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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Interview with Jaclyn Dolamore

I hope you all got a chance to read my review on Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore and maybe pick up a copy for yourselves when it comes out in January! =) Ms. Dolamore is a wonderful debut author, who I sincerely hope to see more of. She has kindly agreed to do an interview with me. Enjoy!

Do you remember where the idea for Magic Under Glass came from?

The best ideas seem to come from nowhere, like an unexpected package on your doorstep. Magic under glass was like that, although it came from a long love of the Victorian era, novels written in or set in that time, automata, and the relationships between cultures in a world that was starting to become smaller. The best way to get that unexpected package is to fill your head with as much awesome stuff as possible.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I have. Occasionally I thought I might be something else, like an artist. But I kept coming back to writing. Even as a kid I idolized other writers and filled notebook upon notebook with stories. Or at least, the beginnings of stories. My attention span wasn't great back then...

Are there any authors you look up to?

I look up to a lot of writers, for different reasons. In a creative sense, there is no *one* writer I look up to to a huge degree. I get something different out of so many different people's work, and I don't think my work is modeled after anyone. In a career sense, I definitely look up to Maggie Stiefvater right now. She's my friend and we're very close in age, and we have some similarities to our work and background, and since she has obviously been very successful, and a step or two ahead of me in the publication journey, I watch what she does and how well it works for her.

What is your favorite cure for writers' block?

If I have writers block, it's because I either haven't planned out the story enough, or I took a wrong turn and I'm being stubborn about admitting it, or I can't see what's wrong. Or sometimes I get writers block just because I need a break and I don't want to admit *that*. So the best cure is to take a day or two off, maybe, and if the problem hasn't worked itself out, I might need to talk to my boyfriend or a friend, or listen to music and sketch the characters for a while... something to get connected to what needs to happen.

From what I can tell reading Magic Under Glass, you are fairly vague on the mechanics of magic usage. Did you think about that much while writing?

Well, magic is not my favorite part of a fantasy novel. I'm much more interested in inventing new cultures and dealing with the ramifications of different magical species interacting, and things like that. So it's true I don't get extremely excited about developing magic systems, compared to some other things. Also, I have a fantasy world I've been writing about since I was 12. The magic in that world is very developed, and in my brain, that is how magic "works", so while I wanted Magic Under Glass to have its own magic, I have a hard time getting away from my other world sometimes...
BUT, if I'm contracted for a second book, the magic will be more specific! I already have some ideas along those lines...

Do you ever base any of your characters off of people you know?

Very rarely. If they are, it's probably a side character based on an old coworker or something...haha. if I know someone who's gone through a situation similar to a character, I will consider how they reacted, but most of my characters are based on some aspect of myself, another character I love in some other story (obviously, I change a lot of things), or someone whose autobiography or biography I've read...

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what?

Yes! At least, I love to. This year I've had a repetitive stress injury and I write with voice recognition software, so I can't listen to music at the same time anymore. I miss the music a lot... I listen to different music for every book. My favorite ever is David Bowie and Roxy music. But my taste keeps getting more weird, too where I go to the library and come out with, like, old ragtime recordings and Bulgarian folk singers and bluegrass or something.

Do you have any advice for young writers?

The worst enemy of creativity are the voices -- both your own, and other peoples -- that tell you creativity should not be a priority. Writing, when you're young, and it isn't a school assignment, is quiet and personal and it often seems like no one will care or it's a waste of time. Our society does not value time spent sitting alone, reading, thinking, and creating something that might not be good, that might not be successful, that no one will ever read. But it is valuable. Immensely so. Even if I was never published, I know my writing would be the thing I was most proud of on my dying day. When I learn something, if I use it in my writing, I remember it. When I was sitting in the hospital in the middle of the night waiting to find out if my boyfriend was okay when he broke his arm, I thought of my characters and how strong they are. If it's your passion, it's always worth giving priority to. It will enrich your life in so many ways.


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