Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fresh New Voice of YA- Lisa Mantchev Interview

1) How did you get the idea for Eyes Like Stars and the series as a whole?

ELS started as a short story entitled "All Her World's A Stage," and that began with the name "Beatrice Shakespeare Smith." I was working on a different short story at the time, but I'm pretty sure I shoved it aside to draft five thousand words. Those five thousand words then ended up as bits of chapter one, the chapter about how Bertie came to the theater, the important bits concerning The Complete Works of the Stage, and the ending. It was like when Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride) said, "No, there is too much. Let me sum up," only in reverse.

2) You spent a lot of your years as a child and teen doing theatre. What was your favorite and least favorite part about performing? What show production has been the most fun to do?

I love just about everything, from the auditions to Hell Week to the performances; the only part that I grew to dread was memorizing my lines. When I started (age seven) I would have the entire show in my head in three days. Now, it takes a lot of repetition and head-smacking to get the lines in there. And I _hate_ feeling unprepared.

3) What are you working on now? Can you tell us anything about it?

I'm in the middle of revisions on the second Théâtre Illuminata book, Perchance To Dream. Then I have revisions on an unrelated series (Retrofuturistic NeoVictorian silliness) before it can go out on submission. After that, I'll be drafting the third theater book.

4) What brought you to the YA genre? Have you always been a fan or are you still pretty new to it all?

I was writing short speculative fiction before I began the novel, and there's not much delineation in that field by age group. I happened to have a teenaged protagonist, and the book sold to a YA imprint. Only then did I realize my very favorite books come from the YA section of the bookstore.

5) What is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor?

Tangerine. My mom used to mix tangerine, lemon, and lemon-lime together to put in the plastic eggs at Easter. I always ate the tangerine ones first.

6) What book(s) are you reading now, or are about to start?

I have a stack of awesome on my nightstand: Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett, Flora's Dare by Ysabeau Wilce, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, plus two research books on Victorian/Edwardian clothing.

7) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

If you want to get published, you have to treat the writing like a job: put in the hours, behave professionally (at conventions, on the internet) and NEVER GIVE UP. NEVER SURRENDER.


  1. Can't wait for the retrofuturistic NeoVictorian book! I I'm writing a story similar to that, but it's more 1920's retrofuturism than steampunk.

  2. Thanks, James, for presenting the awesomeness that is Lisa.

  3. Tangerine Jelly Bean?! Never heard of that, very exciting.

    Awesome interview, we all love Lisa!