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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.