I’m thrilled to welcome author Tessa Gratton to The Hiding Spot today to talk about her new novel, The Lost Sun, which released in June. I quickly fell in love with this novel, the first installment in The United States of Asgard series, so I was very excited to learn more about Tessa and her fantastic novel. Be sure to check out my review of The Lost Sun, here.
Below, Tessa talks about her difficulty with the middle of The Last Sun (which was saved by what ended up being one of my favorite parts of the novel!), the evolution of the novel’s name, and more!
Did you have trouble writing any of your characters or specific scenes within the novel? Or, were any characters or scenes particularly easy to write?
For once in my life, I get to say this book was EASY! It was one of those surprise novels that felt like it wrote itself. The characters were so alive even before I touched them and the world fascinates and excites me so much it was never a chore to work out details of life or politics. That said, I did have a rough time in the middle of the book. For about 3 months I couldn’t figure out where the characters were going next. It’s a road trip novel, so the next destination would change everything. (For those of you with the book, it was right before Our Heroes head to the Lokiskin Caravan. That caravan saved the book!)
Has the title changed or stayed relatively the same as your novel journeyed towards publication?
All my titles change except for USAsgard book 2 – but that’s a secret still.
The Lost Sun had the working title Dream of Apples, Dream of Spears which is a very romantic, dreamy title and suited the feeling of the first draft. When my agent took it out to sell, we wanted something more commercial and meaningful, and titled it The Weight of Stars. That was the official title until last November, when we changed it once again at the publisher’s request. The Weight of Stars is my favorite of the titles, but I do very much like The Lost Sun (I’d never suggest a title I didn’t like!) and it captures the same specificity and emotional resonance as The Weight of Stars, I think. (The series name was originally “Songs of New Asgard” which we changed in order to be clear that it’s an alternate history. Songs sounded too high-fantasy to us.)
What book or author has most influenced you as a writer or in general?
My writing-template was imprinted by Robin McKinley and Anne Rice. They write about history and magic in such rich, poetic ways. I still love their books and reread them whenever I can. Especially The Vampire Lestat and Beauty and The Hero and the Crown. Robin has been especially wonderful in the past few years by being accessible and funny and encouraging online.
Lately I’ve been obsessed with Melina Marchetta – her Lumatere series is so amazing, hard and beautiful, and I adore Jellicoe Road and Saving Francesca.
What jobs did you have on your way to becoming a writer/published author? Is there a certain work experience that has shaped your writing?
I am lazy, truth be told. I avoided all work that wasn’t writing related and only one of my jobs influenced my writing directly. When I was in graduate school (for gender studies) I worked at the college as an advisor to undergraduates. I worked with so many different students on their problems (mostly academic) but it helped me listen to individual stories.
I’ve also worked as an office assistant, a phone-bank minion (awful!), a clerk at a movie-rental store, and was a secretary at the University of Kansas for about 5 years while I worked to get published.
If you had to pick a favorite word, what would it be and why?
Oh! Eviscerate. I love “e” words and words with “v” in them. This one is so sharp and poetic when spoken, and I like the literal and figuratives meanings it carries around.
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality?
TELEVISION! I love watching good TV. Dramas (often police procedural) with fantastic characters are my escape. I love books, of course, but books sometimes remind me too much of work and that I’m not writing. When I need to relax into a great story, I turn to TV. My favorites: Criminal Minds, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Justified, Veronica Mars, The Vampire Diaries, Fullmetal Alchemist, Firefly, Lie to Me, In Plain Sight to name A FEW.
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