Friday, February 18, 2011

INTERVIEW: Angie Smibert (Author of "Memento Nora")

Hi everyone, it's Cat here, for a break from the regularly scheduled programming (REVIEWS!). Remember how I reviewed the amazing "Memento Nora" just a few days ago? Well, I contacted author Angie Smibert asking if she'd like to do an interview and she was very nice and willing to do an interview, so here it is!!! (As if it's not obvious, the questions in italic are my words, the regular print is her answers!)

What inspired you to write "Memento Nora"? Were their any specific ideas from the real world that gave you the idea for the TCF, etc...?
The idea for the story came from current research in the area of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  In PTSD, the patient has gone through a traumatic event (or events)—such as a car accident or combat—that haunts them. They experience a variety of symptoms, such as anxiety, flashbacks, night terrors, and depression.  Researchers are exploring drugs that can “unstick” the memories and help the patient get on with his or her life.  These drugs wouldn't erase memories but just decrease their intensity.

I just took it a step further. I had this image in my mind of a Starbucks-like place on every corner that dispensed pills that could erase select memories. And you could earn reward points with every visit. 

Did you study Latin, or did something else inspire you to use "Memento" as a major plot word and"Memento Mori"?

I did take Latin in high school (and I love all things ancient Rome).  In classical times, the phrase "Memento Mori" was thought to have been used  to remind a victorious general that he was still just a man. (Kind of like telling someone he's gonna die just like the rest of us mortals.)  Later Memento Mori came to refer to a kind of art that reminds you of your mortality. (The phrase translates as "remember, you must die.")  The English word, memento, comes directly from the Latin. And a memento is a keepsake or reminder of past events.  So I was playing around with the many meanings of the word. 

Do you have a favorite character to write about, or just a general favorite character from "Memento Nora"?

Although they were all fun to write, my favorite character from Memento Nora is probably Winter Nomura. She's smart, manic, and artistic. She definitely sees the world a little differently. 

Would you believe someone if they told you a whole story that you forgot because of a pill, like if you'd done everything Nora had done?

 Maybe not. I can't say anymore because I might giveaway something about book 2. ;)
Do you like to read any other books that involve a Dystopian Society?
Yes, I do. I've read most of the classics: 1984, Brave New World, Handmaid's Tale, etc. My favorite YA/MG ones are Lois Lowry's The Giver, Hunger Games, Feed by MT Anderson, and The Adoration of Jenna Fox.

BTW, I blog about dystopian and science fiction at the League of Extraordinary Writers (leaguewriters.blogspot.com), a group blog for debut YA dystopian writers.  Our members include Beth Revis, Julia Karr, Elana Johnson, and Jeff Hirsch. Beth's and Julia's books came out in January--and they are both excellent!
Do you have any advice for young writers, who might want to publish their own book some day?
Be persistent. If you don't keep writing and keep sending it out into the world, you'll won't get published. And while you're writing and sending out, you're work will be getting better and better.
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Thanks so much to Angie Smibert for doing the interview for the blog! I encourage all of you to pick her book up when it comes out in April- it was awesome! Hope you guys enjoyed it! -Cat

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