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14 October 2009 @ 07:09 am
Interview with R. L. LaFevers  
I've been waiting for this day for two months now. What day, you're wondering? Well, today I get to interview R. L. LaFevers (Robin) for The Enchanted Inkpot. See my son has read Robin's latest book, and seeing as how he thinks she's a rock star, I get cool status by association.

If you aren't familiar with Robin's work, now is the perfect time. Robin has a great bunch of books under her publication belt, including the Theodosia series and the brand new Flight of the Phoenix (Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist). Trust me when I say these books are fun, very well-written, and perfect for you and those special kids in your life!

Check out these awesome Theodosia covers!

And now, on to the awesome interview!

PJH: You seem to write a ton of great fantasy; I loved the Theodosia books and I love Nathaniel Fludd. That said, do you have any plans to step away from the fantasy genre in the future, if only for a book or two? Or do you think you’ll write fantasy forever?

RLL: You know, I have tried to write realistic fiction before, and some slightly otherworldly element always sneaks in. I wrote a women’s fiction book once, and it ended up with a magical realism element. So did the only realistic MG book I wrote. So I’m guessing there will always be some element of Other in what I write.

PJH: Tell us five things you collect.

RLL: Oh, these are so boring!
Torn out magazine pages for story collages
Writing processes

PJH: Not boring! Boring would be something like graph paper.

PJH: I think my favorite part of Nathaniel Fludd was the insertion of gremlins. What inspired you for the gremlins? I always think of that Twilight Zone episode where Captain Kirk sees gremlins on the wing of the plane ripping up the engines.

RLL: Ah yes, the gremlin. You know, I let the idea for Nathaniel Fludd stew in the back of my mind for a couple of years before I actually sat down to write it. And when I did, the gremlin was not even remotely in the picture. However, as I worked on the first draft, I could tell something was missing—it felt flat to me. So I brainstormed some ways to get some dramatic action and tension in there, and came up with Nate being sent out on the wing to fix the prop. Then Greasle just sprang into my head and wouldn’t let go. The thing is, I resisted her a lot at first. The book centers around mythical beasts—most of them found in medieval bestiaries and folklore. Gremlins were none of those things and at first it felt as if I was violating my own world-building parameters. Until I realized that Greasle’s journey nicely echoed Nate’s thematic journey for the series. While Nate wants to prove himself a true Fludd, worthy of the name, Greasle wants to earn an entry in the Book of Beasts, as a genuine, respected “beast” rather than just a pest. Then of course she became absolutely central to the book. And subsequent books. Which was a good lesson to me to sometimes just go with it…

PJH: What are three books you are looking forward to the release of in the next year (not including mine)?

RLL: Well, other than yours…
Love and Pollywogs from Camp Calamity by Mary Hershey, because she is one of the funniest, most human writers I know.
The sequel to Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate) by Gail Carriger (Altho I think this may have just come out. I have to go check...)

PJH: Yes, the Catching Fire sequel. I'll be getting that on release day, too.

PJH: If an apocalypse came, would you still find a way to write (even if this meant paper and pen)? And if yes, then how and why?

RLL: Well, even without an apocalypse, I still write with pen and paper sometimes, so I would absolutely still do it WITH an apocalypse. As for the why, well, I’ve tried quitting writing a number of times over the years—and failed miserably. Every time I quit or swear I will never write another single word, an idea or voice or spark shows up that I simply MUST write down. I don’t think an apocalypse would change that. Plus, I would need to write to make sense of the new world brought about by such a catastrophe.

OK, now the fun, fast part. Keep your answers as short as possible!

PJH: Fantasy Island or Love Boat?

RLL: Fantasy Island (that whole fantasy thing seems to be a theme for me...)

PJH: Guilty Pleasure?

RLL: Hot baths and popcorn, although not necessarily at the same time.

PJH: Favorite Scooby Doo character?

