Today The Assassin's Curse Blog Tour is stopping by and the lovely Cassandra Rose Clarke answers my questions on writing, pirates and camels. If you haven't done so already, you can read an extract here and my review here. Make sure you go right to the end of the full post to find out more about the fabulous prize on offer and for links to the other blog tour stops.
What was your inspiration behind The Assassin’s Curse?
A large part of my process for writing The Assassin’s Curse was to jam in as much cool stuff as possible. I’ve always liked pirates, so I knew I wanted them to be involved. Assassins are just objectively cool, so in they went as well. I was basically trying to write something I would enjoy reading, something that would be fun and magical and maybe a little different from what’s currently out there.
What draws you to fantasy as a genre?
I read widely across genres, but one common element I look for is a sense of strangeness and otherworldliness. You can find that in pretty much any genre if you look hard enough, but the best fantasy is always replete with it. I also like the feeling in fantasy that you can do whatever you want — as long as it fits in with the rules of your world. There’s a lot of room for creativity and originality, especially once you start breaking away from the big trends.
Would you rather sail the seas with pirates or are you more of a landlubber?
I don’t think I’d make a particularly good pirate, but I’m definitely more of an ocean girl than a land girl. Plus I love to travel. Pirates it is!
The cover for The Assassin’s Curse is gorgeous, did you have any input into it?
Very early in the publication process I sent along some suggestions for the cover to Strange Chemistry, mostly concerning general elements I did or did not want. I’m quite fond of graphical covers (as opposed to covers with photographs or photorealistic paintings of people), so I’m very pleased that my preference made it through to the final version.
I love the camel escape scene. Did you do any specific camel research?
I actually did do a little! One of the first things I looked up was how they smell, since I think smell is how you really capture what an experience is like. I also watched videos of camels running. In the original draft, I wrote the camel’s escape as if he were a horse, and it occurred to me that I’d never actually seen a camel run. Fortunately, Youtube was able to provide me with plenty of running camel videos, like this one:
Completely different from a horse, as you can see.
You also have a novel for older readers out next year, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter. What are the differences between writing YA and adult fiction?
Well, the obvious difference is that adult fiction has a higher word count! I actually think the fact that adult fiction is longer is really at the root of a lot of the differences between YA and adult fiction. With an adult novel, I have more room for digressions and multiple story threads. In a YA novel, my writing needs to be tighter and more direct, since I don’t have as much room to work with in terms of both plot and character development (the latter of which I never want to sacrifice). I also find that my writerly voice changes a bit between YA and adult, although I can’t put my finger on how, exactly.
When you’re not writing, what do you fill your spare time with?
I’m a lot like Abed from Community, honestly: I watch lots of TV and movies, although I read quite a bit too. I also love to draw and paint, so I’m usually sketching something while I’m watching all those TV shows and movies, and I love to cook, too. One thing I’ve wanted to start doing is dance lessons. I already do Zumba a couple of times a week, but I’d really like to take formal ballroom dancing lessons. I couldn’t work it into my schedule this semester, but hopefully I’ll be able to in the spring.
Is there anything random you’ve found online recently that you’d like to share?
I’ve spent the last few days reading over the Reddit fan theory page. I got linked to the page through Twitter and then spent several hours reading through all these zany movie conspiracies. Love it.
A big thanks to Cassie for taking the time to answer my questions. The Assassin's Curse will be available to buy from 2nd/4th October 2012, depending on where you live.
Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones | @mitochondrial
But wait! There is more. Cassie is offering one lucky blog tour winner a one of a kind annotated version of The Assassin's Curse, with sketches, marked-out scenes, deleted information and extra character stuff. I mean who wouldn't want that prize? Each blog on the tour will pick one winner to go in the hat (so winning here doesn't mean you are guaranteed to win the prize but entering on every blog will give you more chances). This is an international giveaway so get clicking on Rafflecopter and visiting the other tour stops.
Follow the tour:
Once Upon a Time
The Book Fairy's Haven
Once Upon a Bookcase
Dog Ear Discs