Thank you, Damaris!
GCR: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your latest (upcoming) release, The Shadow Society?
Usually, I live in New York City with my husband and two sons (the second was born in May, so he’s still tiny), and I’m a professor of English literature at Brooklyn College. But my husband is French and has been longing to spend some time in his country, so we’ve moved to Paris for the academic year. This has led to some fabulous times (mostly involving eating pastries and chocolate), some funny times (like when I thought some French women were talking about caesarian sections and I said, “Oh, I had two.” They were discussing circumcisions), and some frustrating times (such as when I showed up at the doctor’s office for my kids’ shots, waited an hour and a half, and was told I was supposed to have bought the vaccinations at the pharmacy before, and to have brought them with me).
THE SHADOW SOCIETY is about a girl who discovers she’s not human and that her kind are terrorists in an alternate world where The Great Chicago Fire never happened. It’s a romance, yet it also explores different kinds of love—love for family, for friends, and even for a city.
GCR: I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of The Shadow Society and absolutely loved it! Can you share with our readers what inspired you to write The Shadow Society?
I’m so glad you enjoyed the book!
The first line of it is “Knowing what I know now, I’d say my foster mother had her reasons for throwing the kitchen knife at me.” The book is (very loosely) inspired by a real-life event that happened to a friend, whose mother threw (accidentally? Deliberately?) a kitchen knife at him when he was in high school.
In a larger, deeper way, what inspired me to write The Shadow Society was a desire to portray where I come from (not an alternate dimension). For example, some of the things that appear in Darcy’s Chicagoland suburban home (in our world) are objects from my parents’ house: a plaque with Desiderata on it, a raccoon painting, a collection of spoons. And Darcy’s love affair with both our Chicago and its otherworldly version is, emotionally, connected to how I felt about the city when growing up: that it was a magical place, another world packed with art and traffic and cafes and freshly baked cinnamon rolls. Going to the city with my friends was always an adventure.
GCR: How long did it take you to write The Shadow Society?
I began writing it when my first son was born. I wrote the first draft surprisingly quickly. Maybe it took eight months? I finished it a long time ago, in fact. About three years ago. My publisher held it back so that we could publish the third and final book in my middle grade series, The Kronos Chronicles, first—even though that book was written after The Shadow Society.
GCR: How different would you say the final version is from your first draft? Did you remove or add a lot?
A lot of work went into changing the beginning. I don’t want to give anything away, but there’s a plot twist about a fifth of the way in—after which, I think, if the reader does not like the book, he or she probably never will. I was anxious about how to keep things tense and compelling for the reader before that twist. This meant cutting absolutely everything I could from the beginning, to make it move more quickly. It also meant injecting, where I could, some narrative tension. That section is sort of like the black-and-white world of Dorothy before she opens the magic door in The Wizard of Oz. Interestingly, the most gorgeous song of that movie (“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”) happens during that black-and-white section, which also establishes the characters and what they want and fear. I love the black-and-white section of that movie as much as the fantastic, colorful journey that follows.
GCR: Favorite line in The Shadow Society?
Probably “The memory of our kiss paced between us like a dangerous animal. Neither of us wanted to touch it.”
I was just happy , when I wrote it, with the idea of conveying that a memory can feel like it has movement—in this case, a fretful, intimidating kind. And the line is thematically connected with the book’s larger interest in how we deal with memory, particularly of a painful nature. Do we let it control us, make us cower? Or can we master it, and how?
GCR: Favorite scene?
The first scene of sustained action (a chase) was exciting to write. But my favorite scene might be when Darcy goes to an art museum.
I also love any section where there is snow. I am fond of snow. I am fond of writing about snow (remember: I hail from the Midwest).
GCR: What can we expect next from you?
My next novel, The Winner’s Curse, will be published in late 2013 or early 2014. It’s about an aristocratic girl who is a member of a warmongering and enslaving empire. Her actions set in motion a secret revolution…there are lies, duels, balls, deadly gossip, and battle scenes.
Despite that description, The Winner’s Curse is not a dystopia.
GCR: Thank you so much for stopping by today!
About THE SHADOW SOCIETY...
Darcy Jones doesn’t remember anything before the day she was abandoned as a child outside a Chicago firehouse. She has never really belonged anywhere—but she couldn’t have guessed that she comes from an alternate world where the Great Chicago Fire didn’t happen and deadly creatures called Shades terrorize the human population.
Memories begin to haunt Darcy when a new boy arrives at her high school, and he makes her feel both desire and desired in a way she hadn’t thought possible. But Conn’s interest in her is confusing. It doesn’t line up with the way he first looked at her.
As if she were his enemy.
When Conn betrays Darcy, she realizes that she can’t rely on anything—not herself, not the laws of nature, and certainly not him. Darcy decides to infiltrate the Shadow Society and uncover the Shades’ latest terrorist plot. What she finds out will change her world forever . . .
In this smart, compulsively readable novel, master storyteller Marie Rutkoski has crafted an utterly original world, characters you won’t soon forget, and a tale full of intrigue and suspense.
Find Maria Rutkoski...
Marie Rutkoski will be going on the Fierce Reads Tour October 16th through October 21st with 3 other authors. Get the event info on the Fierce Reads fan page:
Marie Rutkoski is part of the Fall Fierce Reads Campaign: https://www.facebook.com/FierceReads
Keep up with the tour...
The Shadow Society Blog Tour
Monday 10/8 http://mundiemoms.blogspot.com/
Tuesday 10/9 http://www.pocketfulofbooks.com/
Thursday 10/11 http://christinareadsya.blogspot.com/
Friday 10/12 http://www.goodchoicereading.com/
Monday 10/15 http://www.bookswithbite.net/
Tuesday 10/16 http://www.thebookmonsters.com/
Wednesday 10/17 http://cuddlebuggery.com/
Friday 10/19 http://thebookmuncher.blogspot.com/
Enter to win a HARDCOVER copy of THE SHADOW SOCIETY!
Enter to win a HARDCOVER copy of THE SHADOW SOCIETY!