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Interview with Lisa Mantchev, Author of EYES LIKE STARS

YA Highway contributor Kristin Briana Otts had the opportunity to interview Lisa Mantchev, whose AMAZING YA fantasy, EYES LIKE STARS, came out a few months ago. She's in love with this novel and eagerly awaiting the sequel, so it was exciting to talk with Lisa.

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

KB: Describe your novel in twenty words or less.

LM: Beatrice Shakespeare Smith lives in a magical theater with all the characters from every play ever written.

KB: Where did you get the idea for EYES LIKE STARS?

LM: ELS started life as a short story entitled "All Her World's A Stage" and THAT started with Bertie's full name... it just popped into my head one day as I was writing something else entirely.

KB: It's a GREAT name. :) Do you usually try to follow an outline or are you a "pantser"?

LM: A little of both... I outline, and then wander all over the place as I work through a first draft. Some of my favorite scenes were never part of "the plan"... like the Tango Scene. That was inspired by a season past of So You Think You Can Dance, something I was watching in the evenings to decompress after a day of putting down new words.

KB: Haha, awesome! (That was one of my favorite scenes, actually.) There are so many fun, quirky characters in ESL - I particularly love Ophelia and her obsession with drowning. :) Did you set out to create this cast or did they kind of tackle you and demand to be in your book? (Maybe that's just me...)

LM: The Players just showed up... the fairies, Ophelia, and Ariel all arrived as-is, with their personality quirks and in full costume, ready to go. Nate turned up in a revision, when the Sea Goddess/scrimshaw plotline was added in.

KB: I am SO glad Nate found his way into the cast. *hugs Nate* Can you tell us the story of that first call from both your agent and editor?

LM: Would it be bad to admit it's been so long that I can only remember bits and pieces of those calls? I remember my pulse thudding in my ears, and taking lots of notes, and trying to not sound like a raving idiot (which I might have managed... I've blocked that part of it out!) I remember asking Jean Feiwel what her favorite scene was, and she liked the Tango Scene the best (hooray!) The thing that clinched it for my agent was the musical number "What Will Become Of Us," which was originally a little bit longer with even more bad poetry. *L*

KB: Do you listen to music while you write?

LM: Depends on the day... some days I need absolute quite to get words down, other days I'm listening to everything from techno dance music to the soundtracks to Cirque du Soleil's Corteo. I have friends that will verify that I have Really Awful taste in pop music. ;)

KB: Oh, so do I. *wince* Can you give us a teensy weensy summary of PERCHANCE TO DREAM, or is it very tightly under wraps right now? (The fangirl in me hopes for a small peek...)

LM:
Anything I could say about Perchance To Dream is a spoiler for Eyes Like Stars, so I'm waiting for the Official Book Jacket Copy to share anything about book 2. Sorry!!

KB: Dang it. *pouts* Oh well. I guess I can wait for next year. :D Last but not least - what is your favorite flavor of jelly bean?

LM: Tangerine Jelly Bellies. My mom always put those in my Easter basket (mixed with Lemon and Lemon-Lime... that combination always makes me think of springtime.)

Thanks again for the interview, Lisa, and for your awesome book!!!
--Kristin Briana Otts

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Learn more about Lisa and the players of the Theatre Illuminata at www.theatre-illuminata.com.
*Cross-posted to Teens Writing for Teens

Kirsten Hubbard

Kirsten is the author of Like Mandarin, Wanderlove, and the middle grade novel Watch the Sky.

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5 comments:

  1. Oh, this looks so amazing. I had an idea for a Shakespeare-inspired novel a few years ago, but this sounds so much cooler.

    Great interview, Kristin!

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  2. I just saw this at the library and picked it up so I am happy to see the interview:) And it was pretty spoiler free...

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  3. Awesome! Why haven't I read this book yet??

    Great interview:)

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  4. I've heard such good things about this book! I definitely have to get it on my TBR list

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  5. Nice interview, Kristin Jr.! I've been looking forward to this book for a couple of months. It sounds great!

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Item Reviewed: Interview with Lisa Mantchev, Author of EYES LIKE STARS Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kirsten Hubbard