Hi, Claudia – welcome to Parajunkee’s View. I’ve been a big fan of yours for awhile, way back when in 2008…feels like ancient times. But, it really hasn’t been that long and in that time you’ve done so much. How many books have you published and does it ever get old?
Somehow, A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU is my ninth book to be released. That is so surreal to me, still, as is the fact that I’ve now been doing this for six years. You do get used to the process of writing/editing/releasing — like, I used to drive myself up the wall by checking my Amazon rankings by the hours, and I now no longer check at all. But it never, ever gets old. Sending a new book out into the world is always a thrill.
You’ve written about vampires and witches and now science fiction and the multi-verse. Out of all these topics, which one was the hardest to write?
I’d say that the SPELLCASTER series has been the hardest to write, to date. In large part that was because the main character, Nadia, is so very guarded — she’s been deeply hurt, and shields herself so well — that getting inside her head and communicating everything to the readers became challenging. I love her, and I think her personality ultimately comes through. But guarded/shy characters are often the toughest to write, and Nadia is the only MC I’ve ever had who fit that mold.
Can you tell our readers about A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU?
A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU is the story of Marguerite, the daughter of two famous scientists, who is chasing her father’s killer through alternate dimensions. In each new dimension, she appears within another version of herself and must learn quickly what this world is like, and who she is there. As Marguerite travels, she encounters alternate versions of all the most important people in her life — the people they would be if their histories had altered just a little — and realizes they’re far more complex than she realized … as is the truth about what happened to her father.
The idea for this book came to me while I was on a book tour of the US with Dan Wells and Lauren Oliver, after which I went directly into an Australia/New Zealand tour. It felt like I was appearing in a different world every day — but always with the same people — and that got the gears turning. By the time my flight to Sydney had begun, the idea was already burning brightly; by the time I’d reached Auckland, I was ready to write my first draft of the first scene.
So, what exactly is the Firebird?
The Firebird is a device that allows consciousness to travel between dimensions. As Marguerite’s mother discovered, matter is very difficult to move between alternate universes, but energy can make the journey. The Firebird is specially constructed to be able to travel along with someone’s consciousness, allowing them a way to return home. It looks like a large locket on a chain – larger than a credit card, smaller than a cell phone; although it’s an irregular shape, it’s roughly oval. And if you’re traveling through dimensions and you lose or break your Firebird — you’re in trouble.
The book has been called “unique”, “brilliant” and “one of the best scifi books ever” by early readers and editorial reviewers, what do you think about this initial reaction from readers?
Wow, those are some amazing quotes! I wouldn’t call ATPOY one of the best science fiction books ever – really it’s more science fantasy — but I am so, so thrilled that people are responding to the book. I mean, I love all my novels. Each one matters to me. But A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU is my passion project. This is the story that caught fire in my mind, the one I couldn’t rest until I told. These characters came alive for me within days, and honestly, the main reason I wrote the book was just so I could finally talk about them with someone else! So hearing that other people connect to this story makes me deeply happy, mostly because now I discuss Marguerite and Theo and Paul without sounding … a bit off.
How many books will there be in the Firebird series?
The Firebird series is a trilogy, though I hope to write many stories and novellas for it — like, tons, so follow me on [Wattpad](http://www.wattpad.com/user/AuthorClaudiaGray) now! — because each dimension has its own stories to tell, and it would be fun to visit a few new universes, too, don’t you think?
I have to say, that cover – wow – did you have any input on it? Or did you just get it in your inbox like a happy little present? Can you also tell us a little bit about what it represents in the story?
Isn’t that cover something else? In no way it my idea, but I did have input on the process. As known by those reviewers who got ARCs with a plain black cover, it took FOREVER to get the right concept. Tons of designs were submitted, but none of them were telling the whole story. This was about the fourth or fifth concept we tried – something ike that. My part was saying that I wanted the cover to say that this was a book about alternate dimensions, but it turns out that’s sort of a difficult idea to express visually. But when we got this image, the message came through. The cover is beautiful, expresses the central idea, and IMO really stands out. People’s response to it has been tremendous.
You also have the final Spellcaster book coming out next year, how many books do you write a year? And should we expect any more series or books?
How much I write in a year varies. This year was extremely busy, but you never know what the future might bring. Definitely there are more books to come, but I can’t say more … yet.
On a more personal note, I know you are a fellow NOLA (New Orleans for those not in the N.O.) native, do you find our local atmosphere and flavor conducive to writing or different types of ideas?
I’m not actually a New Orleans native, but I’ve lived here for long stretches of my adult life and don’t plan to leave again anytime soon. So far, I have yet to have a NoLa-themed book idea, but give it time. This is a great city for creativity, don’t you think? People put imagination and energy into their daily lives. So that part of it is constantly inspirational.
I don’t want to put you on the spot, but do you have a favorite local indie bookstore?
You KNOW it’s Octavia Books. That said, I sometimes sneak around behind Octavia’s back with — with other bookstores. ::hideshead in shame:: But Octavia is always my first choice.
Do you have any advice for visitors to the city? Any bookish spots they can’t miss?
My main advice to visitors to the city is, the less time you spend on Bourbon Street, the better. Like, if you want to see it, go see it. But if you’re not dining at Galatoire’s, and you don’t find the sight of drunks staggering around to be endlessly fascinating, there’s no reason to hang around for very long. Other streets in the French Quarter make for far more interesting (and less sleazy) meandering; Royal is my personal favorite, and I’ve done some writing at Royal Blend. Plus there’s the Garden District and uptown to explore!
Another tourist tip: find one of the restaurants that offers the 25-cent martinis/cosmopolitans special at lunch. Several do. They’re not mini-martinis, either.
As for bookish spots — honestly, one of the most inspirational sites in the city for me is the Pharmacy Museum. Sounds dull, but of course it isn’t! Old medical instruments should strike a chill in anyone’s heart, and the big old bottles of patent medicine and voodoo love potions — if that doesn’t get stories started in your brain, nothing will. 🙂
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions, Claudia!
THANK YOU so much for the interview! I’m so happy to spread the word about A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU.
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia GrayPublished by HarperTeen on November 04, 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Also by this author: A Thousand Pieces of You
Cloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father's killer through multiple dimensions. Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite's father is murdered, and the killer—her parent's handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul's guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father's death is far more sinister than she expected.A Thousand Pieces of You, the first book in the Firebird trilogy, explores an amazingly intricate multiverse where fate is unavoidable, the truth elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all.
Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.
Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.
Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.
A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.
If you want to contact me, you can email me, but your best bet is probably to Tweet me. I don’t do follows on Twitter, but I follow everyone back on Tumblr, Pinterest and Goodreads.
A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU Prize Pack consisting of a_ scarf with a quote from the book, a scented candle from one of the mutliverses, and a signed book. International