Before beginning her writing career Maurissa Guibord worked slinging pizzas, alphabetizing things and practicing medicine. Now she writes teen fiction for people who love the same kind of stories she does: mysterious, romantic and with a touch of humor. Her short mystery fiction, published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine has been nominated for the Agatha Award. She lives on the coast of Maine with her mysterious cat, romantic husband and three kids who make her laugh. Her debut novel, Warped, will be published in early 2011 by Delacorte Press.
Maurissa is represented by Ted Malawer of Upstart Crow Literary Agency http://www.upstartcrowliterary.com
1. Your inspiration for Warped came from the unicorn tapestries in Cloisters Museum in New York. Were the other aspects of the book, such as the time travel, the Norns and the threads came with it or were they inspired by something else?
My initial (vague) idea was that someone was trapped inside the tapestry for five hundred years. I really wanted to construct a plot in which that could happen. If you think about someone being stuck inside a tapestry- it isn't a far stretch to image their life as a thread. And luckily for me- there was already a whole mythological support for that in the story of the Fates, the three women who spin and weave and cut the threads of life. In WARPED I used their Nordic cousins- the Norns, because I thought the name sounded a bit more creepy and mysterious.
2. What sort of modern day books do you think Will would like? Do you think he’d enjoy reading books about kids forced to kill each other? Or sparkling vampires?
I think Will would spend most of his time delving into the classics that he missed (being from the sixteenth century and all). I think he would really dramatic, adventurous stories like Around the World in Eighty Days or Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. He would probably like Hemingway and Jack Kerouac too. Working up to more modern day fare- I think he would love Hunger Games. As far as paranormal love triangles? No- that wouldn't really appeal to him at all, LOL.
3. How did you decide on the characters’s personalities? Did they just come with the plot or did you consider them thoroughly?
I wanted there to be conflict between my two main characters- with very different personalities and backgrounds. Being from different centuries just wasn't enough! Will came from a very privileged lifestyle and was rather spoiled and carefree. Tessa is a more modern day girl- independent and worried about her future. She's a bit of a control freak too and is always trying to "fix" things. It really devastates her when things start happening that are completely out of her control.
4. Did you also do some extensive research? Tell us a funny fact you learned that has nothing to do with the book.
Well, Norse mythology plays a part in the book- as I describe the Norns and their role in weaving the threads of life. Norse myths are something I knew very little about, all I remembered from school was Greek/Roman mythology. It's really fascinating and I predict that you'll see an explosion of Norse retellings in YA fantasy stories soon. There are so many rich tales to draw from!
A couple of fun things I learned but couldn't fit into the book:
1. How to pronounce Yggdrasil (the tree of the world, or life) - EEG-DRAH-SIL
2. The Norse god Odin, in order to gain power, decided to hang himself on the tree of life. (Yeah, different huh?) After nine days of hanging there, staring at the ground he noticed a bunch of twigs had fallen. Their strewn patterns spelled out words.* Thus the Runic alphabet was born.
* I believe they spelled "Cut yourself down from that tree dumbass!"
5. You’re currently working on a book that is not the sequel of Warped. Do you plan to publish it as well? Also, when do you plan to write Warped’s sequel? Have you got any ideas what it’s going to be about?
Yes I'm currently working on REVEL- it's a story of a girl who comes to an isolated island of the coast of Maine. She discovers that Trespass Island is home to two communities living side by side. One is human, the other is made up of demi-gods of the sea and their demon offspring. When Delia arrives she upsets the balance between the two groups. It's a little bit horror, a little bit romance. REVEL should be coming out late in 2012.
I do have some ideas for a sequel for WARPED. They involve Tessa time-traveling again to the past to fix something that got messed up in the first story- and meeting Will de Chaucy for the first time (again!). Only he's not the same...
But currently I don't have an idea when that book will happen. Someday!
Thanks a lot to Maurissa for answering my questions! I can't wait to read her new book AND the sequel to Warped. :)
You may also visit Maurissa on her website, blog, twitter and facebook.