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 INTERVIEW 

Holly Black

El Templo #23 (agosto 2011) por Javier Ruescas


Where does your fascination with fairies come from? What were your sources of documentation for writing the trilogy of Tithe?

I've loved faeries for a long time. I grew up hearing stories from my mother and I have a vivid memory of finding the book Faeries, illustrated by Brian Froud and Alan Lee. There were snippits of folklore along with the images and it send me looking for more folklore and more stories of these capricious and dangerous beings. What I love most about faeries is that though they may look like us, they are no more like us than a summer storm. They have their own fierce, alien natures.

When I started Tithe, I started with a single image a girl with iron cuffs softly burning her wrists. From there, I realized I wanted to tell the story of the "tiend" or tithe that faeries pay, as referenced in the ballad of Tam Lin. Some of my favorite research books are W.Y. Evans-Wentz's Fairy faith in celtic countries, Dermot MacManus's The middle kingdom and almost anything by Katharine Briggs. I also found Yeat's writing about faeries to be incredibly inspiring as were my favorite urban fantasy writers: Terri Windling, Charles de Lint, and Emma Bull.

In White Cat, what came first, the history of Cassel and his family or the universe you created around them?

My idea for Cassel and his family came from reading a true crime book, Son of a grifter, about a boy who grew up with a grifter for a mother. Growing up with a warped sense of right and wrong -- one where everyone who wasn't in the family was a mark to be conned -- fascinated me. I knew I wanted to write about someone in those circumstances and I knew I wanted to retell an old French fairytale, "The White Cat," so when I put those things together, I knew I had to have a magic system that would work well in a book about crime and which would let me have the magic I needed for the fairytale retelling. From there I got to The Curse Workers magic system and the Curse Workers universe. 

In Spiderwick, the illustrations are as important as the text. How was the process to work in the series? Where the illustrations created from the text or vice versa?

Tony taught me an enormous amount about the role of illustrations and text. He would say, "if you described that part, then I'm going to illustrate the part you didn't describe" so that the illustrations were always adding to the story just like the text was. Most of the time the illustrations came after the story, but sometimes Tony would send me something (like the knocker character) and say, "can you write a scene for this guy?" Sometimes he would even have ideas for what might happen in the scene. So, it really was a collaborative process. 

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