You have a widely varied background before you settled on writing! How did those jobs and experiences lead you to writing? And I'm also dying to know, what kind of medicine did you practice?
Yes, I had several careers before writing! I worked in the Nuclear Medicine field as a technologist and a researcher before going to medical school. I became a doctor and was board certified in Internal Medicine. The writing began in earnest after my children were born. I had always been an avid reader, especially of mysteries and romantic suspense. After I decided that I wanted to stay at home to take care of my kids, writing fiction provided me with a wonderful outlet. Even though I still do miss my patients, I don't miss the stress and demands of that job! I feel very grateful to be able to explore this new world of writing, and to try to make readers happy and to get better with every story.I am always so intrigued by where other writers get their ideas. What was the seed of the idea for WARPED? How did that core idea change or evolve over the writing of the book?
It began with a book! I was looking in my local library for a book about crocheting. I wanted to learn how to do granny squares. But my fingers fell on a book called "The Oak King, The Holly King and the Unicorn: Myths and Symbolism of the Unicorn Tapestries" by John Williamson. It's a fascinating book that talks about all the meanings behind each plant, each flower in the seven famous panels. The unicorn itself has several symbolic meanings, some of them religious. It is a symbol of sacrifice as well as immortality. Some believe it can be taken to represent Jesus Christ. This idea of the unicorn as a sacrifice, or even, as a man- lodged in my brain and I began to think about a man trapped in a tapestry, in the form of a unicorn...
Then I had to weave a story, about how that could happen. So that's how it began.
And I never did find out how to make granny squares!
I loved the Norns! Can you tell us a little about how they came to take such an active role in your book?
Yes, they are the sisters who spin and weave and cut the threads of life. The Norns of Norse mythology are the equivalent of the Fates. The idea that maybe some of those threads could be stolen for nefarious purposes was irresistible! And I figured the sisters would not be too happy about it. I took a small liberty and called them the Norn though. I just thought it sounded better. Ha- nothing like poetic license.
So, how DID Scandinavian Norns come to bestir themselves on behalf of an Anglo-Norman knight and a contemporary teen?
Well, in my opinion three mythic figures who hold the threads of all humanity would not limit themselves to a specific zip code. But I could be wrong.
I have always been fascinated by the middle ages, have you? If so, did your interest in things medieval act as springboard for the book, or did your interest result from the book idea? What was the most surprising thing you learned about the middle ages while doing research for this book?
My particular interest in the Middle Ages has always been the medicine. Even though that subject doesn't come up in this particular story- I love finding out about the medicinal plants that were used, bleeding and leeching, all that stuff fascinates me. My first novel (that's currently on a shelf somewhere) is about a boy apprenticed to a barber-surgeon in Tudor England. I put a lot of fun (and gross) details into that one!
I saw on Twitter a few weeks ago you just announced a brand new sale. Congratulations! Can you tell us a little about this next project?
The next book is called Revel. It's about a girl named Delia who comes to an isolated island off the coast of Maine to meet her estranged grandmother. But she discovers that the island is ruled by demi-gods of the sea and once you're there, you can never leave. There's shipwrecks, sea monsters and a handsome lobsterman- so needless to say I'm having a great time with it!
Ooh, it sounds wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing your new book with us, Maurissa!
To find out more about Maurissa and her books, you can find her on her blog or on Twitter, as well as her website.