I chatted with Sarah Rees Brennan, author of The Lynburn Legacy series and her latest novel, TELL THE WIND AND FIRE. Take a look:
Miranda Reads: Your latest novel, Tell the Wind and Fire came out this month. Tell us more about it!
Sarah Rees Brennan: A New York very different from ours, with magic users, harsh laws and harsher penalties. Lucie is a celebrity in Light New York, and has a rich adoring boyfriend, and her life looks great. Except then her boyfriend's soulless double appears, and saves her boyfriend's life. And Lucie thinks she should help this guy out. But she doesn't expect the city to be plunged into revolution and her own dark secrets, the sketchy things she did to get where she is today, to be revealed. She does not expect that!
Miranda Reads:TELL THE WIND AND FIRE is loosely based on Charles Dickens's A TALE OF TWO CITIES. What was the inspiration behind this retelling with a fantastical twist?
Sarah Rees Brennan: I absolutely love A TALE OF TWO CITIES, but two things about it always bothered me. One was that there are these two randomly identical guys--they're not secret twins, what is going on? And their lives are so intertwined: one of them twice has to save the other. It made me think of the legend of the doppelganger--a supernatural being with your face, whose coming spells your doom. But what if your doppelganger chose to save you instead? The other was that the heroine of the book is given nothing to do: the hero proposes to her dad instead of her, she spends the end of the book in a faint and a carriage. I wanted to put power and choices into her hands. So I started by giving her magic rings, a sword, and a past...
Miranda Reads: What advice would you give to someone who is writing a retelling of a story?
Sarah Rees Brennan: I think: decide very early on what is going to be different, and what is going to be the same. What elements do you love and want to reproduce, because it's ridiculous to retell a story that you don't love. But also, which elements do you want to change, because if you don't want to change anything the retelling is pointless: you can just leave it as-is. You have to sort the story parts, as you might sort differently-coloured jellybeans. (Am I the only one who does that?)
Miranda Reads: You have co-written a couple of novels with different YA authors like Justine Larbalestier and Cassandra Clare. What is the co-writing process like compared to writing solo?
Sarah Rees Brennan: Oh, it's fun in a lot of ways! Justine and I were living in Ireland and Australia, so she'd write while I was asleep: the book was literally getting written while I slept. It felt like elves were doing it. On the other hand, being together is fun too. I wrote one story in the Bane Chronicles with Cassandra Clare on a tour bus, and she was leaning her head on my shoulder as I typed frantically about a handsome boy shooting a chandelier.
Miranda Reads: Which author are you most excited to meet at the 11th Annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?
Sarah Rees Brennan: Oooh that is tough! One of the authors I am very excited to meet is Laurie Halse Anderson. I really admire her! But also Rachel Hawkins, because she seems like so much fun. But ALSO I always want to see Tamora Pierce, because she wrote the first fantasy book I ever read and she'll always be my hero.
I am most excited, always, to meet readers! It is thrilling to have people who willingly stepped into your imagination come out and meet you.
Thank you, Sarah! We are so excited to meet you in May!
You can follow Sarah on Twitter and Tumblr.
Talk to you guys next time!