Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Franny Billingsley Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview

While Billingsley's first novel, Well Wished (1997), was warmly received by critics, a year ago she was a virtual unknown within a publishing climate that regarded fantasy as a specialty genre. Today, her name is on the lips of booksellers and reviewers throughout the country.

Franny Billingsley was not always a writer. She graduated from Boston University law-school in 1979, and worked for 5 years as a lawyer — a profession which she “despised.” In 1983, Billingsley visited her sister in Barcelona, Spain where she was “entranced by a lifestyle in which people did not make a lot of money yet lived richly and artfully.” Realizing that she needed to change her life, Billingsley quit her job and moved to Spain with all of her favorite children's books. “Books like A Wrinkle in Time, Harriet the Spy, and The Narnia Chronicles seemed like the perfect antidote to hideously wearisome legal documents,” remembers Billingsley, who began writing children's books while living in Spain.

When Billingsley returned to the United States, she took a job as the children's book-buyer at 57th Street Books, a major independent bookseller on the South Side of Chicago. “I worked at the bookstore for twelve years and I loved it because it helped me get back to the things that matter to me: people, ideas, and imagination. I wrote throughout this period. My early books were simply awful, but I did not let rejections and criticism stop me from writing. I worked hard at learning how to write and finding my strengths. It was not until I began writing fantasy that I found my voice. I believe that, ultimately, talent is less important to writing a good book than is determination.”

Franny Billingsley lives in Chicago with her family and currently writes children's books full-time.


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What was the greatest thing you learned at school? 

I HATED SCHOOL AND DON’T THINK I LEARNED ANYTHING GREAT.

Is there such a thing as a formula for storytelling?

YES AND NO—YOU CAN GET REALLY FAR BY USING TRIED AND TRUE TECHNIQUES OF STORYTELLING (FOR EXAMPLE, GIVE YOUR CHARACTER SOMETHING HE OR SHE WANTS—THAT CHARACTER DESIRE FUELS NARRATIVE ENERGY), BUT THERE COMES A POINT WHERE YOU (OR AT LEAST, I) KNOW SO MUCH ABOUT THE NOVEL THAT I NO LONGER THINK ABOUT NARRATIVE PRINCIPLES AND JUST WRITE.

What are “Character Rules” and give us some examples.

WELL, THERE’S THE ABOVE—GIVE YOUR CHARACTER SOMETHING HE OR SHE WANTS. I ALWAYS THINK ABOUT MY CHARACTER’S INNER STORY (HER EMOTIONAL JOURNEY—PERHAPS IT’S A JOURNEY TOWARD MATURITY, OR IDENTITY) AND ABOUT MY CHARACTER’S OUTER STORY—THE PLOT STUFF—AND MAKE SURE THEY CONNECT. THAT IS, YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THE PLOT FORCES THE CHARACTER INTO SITUATIONS THAT HELP HER GROW EMOTIONALLY.

What are some of the common challenges that new and experienced authors face and what advice do you have for over-coming them?

NOT KNOWING WHAT THE HECK IS GOING TO HAPPEN! I JUST HANG IN THERE AND KEEP WRITING.

In your book, Chime; can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about the novel?

THE PROTAGONIST BRIONY IS A WITCH WHO INJURED HER SISTER IN A FIT OF WITCHY RAGE. BRIONY FEELS HORRIBLY GUILTY; SHE FEELS COMPLELLED TO PROTECT HER SISTER FROM ANY POSSIBLE PERIL. BUT NOW THE OLD ONES—POWERFUL ELEMENTAL CREATURES—HAVE GROWN ANGRY, AND THEIR MAGIC ENDANGERS BRIONY’S SISTER’S LIFE.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Eldric? 

THAT HE CREATED FIDGETS. IT PULLED HIS WHOLE CHARACTER TOGETHER. IT MADE HIM INTO A PLAYFUL PERSON, WHICH IS WHAT BRIONY NEEDED IN HER LIFE.
If you could introduce Briony to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

I’D INTRODUCE HER TO CASSANDRA MORTMAIN FROM I CAPTURE THE CASTLE. I LOVE CASSANDRA’S CHARACTER AND PERHAPS TO A CERTAIN EXTENT SHE INFLUENCED BRIONY’S CHARACTER. THEY’RE BOTH WITTY AND SMART AND LOVE WORDS. I’D LOVE TO SEE WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY TO EACH OTHER.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?

I’M WRITING A MIDDLE-GRADE FANTASY AND I’M PLANNING A COMPANION BOOK TO CHIME.

Most horrifying dream you have ever had? 

