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25 May 2010 @ 09:46 pm
interview with Magic Under Glass author, Jaclyn Dolamore  

so thrilled to have jackie here with us today!
jackie, thank you so much for stopping by the
enchanted inkpot! i just recently read your debut,
Magic Under Glass, which i utterly enjoyed. could you
share the initial seedlings of this story? did the characters
appear to you first or the story?

It was setting first--I wanted to do a Victorian Gothic
type story in a creepy house like Jane Eyre or Rebecca--
but Nimira swiftly followed. I knew I wanted a Victorian story,
but how to prevent the main character from falling into a
stereotype, like the wealthy girl who doesn't want to get
married or the governess-with-heart-of-gold? I mean, those
characters are still fine if you make them interesting, but
I could quickly see myself failing that. I found myself
thinking of the Victorian fascination with "the exotic Orient"
...well, it was kind of a mix of fascination and exploitation,
and I thought it would be an interesting situation for my
protagonist, to be from a foreign land, admired and exploited
at the same time. Despite that, in the first version, Hollin
was a cliche villain and Nimira was pretty boring...more
vaguely plucky than a truly strong character. The whole cast
evolved in two complete rewrites before they were truly interesting
to me.

i find the idea of the automaton absolutely fascinating!
how did this idea occur to you (was it rooted in fact? these
automatons?) and what was it like to write Erris? i found
him very sympathetic and real, despite his situation.

Erris had an even more convoluted origin! Originally the
automaton love interest was named Roman, and he looked like
an ordinary handsome dude, and then it was revealed that
his insides were clockwork, gasp! Erris, meanwhile, was the
ghost of an irresponsible dandy who befriended Nimira. The
trouble was, quite a few critiquers were like, "Aw, I want
her to end up with the ghost! The ghost is more fun!" I
realized that I liked Erris better than Roman, too. So I
combined Erris's personality with Roman's plight (and made
it even worse by trapping him further). Of course, the
irresponsible dandy had to toughen up a bit. But that
made it more fun.

As for the origin of the automaton, I was inspired by a
museum exhibit of Japanese automata, which led me to
research automata and stumble across an 18th-century
French automaton called "The Musician". It's life-sized
and sits at an organ. She moves very much like Erris....
or rather, Erris moves very much like her. The description
in chapter 4 of the movements of Erris the automaton ar
e almost exactly like the movements of "The Musician"--
the rising and falling chest, the glances at the
audience and the pianoforte...

for Silver Phoenix, Xia is inspired by ancient china.
however, they venture into an european like country
in the sequel which is based on none in particular. did
you draw on any cultures or countries for Lorinar. for me,
london immediately came to mind for the city she was working
in? and the english countryside.

Are you trying to make me squee over your sequel?
Because it's working! =D I'm really excited to see Ai Ling
&co. traveling in a European type country (I bet she
and Nim would have a lot to talk about).

Well, it seems inevitable that people will try to assume
what country you "meant". Lorinar has aspects of England
and the United States without quite being either. As some
readers have observed, there is an "old world" that isn't
Lorinar, so in that respect it's like America, but it was
also never really "discovered" like America. With mermaids
and winged people in the world, I think navigation and
mapping has always been more advanced. I was thinking,
a bit, of some Arthurian Britain stories I've read where
the magical world disappeared with the coming of
Christianity, and thought of the fairies migrating to
another continent to escape the oppression of humans.
(Of course, there were probably already some other
fairies and humans there that the incoming fairies may
have, in turn, displaced...so goes history, I guess.)

This is probably starting to sound way too complicated.
Short answer: It's part England, part America. Yeah.

aww, thanks for the squee! i bet ai ling and nim
could eat well together! =D could you tell us a little
bit about the sequel? and any other writing projects
you are working on?

