As part of the #12DaysofDiversity Readathon event, I've invited several authors to visit the blog over the next two weeks to talk about their books!
I'm really excited to welcome Robin Talley to the blog today! Robin has written several amazing LGBTQ books for YA audiences, including one of my personal favourites, Lies We Tell Ourselves. She's here today to talk about her latest book, As I Descended, which is a queer, paranormal, modern reinterpretation of Macbeth!!
Questions with Robin …
1) As I Descended is a retelling of Macbeth. What drew you to that story in particular?
Macbeth has been my favorite Shakespeare play ever since I first read it in high school. I think what always struck me the most about it was the fact that it had such a strong and memorable female lead. Lady Macbeth is horrible, but she's fascinatingly so. I was intrigued by the idea of exploring a character and a relationship dynamic like that, in the context of a f/f relationship. Plus, I've been wanting to write a paranormal story for ages, and this was the perfect excuse. 🙂
2) Without giving too many spoilers away, do you think that As I Descended stays true to the tone and themes present in Macbeth or does it invert them?
I think As I Descended uses a lot of the same themes, but there are definite differences, too. Macbeth is an incredibly dark play, and the stakes are extremely high — the fate of a kingdom is effectively up for grabs, and the events of the play lead to a huge, bloody war with countless deaths. As I Descended doesn't go quite that far in terms of epic-ness — it's a much more personal story.
3) What challenges did writing a retelling present compared with your previous published novels?
The tricky thing for me with writing a retelling was figuring out how to navigate each character's motivations to follow the basic plot arc of the original. Since Macbeth takes place in war-torn medieval Scotland and my book takes place at a modern southern boarding school, it was tough to figure out how to get my characters into a similar mental place to Shakespeare's originals. That said, though, I loved working within the structure of the original play. It made me want to write all my books with a five-act structure from now on.
4) Do you have a favourite retelling written by another author?
There are so many! But this year I freaking LOVED Exit Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston, a retelling of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. It's an amazing feminist contemporary story that addresses rape culture in a really unique and powerful way.
5) What are you working on next?
My next book actually comes out in just over a month! It's a happy f/f contemporary romance called Our Own Private Universe. This book has been a ton of fun to work on because my goal from the beginning was to write the book I wished I'd had as a teenager — which was a book just like Judy Blume's Forever, but about queer girls. It'll be out Jan. 31 in the U.S. and Feb. 9 in the U.K.