Monday, 5 August 2013

Interview with Alisse Lee Goldenberg

Happy Monday, everyone! Happy? Monday? Do those words even go together? I guess it's all perspective. So let's make it happen. And we can start by enjoying an interview with YA Fantasy Author, Alisse Lee Goldenberg.

Welcome to We Do Write, Alisse. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I hold a bachelor of education and a fine arts degree and have studied fantasy and folklore since I was a child. I live in Toronto, Canada, with my husband, Brian; our triplets, Joseph, Phillip, and Hailey; and our rambunctious goldendoodle, Sebastian.

Sounds like a full house! How long have you been writing?

I have been writing stories since I was a small child. Ever since I was a young girl in senior kindergarten, I wanted to be an author. Actually, a short story I wrote when I was 13, has since been expanded into a middle grade fantasy novel call Sitnalta and is coming out this fall with Pandamoon Publishing.

Tell us about THE STRINGS OF THE VIOLIN. What’s the story about?

The Strings of the Violin is a Young Adult Fantasy novel interweaving Eastern European and Jewish folklore with modern day characters. It revolves around three young girls, Carrie, Lindsay, and Rebecca, who have been friends their entire lives. The summer before the last year of high school they are approached by a talking fox named Adom. He is the emissary to the king of the magical land of Hadariah. His world is in danger of being destroyed because Asmodeus, the king of the dybbuks, has stolen the strings of a magical violin whose music keeps the world alive. It is now up to Carrie and her friends to get them back and save Hadariah.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

I have always had an interest in folklore, and I'm a huge fantasy reader. Growing up, I used to love reading authors like O.R. Melling and J.K. Rowling, and I remember wondering the oddest things about their books. I'd ask questions like "Why don't they celebrate Channukah at Hogwarts?" Now that I am a mother, I wanted to write a book for my kids to read to pay homage to the culture they belong to. I wanted characters they could identify with, who would have a background similar to theirs. I wanted the stories I heard from my bubbie to live on in a way modern teenagers could enjoy and connect to.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I largely self-edit, and then I send the book to people I know and trust to be honest with me to go through it and give me their opinion.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I am definitely a plotter! I can not start a book until I know exactly where it's going and how I'm going to get there. Of course, it happens that as I write, things will change. Characters whose arcs seemed so set will veer off in new and interesting directions. This actually happened in The Strings of the Violin with the characters of Emilia and Adom. I wanted them to end up one way, but as I kept writing, it became clear that I would have to sacrifice important plot development for it to work out.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

It would definitely be finding time for it! I have a very busy life. My husband Brian and I have triplets (two boys and one girl) who are now two and a half years old. They are absolutely adorable, but they are a handful. I am also very active with my husband's theatre company, Angelwalk Theatre, that does musical theatre productions here in Toronto. I need to have the discipline to find time to write as often as I can, and that's hard sometimes.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

A big mug of coffee! But seriously, I need my notes, my research books for spelling purposes, as well as making sure I get some creatures' characteristics right. Spell check does not like words like "shretelech" or even "dybbuk".

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I would love to be able to fly. I love roller coasters, parasailing, anything that gets me zooming around or coasting through the air, and to be able to do that without help would be fantastic!

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

I think my husband thought it was really odd when he caught me googling how to perform a Jewish exorcism. Though I have to say that I thought myself odd when I was looking up a creature that can give a horse human feet.

LOL, sounds interesting. Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: strings, tense, and fling.

Carrie was tense as she saw Asmodeus fling the strings out of her reach and bellow at her.

Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...

Playing with my children.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to my entire family- my parents, siblings, husband and children, my friends, with special thank you's to Marilyn and An (my co-author on our zombie novel Bath Salts), and my fantastic publishing house Prizm Books for taking a chance on me.

And finally, where can people find you and your book online?

You can find my book here:

No comments: