16 February, 2011
CONFIDENTIAL: Author Q&A with Mary Hooper
Today, at Read My Mind, I'm lucky to have a few questions answered from the author of FALLEN GRACE. Mary Hooper is a British author, who lives in Oxforshire. (Yes, that means she has a accent!) A prolific writer, she has published books for children, middle grade, and YA. Her latest release is FALLEN GRACE, which I have given a 3.5 star review here.
RMM: Tell me a little about yourself.
MH: Well, I've been writing books for twenty years or so, but only really started to make my name when I began to write historical books.
RMM: How long was the journey from the idea to the physical book?
MH: I give myself a year to write a novel. This is quite a leisurely pace, but it gives me time to do a nice lot of research and chew things over as I go. And once I've finished it, it is about another nine months to seeing the book in the stores.
RMM: I always wonder how much of the time is spent writing, as opposed to research. I did like the political and social commentary that FALLEN GRACE offered about the poorer class at the time.
Who is one person that helped to inspire you to write your book?
MH: The bank manager.
RMM: I totally understand that answer! Seems like a good motivator to finish something that you love.
A little more on your characters. Which was the hardest to bring to life on the page? The easiest?
MH: I think perhaps Grace's sister Lily was the most difficult. She's a sweet girl, but simple, and it was difficult to get her tone of voice right because I didn't want to sound patronising. Easiest? The villains are the easiest; I loved writing about Mrs Unwin, the wicked undertaker's wife.
RMM: I thought that just the right tone was struck with Lily. I could see how she was easy to take advantage of, but always seemed to have the best intentions at heart.
If you were a biographer, who's life would you choose to write about? (not your own!)
MH: Well, it would be someone in history, but all the best people have already been done, of course - and most of them were titled and/or terribly rich, so I would choose a complete unknown, someone poor who had "pulled themselves up by their bootlaces" as we say.
RMM: I want to hear your elevator pitch!
MH: I was bemused by this but my son told me what it meant (thanks, Rowan). So...my book is:
A rags to riches story about a girl in Victorian times who has a job as a funeral mute.
(The Times in the UK said it was the "best new historical novel of 2010"!)
RMM: Is the elevator pitch just a U.S. thing? I had no idea. And, I would have to agree with the assessment of the UK Times!
Coffee or tea? Tea
Early riser or night owl? Early riser
Motorcycle or minivan? VW Beetle!
Sun and sand or hot chocolate and a fireplace? Hot choc every time.
Romance or adventure? Romance
And finally, why write YA?
If a writer's lucky she gets two bites of the cherry: teenage and adult readers.
RMM: Thanks to Mary Hooper for taking the time to answer a few questions, and to Bloomsbury for providing me with a review copy of FALLEN GRACE.
Posted by Lillie (AliseOnLife)
I'm a writer, aspiring to that higher plane of becoming a published author. I love books in all their forms, be it electronic or print (though obviously, there is nothing like the texture of a book in my hands!). I want to share that love and meet others who feel the same.