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

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Author Interview- Diana Peterfreund

1) What made you decide to retell classic novels, and how did you choose the ones you did?

I love retellings -- Clueless (Emma), West Side Story (Romeo & Juliet) and even Forbidden Planet (The Tempest). I have had "write a retelling of Persuasion" in my idea file for years... just waiting for the right world to make it work, and that was For Darkness Shows the Stars. Years ago, I'd played around with a gender-switched Scarlet Pimpernel set in space which didn't work out. When, many months after finishing For Darkness Shows the Stars, I realized that the world could hold a Pimpernel, that the "revolution" many of the characters speak of in For Darkness could come to pass in a slightly different environment -- well, I was off and running. My favorite piece of the puzzle came when I realized that the beheadings of the original could stand in for the damage of the Reduction. After writing the rustic, post-apocalyptic dark ages in For Darkness, I was so excited to fill Star-Swept with tons of lush details, gorgeous clothes and cool technology.

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

The first book in the OMEGA CITY trilogy, a middle grade series about a group of kids who stumble upon a vast, underground Cold War bunker city, and the adventure they have there. Think Goonies with nuclear bunkers and rocket ships. It'll be out in 2015. I also just finished the first two books under my new romance pen name, Viv Daniels. ONE & ONLY is a swoony, angsty new adult romance that will be out in November. The other is for a holiday anthology called ONE ENCHANTED SEASON that I'm doing with a bunch of my romance writer friends. It's been a VERY busy summer!

3) In my previous interview with you, I asked about your volunteering at the National Zoo. Do you still do that? Are you working with the tamarins still?

Alas, they closed down the free-range tamarin program to make more room for the elephants. But now that I've got my very human monkey at home (she'll be three this year), I don't have as much time as I used to, anyway. I'm still a member of the zoo, though, and I try to visit as much as I can.

4) You now have several YA novels under your belt. What's your favorite and least favorite aspect of writing YA?

Yes, four YAs on top of my five adult books! How time does fly! My favorite part of the YA community is definitely the readership. Ain't no fan like a YA fan. They are so passionate and engaged and open and voracious. My least favorite aspect is how many clueless adults underestimate that readership, and the books they love.

5) I've already asked your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor, so what's your favorite snack to have while writing, or as a reward for writing?

I always need my morning tea. I have quite the tea collection, and that doesn't even include my cast-iron, cherry blossom-embossed teapot (go, DC!) or my antique teacups. It's a whole ritual at this point, really.

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

I just glommed the entirety of (the available books in) Courtney Milan's Brothers Sinister series: The Governess Affair, The Duchess War, The Heiress Effect, and A Kiss For Midwinter. Such good historical romance! I also finished SCATTER, ADAPT AND REMEMBER, which is a non-fiction book about surviving extinction-level disasters. (Research, baby!). And I was lucky to read an advanced copy of Mari Mancusi's dragon apocalypse book, SCORCHED. It's been a busy summer for me -- two books and a novella to write--which left me way too little time for reading.

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