I recently had the opportunity to interview the spectacular YA author Laure Eve. Laure Eve is the author of the spectacular The Graces series as well as the Fearsome Dreamer series. Laure came to my favourite Waterstones store and gave a few bloggers the opportunity to interview her.
Laure is so lovely and everything she says is so insightful and interesting and I loved interviewing her.
I had a lot of questions to ask Laure, here are those questions!
L: Hi Laure, could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about The Graces?
LE: My name is Laure Eve and the premise of The Graces is that there is a family called The Graces, they are very glamourous and mysterious. Everybody in their town is convinced that The Graces are witches, which they neither confirm nor deny, they like to play with that. A girl comes on the scene and it is told from her point-of-view and she is desperate, desperate, to be their friend, but you are not quite sure why! You find that out as the book goes on.
So, it is kind of like an unreliable narrator book and I say if you know the film The Craft from the 90’s, it is a little bit like that. That is a touchstone for the book. This isn’t too much of a spoiler I don’t think if you say The Craft meets the Talented Mr Ripley you probably know where I am going. The Curses which is the sequel, if The Graces is The Craft then The Curses is probably like Practical Magic!
L: What was your inspiration behind the series?
LE: It was a lot to do with where I grew up, which you heard a little bit about before. I’m just really intrigued by for want of a better term realistic magic! So, the intersections between spirituality, belief and willpower. The sense that if you want something enough, then you create the circumstances, or you have the willpower to make it basically. Then, is that magic? Or is it just? You know what I mean, what is that? I love the idea of, if it is its all just words and perspective and labels. Is it coincidence when something happens that you might have wanted to happen or is it magic? How can you tell? Can you ever tell? Probably can’t? What does that mean then? What is magic? Do you believe in it? All these kinds of questions.
Growing up in the kind of left-field bohemian kind of way that I did, that kind of thing always surrounded me. So, I would get my tarot cards read at the weekend or whatever or people were just around talking about meditation before it came cool and astral projection, angels and it was just like second nature. I always found that fascinating because there is no imperial proof but there is no proof the other way either. It is more like what is your perspective on it, there is no universal truth that magic exists or not.
L: It is the same with aliens isn’t it. Do they exist or do they not?
LE: Right and we are creatures of only 4 dimensions. Which is not that many apparently according to string theory that deposits that are something like 11. So, we are totally aware of our own limitation of how we feel and see things is very narrowed. If we move forward in time, there are so many things that we know we don’t know. I find that fascinating because it is like in that case then anything is possible.
L: What gave you the idea for The Graces family and why a family like them?
LE: Why a family like them? One of the things I’m really interested in is glamour and the perception of glamour and what it does. The Graces kind of represent the people you have come across in your life that are the ones who are worshipped. Everybody had those people in school where they were just effortlessly cool. Like celebrity culture and celebrities, they tend to become a symbol almost, they are not a real person they are what you project onto them and they inspired as much sort of hate and ridicule as adoration.
It is all very interesting what we do with people like that. How we put them on pedestals and then tear them down. They serve a function for us and what I’m interested in is why that happens and then what it is like to be on the other side of that. Who are you really and you probably play to that because it gives you power? But you are also probably quite uncomfortable with it. What is it that it means to you and how do you exist as a real person beyond that vail of glamour?
So, The Graces are kind of like my commentary on our glorification of people in one way or another which we have always done. We have always elevated certain people. It is a status thing and it is interesting. An interesting thing to explore
L: You wrote The Graces after the Fearsome Dreamer series, which did you find more difficult to write and why?
LE: Good question! I found The Graces profoundly more difficult to write. Personal things I think, my taste and the way I write and gravitate towards. So, I find fantasy worlds, even though they are worlds, all fantasy worlds are based on our worlds. Not matter how fantastical fantasy and sci-fi worlds are we create them to reflect commentary on our own world. So, there are always links and touchstones there. For some reason, I find the creation of fantasy worlds that are away from the real world much easier than setting a story in a real world. Which is essentially what The Graces is. It is people here and now. I find that more of a struggle and I’m still not sure why. It is an interesting thing for me.
