Lisa Mantchev says she’s “a temporally-displaced Capricorn who spends a lot of time wondering what other time periods I’d rather have lived in, all the while very much enjoying my wireless internetz and push-of-a-button espresso machine.” We’re thankful she’s part of our time period, allowing us to enjoy Eyes Like Stars and its sequels when they’re hot off the presses.
From South Pacific to Coraline, Lisa takes the time to answer a few questions for Shimmer. If you’d like to catch the author and her books in person, look for her at the Port Angeles Library on April 14th, plus reading and signing on June 11 at 7:0 0pm at the University of WA Bookstore for the release of Perchance To Dream. Eyes Like Stars will be issued in paperback on April 13.
When did you first know you were a writer?
I have no idea, really… there have been glimmers: directing my own play, publication of my first short story, seeing the novel in bookstores… but I really believe on some level that I am just gleefully enjoying myself and someone will catch me sitting at the Big Kids’ table and boot me out.
Tell us about the first play you took part in (acting/directing/etc).
When I was seven, I got a call from a local director who knew me through the school I attended… he wanted to remind me about auditions for the local community college production of South Pacific. My mom left a half-crimped pie crust on the kitchen counter to take me down to the theater (hence the dedication to her in Eyes Like Stars.) I was cast as one of the children on Bali Ha’i, got to dye my hair black and learn Polynesian dancing. It was fabulous.
What was the most frustrating thing about writing Eyes Like Stars?
I had no idea what I was doing… it was like bumbling down a really dark hallway, banging my head into low hanging beams and tripping over exposed pipes. Looking back on it, I had no agent, no contract… and no pressure, other than what I was putting on myself at the time. (I still don’t like that dark hallway feeling of the first draft, and I’ve really come to appreciate the work that gets done in revisions!)
What draws you to writing fantasy?
Limitless possibilities. I like the idea of other worlds down-the-rabbit-hole.
What do you know now that you didn’t know before the writing and publication of Eyes Like Stars?
How awesome the Young Adult writing community is, not just the other authors but the librarians and reviewers and bloggers… everyone is just so enthusiastic! They love to read! They love to tell people about good books!
Your short story, “Six Scents,” was inspired by scents from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. What would Beatrice Shakespeare Smith’s blend smell like? How about Nate?
*glee* I love this idea. If they could manage it, I think Bertie’s would smell faintly of cloves, velvet curtains, hair dye (*L*) and new ink. Nate would definitely smell like clean linen, leather, rum, and salt.
What favorite book do you wish you could forget, so you could have the pleasure of reading it for the first time again?
Tanith Lee’s Biting the Sun. That was an utter revelation for me.
We’re dropping you on a desert island with: three books, two DVDs, and one CD. What are the titles?
Three books: Anne of Green Gables, The Complete Works of Shakespeare (yeah, that’s probably cheating!) and “Building Coconut Rafts For Dummies.”
Two DVDs: Copies of David-as-Doctor-Who episodes like “The Shakespeare Code” and “The Girl in the Fireplace.”
One CD: Something Cirque du Soleil…
When can we expect the next act in Theatre Illuminata, Perchance To Dream? (And do any new tidbits await us in the short fiction realm?)
Perchance To Dream is due out May 25th, and picks up pretty much where Eyes Like Stars left off, with (*Spoiler Alert*) Bertie and the fairies setting out in search of Nate, accompanied by Ariel and a newcomer to the group they pick up along the way.
The audio recording for Eyes Like Stars is now available on CD (retail and library version) through the Full Cast Audio website, and they just won an AudioFile Earphones Award for it!
The theater website (in the midst of an overhaul) is still www.theatre-illuminata.com, and I just completed an as-yet-uncontracted alt-history YA steampunk novel, so fingers crossed on that one!