Blog Tour: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell Author Interview + Giveaway
I’ve been wanting to read The Last Magician and just got my hands on a copy. I can’t wait to start it soon as it really caught my attention from the beginning with that awesome cover and synopsis. I’m even more excited about being the next stop on the tour.
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Goodreads Synopsis: In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.
Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.
But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.
1) Did you always know The Last Magician was a world you wanted to create or did it come to you as you worked on previous novels?
Actually, I didn’t know TLM was a world I wanted to create until I’d already come up with the idea for a thief who could see in bullet time. It took me a looooong time to figure out where and when her story was set—about 4 years, actually. But once I figured out that Old New York could work, I was excited to build the world.
2) Esta is such a strong female lead in this story. She can hold her own, get herself out of situations with or without magic, and time travel. How much fun did you have writing her character?
So. Much. Fun.
I really wanted a character who was a total badass, who is completely sure of who she is and what she can do. I didn’t want her magic to be what made her special. It’s her own determination and confidence in her skills that make Esta who she is, and it was so much fun letting her go toe-to-toe with…well, pretty much everyone.
3) I love how many of the feels for Old New York came from Gangs of New York and Newsies. Were there any other inspirations for both modern and old New York?
Another big influence for me was the TV show Leverage. If you’ve never watched it, the whole series is on Netflix and I absolutely love it. Every episode is like watching Ocean’s 11 or something—one heist and caper after another. But the thing I really loved about it—other than how smart and clever it was—is how much fun the heists were. I really wanted the different heists in TLM to have that feel, and the same types of twists and unexpected turns that Leverage had.
4) Chris Cornell’s Higher Truth album and The Black Keys’ “Gold on the Ceiling” were major influences for you in imagining this world. Do you find that music has begun sparking even more of your writing process?
It’s funny—I’m such an auditory learner. I can sit in a lecture hall and remember what the prof said years later. And music is such a huge part of my life. But usually I can’t work with music on. Sometimes, I can listen to something for inspiration. For instance, with GATHERING DEEP, I listened to a lot of Robert Johnson and Delta blues. Usually, though, I just need quiet. It was really odd for me to find that the Higher Truth album worked while I was writing. But I haven’t really had that same experience with the sequel. I’m back to quiet.
5) You’ve written novels about magical worlds that include Neverland, supernatural dreams and body possessions in New Orleans’, now the realm of TLM where magic and time travel are the norm. What have you come to enjoy the most from creating these worlds?
The surprise of writing is my favorite part. When I was growing up, I was never brave enough to think about being a writer or artist. I didn’t know if I would like it when I first tried to write fiction. The fact that I did really, really like it, and that I seemed to actually be good at it?? That was a huge surprise. The fact that when I’m deep into a story it almost seems to write itself, that’s just magical.
6) This novel is part of a duology. I know there are secrets to keep and many parts of the story that might not yet be written, but is there a chance we can get a few words in that may give us a glimpse into what comes next?
I can’t give too much away, but I can say that in Book 2 everyone has to deal with all the things they’ve been pushing under the rug in TLM. Almost every one of the characters in Book 1 has secrets. Most are passing or going by other names. They’re running from their pasts and trying to make new futures for themselves, but in the second book, they’ll all have to deal with the things they’ve been running from. I’m also really excited to give some of my favorite characters even bigger roles. Jianyu and Viola, who are secondary characters in this book, are going to have story lines of their own in the second.
7) Writing literature for young adults has giving you the opportunity to be part of their ever-growing love for books, as well as getting to see them dream bigger dreams and aspire for greater things. Is there any advice you have for authors who are venturing into the YA genre and hoping to also create a positive impact through their books?
Oh, man. I’m not sure I should be giving anyone advice about anything. 😉 But I think the best advice I could offer is that you can’t venture into YA because you think it’s going to be a quick or big sale. You write YA because you respect the audience (teens) and because you have a story to tell that’s relevant to that audience. But you can’t write a story because you’re trying to be didactic or instructive. I don’t see the books I write as ways to teach lessons or anything like that, but really just to open space for conversations and questions and more discoveries. You want those spaces to be safe, but I think as long as those spaces are truthful and honest, it’s okay for those spaces to be a little challenging.
Teens are so smart, so intuitive. You can’t talk down to them. You can’t write a story to teach them something that you think they should know or you think they should do. All you can hope to do is shine a light on a small slice of the world, a small bit of your own truth that you want to share. Being vulnerable in the books, being truthful…those are such hard things to do, but they’re what I try to do in the books I write.
Thank you Lisa, for stopping by my blog!
Lisa Maxwell is the author of The Last Magician, Unhooked, Sweet Unrest, and The Gathering Deep. She grew up in Akron, Ohio, and has a PhD in English. She’s worked as a teacher, scholar, editor, writer, and bookseller (at Little Professor Book Center in Alabama). When she’s not writing books, she’s a professor at a local college. She now lives near Washington, DC, with her husband and two sons. You can follow her on Twitter @LisaMaxwellYA or learn more about her upcoming books at Lisa-Maxwell.com.