by Laura Williams McCaffrey
Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: February 16th 2016
by Laura Williams McCaffrey
Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: February 16th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia
Sixteen-year-old Lyla lives in a bleak, controlling society where only the brightest and most favored students succeed. When she is caught buying cheats in an underground shadow market, she is tattooed—marked—as a criminal. Then she is offered redemption and she jumps at the chance . . . but it comes at a cost. Doing what is right means betraying the boy she has come to love, and, perhaps, losing even more than she thought possible. Graphic novel–style vignettes revealing the history of this world provide Lyla with guidance and clues to a possible way out of the double bind she finds herself in.
Hello Laura! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours.
I always dread this question because I have so many, and my favorites shift over time. Today I'll say The Arrival by Shaun Tan.
Favorite TV show?
Right now, it's Jessica Jones. Agent Carter is a close second.
I used to be a huge movie watcher, but I haven't kept up recently. I love this strange movie called Mirrormask. The Princess Bride is, of course, a classic favorite. One of my recent favorites is Away We Go.
Your Favorite Song?
Another tough one. A recent favorite is "The Story" by Brandi Carlile.
I love dark chocolate, especially with ginger, caramel, orange, or something spicy.
Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.
Thisby from The Scorpio Races. I’ve always wanted to visit Earthsea. I love worlds in which magic and hidden worlds are just around the corner, the way they are in Holly Black's faerie books.
Who is your perfect fictional boyfriend?
Hmmm….Let’s see. When I was a teen, I had a huge crush on Calvin O’Keefe from Wrinkle in Time. Even now, he seems a pretty decent fictional boyfriend. I don’t know that my adult self currently has a crush on a potential fictional boyfriend. I tend to have crushes on books themselves.
My favorite quote is actually an altered quote or a misquote that Neil Gaiman put in Coraline. He attributed it to C.K. Chesterton, but the statements is essentially his re-write of some lines by Chesterton: "Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten."
What do you find yourself “Fangirling” over?
I've definitely been "fangirling" over Jessica Jones. Our culture has a bad habit of using a stalker narrative as a romantic narrative, which is essentially the stalker's perspective not the perspective of the target of his obsession. In Jessica Jones, we see her perspective, her disgust and fear, her pain and her fury.
What I have been fangirling over as far as books are concerned? I recently re-read The House on Mango Street, and as soon as I finished, I started it again. It offers such lovely writing and such ferocity. Also, I've been recommending Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to everyone.
If you could meet one author, dead or alive, who would it be?
I’d love to meet Ursula Le Guin.
Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about Marked and its world?
In Marked, if you aren't wealthy, you can only earn your way into university if you perform well in advanced classes in school and if you behave yourself so that you catch the attention of a patron. Only by going to university can you end up studying alchemyks and inventing. Otherwise, your job options are pretty poor. You end up digging in the mines or serving in clubs. If you break any laws, even small ones, you become one of the Marked — you’re tattooed and you have no chance to go to university. Lyla and her sister Hope intend to earn their way into university, but Lyla isn't great at following the kinds of rules she has to follow.
What can you tell us about Lyla? What would you say is the best thing about her?
Lyla is someone who cares passionately about her family. She also has desires she doesn't fully understand. She's flawed, but she doesn't allow her flaws to define her. I think my favorite thing about Lyla is that even when she really falls on her ass, she gets back up.
How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?
This story has a number of disparate influences. When I started it, I thought I was going to write an "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" retelling. This shifted as I came to know Lyla and Gill better. Also, at the time, I was reading Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which inspired me to read comics. I read Maus, Persepolis, American Born Chinese, Fun Home, and Blankets, which transformed my ideas about what comics were and could be. I started to think about stories Lyla and Gill might care about, which lead me to write the "Pirate Jackman" episodes. Originally these were in prose, but when I showed my editor the manuscript, we decided they should be illustrated.
Tell us your favorite quote from Marked.
I have a few, but I'll pick one from early in the novel. "Something was leaking out of her chest: the old Gill who'd lain next to her in the fields, head touching hers, and pointed out shapes in the stars. His hand above her, and the glimmering points of light — Bear, North Wind, Flying Heron — all leaking away."
Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?
I really loved writing the "Pirate Jackman" sections of the story, as well as the illustrated sections later in the novel. I also particularly loved writing the scenes in the hidden wood.
If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for Marked – Which one would you pick?
I'm going to leave this to readers. I'm curious what they'd come up with.
Imagine that we get to see your book on the big screen (how awesome would that be?). Who would you pick to play your characters?
I had to answer this for another blog, so I'll put down what I wrote there.
Lyla: Amandla Stenberg could make a great Lyla
Gill: Avan Jogia maybe? Or Dylan Minnette?
Hope: The actresses I keep thinking of are a little old to play the part, like Zoe Kravitz or Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Daisy Ridley would also make a great Hope or Lyla.
Riverton: Maybe Logan Lerman? Tyler Posey?
Ma and Da: Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd. This might be because I loved them so much as a couple in Friends with Kids.
Is there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read Marked (specific music, snacks…)?
I'm a tea snob, I must confess. I drink different teas depending on whether I'm working, reading, or taking a bath.
Pick the tea you drink when you're about to sit by the fire and go on a journey through a wardrobe or a doorway in a hillside, down a forgotten alleyway or toward an abandoned warehouse. Maybe hot chocolate is more to your taste? Something in a mug that will keep your hands warm despite the cold.
What’s next for you?
YAReview.net will publish one of my short stories in March.
As far as writing goes, I have a number of works-in-progress. I'm trying to finish a YA novel that's a fantastical mystery told through a series of mysteries. I have a fantasy novel-in-progress inspired by the experiences of nurses during WWI. I have another novel-in-progress that might not be a fantasy, and is set in an odd town not so different from the one I live near. I’m also working on a couple of short stories set in the same odd town. I could use more time to write!
Something to say to our Book Addicts?
I often complain about the Internet, the way it distracts, the way it allows people to treat each other poorly, but one of the very wonderful things about the Internet is the way it has allowed readers to come together to passionately t discuss ideas, characters, and stories. They write fan fiction and share their own original stories. I find all of this so hopeful and inspiring.
Thank you so much for everything, Laura!
Follow the Marked by Laura Williams McCaffrey Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.
I read, I write, I teach. I've published short stories in Cicada, YA Review Network, Solstice Literary Magazine, and Soundings Review. Clarion Books will release Marked, my YA dystopian fantasy, in February 2016. My other fantasy novels are WATER SHAPER and ALIA WAKING (both published by Clarion Books). For more information, it's best to visit my website: http://www.laurawilliamsmccaffrey.com