Eve Marie Mont is the author of A Breath of Eyre, a KTeen release with a hunky guy, time-travel, and a reimagined Jane Eyre. Eve dropped by the virtual offices to discuss her book, and to share her inspirations for writing.
[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Eve Marie Mont] I’m a compassionate teacher and creative writer who loves shelter dogs, Doctor Who, nineteenth century novels, fine manners, and grass or sand between my toes.
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about A Breath of Eyre?
[Eve Marie Mont] Since the synopsis is available online, I’ll give you of a list of elements to expect: boarding school, mean girls, good friends, crushes, storms, time travel, Jane Eyre, Rochester, a mystery, and a certain hazel-eyed boy with a haunted past. A Breath of Eyre is also the first in a trilogy inspired by classic literature. The second book is loosely based on The Scarlet Letter, the third on The Phantom of the Opera and takes place in Paris!
[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Eve Marie Mont] The first sparks honestly happened when I read Jane Eyre for the first time in 11th grade. Ever since, I’ve fantasized about what it would be like to get transported to Thornfield and have a slowburn romance with Rochester. So eventually I created a character who could. I have to say there’s a lot of me in Emma and quite a bit of Jane, so she came pretty easily to me. The other characters are creative composites of people I know or have known, of course fictionalized to protect the innocent (or not so innocent).
[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?
[Eve Marie Mont] Probably the most challenging aspect was finding the right balance between Emma’s contemporary story and her time spent in Jane Eyre. Unlike those time-travel books in which the character gets whisked away after the first chapter and doesn’t return to her real world until the very end, Emma spends ample time in both worlds. In fact, Emma uses the lessons she gains while “playing Jane” to reevaluate her own life and make some important decisions.
[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Emma?
[Eve Marie Mont] Bookish, kind-hearted, and loyal.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are three things Gray would never have in his pocket?
[Eve Marie Mont] Hmmm, I’d say Gray would definitely not have dirty tissues (he’s too fastidious), a comb (he usually keeps his hair very short), or a condom (he would never presume).
[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Eve Marie Mont] I try to take inspiration from the writers I admire, whether it’s literary goddesses like Brontë and Austen or contemporary masters like Jandy Nelson and Libba Bray. I also get a lot of material from my students. I’m always picking up snippets of their conversation, listening to the rhythms of dialogue in the hallways, or finding dramatic fodder for my stories. Finally, I draw inspiration from my family. Like any family, mine is lovable but flawed. I like my main characters to be firmly grounded in a rich family life before I plunge them into their adventures.
[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Eve Marie Mont] It’s a pretty boring answer, but coffee, laptop, and time.
[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Eve Marie Mont] The Secret Garden. I adore everything about this book, from the vivid settings to the dynamic characters to the positive messages about love, nature, and friendship. I was sitting on the classroom carpet of my second grade class thirty years ago when I first realized the power of beautiful language to stir the mind and of sensitive storytelling to open the heart. There is no lovelier sentiment than Mary’s at the end of the novel: “The secret garden is always open now. Open, and awake, and alive. If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Eve Marie Mont] Teach, read, play, eat, sleep, dream. Also, watch the Phillies!
[Manga Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?
[Eve Marie Mont] I’m on all the usual sites—Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, etc., but I’ve got to say my favorite thing in the world is getting a personal email or Facebook message from a reader who connected with my book.
Website: http://evemariemont.com/ (You can email me from the Contact page.)
YouTube trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHSSa6KCnmQ
[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!
A Breath of Eyre is available now! You can order a copy from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below:
Early Praise for A BREATH OF EYRE:
“This richly satisfying tale of first and last love transcends its genre—not another breathless, fan-fiction take on a literary classic but an intertextual love letter… With evocative settings and compassionately drawn characters, this trilogy opener offers affectionate insight into the gifts literature gives readers…A smart and rewarding ode to literature.” – Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW
“Captivating and heartrending… Definitely one for the favorites shelf." –Kelly Creagh, author of Nevermore
“A rich, wonderful, smart adventure, steeped in romance. I fell into this book in the same way Emma falls into Jane Eyre and I didn’t want to fall back out again.” –Lesley Livingston, author of Once Every Never and the Wondrous Strange trilogy
Eve Marie Mont lives with her husband, Ken, and her shelter dog, Maggie, in suburban Philadelphia, where she teaches high school English and creative writing.