Hi guys! Today, I am happy to be posting on behalf of Irish Banana Blog Tours for The Door by the Staircase tour! When I saw this book and read the synopsis, I knew I wanted to read it right away! Why don't you read what it is about?
The very next day, a mysterious woman named Madame Z appears at the orphanage requesting to adopt Mary, and the matron's all too happy to get the girl off her hands. Soon, Mary is fed a hearty meal, dressed in a clean, new nightgown and shown to a soft bed with blankets piled high. She can hardly believe she isn't dreaming!
But when Mary begins to explore the strange nearby town with the help of her new friend, Jacob, she learns a terrifying secret about Madame Z's true identity. If Mary's not careful, her new home might just turn into a nightmare.
Purchase a copy or read more on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | The Book Depository
See? I told you it was going to be good. If you don't know this about me, I'm actually learning Russian right now and I really appreciate Russian culture, so to find a book that encapsulates a re-telling of Russian folklore was like a dream come true for me!
The stars definitely aligned for me, as I also have another special treat for all of you guys! Katherine Marsh (the author of this book) offered to answer a few questions that I had for her, AND she is sponsoring a giveaway that is at the bottom of this post! Isn't she nice? :)
I'm so happy that I had the opportunity to ask Ms. Marsh a few questions about herself and her story. I feel that it really helps me as a reader and a blogger to get to know the author a little bit better and to feel truly connected and invested in the story that they are writing. This was my first time conducting a Q&A for an author, and I could not have asked for better responses!
Without further adieu, here are her answers!
What made you so interested in Russian folklore? Why did you choose to write about it?
When I was five years old, my parents moved in with my Russian grandmother and I lived with her for the next twelve years. She was a wonderful cook, card player (she taught me a mean game of gin rummy) and storyteller. Most of her stories were from her own life—including her perilous journey to America as a young woman—but she loved to embellish them with magical touches.
When I started reading myself, I naturally became interested in Russian fairytales with their similar landscapes—forests and villages—and magical twists. Writing a story based on Russian folklore seemed like a way to honor my heritage and at the same time introduce a whole new generation of Western readers to these wonderful characters. By setting them in America (the book is set in the fictional town of Iris, NY), I was also able to explore some themes of the immigrant experience—particularly the yearning for acceptance and home.
Where do the names for your characters come from (Why did you name your characters what you did)?
I used the real fairytale names of several of the characters including Baba Yaga and Koshchey the Deathless, although Baba Yaga at first uses a pseudonym, Madame Zolotaya, which means “golden” in Russian and is reputed to be one of her secret nicknames.
Mary, the book’s American heroine, is named after two Russian folktale characters: the orphan Maryushka, who is turned into a Firebird by the evil sorcerer, Koshchey; and the warrior princess, Marya Morevna, who holds Koshchey captive in her castle. You’ll have to decide for yourself which character my Mary resembles more by the book’s end.
Who was the hardest character to write for in this book?
That’s a hard question. All my characters go through a revision process but probably Mary, my heroine, took the most effort. I had to give her just the right combination of neediness and spunk that would make it believable that she would try to share a home with a witch (a child-eating one, no less!).
Quick! Pick your five favorite songs from your iPod or music player! What are they?
Home, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Dreams, The Cranberries
Riptide, Vance Joy
Little Lion Man, Mumford and Sons
I Feel It All, Feist
If you had to give advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Find your story, the story you and you alone can tell.
If you had to come up with a superhero identity for yourself, what would your superhero name be, and what powers/magical abilities would you have?
Lingo-Girl. Perhaps because I live outside the United States at the moment and in a trilingual nation (Belgium), I would love to be able to speak every language that ever existed, including ancient ones, perfectly.
Is there a message that you want young readers/adults to take away from this book?
Yes. The greatest power comes from love.
Everyone, give a huge thank you to Katherine Marsh for stopping by the blog today! It was a pleasure to get to "interview" you and to learn more about you and your stories! I can't wait until I have The Door by the Staircase in my hands!
Wait....would you like your very own copy of The Door by the Staircase?! Today just might be your lucky day too, because there is a tour-wide giveaway for 3 finished copies of The Door by the Staircase! Just follow the steps linked below and you will be entered to win!
Now, I would like to talk to you guys. I'd like to know - because my blog post is themed around folklore today - do you have a favorite fairy-tale or piece of folklore? If so, tell me the story (or, at least where to find it!).
Thank you so much for stopping by the blog today!
PS: Do you want to learn even more about Katherine Marsh? You can visit her website, Twitter page, or Facebook page below!