Today our guest is Melissa LeGette author of yesterday’s book The Orphan and The Thief, here is a link to the post if you missed it. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-4KH
let’s find out more about the writing of the book.
1) Where is your home town?
I live in Washington, Georgia. It’s a little, southern town sandwiched between three big cities.
2) How long have you been writing?
Gosh, for a long time. Ever since I was little, but I didn’t think of writing as anything special – it was just something that I did without thought, much like a hobby. It wasn’t until I was older – 16 maybe – that I considered the profession.
3) Upon starting your book “The Orphan and the Thief” my thoughts went to “The Wind in the Willows”, by Kenneth Grahame, did it influence your book at all?
Bit embarrassing, I’ve never read it, which is ridiculous because I love animals dressing up as people. The book should be totally up my alley. So I know very, very little about the plot, except that there is a toad named Mr. Toad, so I can see a connection there.
4) Tell us about the card game “Bloodroot and toadstools” was it fun to write?
It was fantastic to write! The book is so much about potions that throwing in a potion card game was the cherry on top, for me. I hadn’t ever done something like that before and it was great fun to try to come up with the rules and such. And I just love the name of it!
5) I see you sneaked in a unicorn in to the story, are they your favourite animal?
I had a feeling you would notice that, Rosie! It’s true, I couldn’t help myself. Unicorns and dragons are my top two picks when it comes to magical/mythical creatures, so you should probably expect them to reappear in my writing.
When I was coming up with the ingredients to the Seeking Solution, I wanted some of them to come from animals and unicorn hair was just an obvious choice. Plus, it allowed me to play with the more animalistic version of a unicorn. In The Unicorn Girl, I wrote them more in the way that we think of: they can talk, they can do magic, they’re ethereal and all knowing. But I didn’t want to do that this go round. I wanted to do something different. If there were actual unicorns out and about today, how would they behave? Would they be reclusive? Protective? Aggressive? Curious? Though they’ve been painted to be such gentle creatures, I think we shouldn’t forget about those horns—they clearly aren’t pushovers as Toad discovers.
6) Can you tell the readers where the talking mug “Joe” came from?
Rather interesting story. My grandfather bought a ‘face jug’, as I think they’re called, by a potter named Ron Dahline. He bought this ages ago. And then my grandparents moved and were passing out possessions to lighten the load, and my dad took the mug. From there, the mug stayed tucked away behind some wine glasses and my dad would periodically take it out and fill it with beer, which repulsed my mom and always made me laugh.
It was when I was in the early stages of working on Orphan that I looked at the mug with a new perspective. And I thought, that’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. That has to go into a book. I’m an idiot if I don’t put that into a book. So I put it into Orphan.
The mug is so outrageous. I mean it is wild with a giant, toothy grin so a lot of Joe’s characteristics came very natural to write, simply from the pottery itself. It was obvious that he should talk; it was obvious that he should be one of a kind and that that would make him a prize in the eyes of certain individuals.
7) What makes Agatha the spider special for the children?
Because Agatha can travel magically through her web, she is able to lend a helping hand … or should I say leg? The biggest thing that I like about Agatha is that she represents an individual helping another individual simply because she can and simply because she wants to. The same is true with Izzie, who Melena and Toad later meet. When you look at both Melena’s and Toad’s upbringing, they’ve had to fend for themselves. Toad is raised by thieves and was bullied and teased and though he was part of a gang, he was very much on his own. Melena grew up in a very large orphanage and as much as I think kindly about the women who run St. Brenda’s Orphanage, I doubt they were able to give each child the love and attention that they deserved. And then, Melena gets ‘adopted’ by a terrible couple who just use her as labour. So, they both haven’t seen many acts of kindness. So when Agatha the spider offers to help them out of a very deadly situation, Melena is very overwhelmed by it and both children’s attitudes toward the spider is deep fondness.
8) There were so many wonderful magical moments in the book which was your favourite?
Wow. This is hard. Um, I really love the part when Melena finally meets the notorious Ramblers. I loved writing that scene. This scrawny 13 year old standing up to serious criminals and holding her ground – I thought it was great fun. Plus, it was a scene that I wrote very early on that ended up getting removed because the plot changed and it didn’t fit anymore, so I was really happy when I realized that I’d be able to put it back in with a few adjustments. And then there’s the ogre scene when they sing a ballad to scare the ogre away. That was also an idea I had really early on that was such fun to write.
9) Who was Mr Owl going to use the Seeking Solution to find?
No clue. What do you think?
For a really long time (this is one of my weaknesses, by the way), I did not know why Mr. Owl did what Mr. Owl did, which was a problem. I liked the idea of him being utterly repulsed by thieves even though—and you get sense of this—that he has some sort of relationship or treaty with Jack Pinch of the Ramblers. Jack even tells Melena that ‘we don’t get in each others way.’
Mr. Owl is a very wealthy man and something of his gets stolen. I have no idea what this is. I don’t even know if it’s a physical item or if he’s being symbolic. But he wants the person who took whatever it was to pay for his crime, and Owl is a man who dishes out his punishments. He’s not a person who will turn to authorities. It could be that the item that was stolen has a dark past? Maybe one that Mr. Owl does not want publicized? There are so many possibilities … In fact, I might have just come up with an idea …
10) This book screams for a sequel, to you plan to write one?
I’m so flattered and excited that you think so! I love reading series, but I’m terrified of writing one. I’ve been keeping this pretty quiet, but I do have a very rough idea for a sequel, but not one that focuses on Toad or Melena. It will still be set in Calendula, the same country that Orphan and the Thief is set in, but with new characters, though you never know. Some old characters might join the cast. So much happens in writing a book!
I do leave the door open for a return of Toad and Melena, if an idea ever came to me. So fingers crossed!
Thank you for being our guest today, Melissa and good luck with the next book.