Interview with Sangu Mandanna, Author of The Lost Girl

Debut author Sangu Mandanna has a lot to be excited about.  Her debut novel, The Lost Girl, hits stores in August, and it’s already generating a ton of buzz.  Sangu took some time out of her busy schedule to introduce herself and to chat about her book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Sangu Mandanna] Creative, stubborn… fun? I like elephants. And Sherlock Holmes. And bookshelves with sliding ladders.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Lost Girl?

[Sangu Mandanna] It’s a book about Weavers who stitch echoes, copies, from scratch. And it’s about one of those copies, a girl called Eva who has grown up having to be just Amarra, her original or ‘other’, but all she wants is to be herself. When her other dies, she has to step into her shoes, live her life, convince the world that Amarra is still alive. She’s not allowed to break the Weavers’ laws, she’s not allowed to run away, and she’s not allowed to fall in love with the wrong person. Only she does.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Sangu Mandanna] I read Frankenstein in my second year of university and I remember wanting to write a whole story from the Creature’s point of view, and that made me think of someone stitching life from scratch, which made me think of a sad, eerie Tim Burton-esque Loom, with Weavers stitching echoes out of dust and bones, and I guess the world just slowly developed from there. I didn’t actually write it at the time, just sort of scribbled ideas down, but I didn’t think anything would come of it because I couldn’t see a real story.

Then, that summer, Eva appeared in my head. And I knew I had to write about her. The rest of the characters quickly became just as real and compelling to me. Having said that, if you were to ask my husband, he’d insist a certain character named Sean is a fictional version of him (he’s not).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?

[Sangu Mandanna] Ending it. I love this world and the characters so much. Once I started writing THE LOST GIRL, I realized I could have gone on writing it forever. I still hope to write more about Eva, because her story isn’t over yet, but if I’d let myself keep going it would have been very much a case of STOP NOW, EGAD, THE BOOK’S ABOUT THE SIZE OF A HIPPO.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Eva?

[Sangu Mandanna] Brave, passionate, fiery. And none of them necessarily in a good way, either.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Eva would never have in her bedroom?

[Sangu Mandanna] Unfortunately Eva’s never really been able to choose what she’s had or hasn’t had in her bedroom! But if she could, the three things she’d never have: mango pickle, a Jane Austen novel, and Amarra’s boyfriend Ray.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Sangu Mandanna] Frankenstein was a huge influence on THE LOST GIRL, but other influences would be Daphne du Maurier (her writing is just so beautiful), Tim Burton (because he creates strange, sad, interesting things) and Eva Ibbotson (just because her books are so funny and lovely).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Sangu Mandanna] Music, something to drink, and an exceedingly tidy desk. You won’t believe how much an errant pencil bothers my eye.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Sangu Mandanna] Oh, I can’t. I’ve been reading since I was a wee thing, there are so many books I’ve loved! Though the first book I remember reading by myself was a board-book version of The Night Before Christmas, so I guess that would be it…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Sangu Mandanna] I’m a stunt motorcyclist. No, I’m lying. I only wish I could give you a totally awesome answer like that. But I like very ordinary things. Going to see a movie, standing my baby up on my knees because it makes him give me the most beautiful gummy smile, curling up on the sofa with my husband to watch House. And of course, reading, reading, reading.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Sangu Mandanna] I’d love to hear from readers! My website is www.sangumandanna.com, I have a blog at http://sangumandanna.blogspot.com and I’m on Twitter (@SanguMandanna). Readers can also email me at sangumandannawrites@gmail.com. Email or Twitter are probably the fastest ways to get a reply.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!


You can pre-order The Lost Girl from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below.  It is expected in stores August 2012.

Armchair BEA–Introductions

 

 

 

While I would love to go to BEA, unfortunately, the timing never seems to work out for me.  I actually had everything but the plane ticket booked last year, but had to cancel to due to a family illness.  Once again, the book lovers Mecca is out of reach this year, so I decided to participate in Armchair BEA again.  You can learn more about this event by clicking this link.

To get things rolling this year, participants are asked to answer five questions, and then hop around and visit other participating blogs, so here goes:

1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

I am Julie, aka Manga Maniac.  I have been blogging for about 7 years, and when I started the blog, I mostly reviewed manga and graphic novels.  I started blogging as a way to keep track of the storylines for all of the all of the series I was reading, and I enjoyed doing it so much that I haven’t stopped!

2. What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012? 

I am currently reading Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill.  It’s a zombie western with some steampunk elements tossed in for good measure.  I am enjoying it so far, but the pacing is faltering near the end.

Some of my favorites so far this year include: The Song of Achilles, Lies Beneath, Storybound, The Marriage Bargain, The Stubborn Dead, and Born Wicked. 

3. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.

I am terrified to speak in public!  This is kind of funny because I don’t mind sharing my writing, and I live to show my horses.  I just have a really, really hard time speaking in front of even a small group of people.

4. What is your favorite feature on your blog (i.e. author interviews, memes, something specific to your blog)?

I love to interview authors!  I enjoy learning about how they came up with their stories and characters, and what they like to read when they aren’t working. 

5.  Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?

When I first started blogging, I was only reading manga and graphic novels.  Now I find myself reading everything but graphic novels.  I became burned out on them, especially when my favorite series were canceled or my favorite publishers shut their doors (CMX, I still miss you desperately).  I hate not knowing how things end, so it was discouraging to have so many series left dangling.  There are several that I still love, but I’m letting a few volumes pile up before I start getting invested in them again.

What about you? If you are participating in Armchair BEA, please link your posts so I can drop in and say “hi.”