Mar 18, 2013

Interview with Ally Malinenko: Author of Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb

I'd like to welcome author Ally Malinenko!   Ally's book Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb was published in September 2012.  Today, Ally is answering questions about Lizzy Speare and herself.  

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing stories when I was about 10 years old. It was around then that I was reading the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and it hit me that storytelling, what I was doing in my journal at night, was an actual job. It was pretty exciting.

2. Tell us about your recent book Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb.
I'll let the back of the book do the talking: 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 going back nearly five hundred years. Is that 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 the tomb of that bald guy with the goatee? 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.

3. I love the concept of Lizzy and Dmitri being descendants of William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. Did this concept require a lot of research on your part? 
It did actually. When I first decided that I wanted to write about the descendant of Shakespeare I went out and picked up a couple bios on him. I mean, I had read Shakespeare before - he's one of my favorites - but I knew I was going to need a lot more information. Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt was the most useful. It was a fantastic look at a man for whom there is not a ton of biographical information on. When I decided that my bad guy would be descended from Marlowe I read the World of Christopher Marlowe by David Riggs which was also a fantastic bio. I wanted to avoid the "conspiracy theorists" who like to say that they were the same person - which in my opinion is pure nonsense.

4. You are on a deserted island with one book to read. What book would it be and why? 
The collected works of Shakespeare. Wait that probably doesn't count since it's more than one book. Wow that's hard. Just one? Maybe War and Peace. Then maybe I'll actually read it instead of saying "someday" I'll read it.

5. What is your favorite mythical being?
A satyr - that's why Cleo, Jonathan's best friend, is a satyr. 6. Where do you do most of your writing? I write in a closet in my Brooklyn apartment. It's got a built-in bookshelf, and enough room for my desk, my comic books and my cat June. It's comfy and quiet and I feel like Harry under the stairs - only not so miserable, I guess.

7. Name three things you could not live without.
Writing, tea and Doctor Who

 8. What's up next for Lizzy?
 Well I'm working on the second book tentatively titled Lizzy Speare and the Hall of Hecate in which Marlowe begins a war against all of the Mythkind in an effort to undo the Shakespeare legend. We get closer to finding out why Marlowe's anger runs so deep and we uncover some of his past and see why he and Lizzy are so intrinsically linked. As many suspected Jonathan isn't telling the whole truth.

9. My daughter wanted me ask you this question. Do you prefer to listen to Justin Bieber, One Direction or Taylor Swift?
I'm old. All they let me listen to is classical music from my gramophone!

Thank you for stopping by My Paranormal Book Review.  I'm really impressed with the research you completed for Lizzy Speare.  

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 Ally lives in Brooklyn with her husband.


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  1. This sounds so very interesting :) Very creative.

  2. Sounds interesting! Great interview!

  3. "I'm old. All they let me listen to is classical music from my gramophone!" I love it, LOL!