So fellow freaks. I was honored with the opportunity to talk to one of my new favorite authors via e-mail, Nancy Werlin! She agreed to let me ask her a couple of questions about Impossible, and I am happy to share them with you!
1. Your book is different from any other story I've read. Was it just the song that inspired you, or was it something else?
The song was the core of my inspiration for IMPOSSIBLE, for sure. The lyrics to Scarborough Fair haunted me for years. I talk about that on my website, here:
But I was also inspired by romantic fiction, which I love, and by thinking about "bad boys" in romantic fiction and how compelling they are. I found myself reacting negatively to that, maybe because I've known one too many bad boys in real life. They really don't make good partners. So I wondered if I could manage to write a "good boy" hero, and if I could write a story in which the suspense doesn't come from wondering if the lovers will ever get together, but instead comes from them working together as a team to defeat evil. Those ideas got entwined for me with the Scarborough Fair song and its haunting lyrics about true love, and the implication between the lines that the woman had failed the man in some mysterious way ... and my idea that he now hated her. What is true love? That's the core question.
2. Zach falls very quickly for Lucinda, is that part of the spell or was it just honest to goodness true love?
It's true love, absolutely. And it's not so sudden, when you think about it. He's known her for 17 years. They were friends -- important friends to each other. They knew each other's histories and families. Zach is the one person outside her family that Lucy trusts with her complicated feelings about her birth mother. And Lucy is someone who can tell Zach off when he ought to be told off -- and he knows it, too. (I love the scene where she tells him he's not being the friend she needs, and if he can't, he should get out of her life for good.)
3. The elvin knight sounds very handsome. Was there anyone in particular you pictured him as, or was it just someone of your imagination?
I pictured not an individual person that I know, but a type: "black Irish." These are those yummy Irish men with the black hair and the startling eyes. Patrick Dempsey. The young Pierce Brosnan. That type.
4. Throughout the book it is said that there are many versions of the Elfin Knight or Scarborough Fair. Where did you get yours at?
I made mine up, basing it on the many variants that are available (and working with Franny Billingsley, a friend and fellow writer, who has a more musical ear than I do, so she made sure the lyrics could actually be sung). You can read several other versions here:
5. Lucinda must fulfill three impossible tasks throughout the book. You, as the writer, had to help Lucinda on this journey. Was it difficult to discover a way to break the curse?
It was incredibly difficult to figure out how to do it. In fact, in my first draft, I only found a solution for task #1. But I learned the same lesson Lucy learns: ask your friends for help. In the acknowledgments for IMPOSSIBLE, I mention who helped me with what task.
6. For many authors music keeps them going through the rough process of writing. Was it the same for you or did you have a different type of escape?
Some authors have entire playlists for a book, but not me. When music inspires me, it's been a single song on repeat. So for IMPOSSIBLE, I kept hearing Scarborough Fair in my head, over and over and over. Now, for my next book, EXTRAORDINARY, which will be published in September, and which is about love, faeries, and girls' friendship, the single song is "For Good" from the WICKED soundtrack. Here:
7. It is very hard to come across a great, unique book. It must be even harder to write one. Any tips?
Hah! When you're writing, definitely do not think "I need to write a great, unique book." That kind of high expectation will kill you. Instead, think: "Today I just need to write a couple of pages that move forward."
The other truth that a writer needs to understand is that what is a "great, unique book" for one reader is probably not going to please a different reader as much, or even at all. You can't write a book that absolutely everybody loves. All you can do is write the book you want to write, and do it as well as you can. If you try to please everybody, you will create a weak mess that pleases nobody.
Check out Nancy Werlin's newest book Extraordinary, to be released September 7th, 2010. I will personally be the first in line at Borders.