Author Chat with Deborah Schaumberg (The Tombs), Plus Giveaway!
Today we're excited to chat with Deborah Schaumberg, author of The Tombs. Read on for more about Deborah and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Deborah Schaumberg!
Deborah Schaumberg was born in Brooklyn, not far from where her novel The Tombs takes place. She grew up renovating dilapidated old houses with her family. She and her father would walk the rooms, floor by floor, making up stories about the inhabitants that were filled with dark secrets, monsters, and, of course, ghosts. Deborah is a writer and an artist whose work always has an element of fantasy to it, and since she also studied architecture, settings are equally important. It was on a trek to the Annapurna Sanctuary in Nepal that she imagined a girl with the ability to see energy, and the seed of The Tombs was planted. She collects old bottles, and her favorite holiday is, you guessed it, Halloween. Deborah lives with her family and two dogs in Maryland, just outside DC. Visit her at deborahschaumberg.com.
Sixteen-year-old Avery Kohl pines for the life she had before her mother was taken. She fears the mysterious men in crow masks who locked her mother in the Tombs asylum for being able to see what others couldn't. Avery denies the signs in herself, focusing instead on her shifts at the ironworks factory and keeping her inventor father out of trouble. Other than secondhand tales of adventure from her best friend, Khan, an ex-slave, and caring for her falcon, Seraphine, Avery spends her days struggling to survive.
Like her mother's, Avery's powers refuse to be contained. When she causes a bizarre explosion at the factory, she has no choice but to run from her lies, straight into the darkest corners of the city. Avery must embrace her abilities and learn to wield their power--or join her mother in the cavernous horrors of the Tombs. And the Tombs has secrets of its own: strange experiments are being performed on 'patients'...and no one knows why.
Deborah Schaumberg's gripping debut melds history and fantasy, taking readers on a breathless trip across a teeming turn-of-the-century New York, and asks the question: Where can you hide in a city that wants you buried?
A Chat with Deborah Schaumberg:
1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I was on a trek to the Annapurna Base camp in Nepal, which is such a beautiful and spiritual place, and I was reading a book about the energy connecting all living things. I imagined how cool it would be if someone could actually see this energy...and what if they could affect it? This idea became the seeds of the book.
2. Who is your favorite character in the book?
This is tough...I love them all, but I will say the father because he loves so hard it has broken him. He wants to be a better father to Avery but keeps screwing it up. I also love Hanover Gentry – the poisoner who lives in the Tombs greenhouse. He’s funny and quirky and loveable.
3. Which came first, the title or the novel?
They kind of evolved simultaneously. At first I called it GRAY because of how Avery perceived the energy in shades of gray. But that seemed boring and I did not want it to sound like part of the Fifty Shades of Grey series! As the setting unfolded and I read more about the real prison called the Tombs, I knew the name would fit perfectly as a title. My agent and publisher both loved THE TOMBS so it stuck.
4. What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I think the cover is very different, so I like that. I also love how the artist, Si Scott, combined modern graphic elements with old-timey ones, both with the border and the two fonts. To me it has a Westworld kind of feel! The falcon was added later and I love having her on the cover.
5. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2018?
This is hard to answer because there are so many awesome books coming out in 2018!! I guess I would say SKY IN THE DEEP by Adrienne Young – a YA fantasy inspired by the Vikings! Can’t wait to read!
6. Is there anything that you would like to add?
I have a strange connection to the Tombs that I had no idea about! After the book was completed I was having a conversation with my sister-in-law and her husband. It turns out his grandfather, Francis Sweeney, was a prison guard at the Tombs! Not the original one, of course, because it was torn down in 1897, but the current prison is also nicknamed The Tombs. How cool is that? I think I was meant to write this book!
7. Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
One of the most difficult scenes to narrate was when Avery goes to the Tombs by herself and encounters a mean, disgusting guard. One reason it was hard to write was because I wanted to turn the reader around in how they thought about the guard. My hope is that they transition from hating him to feeling sorry for him. The other reason is there’s a sad little story about a dog, and it made me cry to write it.
8. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I’d say drafting. I play music, drink tea, stay up half the night... When revising, I’m working on an aspect of the book that needs help – not quite as much fun and requires more intense focus.
9. Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I enjoy volunteering for Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop. This is a description from their website, (which I’ve posted below). “Free Minds uses books and creative writing to empower young inmates to transform their lives.” It is an incredible organization. http://freemindsbookclub.org/
By: Deborah Schaumberg
Release Date: February 20, 2018