I am so excited to give you guys an interview! This is my first author interview, so I am pretty excited, especially since I adored Pam Mingle’s book Kissing Shakespeare.
I live and write in Lakewood, Colorado. My husband and I love traveling to England, where we often do continuous walking trips. That means going from one town to the next, on foot, sometimes 15 miles a day! It was on one of these walks I discovered Hoghton Tower, the setting of my debut YA novel, KISSING SHAKESPEARE, which released in August 2012.
I’m thrilled to announce that I have a new book coming out in November 2013. It’s called THE PURSUIT OF MARY BENNET: A PRIDE & PREJUDICE NOVEL. If you loved PRIDE & PREJUDICE, I think you’ll enjoy reading this Austen-inspired sequel about the socially awkward middle sister.
Besides YA, I love mysteries, historical fiction, mainstream, and fantasy. And I love finding out what other people are reading.
A romantic time travel story that’s ideal for fans of novels by Meg Cabot and Donna Jo Napoli–and, of course, Shakespeare.
Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school’s staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide.
Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she’d like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he’s a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England—the world Stephen’s really from. He wants Miranda to use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will lost its greatest playwright.
Miranda isn’t convinced she’s the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it’s her only chance of getting back to the present and her “real” life. What Miranda doesn’t bargain for is finding true love . . . with no acting required
On to the interview!
Q: What made you decide to set Kissing Shakespeare in the Shakespearean era? Do you think the plot would have worked in a different era?
A: I was inspired to write about Shakespeare after reading WILL IN THE WORLD, by Stephen Greenblatt. He mentions that Shakespeare may have been a schoolmaster in northern England in his late teens. A story immediately began to take shape in my mind. I knew I didn’t want someone so iconic to be the main character, but he had to play a major part.
This particular story had to be set in Shakespeare’s time, I think. Unless it was a contemporary story about Shakespearean actors who perhaps discover a missing piece about Shakespeare’s life. So little is know about him. Hmm. That might be fun to write!
Q: Which one of your characters do you relate to the most?
A: I relate to Miranda first. Because of her difficulties with her mother, her insecurities about her acting, being dropped into another time, falling in love, having to solve her dilemma about how to save Shakespeare—for all those reasons. I remember going through times of chaos as a teen, and I’m sure my readers identify with Miranda’s problems, even it their own are somewhat different! There are aspects of Stephen I really identify with as well. I think he’s a tender-hearted soul who doesn’t like the role he’s forced to play as the “time warden.”
Q: If you were Miranda, would you have connected more with Shakespeare or Stephen?
A: I would have connected to Stephen. Like Miranda, I would have found the idea of a relationship with Will Shakespeare intriguing, but I would fallen for Stephen!
Q: You told me there is a chance for a sequel to Kissing Shakespeare (which makes me overjoyed!). If you were to be publishing a sequel, when could we expect it and would it be a continuation of Miranda and Stephen’s story?
A: A sequel would definitely be a continuation of Miranda and Stephen’s story. There is so much more of it to tell! I’m so sorry to say I don’t know if it will happen. As I’ve said before, to everyone who’s asked, spread the word and keep your fingers crossed.
Q: What got you interested in Shakespeare?
A: Shakespeare’s themes are so universal, and his stories are a great inspiration for writers. I started attending some of the plays when they were being performed in Denver, or at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival in Boulder. Then I turned to biographies. I hadn’t thought of writing about the man himself, but then became intrigued with the possibilities. So, that’s how it happened. Of course, I first read Shakespeare in high school and college, like most people.
Q: What would YOU do in Miranda’s situation?
A: What would I do in Miranda’s situation? Well, the real me, at that age, would have been scared and probably too timid to flirt with Shakespeare—but would have had a major crush on Stephen! The Miranda I created has more courage and is much more willing to take risks than I am, or was as a teen. Like most people, teens or otherwise, though, she has her share of vulnerabilities.
Q: What was it like writing a fiction novel, that included characters that were real people (and an incredibly well known person, none the less)?
A: Since not a lot is known about Shakespeare’s youth, I was able to take some creative license. His biographers (at least the ones whose books I’ve read) believe he was a person who wanted to please, in order to succeed. But we know he married Anne Hathaway at age eighteen, and she was carrying their child. So I felt I could make him a bit flirtatious.
When you have someone like Shakespeare in your novel, there are bound to be those who, whether justified or not, will take exception to your portrayal. And that’s their right.
Q: What were some of your favorite books/authors as a child? Did they inspire you to start writing in any way? How?
A: I’ve always been a great mystery reader and cut my teeth on Nancy Drew. I wish I’d kept my collection of them. I used to read them over and over! I loved The Wizard of Oz and all of Beverly Cleary’s books. I got very attached to books I loved and sometimes cried because I had to let go of the characters when I finished a book. I think that’s maybe when I knew I would love to write stories with characters readers really cared about.
Q: What are some of your favorite YA books/authors now?
A: Some of my favorite YA writers are: Laini Taylor, R.L. LaFevers, Kristin Cashore, Elizabeth Wein, Julie Anne Peters, Denise Vega, Hilari Bell. I wrote a blog post about my favorite books from last year. Here’s the link:
Q: Do you have any plans for any more novels in the near future?
A: I have a new book coming out in November. Check my blog (PamMingle.com), my FB author page (Pamela Mingle Author), or Twitter (@PamMingle) for announcements about that. It is listed on Goodreads already! The title is THE PURSUIT OF MARY BENNET: A Pride & Prejudice Novel.
Q: If you could do anything you wanted for one day, what would you do?
A: I would like to time travel to different eras so I could research those periods firsthand. Learn about fashion, architecture, food, music, past times, everything. I could interview…Shakespeare, maybe! What a blast!
Q: If you could live in any other era, which would you choose?
A: This will sound crazy, given what I just said, but I don’t think I’d want to live in a different era. Visit for a day or two, yes, but not live. In the periods I’ve studied, disease was rife, and there wasn’t much you could do about it. Women were ruled by first their fathers and then their husbands. Unless you were wealthy or aristocratic, life could be very hard, was very hard for most people. War was a constant fact of life, and poor people were severely mistreated and lived on a pittance.
Unfortunately, some of what I just mentioned is true today in certain parts of the world. The treatment of women and children is particularly sad. And we’ve certainly had our share of wars in the last decade. Also, we have climate change, gun violence, and economic woes, among other problems, to deal with right here in the U.S.
I guess the problems I’m familiar with don’t seem as daunting as those in the past, although in some ways I know that’s a naïve view.
Thank you so much for the interview, Ms. Mingle! I really enjoyed reading your answers.
Be sure to go check out Pam Mingle’s amazing book, Kissing Shakespeare.