Monday, October 18, 2010

Q & A with Anne Fortier

HarperCollins Canada has put together another fabulous blog tour. This time it's for Anne Fortier's book, Juliet. If you remember, I posted my review of this wonderful book awhile ago. Today is part two of the tour as Anne stops by to answer a few of my questions. Enjoy!

Me: How long did it take you to write Juliet? Are you working on anything right now?

Anne: I got the idea for JULIET in 2005, and started writing later that year. By early 2008 I had entered the editing phase together with my agent, and by early summer 2009, I rounded up my final edits with the publisher. Because JULIET has been sold to 33 countries so far, there has been an obscene amount of PR work to be done, but I am doing my best to get going on the next book.

Me:In Juliet, the point-of-view shifts from first person in the present to third person in the past. How did you decide to write it this way?

Anne: I was very aware that it can be tiring for the reader to switch back and forth between two different narratives, so I did not want to create two parallel narrators. I wanted the reader to identify first and foremost with Julie Jacobs in the present day, while the medieval narrative is told from several different points-of-view, and quite often from Romeo’s. In that way it resembles Shakespeare’s play, which has many different characters in play in different scenes.

Me: How did you decide to take on the subject of Romeo and Juliet?

Anne: It actually started with a fascination with the city of Siena. Only after deciding to write an historical novel set in Siena did I discover – thanks to my mother – that in fact, the very first version of the Romeo and Juliet-story had been set in Siena, long before Shakespeare. Knowing that, it was irresistible to sit down and think about what the Bard’s tragedy might have looked like, had the events played out in the city of the Palio horserace.

Me: Do you remember the first time you read Shakespeare? Did you love it right away or warm up to it later?

Anne: I first read Romeo & Juliet in high school, in a Danish translation, and I definitely did not fall in love with it then and there. I thought the language was very complicated, and there was always something about Romeo that annoyed me – the infatuation with Rosaline followed by the sudden passion for Juliet. It wasn’t until I started working with the play in order to write JULIET that I began to fully appreciate it. Now, or course, I love it.

Me: Tell us about your writing environment. (music or quiet, desk or comfy chair, etc.)

Anne: I always write most efficiently at a desk, but I do like to lie on the couch while I am working on a plot. When I was younger I always had music playing – music that fit the atmosphere of the story – but over the past five years I have come to prefer silence and find music very distracting. I don’t mind ambient noise so much, except if it is people talking. My most unfortunate habit is to eat sweets while I am writing; for some reason I just crave chewing on something. A toothpick helps, though.

Me: Tea or coffee? Cats or dogs? Dark or milk chocolate?

Anne: Hot chocolate, actually. Or herbal tea. Big black dog, and dark dark dark chocolate … 85 percent. I munch that whenever I feel a headache coming on, and it usually helps.

Well Anne, thanks so much for taking time to answer my questions. I really appreciate it. I can't wait to read more of your work. Hopefully, I won't have to wait too long. ;)

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