As part of Bree Despain's The Dark Divine blog tour, I've had the privilege of asking the author in the spotlight a few questions. You also have another chance to win some of the very beautiful TDD nailpolish in the striking purple of the book cover.
AGA: If you could pair Daniel and Grace with any character from any other book, what would your picks be?
BD: Okay, I tried to break Grace and Daniel up for this exercise but they got really mad and refused to be torn apart from each other.
However, if Meredith Divine (Grace’s mother) had her way, she’d set Grace up on a blind date with Peeta from THE HUNGER GAMES because she admires a guy who is good in the kitchen—and she’d see him as relatively not dangerous compared to Daniel.
I can also see her trying to set Daniel up with Katsa from GRACELING—in hopes that Katsa would get angry and try to kill Daniel off. (But only because Meredith doesn’t know that Daniel could hold his own pretty well against a professional killer.)
But really, Grace and Daniel are still very not happy with this exercise, so I’m going to stop now. (I’m sorry, okay?!)
AGA: What was the hardest part of the book to write?
BD: The scene after Thanksgiving dinner when Grace and Daniel go into the forest to rescue Baby James. My editor kept pushing me to make the scene better, and each time he’d say, “It’s good, but it needs to be fantastic.” At the time, I cursed him for making me rewrite it so many times, but I’m now grateful that he pushed me to make it the best it could be. I hear from so many people that the forest scene is their favorite part of the book.
AGA: What was the timeline like from start to finish writing this book?
BD: I started the book in January of 2005 and worked on it almost every day for about a year. In January of 2006 I started subbing the manuscript around to agents, and revising it here and there based on the rejections I got. In April 2006, I had a baby. And then my brain melted. I found myself completely unable to write for several months. I kept subbing the manuscript out, but based on the feedback I was getting, I knew that I needed to completely rewrite the entire manuscript—only I was still completely blocked.
I put the manuscript away for a while, and as my brain regained function, I started writing a different book. After some time, I started to get ideas as to how to completely revise TDD, so in January 2008 I started rewriting the book. I rewrote about 2/3rds of the book and added about 100 pages of new content. I finished in September 2008, got an agent for in October 2008, revised some more with my agent and then went out on submissions with it in late November 2008, and then we got the offer from Egmont to publish the book in December 2008, and officially sold it to them in January 2009—and then the book was published in December 2009. Phew, I’m tired now.
AGA: What was the idea or scene that initially sparked the rest of this plot?
BD: I was driving down the street late one evening in January 2005, thinking about an old friend of mine who had disappeared from my life many years ago. I stopped at a red light and looked up at a billboard and a conversation between a brother and a sister popped into my head. The brother was warning his sister to stay away from an old friend who had suddenly come back into their lives. “He’s dangerous. He isn’t the person he used to be. You have to stay away from him,” the brother told his sister. I was so intrigued by these characters and the emotions they were feeling that I had to know what was going.
AGA: Which authors have inspired or affected you the most?
BD: I love the Elizabeth Peters AMELIA PEABODY books and how she was able to sustain a romance between the same two characters over the course several books. I also love Meg Cabot, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Sara Zarr. Martine Leavitt, Virginia Euwer Wolff, and Louise Plummer are three writing teachers who’ve influenced me greatly.
Thanks so much for taking the time for this, Bree! Check out my review of this fantastic paranormal debut here.
Want to sport your own Dark Divine nail polish? Fill out this form! US only. Ends Monday, April 19 at 10 CST.
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