Monday, January 14, 2008

Sarah, Our Proud Thief...

(You've just got to know who to steal from...)

It comes as no surprise that the lovely Sarah Prineas, author of a middle grade novel (and soon-to-be international hit, as it has already sold in NINE countries!!!) is a dirty stinkin' thief. Not when her main character is a thief, and her book is actually *called* The Magic Thief.

She's basically a booster for Thieves R Us.

So we found her response to this issue of stealing a fitting one. Sarah says:

You want stealing? I got stealing!

In the second Magic Thief book the main character, Conn, is marked by a sorcerer... so that this bad magic can find him.

Now I have not read the Harry Potter books (pause for gasps of surprise) but even *I* know that Harry has a lightning bolt mark on his forehead. So I put a silvery
runemark on Conn's temple.

Then my husband told me that was too much like Harry Potter. So I asked my editor.

Me: Is Conn's runemark too Harry Potterish?

Editor: Marks on foreheads were an established convention before HP. Glinda's silver kiss on Dorothy's forehead, for example. Wherever you mark him, you're going to run into comparisons.

Me: Okay. Hmmm. Yes! I know, this will be perfect. I'll put the mark on his hand!

Editor: Well, then you have to contend with Eragon...

Me: Doooooohhh!!!!!

Well, we worked that out. Editor had a wonderful suggestion and I... stole it.

Then there's the Tolkien issue. I love Tolkien's work, especially his gift for language. Yes, I can say Frodo's greeting to the elves, and with the correct pronunciation. In Middle-earth, the magic is based on language. So when I was looking for ways to make the magic spells in my book sound magical, I whipped out my copy of Ruth Noel's The Languages of Middle Earth and brushed up on my Sindarin and Quenya. After getting the rhythms and sounds of those languages in my head, I created my book's magic spells. One spell is a direct ripoff of Tolkien. The spell for "Light" in my book is "Lothfalas." The name of Arwen's horse in The Fellowship of the Ring is "Asfaloth." In the other spells are bits and pieces of Elvish words, because they just sound magical.

We think Sarah is awesome, and we love her unique blend of shameless stealing and absolute honesty.

Just don't let her near your pearls. *Or* your boyfriend!


Marissa Doyle said...

But this is what's wonderful about fantasy--it ties us back into yesterday's folklore. So it's not "stealing"'s an "homage". You go, Sarah! :)

Ellen Booraem said...

I, too, was entranced by Elvish at one time. I had a Tolkien songbook, and taped myself singing "O Elbereth! Gilthoniel!"

I'm sure Tolkien would be pleased that his language lives in another book.

Sarah Prineas said...

Oh, Ellen, that's awesome.

There's an Elvish geek in all of us, somewhere...

Jessica Burkhart said...

I'm still gasping over the "never read HP" comment. LOL :)