Well, while Magic Under Glass was on submission, I
wrote another book, set in the same world, but not
a sequel, called Between the Sea and Sky, about a
mermaid and a winged guy who were childhood friends
and encounter each other again as teenagers, both drawn
to one another's world, ahh, starcrossed! That will be
released before the sequel. Now I'm working on Magic
Under Stone. This book is definitely more character-driven,
I think...it's all about the emotional fallout of
Magic Under Glass. Poor Erris has lost pretty much
everything but the huge responsibility of being heir
to the fairy throne and Nimira feels guilty for failing
to save him entirely.

Between the Sea and Sky sounds amazing! i love
star-crossed stories. and i totally understand the idea
of a sequel being more character driven. i can't wait
to read it!!
what draws you to writing fantasy? what are some of
your favorite MG or YA fantasy reads?

I can't seem to not write fantasy. I'm less into the
magical wowie-zowie aspect than the greater freedom
it gives me to raise moral questions, like the implications
of bringing someone back from the dead, or to create cultures
that are similar-but-different to our own. Or, as I sometimes
say, it gives me more ways to make characters feel outcast.
Because I love me some outcasts-that-triumph. When you can
make up your own species of people and curses and weird magic,
there are just so many ways someone can feel different...

Some of my favorite fantasies are:
Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore
Megan Whelan Turner's books
Clare Dunkle's Hollow Kingdom trilogy
The Safe-Keeper's Secret; The Truth-Teller's Tale;
and The Dream-Maker's Magic by Sharon Shinn
Kenneth Oppel's trilogy starting with Airborn
Faery Rebels/Knife by R. J. Anderson
Maggie Stiefvater's books

Fantasy keeps getting more diverse and awesome.
It's such an exciting time to be in this business.

what inspires you? =}

History! And I'm very visual in the early planning
stages. I think sometimes when I'm first thinking of
a book I'm more like someone planning a movie...I'm
sketching clothes, I'm thinking about the architecture
and design of the place...oh, and the soundtrack, for
setting the emotional mood. I'm always reading non-fiction
history and gathering ideas. And sometimes inspiration
comes from strange places. I can tell you my two favorite
characters of my own both had their seed in a video game character!

and last but not least, what is your favorite pastry?


Specifically, a linzertorte made with a cocoa-hazelnut
crust and raspberry and marzipan filling. *dies*

mmm! that sounds divine! thanks so much for visiting
the inkpot and congratulations on your debut, jackie!!
ctrichmondctrichmond on May 26th, 2010 12:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, great interview! I definitely need to get a copy of Magic Under Glass!
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R.J. Anderson: Faery Rebels - Kniferj_anderson on May 26th, 2010 12:44 pm (UTC)
Excellent interview, Cindy and Jaclyn! Yay for Linzertorte! (And thanks for the mention of my book too -- very honoured!)
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Jackiefabulousfrock on May 29th, 2010 10:22 pm (UTC)
You know I looove your book. =D Lovin' it like linzertorte.
lindajsingletonlindajsingleton on May 26th, 2010 02:23 pm (UTC)
Great interview!! Love the new cover. It should really appeal to readers. It was so great to read MAGIC UNDER GLASS after meeting Jackie and making the fun GOTHIC GIRLS RETOLD video about our books http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQcIvAz59fI&playnext_from=TL&videos=FjcvfsQLSic .

Can't wait for your next book, Jackie!! And congrats on your book(s), too, Cindy!
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meredithmoore on May 26th, 2010 02:27 pm (UTC)
Automatons and Victorian England atmosphere? Count me in! Thanks for sharing the interview.
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kellyrfinemankellyrfineman on May 26th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC)
LOVED this interview!
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Leah_Cypessleah_cypess on May 27th, 2010 02:28 am (UTC)
What a great interview -- it's so fascinating to hear how the book developed through revisions. And the other two sound amazing!
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kikihamiltonkikihamilton on May 29th, 2010 04:08 am (UTC)
Hi Jackie and Cindy! Thank you both for the great interview. I always love to hear about the process of how a story reaches the final version.

I have MAGIC UNDER GLASS on my nightstand and you have convinced me to move it to the top of the pile and dive in! Can't wait!!