Thursday, June 2, 2011

Author Interview With Jennifer Bradbury Featuring Her Novel, Wrapped!

Jennifer BradburyLast week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Bradbury, author of Wrapped. It was truly a delight, to have her here and be able to ask her a few questions. And okay, I can't help the geek in me, but seriously she LOVES Doctor Who. That is just like too awesome! Seriously. Okay, now that my fangirl squee moment is over, check out her answers below and don't forget to pick up your own copy of Wrapped or even Shift, because I have a feeling you'll both of them.

Hi, Jennifer it's nice to have you visting here. Can you tell us a little bit about your latest novel Wrapped, without giving too much away?

I'll try. Wrapped is the book I wrote after I finished my first novel, Shift (Atheneum, 2008). That first book was a contemporary mystery featuring two guys who go on a cross country bike trip. After all the work writing and revising that book, Wrapped became a sort of escape for me, combining a lot of things I love. My husband describes it as Alias meets Indiana Jones meets Pride and Prejudice. That works pretty well for me.

One of the most interesting things I liked most about the novel itself, was how you were able to write a time period piece and modernize it in such a way, that it made the herione of the story very likable and relatable as well. Was it always your intention to have Agnes be so forward, in an effort to show that women even in that time period, could be as strong and have their own sense of purpose outside the social constraints that were very common during the British Imperialism period?

I suppose so. Agnes is first and foremost a construct of a character I'd like to know. She's interesting to me, and her choices--in spite of her era--interest me as well. But I think even when you read books set in the Regency that were actually written during the regency period, the women do have agendas of their own, and are in some cases even more resourceful in eking out their places in the world because of the limits placed on them. But in the end, I think women of every era and every generation long for some sort of adventure in their lives. Agnes just happens to get her wish granted in an unusual way.

I noticed that there was a great deal of information and knowledge on Egyptology and Mummy curses that went into the book, was this something that you were interested in yourself and you decided to write a novel about it?

Absolutely. I was fascinated by Egyptian mythology when I was a kid, and that curiosity has endured. But the seed for the story grew out of a passing remark made by a professor in one of my lit survey courses. He mentioned something about mummy unwrapping parties, and I remember thinking that I couldn't believe I hadn't heard about that practice, and that I thought it would make a great setting for a story. At the time I wasn't even thinking about writing fiction myself, but fifteen years or so later, I sat down and tried to figure out what that story might look like. And when I began researching Napoleon's Egyptian campaigns, and revisiting some of that mythology that I so loved as a kid, the engine for the story really ignited.

What made you want to write a time period novel that was part mystery and romance, with a lot of action all rolled into one story, as opposed to writing just another paranormal romance or sci-fi fantasy novel which have become pretty popular amongst young adult literature lately?

I like plenty of paranormal and sci-fi and fantasy novels, but I knew I didn't want to really go in those directions with this book. One of the things I particularly like about historical fiction is the way it allows the reader and writer to work with the challenges of an existing frame of reference, so the real fun for me was writing a story that on some level maybe could have happened. And I've always been a sucker for a spy thriller, so I think in another way I was really writing the book that I wanted to read.

Agnes, was my favorite character in the novel. I simply loved how forward she was, brave, with just a small hint of hopefulness to her. I'm always picturing in my mind what she would look like if she were being cast and the only person that I could honestly picture as Agnes would be Mandy Moore. Who would you choose, if the book were going to be adapted to film just for fun and why would you choose them?

Ooh, fun question. I've not seen much with Mandy Moore (besides repeat viewings of Tangled with my five year old if that even counts). I'm not really sure who I'd cast. Maybe Karen Gillian from Doctor Who. She's a bit tall and thin for it, but she's got the right sprit about her. And I LOVE Doctor Who.

Shift by Jennifer BradburyOf course, the villian of the story is always the fun part or it is for me, and it was no surprise who the main villian ended up being. I had my suspicions about him from the beginning, but I enjoyed how you made me almost second guess myself and actually feel something for him only for a moment, until the final reveal of who he was and what he actually was. So, I guess my question is, was he always intended to be the main villian?

Yeah. And its tricky (for me at least) striking that balance. I know he's a bit of a giveaway, but I like him all the same. I do love his backstory, though.

The romance in this novel was very beautifully done and another of my favorite things, it had this hopefulness and I enjoyed that there was sort of this back and forth between Lord Showalter and Caedmon, but in the end you had this really unique way of showing that the nice guys don't always finish last. Was it your intention to have Caedmon win the love and affection of Agnes and can you tell us if there are any more adventures in store for the two of them - how well a possible relationship between the two will fair?

I'm so glad you enjoyed the bit of romance in there! And yes, I knew they'd end up together from the get-go. That's one of my favorite things about Jane Austen's books--you can see immediately that some folks are meant to be together, but the fun is in seeing how they get there. And the fun for me in this book was finding a way for the main characters to overcome those social restrictions. And yes, there's very much a future for them. Atheneum will publish a sequel featuring Caedmon and Agnes in 2013.

Being the book-geek that I am, I simply loved how you included Jane Austen writing underneath her psuedonym "A Lady" in this novel and then took it one step further and had Agnes quoting various lines from her books in different languages. That was quite clever and very enjoyable to see. In some ways, do you think Agnes could be like some of the characters from the Jane Austen novels that she loved so much or that she was able to identify with the females in certain ways and that's why she was always quoting them? Or was it just something she did when she was nervous, a slight OCD maybe?

Yes to all of those theories. Austen's books are filled with women who manage to navigate social expectations but still pursue their own ideals and agendas, so I think Agnes (like many a reader since) would certainly identify with her heroines. But most of all, at her very core, Agnes is a nerd. So there's that.

Since you are an English teacher and you did reference Jane Austen, I'm just curious what is your favorite book by "A Lady" and why? Also, do you have a favorite couple from one of her novels and who would they be?

I used to be an English teacher, but I'm now a stay at home mom to two preschoolers. But I've loved Jane Austen since college. I don't think you can top Pride and Prejudice for sheer entertainment value, but I think my favorite couple would have to be Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth from Persuasion.

It's been such a pleasure to have you visiting here, today. Thank you, for agreeing to be interviewed.

Thank you! I'm delighted to have been asked.


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