Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Author Interview: Melanie Card

Melanie has always been drawn to storytelling and can't remember a time when she wasn’t creating a story in her head. Her early stories were adventures with fairies and dragons and sword swinging princesses.

Today she continues to spin tales of magic in lands near and far, while her cat sits on the edge of her desk and supervises. When she’s not writing, you can find her pretending to be other people with her local community theatre groups.
 It’s great to have you stopping by today, Melanie! I’m excited to read more about Ward Against Death.

The setting for Ward Against Death seems very Victorian-esque to me, but it’s is never described as a real place. Did you draw upon any specific time or area when you created Brawenal City, Veknormai, or any of the other places mentioned?

Thanks Nikki for inviting me here today. The setting to Ward Against Death is a collection of historical details. It isn’t set in the real world, but I try to base all my settings (loosely) on real world places and try to stick to a late Renaissance-ish time period—for me just before gun powder but after the invention of the printing press. Think Three Musketeers which was set in the 1600s when gun powder was just starting to make a popular appearance in Europe.

Brawenal City was inspired by pictures of the Italian and Greek coast. I love the images of these towns clinging to the sides of steep hills, with twisting roads curling down to the sea. The city rings are based on the idea of the fortified medieval city. In Brawenal’s case, the city kept growing and the prince kept adding defensive walls, creating different rings in the city.

As for Veknormai, it was inspired by a trip to the Caymen Islands and a beachside cemetery. I’m most familiar with the type of grave where the coffin is buried in the ground and a tombstone marks the head of the grave. But this cemetery in the Caymen Islands was filled with sarcophaguses in neat rows—and by filled I mean maybe two or three dozen tombs, it wasn’t a very big cemetery. These rectangles shimmered in the topical sun, bright and white.
Wow!  The setting really comes to life and learning how parts of it are based on specific type of areas is so interesting. I felt like I could imagine Brawenal City before, but I have an even better image of it now.
When you write, do you plot out your storyline beforehand or do you let your characters take the reins and run the show?
For me it depends on the book. I’ve written a handful of manuscripts on my path to publication and experimented with everything from doing a detailed plot before hand to just winging it. Ward Against Death wasn’t intended to be a “just winging it” but that’s what happened. Ward and Celia knew what they wanted, knew how things we’re supposed to go, and I was just along for the ride. I seem happiest as a writer somewhere in between winging it and detailed plotting. I usually have an idea of a few major scenes, but after that I like to just drop my characters into a situation and see how they react.

Sometimes that changes how I imagined some of those major scenes, sometimes that just reaffirms I was right about what my major scenes are.
 Both characters have moments where they are incredibly strong, so I can imagine them taking control from time to time. Either way, it turned out wonderful.

The relationship between Ward and Celia is very complicated (and entertaining). When you started writing, were Ward and Celia such polar opposites?
I did purposefully set out to write an opposites relationship. Ward, as a character, showed up first. He was this shy, awkward, honorable guy who needed to realize his potential. I wanted someone to challenge him, stretch him, and help him become who he’s supposed to be. What I didn’t realize when I fist sketched out Celia was how much influence Ward would have on her. She’s fighting it tooth and nail—because that’s what she does—but she can’t hold onto what she was. She has to figure out who she’s going to be, and Ward’s quiet dedication is worming its way into her heart.
I kind of loved Ward, with all his awkwardness and bumbling around, but his passion and dedication are incredible. Will we find out more about his past as a doctor in any future books?
I’m so thrilled to hear that’s what you love about Ward. That’s what I love about him, too. Both Ward’s past as a necromancer and as a physician will come back to haunt him. But I don’t want to ruin any surprises so my lips are sealed.
Aww, I was hoping to get something out of you about the next book :(
What has life been like for you since Ward Against Death came out? Does it feel different now that you’re a published author?
Life as a published author has been the same as before, but peppered with doses of the surreal. For the most part I work like I’ve always worked—writing the next book and the next book, etc—but then there are these fun little moments when someone I never expected mentions the book. Or I go to my location bookstore to buy a book and there is Ward Against Death on the shelf. Alright, I admit, I go to the bookstore just to look at the book some days. Becoming a published author has been a lot of hard work—and will continue being hard work—but it’s also been a fun, exciting ride. 
Thank you so much, Melanie!

Thanks for having me, Nikki! Here’s a little about Ward Against Death:


Twenty-year-old Ward de’Ath expected this to be a simple job—bring a nobleman’s daughter back from the dead for fifteen minutes, let her family say good‐bye, and launch his fledgling career as a necromancer. Goddess knows he can’t be a surgeon—the Quayestri already branded him a criminal for trying—so bringing people back from the dead it is.

But when Ward wakes the beautiful Celia Carlyle, he gets more than he bargained for. Insistent that she’s been murdered, Celia begs Ward to keep her alive and help her find justice. By the time she drags him out her bedroom window and into the sewers, Ward can’t bring himself to break his damned physician’s Oath and desert her.

