Q: What is the name of your book?
A: Nezumi's Children
Q: Where did the idea of your book come from?
A: I've been doing rat rescue since '08, and I once had the opportunity to assist in homing about 50 rats from a really awful hoarding situation. I brought three of them home with me, and integrating them with my own boys was harder than any set of introductions I've ever done. They didn't seem to understand the "rules" of social hierarchy and they were constantly fighting. As I worked with them, I got to thinking about what an incredibly strange life they'd had, and how bizarre it must be for them, and the idea of writing a book about rat culture took seed in my head.
Q: In what genre would you classify your book?
A: Um. Fantasy, I guess, since it's about talking rats.
Q: If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?
A: Ideally, I'd want the movie to be animated -- old-school cel animation. Anime-style. Actually I think it'd make a great anime. But, anyway, characters because it gives me an excuse to show off cute photos of my rats:
(lovingly modeled here by my boys Normoth, Amadeus and Socrates. Only Amadeus is still alive -- he lost Norm yesterday -- and he's about to celebrate his 2nd birthday)
Dumbo & Top Ear are twins, basically inseparable, although dumbo's the much more level-headed of the two.
(modeled here by my sweet old man Basil, whose personality greatly influenced Bitey's character. He passed away this last Christmas)
Ostensibly the protaganist, Bitey's loyalties are torn and she struggles constantly with her nature.
Q: Give us a one sentence synopsis of your book.
A: When the rats of Rocco's Pet Emporium are abandoned during a terrible flood by the humans they once worshiped as gods, they must learn how to care for themselves -- but the wild rats already inhabiting the store have other ideas.
Q: How long did it take you to write your book?
A: Nezumi was a joy to write, and the words came easily. I did it in Nanowrimo of 2010 and finished it with a day to spare. I started editing the following March, and that was going well -- but I ultimately had to set it down because it was just too hard to write. Nezumi's Children isn't exactly a happy book, and I'd lost so many rats from the rescue that month that I didn't have the heart to face killing any more on the page. I've been thinking about picking the edits back up now to give me a distraction from Tagestraum.
Q: What other books within your genre would you compare it to, or readers of which books would enjoy it?
A: I pitch it as basically the feminist equivalent to Watership Down, but with rats. Fans of the Warrior Cats books would also like it a lot.
Q: Which authors inspired you to write this book?
A: Whenever I decided I was going to write an animal novel for Nanowrimo, I sat down and checked out as many animal novels from the library as I could find in the name of "research." Really, I just wanted an excuse to read my favorite type of book. I've always loved animal books and there's never enough of them. Anyway, there's a heavy homage to The Rats of NIMH in here, and I also have to give a shout-out to Barbara Gowdy for The White Bone. I've said this before, but I will NEVER stop being in awe of that book. I think everybody in the world should read it, although be prepared to bawl your eyes out afterwards.
Q: Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book.
A: It is, ostensibly, a story about rats fending for themselves in a pet store. But it's also about religion, and faith, and culture. It asks the question, "What happens when your gods abandon you?" and deals with how to rebuild your life when everything you've held to be true turns out to be a lie.
Q: Now tag five others:
*rubs chin thoughtfully* Ok, I tag:
And, uh, any of the #TwitWits who want to steal this for themselves.