I'm beyond delighted to speak with author Anne Nesbet this month. Anne's magical, wonderful debut MG novel The Cabinet of Earths just got released a month ago. It's filled with gorgeous Parisian locales, dark secrets, and a finely woven mystery. What's not to love?
Read on after the interview to find out how to win a copy of The Cabinet of Earths!
All Maya really wants is for her mother to be well again. But when her baby brother James goes missing, 12-year-old Maya has to take on the magical underworld of Paris, in which houses have bronze salamanders for door handles, the most beautiful people are all hooked on the sweet-smelling “anbar,” and a shimmering glass Cabinet of Earths has chosen Maya to be its next keeper. With the Cabinet’s help, Maya may be able to do for her mother what doctors cannot: save her from death, once and for all. But now that the clock is ticking for James, the price the Cabinet demands may be too high.
To borrow (and modify) a question from James Lipton, what’s your favorite middle-grade appropriate “curse word” or insult?
Anne Nesbet: I lean toward Surprised Exclamations rather than insults (perhaps because
my feeble brain can't come up with sharp edges fast enough): "good
heavens! good grief! golly gee! heavens to Betsy!" I know, I know, I
know. Ever since preschool, the adjective that clings to Anne has been
AN: My mother presented my sister and me with "Teacher's Kits" when we were
much too tiny to be in any school, and we loved to squiggle out some
homework or to make the teddy bears and long-suffering dolls sit in a row
and behave. Later on we played the most murderous games of Monopoly:
they went on for days and ended in (figurative) bloodshed and (very real)
tears. Plus there was a game called "The Emperor of China" that fulfilled
a kid's natural longing for world domination. And it was important to
climb the pine-tree behind the back fence from time to time, just to see
what the world looked like from up there.
There’s a very important, ornate building at the center of your book and I was surprised to read in your author’s note that it really exists!
How did you come across it and did it inspire your whole story or just a
part of it?
AN: Actually, the first part of the story to appear in my head was poor,
drained, unreadable Cousin Louise, and when she first popped into my mind,
I had no idea she was French. But then we moved to Paris, and I really
did walk by the Salamander House (not its official name in real life)
every day when taking the kids to school. You look at that front door and
you KNOW strange things must be happening inside! The exterior of the
building may be real, but fiction takes over once the story goes in
through the gate: I made up all the indoor rooms, and I warped space in a
very reckless manner to allow there to be all those twisty-turny passages
leading to the Alchemical Theater.
Paris is the City of Lights! What are three other words you think
could replace ‘lights’?
AN: Paris is the City of Very Old Stone, of Tucked-Away Magics, and (most
especially) of Warm Chocolate Croissants.
What are two MG books you'd recommend and why?
AN: Oh, but I'm always the person who fails the
"quick-what-book-goes-with-you-to-the-desert-island" quiz! I can't
choose. I love too many, and the ones I love most change from minute to
minute. Right this very moment I might say Tove Jansson's Finn Family Moomintroll, because its combination of magic and strangeness and loss and
charming domesticity; and The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall, because
when I read this book I rejoiced rejoiced rejoiced that such a story
(family! humor! summer!) could still be written, even in this new century;
and The Story of the Amulet, by E. Nesbit, because who can forget the London children's
shocked reaction to the blue sky and clean air of the Past; and Ozma of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, because of the lunchbox tree. Oops, you said two?
Thank you so much, Anne! And now on to the giveaway!
Entering is simple (this time I mean it!) Just follow the instructions in the rafflecopter form below. You'll get +1 entry for leaving a comment on this post; +2 entries each for tweeting (up to once per day) or Facebooking about this giveaway; and +3 entries for blogging about it. The giveaway is open internationally and will run until Friday, February 10th at 11:59 PM EST. Good luck!
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