Does that title sound familiar? (If it does, kudos to you for reading this blog for so long. XD) Some of you may remember, or know of, Mirriam Neal — a twenty-two-year-old Northwestern hipster living in Atlanta. She writes hard-to-describe books in hard-todescribe genres, and illustrates things whenever she finds the time. She aspires to live as faithfully and creatively as she can and she hopes you do, too.
A while back, she self-published Monster, a novel asking important questions such as “what makes a monster”? Now, almost three years later, she’s back at it again with a noticeably-lighter fantasy: Paper Crowns.
I had the honor of interviewing her as part of Monster‘s promotion. Now, we’re at it again with a brand-new interview, this time about Paper Crowns!
Ginger has lived in seclusion, with only her aunt Malgarel and her blue cat, Halcyon, to keep her company. Her sheltered, idyllic life is turned upsidedown when her home is attacked by messengers from the world of fae. Accompanied by Halcyon (who may or may not be more than just a cat), an irascible wysling named Azrael, and a loyal fire elemental named Salazar, Ginger ventures into the world of fae to bring a ruthless Queen to justice.
First off, do you have any tips or hints as to working with an honest-to-goodness publishing company? Can you outline the general process of publishing Paper Crowns? Be respectful, but don’t be a pushover. If you don’t like something, speak up, and remember that your publisher didn’t have to choose your book, but they did.
If Paper Crowns had to have a main theme behind it, what would it be? any subthemes? I get asked this a lot, actually; I think people are curious because there are no blatant themes (a departure from my usual modus operandi). I wanted to tell a fairytale. That’s all I wanted to do. I suppose every decent fairytale has light versus dark, as well as the determination of the heroines and heroes. Sometimes, I think, the simplicity of good defeating bad is good theme to revisit.
If Ginny and Hal had to have a theme song, what would it be? (separately or together, like… their relationship, whatever quality it may be.) I listened to Colbie Callait’s ‘When the Darkness Comes,’ and have always viewed that as Hal and Ginny’s ‘song.’
What do you think Hal’s favorite food would be? Chocolate-covered peanuts. I’m serious.
What is your favorite part or aspect of Paper Crowns? The tone of it, I think. It’s a little sweeter, a little more simple – I wanted it to be understood by children as well as enjoyable for adults. This isn’t to say I think children need only simple stories, but it doesn’t have the gritty, complex content that most of my novels favor. It’s a nice departure sometimes.
Even now, after it’s already published, do you see random things that remind you of Paper Crowns? Paper airplanes and acorns almost always make me think of Paper Crowns.
There’s been reference to “the Paper Series”. Does this mean there are more related books to come? Definitely. Paper Dolls and Paper Chains are swirling around in nebulous form.
What, as an author, are some reads that you would consider edifying or helpful? Dorothea Brand’s ‘The Writer’s Magic,’ Stephen King’s ‘On Writing,’ and Rilke’s ‘Letters to a Young Poet’ are incredibly inspiring.
Any last words? ‘Make good art.’ — Neil Gaiman
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Mirriam’s email: theshieldmaiden [at] hotmail [dot] com