I was given an arc of Landry Park a couple of months ago and I absolutely loved it. So, of course, when I saw that there was an upcoming blog tour going on for Bethany, I jumped at the chance to be a part of it.
But, before we get to her interview, let’s check out the book, shall we?
In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won’t allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty – her family and the estate she loves dearly – and desire.
Sounds good, right?
The short (ish) answer is that is came from the long days spent working at a local history museum, cleaning Plexiglass cases and staring at the old pictures inside. The long(er) answer is that it came from more than a decade of loving Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte and King Arthur and Science Channel documentaries. I think our brains are like crock pots. Or percolators. Or brewing vats…I’m not really sure where I’m going with this metaphor, but what I mean is that our brains are these vessels that things we love/wonder about/obsess over fall over into. Our favorite movies and music and quotes and gifs–and then they all stew together and mix and reduce into a sludge from whence newly birthed ideas crawl shakily forth. (Sludge sounds bad. Goo? Nectar? Whatever it is, it’s made of rainbows and angst.)
2. What do you like most about Madeline and David and why should we root for them?
I think my favorite thing about Madeline and David is that they challenge each other in a very dynamic way. A lot of couples enjoy each other’s company because they affirm and reassure each other; this is why so many (but not all) people marry inside their particular educational/cultural/class/political demographics, because it’s very easy to be with someone who believes the exact same things you do. But somebody who forces you to examine your beliefs and your actions–that can be both very painful and very rewarding. I think David and Madeline demonstrate this well.
3. How did you go about building your dystopian world and the rebellion?
I started with the atmosphere, the set pieces. Once I began spinning this world of balls and glowing nuclear charges, I knew there would have to be people who handled the nuclear waste. I came up with a name for them–Rootless–out of nowhere, and from that name, I realized the didn’t have money or capital or even real homes. Once I realized what their lives looked like compared to what the gentry’s looked like, a rebellion was fairly easy to imagine. Systems of oppression are ultimately unstable because they rely on fear to crush every other feeling and need. And luckily, that’s not how people work.
4. What was the weirdest thing you googled while researching?
I am probably on so many FBI watch-lists right now. I’ve googled bomb-making, how to load and fire automatic weapons and how to start fires. The thing that made my husband go “Really? While I’m trying to eat?” was the time I was scrutinizing pictures of radiation victims (so I could accurately describe their wounds.) It wasn’t pretty stuff.
5. Describe Landry Park in 5 words.
Glowing, dancing, kissing, rebelling elegance.
Speed [ish] round:
1. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time. What happens next?
Screaming. Hugging. Frantic texting to critique partners. Usually you’ll get a congratulatory chat on the phone with your editor, and then it’s on to waiting for that first edit letter.
2. What three tings would you take to a desert island?
An e-reader, a wifi connection and a bottle of scotch.
3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?
Jane Eyre. Always.
4. Who are your favorite swoony boys?
Edward Rochester and Fitzwilliam Darcy, definitely. Also Max de Winter from Rebecca, Sebastian Flyte from Brideshead Revisited and Matthew St. Clair from A Discovery of Witches. The more tortured, the better.
5. Are there any authors that you fangirl over?
Too many to name! I would faint if I ever got to meet Elizabeth Wein or Laini Taylor. I think on every level–technical and artistic–they are telling some of the best stories out there today.
Click here to see the list of other blogs participating the tour and see what goodies they’re doing. And…Bethany is hosting a giveaway, so go forth and enter!