The second reason that it was more difficult is that it is first person, an unreliable narrator. It is someone who sees things from a very narrowed perspective. Therefore, it is quite frustrating to write. It is rewarding if you pull it off because it is a trick you are trying to pull off, with an unreliable narrator, it is a certain type of writing. But that does mean that it is quite restrictive so it can be quite frustrating to write and to create. That is because you can’t tell the whole story, you can only tell their story. Sometimes you know they are an idiot. Or they do something, or they say something, or they tell the reader something, that you know is not true or is weird or wrong, you know. They are giving you a perspective that you as a writer don’t agree with. You don’t like it, but you have got to do it because that is the truth of the character and it is the truth of the story. It is a frustrating way to write but I am glad that I’ve tried it because it is also fascinating to do it that way.
L: What other books would you recommend to fans of The Graces?
LE: Ahhhh, okay! I would recommend Sarah Maria Griffin, Other Words for Smoke, tonally she is in the same ball park as me. The other writer that I tend to get compared to a little bit is another Irish writer called Moira Fowley-Doyle who wrote The Accident Season and then her second book was The Spellbook of the Lost and Found. Very atmospheric books, very much like playing with that idea of what would a real witch look like in a now setting. Also, very evocative and strange and dark. So, I would recommend those two. Then a more classic influence for me is Alan Garner who wrote Elidor and The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath. I like him because he writes again magic or fantasy that feels so very close to our own world. It is right there, and it is very spartan and weird. It is not expansive, beautiful and glorious, revelling in unicorns fantasy. It is very much like, hard and odd. There is a lot of it were you not quite sure what is going on. Yeah, I like him very much. I am not saying or comparing myself to him. He is a way better writer and a genius.
L: I think that I am attached to the witches thing because I grew up near Pendle Hill!
LE: Oh nice!
L: That has been a backdrop to everywhere I have lived and worked all my life. My Grandad is really into the history of that kind of thing. So, my Grandma and Grandad used to look after me when my Mum was at work. My Grandma used to give me books like Matilda and then my Grandad would give me books about the history of witches. You don’t know if they are, they and I would have loved to know if they were there.
LE: If you grow up in an area which is quite landscape wise atmospheric then it is very easy to believe.
L: Lord of the Rings was written around where I live too and based heavily on the area I live. So, it is like growing up between massive fields and huge estates and it leads you to think what could be in that field or could have been in that field a while ago. You don’t know and it is really fascinated. I think my Grandad had a huge influence on my fascination with witches though.
LE: Your Grandad sounds ace! I approve!
L: What as an author do you think readers and bloggers can do to promote YA books especially UKYA books?
LE: Oh wow! Honestly other than what you are doing I don’t know. That is a good question. I don’t know. I think all of it is being very well handled by all of you guys. I mean I love all the experience stuff so like the events. Like where you start creating a world from a book. What blogger and readers and fans are exceptional good at doing is exactly that? Like creating jewellery or candles or just like the experience of the book beyond the book. Which is what we are all really looking for as readers when we read. Like fanart and fanfiction, all the things creators create around things that they love.
That is all that authors are doing too. We just make stuff that we are fans of. I love all of that I think that it really depends your experience of something. I think people think that books can be quite limiting when you are reading words on a page it is a very one way experience. But when you are watching a film it is so visual or whatever. I think the creating of stuff around the world is one way showing people well look this is all imaginative, it isn’t just words on a page it is something you can get lost in, as much as any film!
L: Last one, what are you reading currently?
LE: What am I reading currently? I am about to read I think it is Aurora Rising which I am about to be sent and I haven’t started it just yet. Unfortunately, this is a bit boring, but I am reading a book, an incredibly interesting book on underground secret London, the history of.
L:*Slaps hands on table in excitement!* That is one of the things I am incredibly interested in and I don’t know why. I want a map of how the tubes in London are lied out like a 3D map!
LE: So, in a couple of weeks I am going on a tour that takes you under the lost tunnels of Euston station. That stuff is so my jam! I am so excited!
L: Honestly same!
LE: I cannot wait!
L: Thank you so much for answering all my questions!
I had so much fun doing this interview! Thank you so much to Laure for being wonderful! Also, thanks to the wonderful Kimi from Waterstones Deansgate for setting this up!