I have the pleasure of having Laura Sullivan on today for My Favorite Things. She’s here for an interview and a giveaway of her middle grade fantasy Under the Green Hill.
Thanks so much for having me here, Candace! I’m with you in generally preferring MG and YA fantasy over adult.
Can you tell us 10 things we’ll find out when we read Under the Green Hill?
You will learn…
1. …that fairies are real – and very dangerous…
2. …who keeps the peace between fairies and humans…
3. …why you should never, ever step on ants…
4. …what a book Wyrm wants to forget…
5. …how a father can be younger than his daughter…
6. …what you call a mean, nasty centaur without any skin…
7. …why the Brownie has no toes…
8. …who will fight in the Midsummer War…
9. …how to spy on fairies…
10. …what happens when you spy on fairies (and it’s pretty terrible, trust me.)
When I began writing Under the Green Hill, I was very, er, green myself. I thought MG and YA were determined more by reading level and character age than theme and content. Originally, Meg and the other characters were at least a year or two older than they are now, and I pitched it as YA. I was soon set straight, and decided to lower their ages. Which was best for the book, and certainly more appropriate. I had a fairly innocent upbringing, and forgot that fourteen year old girls aren’t interested in fairies. (Or at any rate, pretend not to be!) Meg is perfect at around 12.
That said, it is certainly an upper middle grade book, though I have a lot of adult fans too. Oh, and one dad who sent me my favorite fan mail – he read Under the Green Hill aloud to his six-year-old daughter, and she was crazy about it. So though it sits on the MG shelf, it seems like a fairly broad age range is reading it.
Finn is an amalgam of a few bad boys I’ve known. And yes, I have a crush on Finn. (Well, um, my preteen self does, because otherwise, you know…) I’d like to say Meg is based on me, but Dickie is probably closer to the mark!
How did you pick your character names?
Meg had to be Meg – there was no pondering involved. I think she existed even before I had a story for her. I wanted the other character names to have a folkloric feel – Rowan and Finn in particular. Silly (short for Priscilla) was named after a kitten who lived next door. Bran is from Irish mythology. Phyllida and Lysander are names used by pastoral balladeers. Lemman is an archaic term meaning sweetheart or beloved.
In my writing, I’m inspired by thoughts of my readers. Books have given me so much pleasure in my life – perhaps, ultimately, more pleasure than anything else – and the thought that someone else might have that same experience from something I’ve written is inspiring – and certainly daunting!
What are 10 of your favorite things?
Be advised, this list, with a few permanent exceptions, would vary widely from day to day!
Words (debouch, deliquescent, incandescent and flesh are my favorites at the moment)
Any really good cheese
(Sorry, I’m kind of a glutton!)
Fossils, bones, teeth, cool rocks
Fernando Botero’s painting and sculpture
Very full, very long skirts
Opium perfume, sandalwood, leather (I was thinking the smell of leather, but really, the feel and sight of it, too.)
I waffle on this question, but at the moment I’m going to have to pick Oscar Wilde. Not only do I love his writing, but unlike many authors I don’t think he’d be disappointing in person. Because of course there’s a great deal of difference between being an interesting writer and an interesting human.
Wow, the possibilities… Since I don’t know my way around much of the universe yet, can I make up a portal that will take me anywhere, automatically let me survive in any environment and speak the language? Then I can explore to my heart’s content. Or is that cheating, like wishing for more wishes?
If you could be some supernatural creature what would you like to be?
I’m going to aim high and be a minor nature deity – someone without a whole lot of responsibilities but who still gets the perks like eternal youth and beauty. I could dance through the forests all day, and people would leave me offerings of ripe fruit. What could be better?
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I have four more books coming out in the next couple of years. The sequel, Guardian of the Green Hill, will be out this fall from Holt. Then in spring 2012 I move to Young Adult with the bawdy historical Ladies in Waiting, set in Restoration England, followed by Delusion, a WWII fantasy, in fall 2012. I’ve also sold an undetermined book for 2013 – that might be a sequel, or something entirely new. Those will be from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Fairly soon, I’ll be making a leap into adult crime/adventure/romance under a pseudonym, but since it will be completely inappropriate for my current audience, I won’t say any more about that!
About Under the Green Hill:
Meg and her siblings have been sent to the English countryside for the summer to stay with elderly relatives. The children are looking forward to exploring the ancient mansion and perhaps discovering a musty old attic or two filled with treasure, but never in their wildest dreams did they expect to find themselves in the middle of a fairy war.When Rowan pledges to fight for the beautiful fairy queen, Meg is desperate to save her brother. But the Midsummer War is far more than a battle between mythic creatures: Everything that lives depends on it. How can Meg choose between family and the fate of the very land itself?
Laura is giving away one copy of Under the Green Hill to one lucky winner (it’s in my hands, I’ll be shipping it
Open to US/Canada only
Must be 13 or older to enter
Ends July 5th, 2011
What do you think? Do you prefer MG or YA fantasy to adult? Or do you prefer adult but still enjoy MG and YA? Let us know your thoughts! Leave contact info!