A DREAM IN WHICH A WITCH ATE MY BED AND ALL THAT WAS LEFT OF IT WAS A BATHTUB.

If I came to your house and looked in your closet/attic/basement, what’s the one thing that would surprise me the most? 

HOW MUCH I CARE ABOUT MY SURROUNDINGS, HOW MY HOUSE HAS TO REPRESENT WHO I AM AND THAT EVERY INCH OF IT IS WHAT I WANT IT TO BE.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day? 
ONE OF MY VERY GOOD WRITING FRIENDS.



Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.



Franny Billingsley’s Chime tells the story of Briony, who just happens to have a secret…she’s a witch. But it is who she is that she feels has brought on bad luck upon her family. She feels responsible for her sister’s mental disability and the unfortunate events that lead her home to be succumbed to fire and flood. Worst of all, she blames herself for the death of her stepmother. She finds sanctuary in the swamp but is warned that it may worsen her powers. On top of all that is going on, she meets Swampsea’s newcomer, Eldric, who happens to make Briony look at the brighter side of things but makes her query all of the bad luck she’s been experiencing and her real purpose in life.

Briony is one strong and enchanting character. Readers are able to dive into her world through her unique narration and feel all of her emotions. Seeing things unfold through the eyes of a witch carries on a multitude of feelings. Briony may be sad, angry, scary, and hopeful at times, but she remains bewitching throughout.

Franny’s ability to make Briony so passionate towards her self-hatred that it makes readers nearly want to hate her as well. Chime is an absolute compelling book with its captivating story and unique creatures. Franny’s description of every aspect of this book is simply amazing. I cannot imagine how she could ever create such an astonishing and fantastic world. Chime is an inventive story that will satisfy fans of YA, Fantasy, and adult fiction.


You can purchase Chime at the following Retailers:
    


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Franny & Penguin for making this giveaway possible.
2 Winners will receive one copy of Chime by Franny Billingsley.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
jbnpastinterviews

79 comments:

  1. Haha what a random question! I love mozzarella cheese with anything! Fresh mozz cannot be beat! But smoked Gouda is really delicious too.

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  2. LOL that is such a random question. Mine is mozzarella

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  3. Can't decide between Cheddar or Edam

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  4. My favorite is mozzarella cheese :)

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  5. Tie between mild cheddar and havarti.

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  6. Blue cheese...the stinkier the better!

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  7. i cant pick one, i loooooove cheese =D

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  8. No like cheese:) thanks for the giveaway!!!

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  9. American cheese. Thanks for the chance.

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  10. My favorite cheese is colby jack!! I also adore jalapeno gouda!

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  11. Is there such a thing? I love cheese all cheese!! If I had to narrow it down I'd say smoked gouda.

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  12. Mozzarellaaaa! (Ileana-rafflecopter)

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  13. apricot and brandy cheese, LOVE it :)
    thanks for the giveaway :)

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  14. I love mozzarella. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  15. Really random question. It would have to be Swiss.

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  16. I like all, I can't choose, sorry.

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  17. The shredded cheese that has cheddar and the white cheese in it =))))

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  18. I prefer Cheddar or American on burgers, but on salads or with pasta, I like to get the shredded mixes, where it has 3 or 4 different kinds tossed together. Yummy!!

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  19. This is so hard! I love tons of cheeses. Today I will go with Lorraine Baby Swiss <3

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  20. vintage cheddar, Boursin, AND mozarella <3

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  21. I love a cheese called Lancashire cheese, it is lovely and crumbly, with a nice stronger flavour, Thankyou for a wonderful giveaway x x

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  22. Oh goodness... I love cheese, I adore cheese, all kinds! But if I had to choose... I can narrow it to three: goat's cheese, parmesan and mozzarella!

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  23. my favorite cheese is Mozzarella and cheddar

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  24. Mmm...I love Jalapeno Havarti and Brie...

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  25. I would LOVE to win this book!! Thank you so much for the giveaway! This is the book that inspired me to write differently and try something new! :)

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  26. Oh and--haha--fave cheese is blue cheese!

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  27. almost all cheese. I just had some cheddar. I love feta, blue, brie...

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  28. I can´t pick only one (or two, three), I love allll :)

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  29. Brie with crackers. Swiss on a sandwich.

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  30. My favorite cheese is definitely Swiss!!!

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  31. Salted ricotta is my favorite cheese!

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  32. I'm not really a cheese person, but maybe mozzerella.

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  33. My favorite cheese is mozzarella.

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  34. What a funny question. I think mozzarella

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  35. I don't have favourite cheese, but |I like Mozzarella.

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