Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sarah McGuire Interviews Stephanie Burgis! + Giveaway

Today on the blog for Yay For Middle Grade Books! 2018, Sarah McGuire has interviewed Stephanie Burgis! Sarah McGuire is the author of Valiant, and the upcoming The Flight of Swans, which releases October 1st. Stephanie Burgis is the author of multiple Middle Grade books, including The Dragon With the Chocolate Heart, and the upcoming The Girl With the Dragon Heart, which releases November 6th. And read all the way down to the bottom of the post, because Ms. McGuire is giving away a copy of The Dragon With a Chocolate Heart! Here's the interview!

Sarah McGuire Interviews Stephanie Burgis

Stephanie Burgis has been one of my favorite middle grade authors for a while, so when Jessica asked for posts for Yay For Middle Grade Books!, I knew exactly what to do! Stephanie's latest middle grade, The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart, is a fabulous story involving chocolate, adventure, and a fierce heroine who will steal your heart. Read on for an interview with Stephanie and information about a giveaway for The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart! 

I loved Aventurine-especially how she was unabashedly different (that awesome dress!) and fierce: "There was no chance in the world that I was going to sit back and let anyone hurt my hoard." What was it like writing such a fiery heroine? 

In real life, I'm a people-pleaser, so I found it incredibly liberating to write Aventurine as my heroine! In my own life, I constantly second-guess what I should say; when I was writing Aventurine, I got to vicariously stomp around, proud and fierce and intent on conquering new territory! She's so fierce and strong, I loved living in her skin as I wrote this book - and I loved digging down to find the hidden vulnerabilities underneath her emotional scales, too. Perfectionism is absolutely a trait we have in common!

I savored so many of the little details you used to describe a dragon trapped in a human body, from calling eyebrows "face fur" to Aventurine realizing she was going to cry for the first time. What was it like to put a dragon inside a 12 year old girl?

I did layer after layer of rewriting in this book, constantly questioning whether I was really describing things the way a dragon would see them or whether I was letting myself slip into using terminology that she wouldn't have. It was a long process but a really fun game to play as I had to force myself to re-see familiar things as if they were completely new to me!

Let's talk chocolate! I was going to ask for recipes but saw that you had some already on your website. ( How did you research older methods of making chocolate? Were you able to find anyone who still made it that way or did you rely mostly on old recipes and accounts? 

There are a lot of differences between 18th-century chocolate and modern chocolate, because there was a huge shift in methods of chocolate production in the 19th century. I did a lot of reading in different 18th century cookbooks to find the kinds of treats that are made in The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart - which was a delicious kind of research! The best resource I found for the actual chocolate-making process  was the wonderful <a href="">18th-century chocolate kitchen in Hampton Court Palace</a>, here in the UK, where you can go to see (and drink) hot chocolate being made by chocolatiers with 18th-century methods. Even if you can't visit it in person, there's a lot of information on their website, including more recipes and instructional videos!

I loved that you had a diverse cast in Dragon with a Chocolate Heart. You mentioned in one interview how it was freeing to base a fantasy on 18th century Germany but not have it be bound to that life. In what other ways did you stretch your wings in this story?

Yes! This was the first time I'd ever written a novel in an imaginary world (even though I modelled it on 18th-century Germany) instead of giving it a real historical setting, and it felt so freeing. This was also my first novel with mythical creatures (even though I've always been obsessed with dragons!), and in this series as a whole, I've stretched my wings by writing a different heroine for each book. Aventurine is a major character in the sequel, but she isn't the star - her best friend Silke gets her own story next, and so on. :) It's been a definite challenge to change perspectives with each book, but I've also really loved getting to explore different heroines' experiences in the same fantasy world and really dig into all the different aspects of that world.

What was it like discovering that you'd win the Cybils? Was it a phone call? An email? And what sort of chocolate did you celebrate with? 

I actually found out via Twitter! And then within minutes I had congratulations emails from my editor and agent. I was over the moon! I'd been fantasizing about winning a Cybil for years, so it really was a dream come true. Of course I celebrated with a hot chocolate, Aventurine's favorite drink! :)

What are some of your favorite MG fantasy heroines? Let's help readers add to their TBR list!
I really love Aru Shah in Roshani Chokshi's Aru Shah and the End of Time - she's so smart and over-the-top creative and vulnerable and lovable, I would follow her anywhere. I also love Aluna in Jenn Reese's Above World, who's brave and strong and wounded, and Kiran in Sayantani DasGupta's The Serpent's Secret, who's snarky and loyal and fantastic at riddles.

I can't wait for The Girl with the Dragon Heart! What do you most want readers to know about it? 

I first fell in love with Silke as I wrote The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart, and by the end of that book, it was obvious that she had a story of her own to tell. In The Girl with the Dragon Heart, she takes center-stage when the crown princess hires her to spy on dangerous visiting fairies - but even the crown princess doesn't know the dangerous secrets of Silke's past, or the fact that Silke actually has something she desperately wants from the fairies herself. 

As I wrote this book, I listened again and again to the song "Defying Gravity" from WICKED, which is Silke's theme song. I love Silke for how smart and sharp and imaginative she is, for her seemingly effortless self-confidence and her brilliance at spinning the perfect story for every situation as she fights for a safe home and for her family - but her story turned out to be by far the most deeply emotional novel that I've written yet. I've cried at the ending every single time I edited it! (It's happy-crying, I promise - my books will always have happy endings! But it's a really intense ending, too. I really hope readers will enjoy it!)

Love the interview! And thank you to both authors for participating in this event! :)

Sarah McGuire Author BioSarah McGuire is a nomadic math teacher who sailed around the world aboard a floating college campus. She wrote Valiant and The Flight of Swans,  would be just fine if one day she opened a wardrobe and stumbled into another world. Coffee and chocolate are her rocket fuel. She wishes Florida had mountains, but she lives there anyways with her husband (who wrote this bio in less than three minutes!) and their family.

Stephanie Burgis Author BioStephanie Burgis grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, but now lives in Wales, surrounded by castles and coffee shops. She is the author of the Kat, Incorrigible trilogy of Regency fantasy novels for MG readers as well as The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart and various historical fantasy novels for adults (and a series of romantic fantasy novellas for adults, The Harwood Spellbook, which begins with Snowspelled). You can find more information and read excerpts from all of her books on her website.

Now, the giveaway! Ms. McGuire is giving away a copy of The Dragon With the Chocolate Heart.

Information and Rules:
Giveaway runs between May 20th through May 31st.
Enter using the rafflecopter below.
There will be one winner! 
Afterward I will contact the winner to get the information for the author, the winner will have 48 hours to reply.
If the winner does not reply within 48 hours, I will draw a new winner.
The author is the one responisible to get the prize to the winner.
US only

No cheating! 

And good luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. I love finding exciting middle grade books to read. I also enjoy fierce, intelligent characters, dragons, and chocolate. I just added these books to my Goodreads TBR.


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