Friday, March 22, 2013

All About Middle Grade Interview: Sarvenaz Tash (author of The Mapmaker and the Ghost)

Guys, I am very excited to welcome Sarvenaz Tash, author of The Mapmaker and the Ghost, to the blog this week. She was kind enough to answer some questions about her debut novel for the All About Middle Grade Challenge. Hope y'all will give her a warm welcome to the blog.

About the author:
Sarvenaz Tash was born in Tehran, Iran and grew up on Long Island, NY. She received her BFA in Film and Television from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. This means she got to spend most of college running around and making movies (it was a lot of fun). She has dabbled in all sorts of writing including screenwriting, copywriting, and professional tweeting. THE MAPMAKER AND THE GHOST is her debut novel.

You can haunt Sarvenaz Tash at-
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The Mapmaker and the Ghost looks to have all the best things in it (adventure and mysterious characters), so, could you tell us in twelve words a little about your debut book? Why do you think readers will love it?

 It's 13 words but: An 11-year-old mapmaker finds adventure, mayhem and the ghost of her explorer idol. I think readers looking for humor and adventure (which is what I always look for in MG books) should like it!

2. Goldenrod definitely sounds like my kind of character-an intrepid, adventure lover. Is Goldenrod the type of character that you always wanted to read about as a kid? What do you hope readers will like about her the most?

Absolutely. She was definitely inspired by some of my very favorite protagonists from when I was a kid: Turtle Wexler from The Westing Game, Harriet from Harriet the Spy and a little bit of Roald Dahl's Matilda.  I hope readers like her bravery and ingenuity (that's what I like most about her).

3. First off, I am loving your MC's name, Goldenrod Moram, is perhaps the coolest character name. Any reason for choosing the name you did for her? Was that always going to be her name? 

Goldenrod's name came to me in a dream! And it was the very first part of the story that dropped into my head. I woke up and thought: now what kind of a person would have a name like Goldenrod Moram. And there she was, fully-formed and just a little bit irritated at her name.

4. Sarvenaz, what is the scariest thing about having your debut novel out in the wild and in the hands of readers? Most exciting? 

The scariest is that a story that's been in my head for so long is now out in the world for others to read, absorb, perhaps criticize. But, if I have to be honest, that's the most exciting part too. It's truly extraordinary to think that Goldenrod and her adventures have a life of their own now, completely independent of me.  

5. I heard that in college you made movies. Any favorites and any that you wish had never happened?

Oh sure. Making movies and being in film school taught me a lot about trying things, failing, and then trying again! It also taught me basically everything about how to use constructive criticism to better your work. So did I make a lot of terrible films? Definitely. But I can't say I wish any of them never happened. They all taught me something (just like all of the failed manuscripts and stories I have gathering dust in my hard drive).

6. Given the chance, are there any two authors (any two at all) whose brain you'd love to pick about writing and characters? 

Without a doubt J.K. Rowling and Jane Austen. If I ever had the opportunity to talk to Ms. Rowling about her outlining process, I'd probably chew her ear off (I'm an outliner too). And I would love to talk to Jane Austen about writing humor. In my opinion, she's one of the funniest authors that ever lived.

7. If you had the chance to choose any place (real or literary) to visit for a day or two where would you go? Why?

Not that original but I have to say Hogwarts. Paraphrasing Justin Timberlake's character in Friends with Benefits, you can't tell me it wouldn't be amazing and magical to go to Hogwarts. Right?!

8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 

Oh dear…well, I might as well close out the theme of this questionnaire and go with Hermione Granger. I think she could outsmart them in a heartbeat.

9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

My writing cave is in my living room actually, at a desk that also doubles as a small bookshelf where I have things like a Jane Austen action figure, a John Lennon ornament, a sonic screwdriver and, of course, all 7 Harry Potter hardcovers.

10. Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us? 

I'm working on another MG fantasy and a YA historical.

Thank so much, Sarvenaz, for stopping by. I think we'd all love to pick J.K. Rowlings brain when it comes to outlining and writing in least I know I do.

The Mapmaker and the Ghost by Sarvenaz Tash, April 24, 2012. Published by Walker Books.
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. Debut author Sarvenaz Tash combines an edge-of-your-seat adventure, a uniquely clever voice, and an unforgettable cast of characters to prove that sometimes the best adventures of all are waiting right in your own backyard.

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