About the book:
Ever since her mother died and her father lost his shoemaking skills, Fortunata has survived by telling fake fortunes. But when she's tricked into telling a grand fortune for a prince, she is faced with the impossible task of fulfilling her wild prophecy-or her father will be put to death. Now Fortunata has to help Prince Leonato secure a magic sword, vanquish a wicked witch, discover a long-lost golden shoe, and rescue the princess who fits it. If only she hadn't fallen in love with the prince herself. . . .
An Interview with Deva Fagan:
Me: What were your favorite books (or types of books) as a teen, and what was it about them that appealed to you? What, on the other hand, would make you put a book down?
Deva: My favorite type of book as a teen (and now!) were fantasy or science-fiction adventures with strong female characters, set in richly detailed, extra-ordinary worlds. I suspect those kind of books appealed to me particularly because I was shy and lacked self-confidence and was living in the quite-mundane-and-ordinary New Jersey suburbs.
The things that made me put a book down as a teen (and now!) were boredom (I read to be entertained, primarily) or unremitting bitterness and despair. I can take dark, tragic, gritty, sad endings, etc but only if there's at least some element in the book that gives me hope.
Me: Have your reading tastes stayed the same, or have you discovered new loves and peeves (and if so, what are they)?
Deva: I've definitely become less tolerant of "stupid plot": that is, plots that rely on the characters doing stupid things that don't make sense in order to maintain tension and complicate things.
In the last two or three years I feel I've started to read more broadly (at least within kidlit) and that I am reading more good books. This is not so much due to taste as it is to meeting so many cool folks online who love YA/MG books as much as I do, and share their recommendations.
Me: What was your favorite part of writing FORTUNE'S FOLLY, and what was the hardest?
Deva: I had the most fun writing the descriptions of the outlandishly ugly shoes Fortunata's father crafts after losing his skills, but I also really I enjoyed the mad rush of writing the first draft all in 5 weeks (for NaNoWriMo).
The hardest part was figuring out how to fix the last few chapters, during my first revision for my editor. I had suspected all along there was something not-quite-right, but I just could NOT figure out how to fix it. I spend several days freaking out about it, hoping desperately for inspiration to strike, until I finally had an epiphany (and wrote a brand new chapter). It's hard, because sometimes it seems like there are things your brain needs to work out subconsciously, and all you can do is to keep showing up and trying things until you find the answer.
Me: Did you draw on any people/places/experiences from your life while writing?
Deva: Not directly. But I like to think that all my characters are influenced by my general understanding of human nature and different personalities. I think it is really important in all genres, particularly fantasy and science-fiction, that the characters feel like real people, whether they have antenna or wings or crowns.
Me: What was the most exciting moment during the publishing process? The scariest?
Deva: The most exciting was seeing my page proofs, which was the first time it started to look like a "real book".
The scariest was going into NYC to meet my agent and editor. Not because they are scary people (they are both wonderful and delightful, in fact) but because part of my brain was still absolutely convinced it was all a big practical joke and at any moment people would jump out and say "Just kidding!"
Me: What are you working on now?
Deva: I just finished the copyedits on my second book, another middle-grade fantasy called THE MAGICAL MISADVENTURES OF PRUNELLA BOGTHISTLE. I am also in the middle of drafting a new science fiction novel about a girl who runs away to join an intergalactic circus.
Hope you enjoyed getting to know Deva! Another interview to come tomorrow. :)