Welcome to the Traveling to Teens Blog Stop for Sarah Rees Brennan.
Sarah Rees Brennan was born and raised in Ireland by the sea, where her teachers valiantly tried to make her fluent in Irish (she wants you to know it’s not called Gaelic) but she chose to read books under her desk in class instead. The books most often found under her desk were Jane Austen, Margaret Mahy, Anthony Trollope, Robin McKinley and Diana Wynne Jones, and she still loves them all today.
After college she lived briefly in New York and somehow survived in spite of her habit of hitching lifts in fire engines. She began working on The Demon’s Lexicon while doing a Creative Writing MA and library work in Surrey, England. Since then she has returned to Ireland to write and use as a home base for future adventures. Her Irish is still woeful, but she feels the books under the desk were worth it.
The Demon’s Lexicon is her first novel.
Sarah was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about the book and about her writing.
1. What made you decide to tell the story from Nick’s point of view instead of Alan’s?
I never thought of writing it from Alan’s point of view: Alan would be fiendishly difficult to write because he’s, uh, smarter than I am… and also part of why I wanted to write the book was to get inside the head of That Guy – you know, Tall, Dark and Handsomely Withdrawn – and see what made him tick.
2. Mae seemed to cause Nick some inner-turmoil. Do you plan to have the relationship resolved in the next book or will the possible love triangle between Alan, Nick, and Mae be something that runs throughout the entire trilogy?
Well, the relationships between Mae and Nick and Mae and Alan do progress and change over the second book, but – hmmm – I don’t really see it as a love triangle? All three characters will have other potential love interests, so I guess I see it more as a love web. But Mae certainly does get to Nick.
3. Both Alan and Nick are strong and attractive young men. Whereas Alan is naturally kind; Nick seems to be reluctantly kind. If you were Mae who would you choose?
You know, I love them both but I might not choose either. Alan’s kind of a compulsive liar, which would be a problem for me, and it would always be hard to tell if Nick really liked you. Maybe even he wouldn’t know.
4. When you are writing, do you listen to music or do you need peace and quiet?
I listen to loud loud music. (Country music, often, she admits shamelessly.) And I like writing with my friends as they watch TV, and in busy cafes. I like writing with life going on all around me!
5. Is writing a full-time job for you or do you maintain other employment?
I teach part-time: creative writing, and I love doing it, but I love writing best and feel very lucky I get to spend so much time doing what I love best!
6. Do you have a set amount of writing you want to complete everyday or do you just let the words come however they may?
I don’t have a set amount since so much of writing is revision, and cutting scenes takes time too – you don’t want to end up going ‘Minus 2000 words, Sarah! Time to go put your fingers in the toaster as punishment!’
… Not that I would ever do that. Or consider doing it. Such a thought would only cross a truly demented mind.
Thanks so much for your time Sarah!
Margaret K. McElderry – June 2, 2009
Nick is dark, quiet, and exudes danger. Alan is friendly, open, and puts others before himself. The brothers back each other up no matter what. For years they’ve been hiding from Black Arthur and his minions, trying to keep their mother and the charm she stole from the master magician safe. They’ve been constantly on the look out for signs they’ve been found and ready to move at a moments notice. This time is no different, except for the brother and sister that come to them for help.
Nick doesn’t want anything to do with Mae and Jamie, but Alan can’t turn them away. Jamie has been marked by a demon and needs help removing the mark or he’ll become possessed. In the process of trying to help, Alan also becomes marked. After some investigation they find out both Alan and Jamie’s marks are a result of The Obsidian Circle and the only way to save them both is to kill the circle’s leader – Black Arthur.
Sarah Rees Brennan has created an interesting story full of mystery, suspense, questions of loyalty and friendship, and what it really means to be family. Nick, not necessarily the nicest guy, becomes a character you can’t help but love. You’ll be ready to move on to the second book in the trilogy after you finish DEMON’S LEXICON.