Monday, June 11, 2012

Class of 2k12 Interview with Sarvenaz Tash, Author of The Mapmaker and the Ghost

Throughout the year I'll be bringing you some interviews with the authors over at the Class of 2K12! I hope you will enjoy getting to know these authors and thoughts on their books better. Today I'm bringing you an interview with Sarvenaz Tash. Her book, The Mapmaker and the Ghost, is out now!

Do you share any similarities with your characters?

My main character, Goldenrod, is much braver than I am (she also has a sense of direction, which I do not!). That’s why I’m glad that she’s being sent out into the world to be read and reviewed; I know she can handle it!

On the other hand, Goldenrod and I both share a streak of stubbornness. That’s what keeps her on her quest and it is what kept me writing all those years, despite the ever-expanding rejection letters in my desk drawer.

What kind of research did you have to do for the book?

I had to learn all about maps and mapmaking, Lewis and Clark, and even some brainy scientific concepts (that’s what happens when you have a character named Brains). It was great fun.

I adore doing research. In fact, one of my favorite things about writing is learning the things my characters need to know.

How did you react when you saw the cover of your book?
Oh, I loved it from the very first sketch. There are ten characters on the cover of my book and seeing each one of them brought to life like that made me feel exuberant. I was also so glad that the cover is gender neutral because I specifically wanted to write a story that could be enjoyed by both boys and girls.

Who is your ideal reader?

When I was writing the book, there was only one person I could write for and that was me as a kid. I wrote a book I would have wanted to read and hoped that it would be universal enough that others would want to read it too (I’m still keeping my fingers crossed on that one!).

But, in general, I think someone who likes humor, adventure, a fast-paced plot and quirky characters should hopefully like this story.

Why do you write for young people?

Books meant the world to me as a kid: in fact, they were my world. And the books that I loved then, I still love now; they are a part of my makeup and sensibilities. To somehow be a part of that from the other end is extraordinary. I think if 20 years from now, some adult felt about my book the way I feel about Roald Dahl or Beverly Cleary…well, let’s just say it would be one of the most marvelous things I could ever daydream about.

What was your reading life like as a child?

I think avid is a good word for it. I was seven when I started reading on my own (Beverly Cleary novels). My parents encouraged it a lot and I always felt like I was duping them: how could I get away with doing something SO FUN all the time?! Whenever I was feeling lonely or sad or left out, I always turned to books. I still do.

What was your favorite book as a young person?

Probably The Witches. Roald Dahl’s dark, witty sense of humor and the feeling I had that he wasn’t talking down to me just because I was a kid made him one of my ultimate favorites. I also think he has profoundly influenced my writing.

How do you feel about book blogs and using social media?

I really enjoy social media. Sometimes I think it’s because it’s a form of being social…through writing. Think about it: when you tweet, or facebook, or blog, you’re writing. And I’ve always been much more comfortable writing than speaking.

Really though, the Internet is an extraordinary place for finding people who share your interests and sensibilities and I whole-heartedly embrace that.

About The Mapmaker and the Ghost: A simple decision to map a forest lands 11-year-old Goldenrod in the midst of a true blue adventure involving a gang of brilliant troublemakers, a mysterious and very ugly old lady, and an exceedingly unexpected—and long dead—questmaster.
Goldenrod Moram loves nothing better than a good quest. Intrepid, curious, and full of a well-honed sense of adventure, she decides to start her own exploring team fashioned after her idols, the explorers Lewis and Clark, and to map the forest right behind her home. This task is complicated, however, by a series of unique events—a chance encounter with a mysterious old lady has her searching for a legendary blue rose. Another encounter lands her in the middle of a ragtag gang of brilliant troublemakers. And when she stumbles upon none other than the ghost of Meriwether Lewis himself, Goldenrod knows this will be anything but an ordinary summer . . . or an ordinary quest.

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