Today, Agrippina Legit is participating in a blog ghost tour to celebrate the release of Marie Lamba's latest YA novel, Drawn. You can find my review below but, as a bonus, Marie has kindly answered a few of the (non-spoilery!) questions I was left with after finishing the novel.
1. Your first two novels were both very realistic. What made you decide to dive into the realm of the paranormal with Drawn?
I’ve always been intrigued by ghosts. Not bloody murderous ones, or silly Casper the Ghost ones, but eerie yet fascinating spirits wrapped in longing and unfulfilled dreams.
I’m the sort of person who spends extra time in old graveyards or in the darkest recesses of castle dungeons wondering about the stories and secrets they hold. I grew up adoring Arthurian legends, and have read The Once and Future King countless times. Plus I’m a sucker for a solid chick-flick romance. Drawn pulls all these elements together. And the character of Christopher embodies the haunting longing, the untold secrets and unfulfilled dreams of the past.
2. Sang's Indian-American heritage in What I Meant and Over My Head is similar to that of your children. Are there any aspects of your own life that similarly informed your characters or universe in Drawn?
Definitely. I really relate to Michelle, because I, too, was a teen artist from New Jersey. Also, I spent a semester in college living in an English town similar to the one in Drawn. Before she goes to England, my character Michelle was a bit of an outcast back in New Jersey. I definitely had times in elementary school when I was bullied and an outcast, but by middle school I’d found my footing and my confidence and suddenly my life was different. In the novel, Michelle finds herself the object of William’s affection, she finds that she is actually developing some friendships, and she wonders why. Isn’t she the same girl who was so ridiculed? I remember thinking that same thing myself when I was a teen.
3. You have tried both the traditional and independent publishing routes. What made you return to self-publishing with the release of Drawn?
It would have been great to have Drawn released by a traditional publisher. Truthfully, my agent is
in love with this novel and a number of top editors at the “Big 6” publishing houses expressed a lot of interest in it. But I was anxious to get this novel to readers NOW. I’d spent over two years researching and writing and editing this book, and the traditional wheels of publishing were just turning way too slowly for me.
This felt like the right time to get this one out into readers’ hands. I was so happy with the way Over My Head came out, and it’s been received so well by readers, too, so now I knew for sure that indie publishing was a great option that would get direct results.
4. I must confess to developing a major soft spot for William while reading Drawn. Is there a character whom you are particularly fond of? Or, on the flip-side, is there a character you had a hard time not dooming to a terrible death?
I’m pretty crazy about Christopher, myself. And William is someone I’m definitely rooting for too. But I’d have to say that my favorite character is actually Roger Mortley. Roger is the misunderstood kid who everyone thinks is so strange. Actually he’s quite the hero who silently bears many horrors in his life, yet still has the guts to plan for the future and to put a witty spin on all life’s annoying moments. Prickly, belligerent, but loyal to the end, even if he’s telling you to blow off.
I’d love to have someone like him as a friend.
5. With two contemporary realistic novels and one paranormal romance under your belt, what comes next?
At the moment, I’m trying to sort this out myself. I have a few ideas floating around for the 20-30 age reading group. Humorous and edgy stuff about all the ridiculous hoops people jump through while searching for romance. Plus I would LOVE to write a sequel to Drawn. I’d probably call it “Sketch” and it would explore some decidedly loose ends in Michelle’s life. Questions about just where her missing psychic mother really is, or if she’ll ever see Christopher again. If you read Drawn, you’ll know just how complicated THAT question is. But first I want to see how Drawn is received before I start on the sequel. If readers really like it and push for more, then “Sketch” will be next novel I’ll write.
Thanks for having me here, Tara!
Sketch sounds great to me, so hopefully Drawn will be just as well-received as I'm expecting it to be!
If you'd like to learn more about Marie or her books, check out her website at http://marielamba.wordpress.com or like her page on Facebook. You can also take a look at the rest of the ghost tour stops for more Drawn information, reviews, interviews and even giveaways.