Just a few questions for Jess Lourey who wrote The ToadhouseTrilogy: Book One. I reviewed it last week and wanted to get into the mind of the author. Here we go:
So I think the question on all our minds, since your book is about books, is what is your favorite book and why?
Oh man, you started out with the killer question! That’s like asking me which of my kids I like the best. I’m not going to weasel out, though. If I had to pick the best, all-time book, the one I read at a very influential point in my life and that has resonated with me ever since, I’d pick Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon. That book just spoke to me in my early 20s, took me away somewhere raw and beautiful, and changed my sense of myself. My favorite piece of classic literature is probably Sinclair Lewis’ Main Street, but the more I research for The Toadhouse Trilogy, the more I realize how many amazing classics there are just waiting for me to read them and fall in love.
How did you get from writing murder mysteries to young adult?
December Dreadcomes out next month, and it’s the eighth book in my Murder-by-Month series, which means I’ve been writing mystery novels for over seven years nw. When I set out to write the first in The Toadhouse Trilogy over a year ago, though, it didn’t feel like a deliberate choice to switch genres so much as giving voice to a story idea that I had that I became obsessed with. I hope my mystery roots serve me well in the pacing of The Toadhouse Trilogy. As my ten-year-old son likes to tell me, the best YA is YA with a secret.
Who is your favorite character in The Toadhouse Trilogy: Book One?
I want to say Aine because she is the main character, but to be honest, she and I butted heads so much that I’m still a little sore. She’s so strong-willed that she didn’t stand for much author manipulation. I found myself losing sleep over Spenser, her brother, though, and feeling sad for days when bad things happened to him. And I also have a deep crush on Gilgamesh. Hmm. You know, some days, when I’m at my weakest, I just wish someone else would hurry up and write these books so I could read them, but then I wouldn’t get the honor of wrestling with these characters, all of whom I’ve come to love.
Any particular reason you chose to write about fairies?
You know how when you learn a new word, suddenly you hear it everywhere? Once this story idea came into my head, I started seeing parts of it everywhere, and I only had to weave them into the fabric of the larger story. I knew there had to be a magical element, the “writers” in the world I was creating, and the more I started digging in classic literature, the more I realized how often fairies appear in some of the greatest works of fiction ever written. So, the fairies knocked, so to speak, and I answered the door.
I’m not sure if you’ll answer this one, but can you give us a hint as to where Aine and Spenser will go next?
I can do you one better. At least I hope you think it’s one better. J Here’s the description for Monsters: The Toadhouse Trilogy, Book Two:
Aine, Spenser, and Gilgamesh have retrieved the first object, but their time is running out. Biblos the Book Worm has returned, and he is devouring the greatest novels ever written in his hunt for the threesome. Their desperate search for the remaining two objects is further complicated when Madame Bovary discovers the secret of the toadhouse and escapes her novel to wreak havoc across worlds. Aine leads the desperate race through Babbit, Frankenstein, Beowulf, and The Jungle, confused by the developing romance between her and Gilgamesh, worried for her brother Spenser who is growing ever inward, and amazed as her and Spenser’s magical powers develop by the day. Will they retrieve the second object, or will Biblos destroy them first?
Thanks for doing this Jess. Can’t wait to see more of your young adult books.
It’s been my absolute pleasure! Thank you for having me.
Jess Lourey is the author of The Toadhouse Trilogy: Book One, the first in a young adult series that celebrates the danger and excitement of reading. She also writes the critically-acclaimed Murder-by-Month Mysteries for adults with a sense of humor. She’s been teaching writing and sociology at the college level since 1998. When not gardening, writing, or hanging out with her wonderful kids and dorky dog, you can find her reading, watching SyFy-channel original movies, and dreaming big. You can visit her website at https://www.jesslourey.com/toadhouse/index.html, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jess.lourey, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.