Monday, June 26, 2017
BLOG TOUR: The History of Hilary Hambrushina by Marnie Lamb
Welcome to the Official Blog Tour for Marnie Lamb's The History of Hilary Hambrushina! We are thrilled to kick off this blog tour filled with various posts from participating bloggers. On our tour stop today, we will be getting to know more about the author with a brief interview! Plus, we have a tour-wide giveaway to share as well! Check it out and grab your copy today!
Follow the tour, HERE!
May 31, 2017
Hilary has one goal for her first year in junior high: to become popular. But her plans are turned upside down when her best friend leaves for the summer and a quirky girl named Kallie moves in next door. Kallie paints constellations on her ceiling, sleeps in a hammock, and enacts fantastical plays in front of cute boys on the beach. Yet despite Kallie’s lack of interest in being “cool,” Hilary and Kallie find themselves becoming friends. That summer friendship, however, is put to the test when school begins, reigniting Hilary's obsession with climbing the social ladder. As Hilary discovers the dark side to popularity, she must decide who she wants to be before she loses everything.
*Interview with Marnie Lamb*
1. Of course, I must start off with the most basic of questions. When and/or How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Growing up, I’d always loved writing stories and acting out “shows” with my brother. I originally wanted to pursue acting, although I never joined the drama club or tried out for any plays at school. I was shy and didn’t enjoy spending time with most of my classmates; I preferred to act in the comfortable environment of my home, where I could be both playwright and star of the show. However, when I was eighteen, I realized that acting would be a difficult career choice filled with rejections, and I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable acting out risqué scenes. Plus, I had no experience, even at school. With writing, however, I had been earning excellent grades in most of my creative writing assignments for years. I knew that I wanted to be in a creative field, so writing seemed the natural choice.
2. Speaking about writing, what is your ideal work environment when writing/creating your stories?
A computer with a dial-up Internet connection! In this age of instant everything, having to wait to access information seems antediluvian, but I find myself frequently getting distracted by the easy presence of high-speed, always-on Internet. Often, my web surfing starts out with the best intentions: I need to research a particular detail to add it to my story (this is especially an issue with stories set in other time periods or places). Having found my answer (or not having found it quickly enough and thus having put a note to myself to research the detail later), I begin bouncing around from one website to the other, my original search mutating like a colourful superbug under a microscope. Fascinated, I follow its progress until my story has been sadly neglected and I’m wasting valuable writing time. I think I may start physically unplugging my Internet connection when I’m writing!
3. I have found that many authors has various sources for inspiration, what and/or who are your sources of inspiration?
I don’t have one particular source. Ideas for plots, characters, and even metaphors present themselves unbidden at various times in various locations. Some of my stories, including The History of Hilary Hambrushina, are based on major events in my life. Others arise from seemingly trivial or passing incidents. For example, one winter day, I was wearing a unique hat: a maroon newsboy cap with bits of yellow and pink feathers sewn on it. When I entered a subway train wearing this hat, two young women looked at me, smirked, and began whispering to one another. I was annoyed at being mocked for wearing what I considered quirky, but not deviant, headgear. I thought—I kid you not—“It’s not like I’m wearing a chartreuse top hat with a rotating bird.” That became the basis for a short story named “The Man in the Chartreuse Hat.” Other stories are inspired by intriguing events in other people’s lives. For instance, I’m currently writing a short story based on my mother’s experience at a modelling school in the 1960s.
4. Since inspiration usually comes from life experiences, people, places, etc., what inspires you when you write?
See my response to question three. 😊
5. Are any (or all) your characters based on any person(s) in your life?
I think that whether we know it or not (and whether we want to admit it or not!), all writers create characters based on people they’ve met or observed. All of our actions, reactions, thoughts, opinions, and feelings are formed by our own unique experience, including experience of relationships with other people. So I honestly don’t know how anyone could create a character that wasn’t at least partly based on someone the author had encountered. However, it’s naïve to assume that a character is always an intentional and accurate drawing of a specific real-life person. Like many writers, I often create characters who are a mishmash of several people I’ve known to a greater or lesser degree. Even if a writer intends for a character to a replica of a particular person, it’s important to remember that any snapshot of a person is just that: a single snapshot, coloured by the author’s biases and worldview. A snapshot of the same person taken by another author could reveal a completely different individual.
