Hey, everyone! It's the end of June, which means only one thing... it's monthly wrap-up time for the YA and MG Time Travel Reading Challenge! Today, I have an interview with Deborah Noyes, author of the time travel novel Plague in the Mirror released last June 11. You can click on the link to read my four-star review. I loved it and I hope you do too! Aside from the interview, I also have a giveaway for a copy of Plague in the Mirror! Moreover, for the first time ever, we have two different wrap-up posts! Go to Precious' blog to read an interview with Gina Linko, author of the time travel novel Flutter, and get a chance to win a signed copy! So let's check out Deborah's answers!
How did the idea for Plague in the Mirror come to you?
It started percolating while I was at work on a nonfiction book called Encyclopedia of the End, which had an entry on plague. As I dug into the research, I became fascinated by bubonic plague in general and by the outbreak known as The Black Death in particular. Many of the topics I researched for that earlier book ended up nourishing this one: saintly relics, memento mori, burial rituals...
Where did you draw your inspiration from?
The setting, for sure. I've never been to Florence--or to Italy, even--so immersing myself in books and art about the city was one way of traveling to a place I've always wanted to go. A photographer-friend of mine had just returned from a trip to Tuscany, and her photos were a big inspiration (I used some in the book trailer).
How did you go about the research for the Italian parts of your book?
No matter what I'm researching, I start as simply and organically as possible--usually with children's books (which makes sense since I edit them for a living)--and work my way up to the complex stuff. In this case, I started with Google Translate and asked an Italian-speaking friend to help me refine from there. My editor also reads and speaks Italian, so she was a resource.
Who's your favorite character in the book? Who was the most fun to write? Who was the hardest?
Definitely Cristofana. She kept me guessing. I love the idea of having a twin out there in what she calls “the wilds of time” who’s also your opposite, the yin to your yang. May’s a self-proclaimed good girl used to doing what’s right and expected (which, in a way, made her difficult to know and write about). But she also takes her life for granted. It’s like a part of her is sleeping. And Cristofana is wide awake. She’s selfish and mean but bold and passionate, too, unafraid to go after what she wants, and May has something to learn from that, as Cristofana learns about family and loyalty from May. A lot of dualities — good and evil, light and dark — are extremes, but I think what the universe wants from us, in the end, is balance. May and Cristofana complete each other.
Title: Plague in the Mirror
Author: Deborah Noyes
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Date of Publication: June 11, 2013
In a sensual paranormal romance, a teen girl’s doppelgänger from 1348 Florence lures her into the past in hopes of exacting a deadly trade.
It was meant to be a diversion — a summer in Florence with her best friend, Liam, and his travel-writer mom, doing historical research between breaks for gelato. A chance to forget that back in Vermont, May’s parents, and all semblance of safety, were breaking up. But when May wakes one night sensing someone in her room, only to find her ghostly twin staring back at her, normalcy becomes a distant memory. And when later she follows the menacing Cristofana through a portale to fourteenth-century Florence, May never expects to find safety in the eyes of Marco, a soulful painter who awakens in her a burning desire and makes her feel truly seen. The wily Cristofana wants nothing less of May than to inhabit each other’s lives, but with the Black Death ravaging Old Florence, can May’s longing for Marco’s touch be anything but madness? Lush with atmosphere both passionate and eerie, this evocative tale follows a girl on the brink of womanhood as she dares to transcend the familiar — and discovers her sensual power.
About Deborah Noyes
Deb writes for adults and children and is also an editor and photographer. She lives in Massachusetts with her family.