Here’s a combo post! An interview with Holly Black and a review of her newest book “White Cat,” which was released last week!
I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of “White Cat,” which I read a few weeks ago. “White Cat” is the story of Cassel, a young man who’s the only ‘normal’ one in his family of Curse Workers, people who can influence others with only the touch of their hands. Although Castle may not have the magical power that his Curse Worker family members have, he’s a conman … and he killed his best friend, Lila. But now he’s convinced that Lila is haunting him, in the form of a white cat that’s following him and stalking his dreams. Sound intriguing? I can tell you first-hand that it sure is. Look for “White Cat” at TBF – you won’t regret it!
And now, my interview with Holly Black!
C: Where do your story ideas come from? Do you have a “thinking spot” where your best ideas come to you?
HB: My ideas come from my obsessions. I read a ton of folklore – because I loved it – long before I had the idea that I was going to write about faeries. Before I ever thought of writing a book like “White Cat,” I read a true crime book, “Son of a Grifter,” which utterly fascinated me. It set me off doing more and more research about cons and capers. Only later did I realize how I would use that research in fiction. When I get stuck on an idea and I want to explore it more, I find that talking aloud is really helpful for me. Just hearing myself put my idea into words helps me see where it needs development, but it also helps to have someone to ask the right questions. For that, I think a critique partner is invaluable.
C: I love how “White Cat” is a combination between fantasy and realistic fantasy … is that something that you strive for in your other books? Do you have a preference between fantasy and realistic fiction?
HB: What I love about contemporary fantasy is the feeling that just around the bend, down a dark alley or out of the corner of your eye, there is strangeness waiting. I love that, ideally, when we put down the book, we come back to the world wondering if the world might be a bit bigger and a bit odder than we thought when we picked that book up. In terms of reading, I read pretty broadly. I love urban fantasy, but I also love historical fiction and mysteries and nonfiction and comics. If it looks interesting to me, I pick it up. No genre is off-limits.
C: How is different writing for children (“The Spiderwick Chronicles”) versus teens?
HB: When I'm writing, I am trying to tell the truth about a character, whether that character is nine or nineteen or ninety. So, writing for kids is different from writing for teens in the sense that the characters' concerns are different and sometimes the pacing of the story is different (each Spiderwick book is quite short, for example), but the actual doing of it is very much the same. When I'm writing about Jared, I try to remember what it was like to be nine or ten, and when I'm writing about Cassel, I try to remember what it was like to be seventeen.
C: What was the last book that you read for pleasure?
HB: The last book I read for pleasure was “Beautiful Darkness” by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, the sequel to “Beautiful Creatures.” I think the second book is even better than the first.
C: What author are you most looking forward to meeting and/or seeing at the Fifth Annual TBF?
HB: It is always a pleasure to see Coe Booth, Barry Lyga and Laurie Halse Anderson. But I am looking forward to seeing everyone!
Thanks for the great interview, Holly!