However, nothing is as it seems—including Celia. One second, she’s treating Ward like sewage, the next she’s kissing him. And for a nobleman’s daughter, she sure has a lot of enemies. If he could just convince his heart to give up on the infuriating beauty, he might get out of this alive…

Find Melanie Card online:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Buy it online:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Indiebound


And continue on to read an excerpt from the book:
Her eyes narrowed and her hand snaked under the pillow. “It’s not wise to enter a lady’s bedchamber without her consent.”
    Ward plastered on his calmest, gentlest expression. The newly wakened dead often assumed they had just roused from sleep. “You’ve been unwell.”
    Her icy blue eyes examined him, her gaze jumping from his face, to his wig, to his jacket, and back to his face. “Unwell? Is that what my father told you?”
    “In a manner of speaking.” She wasn’t acting the way she was supposed to.
Noblewomen, particularly those around his age, were usually demure or aloof—not suspicious.
    “Well, I’m fine, and I’m sorry my father troubled you.” She threw back the covers, sat up, and stepped onto the thick rug. “Now go, be a good doctor, and tell my family I’m healthy and sleeping.” She punctuated her last word by pulling her nightdress over her head, revealing a slim waist, athletic muscles, and pale skin marked with the purple bruises of livor mortis along her back. And no other clothes.
    “But—” He flushed and spun around to face the wall. “What are you doing?” No. Wait. What was he doing? He’d seen a dead naked woman before. Just never like this.
    She chuckled. “I’m going for a walk.”
    “A what? No—You can’t.” She really wasn’t acting the way she was supposed to.
    “I beg to differ.”
    The situation was spiraling out of hand. Damn it, he had to take control. He was the necromancer, she the newly awakened. She was supposed to listen to him.
    He turned to confront her. Thankfully, she was fully dressed—in men’s clothes, but at least she was dressed. “Listen, I—”
    She slipped her hand under her pillow and removed a sheathed dagger.
    Great Goddess! She kept a dagger under her pillow? Ward inched toward the
door to block her escape without appearing obvious, although he had no idea what he’d do if she fought him. Why did he always get stuck with the difficult corpses?


Midnight said...

Wootz am I the first? :D
I'm really excited to read Ward Against Death because I love everything paranormal and gosh, necromancers!
The blurb sure makes the book looks interesting, as do the excerpt.
I really want to know how the story goes on ^^
Thanks for this giveaway!~


evrythngzen said...

Thank you for the giveaway! I am excited to read this book because it's a very different take on things. I can't think of a single time I've read about a necromancer, not in this fashion. I think it will be interesting and exciting. Thanks again.

J.K. Coi said...

What a great interview, and I loved the description of the settings which inspired you, especially that little cemetery.

danya said...

I've heard some great things about Ward Against Death and I love the sound of Ward's character! Also, it's always awesome to see an addition to the "new adult" category of YA :)

Thanks for the giveaway!


Sayomay said...

I excited to read Ward Against Death because I love that the main character is 20! XD
Normally I read book where the main characters are still in high school, and i happen to be college. So this would be a breath of fresh air to read a boook about someone my own age!
Thanks so much for the giveaway!
Samantha D

Chrisbails said...

I am excited to read, but this is a new series and author for me. I love to read and always looking for new books and authors to check out. I love paranormal anything. Love werewolves and vamps. Some cool necromancers are Anita Blake from Laurell K Hamiltons series and The Flammels from Michael Scotts The Achlemist series. Nicholas and Perneil are awesome and both of these series are great.
Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.

Holly said...

I've read so many great reviews and am really looking forward to read this! Thanks so much for the chance to win!


M.A.D. said...

Mary DeBorde [M.A.D.]
zenrei57 (at) hotmail dot com

Honestly, I'm excited to read Ward Against Death because the writing seems both paranormally fascinating AND funny besides! Like that last line "Why did he always get stuck with the difficult corpses?" :D

You gotta love a book with characters like Ward~

roro said...

I've read so many great reviews and am really looking forward to read this! never read bouth a necromancer and almost 20, so i think i could relate better than some ya books out there where there 16
Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.

Kristin Close said...

Wow, thanks for holding this contest! Ward Against Death sounds like a different and interesting story! I've only read one other series about necromancers and it was from a girl's perspective. I hope I win! Thanks!


Melanie Card said...

Thanks Nikki for asking such great questions.

@ J.K. Thanks! The cemetery really stuck in my head. I just had to use it somewhere.

@ Chrisbails: I'm a big fan of Ms. Hamilton's Anita Blake series as well.

@ M.A.D: Thanks. Ward holds a special place in my heart. I'm so thrilled to see people are interested in his quirky qualities.

Denise Z said...

Thank you so much for the invite to his wonderful interview and giveaway opportunity. Why am I so excited about reading Ward Against Death? Did you not read this post and excerpt LOL The story sounds awesome and frankly the book has been on my wishlist for a very long time. I love the supernatural world and necromancers certainly fit right in. I think perhaps Ward Against Death will have have enough dark to make me want a candle glowing when I am reading LOL - so pick me of ye gods of random :)


Reading mind said...

more than excited to lost myself in this world!!!

aliasgirl at libero dot it

Jessica said...

this book was recommended to me,and it sounds so great! Thanks for sharing the interview!

jessicarwarfield at gmail dot com

Jen B. said...

I have this book on my wish list for one key reason - A necromancer hero is rare and unique! One of my favorite books when I was a teenager was On A Pale Horse by Piers Anthony. It's about a man who becomes death! Thanks for the giveaway.

Melanie Card said...

@ Denise Z: LOL, thanks for dropping by today and saying hi.

@ Jen B: I read On A Pale Horse, too. My favorite in that series was For the Love of Evil.

Maegan Morin said...

I'm excited to read it because there are so many paranormal vampire romance novels out there right now that it would be nice to read something fresh and different!!

megnate at telus dot net

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