Marissa Doyle graduated from Bryn Mawr College intending to be an archaeologist but somehow got distracted. When not writing historical-set YAs and fantasy for adults and kids, she's sailing on Cape Cod, quilting, or collecting 19th century fashion prints. She lives in her native Massachusetts with her family, an alarming number of research books, and a highly opinionated fourteen-pound lop-eared rabbit who shares her fondness for coffee and dark chocolate.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
The silly thing is, I'm not sure. I'd had book ideas floating around in my head all through my late twenties and thirties, but had my hands full with being a stay-at-home mom to my three small children. It wasn't until I decided to try a writing class once my youngest were in fifth grade that I finally sat down to write...and it immediately turned into a full-time occupation!
What was your inspiration behind Betraying Season?
Conspiracytheorists aren't just a modern phenomenon. When Queen Victoria first came to the throne, she was an unmarried girl of 18, and the person next in line for the throne should she die was one of her middle-aged uncles. He had a rather bad reputation (mostly undeserved), and there were a lot of people who were convinced that he was plotting to murder Victoria so he could become king of England. He wasn't, of course, but sometimes people like to believe in crazy things. So when I was looking for a way for Pen to save the Queen in Betraying Season just as Persy had in Bewitching Season, I remembered this and used it as the basis for my plot.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
A lot of places...I have a couple of blank books where I scribble down story ideas or character sketches or settings. I write down interesting dreams--and have based a couple of stories on ideas from dreams...and of course, there's history. I read a lot of biographies and social histories, which are a great source for plot twists and settings and general atmosphere for my stories.
Who’s your favorite character and why?
I assume you mean in Betraying Season? This may sound silly, but I definitely fell in love with Niall... I'm quite fond of Dr. Carrighar and his grandmother, too...and Corkwobble, of course. Doireann was one of the characters I found most interesting to write, though, because she's so conflicted and messed up.
In your opinion, what’s makes a good story?
Characters I care about or can somehow identify with, who have believable wants and needs and reasons for acting as they do. Plots that are twisty and turny, but not painfully so. Beautiful writing, but nothing so artificial that I'm thinking about the writing--I want the author to be like the Wizard of Oz (you know, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.") I want to hear the characters' voices, not the author's.
What? Me demanding? Yeah, a little, I suppose. :) I love reading "good" stories, and analyzing just how the author did what he or she did that made it "good". If I can make it through a book without trying to take it apart while I'm reading it, it's not just good--it's FABULOUS!
How many books can we expect in this series?
Definitely one more--it's already under contract to Henry Holt for release in 2010 or 2011...and I have an idea worked out for one more after that...but I think that will be it, at least for now. I have other ideas I want to play with and stories I want to write, some of which will have historical settings too, though.
Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
I'm loving writing historical-set books for teens...I'm a total history geek, and I love trying to show just how fascinating it can be--how life and people have changed in some ways, and remained the same in others. And writing for teens is the best because teens are such an amazing audience--they don't have preconceptions about books. That's just wonderful--it means that I as a writer can write what I want to/need to without an internal list of "rules" in my head, and I know teen readers will judge my books for what they are, not what they wanted them to be. So yes, more YA books from me...and maybe a few adult ones as well. But no vampires. I just don't do vampires. :)
Is there any additional information that you would like to add?
Not really...only that I love to hear from readers and invite everyone to visit my website, www.marissadoyle.com, and my blog http://nineteenteen.blogspot.com (all about teens in the 19th century) and The Enchanted Inkpot, a community on LiveJournal for YA and MG fantasy fiction that I helped found: http://community.livejournal.com/enchantedinkpot/
For more information about Marissa Doyle and her books, please visit her website here.