Describe your new book.
Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer is a fantasy adventure novel for middle-grade to young adult readers, in which faeries are not dainty little flowery sprites, but warriors. They won the devil wars thousands of years ago and have lived in peace ever since in the wild places of the world. But the long peace has lulled them. Their magic has dwindled to a sad shadow of what it once was, and they have forgotten their own greatness. So, when unwitting humans begin freeing the devils from their age-old prisons, there's only one faerie even paying attention: young Magpie Windwitch, who tracks and recaptures the beasts with her gypsy clan of crows. The hunt for a mysterious and terrible devil will take her back to the forest of Dreamdark, land of legends and Djinn, cunning imps and tattooed warriors, to uncover the secret of the greatest foe her folk have ever known and a secret about herself along the way.
What fictional character would you like to be your friend, and why?
Pantalaimon from The Golden Compass! I would love to have a daemon. When I first read His Dark Materials about four years ago, I experienced pure toe-tingling reader's joy. Philip Pullman's idea for daemons and the way he spins it into an entire culture is simply one of my favorite ideas ever. After much thought, I have decided that my own daemon would be a black fox like I saw on PBS recently. Or an owl.
If you could choose any story to live in, which story would it be? Why?
I think the reason I love the Harry Potter books so much, and maybe the reason many people love them, is just that. I want to live in it. I want to go to Hogwarts and study magic. I want there to be such magic in the world! My goal was to create a world in Dreamdark that readers would want to live in, too. I know I love the idea of traveling the world in airborne gypsy caravans pulled by crows, and staying with a clan of warriors in a castle inside a hollow yew tree.
How did the last good book you read end up in your hands?
I just read A Drowned Maiden's Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz, on the recommendation of the librarian/book reviewer Fuse #8 who did the first review of my book. Since Fuse had given me a good review, I figured she had good taste and I loved the book!
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Always a writer, but besides that an explorer and a zoo veterinarian. When my friends and family were recently surveyed (at a release party for my book) about what I would be if I wasn't a writer, here are some of the answers that came up: an artist, a llama-herdress, a zookeeper, and a polka dot!
What is your idea of bliss?
Travel! Seeing new things, tasting new food, swimming in seas the color of grass and jade and peacocks and turquoise, hearing strange beautiful languages and musical instruments, traveling across a desert by camel and through a jungle on elephant-back, and over a tundra on a reindeer! I want to see a million bats stream out of a cave at dusk, and I want to make a "mango-tasting world tour," and I want to buy a flying carpet in a bazaar!
Why do you write books for kids?
I love the unselfconsciousness of kids' books, the unapologetic reveling in wonder and fun. I read all kinds of books, but I especially love the way kids' books cut straight to the juice. I write fantasy, and I don't think I could write non-fantasy if I tried I would set out to do it but lo! Some magic twist would present itself and carry the story away. I love the way I can deal with big issues like valor and sacrifice, impossible dreams and love, even while playing around with silly things like farting imps and smoking crows and a potion that makes liars' noses turn blue.
If you could pick anyone to illustrate one of your books, who would it be and why?
I'm very lucky to have gotten the illustrator of my choice on this book: my husband, Jim Di Bartolo, who I met in art school. We were both illustration majors, and we parked next to each other on the first day of class, so he was literally the first person I set eyes on at art school. Fate! In the years since, we've collaborated on a graphic novel, and we've dreamed up many more ways to collaborate this is one of them, and there are several more upcoming. I get to have fabulous art for my books (I love my cover!!!) and I even get to put my 2 cents in during the process! How great is that?