6. If your book got adapted to film or television, which adaptation would you prefer? Why?
I would choose television. I find it a more intimate and personal medium, and I think that suits this story. I don’t think these characters are “big” enough to fill a movie screen, but a television screen would frame them nicely.
7. Do you have a dream cast for your characters?
It’s funny you ask because when I was writing this book, I pictured Canadian actress Wendy Crewson in the role of Hilary’s mom! I’m going to pretend that I don’t have to be limited to the constraints of the actresses’ actual age. So I’ll keep Wendy in the role of the mom and cast Emma Stone as Hilary. I think she’s a brilliant actress who could thrive in any role. Zooey Deschanel has a quirky feel that is perfect for Kallie. Reese Witherspoon would make a great Lynn, and Natalie Portman would bring the right blend of sweetness and viciousness to Chanel.
8. If you weren't a writer/author, what would you be?
I love my day job of freelance editor. But if I were independently wealthy and could spend my days any way I pleased, I would open a business to help other writers promote their books. In seventeenth-century England, chocolate houses, the cocoa equivalent to coffee houses, emerged. Although these early examples were frequented by rowdy men, I’ve always thought it would be lovely to offer a more sedate and gender-friendly environment for enjoying the beverage—and to combine chocolate and books, two of my passions. My business, The Chocolate Bar, would offer patrons the opportunity to savour liquid chocolate on tap while listening to literary readings by new and emerging authors. Authors who read at The Chocolate Bar would have their photos featured on the wall, along with information about their books. For months after an author’s reading, patrons would be able to order his or her books through The Chocolate Bar.
9. What are you working on next? That's if you can talk about it... 😉
I’m happy to talk about it. I’m drawn to the short story form. The History of Hilary Hambrushina was actually written many years ago, and in the meantime, I have pursued short story writing for adults. I’ve have some success with this, several stories having been published in Canadian literary journals. A few years ago, one story was nominated for the Journey Prize, a major award given out by McClelland and Stewart, a division of Penguin Random House. In any story or poem (I’ve had a couple of those published, too), I explore issues about which I’m passionate. Over the years, these issues haven’t changed much, and many of them can be found in The History of Hilary Hambrushina: female relationships including friendships and mother-daughter interactions, the position of women in society, and the categorization and oppression of those who are different. I spent a year teaching in Japan, and several of my stories feature Japanese characters or settings. So my plan is to return to my many short stories that are half written and polish them for submission to literary journals. The next book I have published will most likely be a collection of these stories.
10. What would your advice be to aspiring writers/future authors?
Enjoy or at least find something positive in the writing process. Many writers, especially beginning ones, see publication as their ultimate goal. One of the problems with this is that it brands any story that doesn’t get published as a failure. Valuing the outcome over the process often sets you up for failure because outcomes are never guaranteed. And getting published, especially by a big-name or more traditional publisher, is becoming more and more difficult nowadays. Writing isn’t always fun, but the writing process should be beneficial in some way; it should provide comfort, release, or closure, if not joy. Writing and its aftermath of publication present so many challenges: self-doubt, others’ doubt, rejection, criticism. You need to have something positive and powerful to balance these negativities. Otherwise, only a masochist would pick up a pen or type on a keyboard!
Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview.
You’re welcome! Thank you for having me on MoviesShowsBooks.
**About the Author**
A Journey Prize nominee, Marnie Lamb earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Windsor. Her short stories have appeared in various Canadian literary journals. Her first novel, a YA book named The History of Hilary Hambrushina, is forthcoming from Iguana Books. When she is not writing fiction or running her freelance editing business, she can be found cooking recipes with eggplant or scouting out colourful fashions at the One of a Kind Show.
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