Happy Friday, everyone! Today I’m thrilled to welcome Marie Lamba to my blog as part of the Drawn Blog Ghost Tour. Marie is here to talk about her newest release Drawn.
Teen artist Michelle De Freccio moves to England in search of a normal life…instead she finds a hot medieval ghost with a sketchy past.
It all begins when a strange guy appears in Michelle’s drawings. When she actually meets him at the town’s castle, she’s unmistakably drawn to him. But something is definitely not right. For starters, he wears medieval garb, talks of ancient murders and tends to disappear each time they kiss.
Could he possibly be a ghost? Could Michelle be losing her mind? Or has she simply uncovered a love so timeless it’s spanned the centuries…
“…a wonderfully spooky tale of romance and discovery. It’s a magical exploration of the unconquerable power of love. Highly recommended!” — Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Rot & Ruin and Dust & Decay
I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of Drawn and it is so good! I love ghost stories and mysteries and romance, and this book has all of that wrapped together into one story that will keep you reading to find out what happens next. I highly recommend it! Now onto the interview…
-Thanks for stopping by my blog, Marie! All of my guests get their own intro music! So tell us, what’s your song pick?
Thanks so much for having me, Shana!
Okay, DJ, cue up “Life in Technicolor” by Coldplay. And turn on the smoke machine so I can emerge from the mist riding on a great white horse. Horses terrify me, but let’s pretend they don’t, okay?
-What was the inspiration for Drawn?
Drawn is about a girl who draws and then meets a hot medieval ghost with a sketchy past.
When I was in high school, a guest speaker showed us paintings she did of an old house. In the shadows of the paintings were faces and images of people in Colonial dress. She didn’t intend to paint these, and felt she was channeling spirits through her art. That stuck with me.
Years later I happened upon Jude Deveraux’s time travel romance A Knight in Shining Armor, which is a really fun novel about a woman traveling in England who is dumped by her boyfriend at this ancient church. Her tears awaken an Elizabethan man who is then stuck in her time.
I started thinking about the past, about how slippery time can be, about art and spirits, and about the sort of book I wanted to read. That’s the fun of writing: you can create the novel you wish you could pick up off the shelves.
-I love the setting of Drawn and how history and modern day mix together. What kind of research did you do while working on the story?
Drawn takes place in a small town in the Cotswold area of England. You could say I began my research back in college, because that’s when I lived in a town like the one in the novel. As a student studying art and writing, I kept a journal that I filled with observations and sketches. When writing Drawn, I cracked that journal open again and again on the hunt for images and ideas.
But there was much more to the research, as you can imagine. This was a big book to write, and I needed to get smart about life in the 1400s. I wanted to understand how people thought back then in order to make them seem real in my novel. There was lots of library research involved, I poured over the literature and art of that time, and one of my best finds was The Paston Letters. This is a collection of personal letters between Paston family members throughout the Middle Ages. It gave me such great insight into the language of that time, the petty squabbles, and the everyday challenges that people back then faced. The kind of stuff you definitely don’t find in a regular history book.
The Paston Letters also inspired me to create The Wallingford Papers for my novel. The Wallingford Papers play a huge role in my book, since they reporting about a mysterious murder in 1460. But can you believe everything you read?
I also spent a lot of time looking up things online, like ghost tours and castles. I sat in my jammies and took visual tours of castles, especially Warwick Castle, which served as the model for the castle in my book. This is a great option for writers who can’t afford to travel to everywhere for firsthand research, and who are especially fond of jammies.
-Which character in the book did you have the most fun writing?
Roger Mortley, hands down.
Roger is a thorny guy with serious anger management issues. He’s from the wrong side of Castle Road, and is a “charity case” at the elite Wallingford Academy. Plus he’s got his share of secrets. Why is he always so exhausted? Why is he so thin? What makes him so angry?
My main character Michelle, who is used to being a social outsider herself, takes the time to look beyond Roger’s scowling exterior to learn that he is a loyal friend and a seriously funny guy. And that he is haunted by his own sorts of ghosts.
-Fun question: If you had to eat just one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Just one? Lobster or chocolate… Lobster or chocolate… AAAAAAAH!
Okay, dark chocolate of the Swiss variety.
Marie Lamba (marielamba.com) is author of acclaimed young adult novels including What I Meant… (Random House), Over My Head, and Drawn. When she isn’t writing or eating chocolates and lobsters, she is working as an Associate Literary Agent at The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency in NYC.