RLL: Thelma

(PJH: I think Robin needs to watch a little refresher Scooby Doo :))

PJH: Computer or hand written

RLL: Both, depending on what part of the book I’m working on.

PJH: First Draft: Revise as you go or just get it down?

RLL: Just get that sucker DOWN. Although oddly, I will revise the first three chapters a fair amount until I get the voice and tone set, then I will just get it down.

PJH: Favorite natural wonder?

RLL: That the sun rises each and every day

(PJH: Awesome answer!)

PJH: Favorite myth?

RLL: Oh CRUEL question! Probably Hades and Persephone.

Thank you so much for taking the time for the interview, Robin!


PJ Hoover
Book 2: THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD (Oct 2009)
Book 3: THE NECROPOLIS (Fall 2010)

ellen_ohellen_oh on October 14th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
Great interview PJ and Robin! Excuse me while I gush for a minute but I'm such a fan of the Theodosia books and I love the new Beastologist book! Such a great title. And is it such a strange thing to collect notebooks? Cause that's what I do too. have mounds and mounds of notebooks - even the black and white composition ones. Love them.
pjhooverpjhoover on October 15th, 2009 04:23 am (UTC)
It is a fab title, isn't it, Ellen! I personally love the composition notebooks - especially the ones with the graph paper :)
katecoombs on October 15th, 2009 12:04 am (UTC)
I'm a spiral school notebook person, myself, and another Theodosia fan! Now I'll have to check out Beastologist. Thanks for a fun interview! Interesting about the first three chapters--it's like they're a launching pad for the rest of the book.
pjhooverpjhoover on October 15th, 2009 04:23 am (UTC)
Thanks, Kate! Spiral does have its advantages. And yes, so interesting on the first three chapters!
marissa_doylemarissa_doyle on October 15th, 2009 02:51 pm (UTC)
TIme to order Nathaniel Fludd for my son (who is, of course, named Nathaniel!)

Great interview, Tricia and Robin!!!
pjhooverpjhoover on October 15th, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Marissa! It was a darling book and my son gobbled it up right after me.
rllafeversrllafevers on October 15th, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
Blushing furiously at the Thelma/Velma thing. In my defense, it HAS been a long time since anyone watched Scooby Do around here...

Ellen, I am thrilled that you collect notebooks! It is probably a writer thing. I just admire people who have more creative collections, you know like rare 1st editions of folklore, or antique writing instruments, compasses, bricks, all sorts of other collections seem much more interesting than mine. :-)

Kate, I DO prefer the spiral bound ones! (The pages lay flatter and it's easier to write on both sides.) Finding nice spiral ones can be a challenge.

And YES to the launching pad for the book; that's a perfect description.

So glad you all enjoyed Theodosia and here's hoping Nathaniel works for you as well! (Only be aware that he's for a younger audience, 7-10 year olds instead of 10-13).
pjhooverpjhoover on October 15th, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC)
Next time you're in town, Robin, you can babysit and get your Scooby refresher.
(Anonymous) on October 15th, 2009 09:13 pm (UTC)
OK, I definitely have to read Nathaniel Fludd! What a great concept. And I would have had to fake the answers on both Scooby and Fantasy Island, so don't feel bad, Robin.
ebooraem on October 15th, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC)
Oops. I was the Scooby-challenged poster above.
pjhooverpjhoover on October 15th, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC)
I thought you were just trying to be mysterious, Ellen!
kikihamiltonkikihamilton on October 25th, 2009 12:08 pm (UTC)
Great interview PJ and Robin! Sorry I'm a bit late to read this - but I love getting to know authors, and their writing process and especially authors that write fantasy! (and belong to the Enchanted Inkpot!) And I loved getting to know you a bit better Robin! Hopefully, we'll get to meet one day soon.
pjhooverpjhoover on October 25th, 2009 01:18 pm (UTC)
Late is still great, Kiki! Thanks for reading!