Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Q&A with Rosemary Drisdelle




Rosemary Drisdelle is the author of the new young adult novel Follow the Shadows. It's the first in her Tales of Moerden series. She also has written the book Parasites. She lives in Bedford, Nova Scotia.


Q: What inspired you to write Follow the Shadows, and how did you create your character Marise?


A: This story is a blend of my favorite things (in no particular order): fantasy fiction, particularly when it involves dragons; infectious diseases, especially those involving parasites; magic that works, even if it’s understated; writing.


People who enjoy fantasy fiction have active imaginations, which is bound to lead to more fantasy fiction, and all of those life-ling interests inspired and guided Follow the Shadows.


To start with, I really knew only one thing about Marise: she was self-absorbed like many young teens. For her the consequences were extraordinary, and it was her responses to those events that gradually revealed her potential.


She changes and grows over the course of the book as she confronts her own responsibility and the dire realities of others. By the end of the book, I don’t think anyone would describe her as self-absorbed. In fact, she’s become pretty expert at holding others accountable for their own shortcomings.


Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: I knew in a general sense how it would end; I knew the major events, but I didn’t have the details of how things would unfold. Some of the smaller twists and turns along the way were big surprises!


Without giving too much away, one example was the hidden truth about waever vine. Once I figured it out, I wondered what took me so long.

Q: How would you describe the dynamic between Marise and your character Javeer?


A: Both Marise and Javeer find themselves in a perilous situation, and they both need a friend. At first, they’re both guarded, for good reason, with Javeer being the less reserved of the two.


Each is curious about the other, but it might have ended there if they had not been kept together by challenging circumstances. They gradually learn to trust and understand each other as they face a suite of dangers that neither could have foreseen. By the end they’re BFFs who will literally risk everything for each other.


Q: How did you come up with the world in which the story takes place?


A: I love nature, and I’ve traveled quite a bit, always spending as much time exploring wild places as possible. There’s no lack of inspiration in our own world.


The landscape of the Cliff Rhumba was inspired by the Red Sea Hills of Egypt, for example, and Tiderook is a bit like Devils Tower in Wyoming. The resemblance to these places is superficial, however - each location in Moerden is unique.


In terms of how it all fit together, it was a matter of looking ahead as my characters did, and seeing what was there, exploring and understanding it, and letting it influence events as wild things and wild places will do.


Q: This is the first in a series--can you tell us what’s next?


A: The story leaves a couple of fairly large questions unanswered, and Marise is definitely going to want answers, so a return to Moerden is inevitable. She just has to figure out a way. But, meanwhile, things have changed in Moerden and some new challenges have arisen. It won’t be the trouble-free reunion she’s dreaming of.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Readers have disagreed about whether Follow the Shadows is a middle grade or young adult novel. I’d always intended it to be young adult but I honestly don’t think it matters a lot. Fantasy fiction is ageless in a way, and I hope people of all ages find some good adventure in the book.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

No comments:

Post a Comment