As part of the Home Sweet Rome Blog Tour, author Marissa Moss graciously offered to answer some questions for readers. In addition, the good folks over at Sourcebook offered a copy of Moss's newest book Mira's Diary: Home Sweet Rome for giveaway to one lucky reader.
What was your inspiration for writing Mira’s Diary?
I love both history and the diary format, a combination I've played with before. This time I wanted to add the element of time travel to make the historical aspects more vivid, more engaging for readers.
You have an amazing list of books that you have written, both picture books and novels? Do you enjoy writing one type of book over another? Is it harder to write a picture book than a novel or the other way around?
You'd think a picture book would be easier because it's shorter, but that's what makes it harder. Every word counts and you don't have any room to make mistakes. Still, I love the way picture books tell the story equally through words and images. With novels, I love the chance to go deeper into a subject. I even have one case where I wrote about the same historical subject (a true story about a woman who dressed as a man and fought in the Civil War) first as a picture book -- Nurse, Soldier, Spy -- and then as a YA novel, A Soldier's Secret. I loved doing both!
When did you decide you wanted to write books? Do you write a lot of stories as a child?
I've always told stories and drawn pictures to go with them, ever since I could hold a crayon. I sent my first picture book to publishers when I was nine, but it was pretty terrible and they didn't publish it. I didn't try again until I was a grown-up and then it took me five years of sending out stories, getting them rejected, revising them, and sending them back again and again and again until I got my first book.
What book would you identify as being the book that turned you into a reader or inspired you to become a writer?
I was a voracious reader from early on, starting with Dr. Seuss. I loved how he played with words and drew these amazing creatures.
One thing I am always curious about is the writing habits and writing space of authors? Some work in their home or a writing space, and others in coffee shops. Some like music playing in the background and others have special snacks or beverages. Tell us a little bit about your writing space and habits.
I'm pretty boring and basic. I write in my studio -- no music (too distracting), no snacks (ditto). When I'm drawing, I listen to music, but not while writing. Early in my career, I wrote on the dining room table, in parks while watching my kids, even in pediatricians' waiting rooms, whenever I could squeeze in time. Now I have the luxury of a room of my own where I can make a mess and close the door.
If you could spend the day with your favorite character (from any book – doesn’t have to be one of your own characters), who would it be and what would you do for the day?
It's not so much the characters I'd want to spend time with, but the places. I'd love to explore Narnia, the Hundred-Acre-Wood, Hogwarts, the Shire.
What is the question that you most frequently get asked by children who write to you?
The most common question is whether Amelia (from the Amelia's Notebook series) is based on a real person. The answer is she is -- me!
If we were to get a peek at your “To-be-read” pile, what titles would be see in the stack of books?
It's a huge stack of books for the research I'm doing on WWI and Women's suffrage in England (for Mira #3). For pleasure, I'm sneaking in novels when I can. I just finished Karen Cushman's latest book and I loved it!
Is there any question that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked?
Why history? What's the draw there? What makes specific periods in history interesting to you, worth writing about?
For more information on Marissa Moss: website | facebook | twitter
Thank you to Sourcebook for offering up a copy of Mira's Diary: Home Sweet Rome for a giveaway. Please complete the form below to enter to win a copy. a Rafflecopter giveaway