Interview with author Samantha Mabry

Samantha Mabry, author of A Fierce and Subtle Poison, will be talking at the event on Aug. 28 at 5pm.

1. How did you think of your characters?

I wanted my main character to be a lot like the guys I went to high school with, so sort of cocky, but the kind of cocky that masks insecurity. And I wanted my guy (his name is Lucas) to be the one to tell the story of Isabel, who is stuck in a situation not of her own making and trying to figure a way out of it. When I'm writing, I don't so much think of characters first, but of situations. If I have a good, complicated situation, then I can figure out what kind of characters would be best suited to that situation (or might complicate it even more) and then how those characters would act.

2. Why did you decide to include magic in this book?

Because it's fun! Though when I say there's magic in my book, some readers have expectations of wizards and dragons, and that's not the case at all. My magic is sort of like the magic of myths, or stories handed down that take on a life of their own. It doesn't have firm rules, like in fantasy, but it's more sinister and nebulous. I like magic that's not tidy, so my magic isn't particularly tidy.

3. When did you decide that you wanted to become an author?

First, I knew that I wanted to spend as much time as possible around books, so when, in the seventh grade, I discovered that a person could go to college and major in English, I knew my path was set for that. It took awhile for me to want to actually start writing because I loved books to the point that I was very intimidated by them. I was in graduate school, well into my twenties, before I started trying to write stories of my own. My first attempts weren't very good at all. You have to start somewhere, though!

4. What were your favorite reads as a teenager?

I know that there were YA books when I was a teen (though they were labeled "juvenile fiction" at the time), but I wasn't reading what we now consider YA. I read a lot of Kurt Vonnegut, and a lot of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. My favorite book for a long time was Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. As I've gotten older, I've expanded my reading interests. One of the last great books I read just this summer was about the vampire apocalypse.

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