wise, I’m a big fan of Gaiman. And of course – the man of the hour - Shakespeare!
A big heart-felt thank you to Ally Malinenko for sharing such wonderful conversation throughout this interview and providing the opportunity for myself and book readers to get to know you. Best wishes and much continued success. I'll definitely be on the lookout for the next book!
“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." C. S. Lewis