Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An Interview with Violet Haberdasher

Today I am thrilled to have Violet Haberdasher on the blog to discuss her new book Knightley Academy. It's part of a tour hosted by Tales of a Teenage Book Lover.

1. What kind of research did you do for Knightley Academy and it's characters? Are the character's based on people in real life?

I actually did very little research specifically for the series. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on social classes, Victorian society and Sherlock Holmes, and I was forever doodling "Henry Grim, Knight Detective?" in the margins of my research. My poor 19th century research thesis! I think the thing is still sulking in a corner somewhere, upset that I ran off to London with its more exciting cousin, the Victorian novel, the first chance I got!

The characters aren't really based on anyone in real life, although I did find myself in the absurd situation last year of having fallen into a group of friends who seemed as though they'd walked out of the pages of the book!

2. What was the writing process for Knightley Academy like?

I had the terrible luck to spend one summer as the only girl in a mechanical engineering lecture. I was supposed to spend my afternoons deriving equations, but I used to sneak off to a cafe and work on this novel about a group of misfits at a boarding school for knights. Simon & Schuster bought the series with only about 8 chapters written, just as I was about to graduate. I moved to London's East End and had just under 3 months to finish writing the book. I was horribly frantic about it, but I finished in time and finally got to see more of the city than its coffee shops.

3. Why did you choose the setting for Knightley Academy?

I think the setting chose me, really. I've always been a bit obsessed with Victorian London, boarding schools, knights, Harry Potter, detective stories, and those bleak dystopian novels like Brave New World and 1984. I suppose if you took everything jumbled together inside my head and turned it into a setting, you'd probably get something like "Knightley Academy" every time. I suspect 'alternate Victorian era boarding schools' is my default setting.

4. Is Knightley Academy going to be a series? If so, how many books will be in the series and have you planned them all out? What else are you currently working on?

Yes, Knightley is going to be a series. Currently, there are 3 books planned, and the second book, the Secret Battle Society, should be out in June. I thought I had the third book planned, but the second book has surprised me a bit (it turned out about 150 pages longer than I'd anticipated) so everything isn't chiseled into stone just yet. I'm currently working on finishing up the edits for Knightley2, but I definitely have a few alternate history YA books whining for attention inside my head.


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