I am very excited to welcome Ally Malinenko, author of Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb, to the blog to answer a few questions about her book. I hope that y'all will give her a warm welcome.
About the Author:
Ally Malinenko, a self-proclaimed Bardolator, took her first pilgrimage to Stratford-Upon-Avon in 2009 and hasn’t been the same since. Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb is her first children's book. Her poetry book, The Wanting Bone, was published by Six Gallery Press. She blogs at allymalinenko.com. Ally lives in Brooklyn with her husband.
You can haunt Ally Malinenko at-
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1. Could you tell us a little about your main character, Lizzy, and what's she's up against in Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb?
Lizzy is the only living descendant of Shakespeare, a fact she finds out shortly after her 12th birthday when her father goes missing and a strange magical man named Jonathan Muse shows up to fill her in on her past. But it's not all sonnets and roses for Lizzy who also finds out that the only living descendant of Kit Marlowe, a contemporary of Shakespeare's, isn't too keen on her keeping that literary crown.
2. I hear that Lizzy will be facing some long held family secrets. Do you think she is ready and will be able to handle the upcoming challenges?
Ready? Is anyone really ready to find out they're literary royalty? Probably not. But rise to the challenge she does after a few mishaps here and there. Thankfully she's got a great best friend named Sammy Galletti to keep her focused (and out of danger) throughout her adventure.
3. So, why did you want to make Lizzy the descendant of William Shakespeare?
Because he's without a doubt my favorite writer and, really who wouldn't want to be the descendant of Shakespeare? Except maybe, Dmitri Marlowe!
4. Why do you think readers will enjoy reading Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb?
Well everyone has their own opinions of course, but what I've heard most from people who have read it is that they like that Lizzy is flawed. She's not a perfect hero, but she can be heroic. She doesn't always make the right choice but she's loyal to those she loves. She's 12.
Also, there's ton of magic!
5. What are two things that you like best about living in Brooklyn? Two of the worst things?
Two best things about living in Brooklyn is the food (food truck food is the best) and the neighborhood I live in.
Two worst are that it's crowded (millions of people!) and it's HOT in the summer.
6. So, Ally, what are three of the best books you've read this year (can be new releases or older ones)? Why did you like them?
In the Heart of the Sea by Nathan Philbrick
Stag's Leap: Poems by Sharon Olds
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Philbrick's account of the wreck of the Essex (the inspiration for Moby Dick) was so wonderfully written it made you feel you were there, even during the cannibalism scenes. *Shudder*
Olds has written one of the best collections of poems I've read in a long time - raw honesty about a late in life divorce. You would think it would be bitter but was in fact just heartbreaking. The slow unraveling of love. Can you imagine when the person that knows you better than anyone else in the world - knows all your good and bad parts - looks at you after decades of marriage and says, "No. No more." She's an amazing poet.
Taylor is probably my favorite YA writer. I love the world that she builds and her images are so raw and real. Also she writes love the way you want love to be - all fiercely tender.
7. I hear that you would like to visit Antarctica and see where Robert Falcon Scott died, could you tell us why you'd like to visit there?
I'm a big fan of polar explorers and the time period of British exploration. I just think they were built of different stuff. I don't want to say "sterner" considering Scott and his men died more than likely from a combination of bad planning and bad weather, but just different stuff. I wish I had lived during the edge of exploration. I supposed I could if we could fund NASA better.
I would love to see Scott's cabin, which is still intact. As a matter of fact the cairn that was built around their bodies, still stands.
8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose?
Einstein. I'm currently reading the Elegant Universe by Brian Greene who is a professor of physics at Columbia and someone I discovered from Radiolab. Basically at 19 Einstein was smarter than me or anyone I know. That seems useful when those "toasters" are barreling our way, guns blazing. Worst case scenario he could probably just create a pocket dimension and we could all live safely in there.
I write in a closet. Literally. It has built in bookshelves and fits my desk. I keep a small radio near by so I can listen the classical station every morning. June, my cat, usually sleeps in here in an empty comic book box.
I'm working on a YA book about time travel, chess, alternate dimensions, doppelgangers, first love, and the unreliability of memories. It's called Palimpsest.
MEET LIZZY SPEARE…
…a normal twelve year old girl with a talent for writing, who has a very not normal family secret. And when Lizzy’s father vanishes, that secret will change her life in ways unimagined. (Spoiler Alert! It turns out that Lizzy, or Elizabeth S. Speare, is the last living descendant of William Shakespeare. Shhh! Don’t tell anybody!)
Then Lizzy and her best friend Sammy are kidnapped, awakening in the faraway land of Manhattan. Their host is Jonathan Muse, whose job is to protect Lizzy from becoming the latest victim in a family feud nearly five hundred years old. Could that be why the mysterious, eye patch-wearing Dmitri Marlowe is after her? (Spoiler Alert 2—he’s the last living descendant of Christopher Marlowe, a friend and rival of Shakespeare’s. But keep it to yourself!) Is Marlowe after Lizzy’s family fortune rumored to be kept in Shakespeare’s tomb? Does he seek artistic immortality? Or Revenge (with a capital R) for a death long, long ago?
In a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, Lizzy and Sammy are thrust into the realm of the mythical and fantastic—from satyrs and Cyclopses to Middle Eastern cab drivers and Brooklyn hipsters—in what is truly “an improbable fiction” as the Bard himself once wrote.