I’m thrilled to welcome Lisa Klein, author of multiple YA novels, including Two Girls of Gettysbury, Ophelia, and Lady Macbeth’s Daughter, to The Hiding Spot. You can read my review of her most recently published novel, Lady Macbeth’s Daughter, here.
First off, tell us a little bit about your novel, LADY MACBETH’S DAUGHTER.
It’s about a young woman raised by three strange sisters in the Wychelm Wood, who discovers that her parents are the murderous king and queen of Scotland. She sets out on a quest to find her father and bring his reign to an end. It is told in alternating chapters by Albia and her grief-wracked mother, Grelach.
What inspired you to create Albia’s character and share her story?
I wanted to reimagine Shakespeare’s Macbeth from a female perspective, but I didn’t think I could make Lady Macbeth completely sympathetic, and anyway I wanted a younger character. So I took my cue from Lady Macbeth herself, who tells Macbeth that she knows what it is like to love the babe that nurses at her breast. Wow—so Lady Macbeth had a tender side? And so I imagined her with a daughter, who became lost to her, and the story took off from there.
Are you anything like your main character, Albia?
I hope I am as determined and brave, but I doubt it. Funny, the review of LMD in my local newspaper carried the headline “Rejected child finds her way,” with a picture of ME underneath! And I got to thinking, maybe there’s a bit of the rejected child in all of us, enabling us to relate to Albia’s story.
Did you do any research while writing this novel? If yes, please explain.
Yes. Lots of reading on ancient Scotland, myths and legends, history. And then, best of all, a trip to Scotland to see many of the sites that I used to create the setting for my novel.
What was the most difficult aspect of writing this novel?
Perhaps it was getting the language right. I wanted it to have a Scottish flavor but not trip up a reader with its strangeness, so I stuck with “Aye” and “Nay” and some Scottish names and words that are clear from the context.
If you could only choose one, which of Shakespeare’s works would be your favorite? Why?
Whichever play I’m thinking about at the time is my favorite! But if I had to choose, it would probably be Much Ado About Nothing for the incredibly witty dialog between Beatrice and Benedict.
Did you always want to be a writer?
For writer, let’s substitute novelist, and the answer would be Yes, the way little girls want to be princesses. I just didn’t think it was possible for me, because I am just an ordinary person. But I didn’t even try to write a novel until I began Ophelia seven years ago.
What jobs did you have on your way to being a writer? Did they help you in any way as a writer?
Well, I was an English professor, and that helped hugely, because I had all this knowledge about Shakespeare and the Renaissance. Reading and teaching literature has given me an appreciation for style and the beauty of language when words are put together lovingly and carefully.
When and where do you usually write?
I write in my office on the third floor of my house, surrounding by books, hooked up to the internet, with a cup of coffee beside me, my dog asleep on the floor. I do this every weekday (when I don’t have other commitments) for 4-6 hours.
What author or book most influenced you as a writer or in general?
Well, Shakespeare would be the obvious answer. But perhaps my favorite book of all time was Gone With the Wind, which I read half a dozen times as a teenager. I’m sure it played a role in my decision to write Two Girls of Gettysburg, a Civil War epic with a very different kind of heroine.
What are currently reading?
I just finished Garth Stein, “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” and I’m about to start M. T. Anderson’s second Octavian Nothing book. I loved the first one.
What book are you anxiously awaiting?
Anxiously? Let’s say eagerly. I’m waiting for Barbara Bradley Hagerty’s Fingerprints of God from Amazon so I can read it before I give it to my husband. I read about 40% YA, 40% adult fiction, and 20% nonfiction.
Can you tell us anything about your next YA novel?
It’s an epic romance about the “lost colony” of Roanoke, that follows the fortunes and misfortunes of Cate Archer, a maid at Queen Elizabeth’s court who is banished for falling in love with Sir Walter Ralegh and has to make her way in the New World, a harsh paradise. I just love my characters!
The Hiding Spot is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Is there a place, activity, or person that is your hiding spot?
About ten years ago we built a platform in the trees for our boys . It’s in our huge wooded backyard, hidden by trees, and next to a park. I like to sit up there, doubly-hidden in a book and in a tree!
For more information about Lisa Klein and her books, you can visit her wesite, here.