Interviews about The Thorn and the Blossom with Theodora Goss:
Girls in the Stacks: podcast interview.
Westword: The Thorn and the Blossom‘s Theodora Goss on Creating a Double-Layered Story: I’ve never seen anything like it, either! I’ve seen books where you can flip them in some way, but the only ones I’ve ever seen are children’s books. But I was thinking this morning that what it really looks like is a Japanese scroll. I’ve been to a museum and seen Japanese poems done this way, where it’ll be a long sheet of paper and it will fold, and there will be a long illustration that goes the entire sheet of paper, and this beautiful calligraphy.
Library Thing: I actually didn’t come up with the idea of the two-sided design myself. My wonderful editor, Stephen Segal, came up with it and called me to ask if I could write a story that would fit the format. It was quite a challenge! We didn’t want a story that would simply have two sides to it – that wouldn’t really be using the format. We wanted a story that could only be told in this way, that would use the format as part of the reading experience. And I think when you read the book, you’ll find that it does.
SF Signal: It happened the way I come up with any story, which is that I took elements of my own life and put them into the story, but in a very mixed-up way. So for example, Evelyn’s family wants her to go to law school. Well, my family wanted me to go to law school, and I went. (And then I decided that I really wanted to study English literature, which is a decision Evelyn also makes.) And somewhere in the back of my mind were memories of having studied Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in college – that also made its way into the story. And Brendan’s and Evelyn’s walk in the woods – that was based on an actual incident, although of course it didn’t end the same way.
The Qwillery: I’m not sure this is a quirk, but I tend to use very specific things to write: notebooks from Bob Slate Stationer in Harvard Square, specific kinds of pens. I also use a word processing program that almost no one uses anymore: Word Perfect. But it does exactly what I want it to. Wait – I tend to think of things to write in the shower, and then sometimes I have to run and get a notebook and pen, wrapped in a towel, with dripping hair. I don’t know if that’s quirky. It’s certainly messy!
Daemon’s Books: If readers like The Thorn and the Blossom, which I would call literary fantasy, I think they would like books such as Elizabeth Hand’s Mortal Love, Catherynne Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, and Kelly Link’s Stranger Things Happen. Those are all completely different works: Hand’s is a novel for adults or older teens, Valente’s is a book for children although it’s enchanting for adults as well, and Link’s is a collection of short stories. But they all mix the everyday with the magic in a way this book does, and they are all on my favorites list!