I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed by Tia Nevitt of Fantasy Debut. Miss Nevitt, who also did a review of my book, asked me some very interesting questions. Here are the first two questions.
Interview with Nathalie Mallet
Q: Nathalie was kind enough to answer ten questions for Fantasy Debut.
According to your blog, you based the world of PRINCES on the Ottoman Turk's Kafes system, which you learned about on a documentary. However, your writing betrays a significant amount of research on the Ottoman culture. You appeared to have researched everything from the type of clothing worn by different social classes to the type of pastries that were popular. How much research did you have to do to write so convincingly? Did you go to Istanbul to see the Kafes for yourself?
A: I did quite a bit of research, which for me isn’t a chore at all because I have a true passion for history and culture. As for visiting Istanbul, I wish I could say that I had. By all accounts, it is a fabulous city. No, what I did instead is use the Topkapi palace’s virtual tour set up by the Republic of Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism. (One can also download a very detailed map of the palace. A very helpful tool when you’re building your own imaginary palace.)
Q: All the other details I found in books and websites. I conducted my research in two waves: the first I did before starting the book and the second, more specific that one, when I had two drafts penned down. By then I knew what I was missing or wanted to add to the story to give it its Arabian Night flavor.
The pastry-eating demons were my favorite. How can you hate a demon who likes sugar? Did you make that up or did it come out of legend? And if it did come out of legend, which one? And if you did make it up, how on earth did you think of such a thing?
A: Glad you loved it, Tia. The idea didn’t come from a legend but from one of many folklore and mythical books I read—I can’t recall which one it actually came from, though. Anyway, these volumes are seeded with little-known facts concerning mythical creatures. Djinn, for example, are known to relish eating bones and to be allergic to salt. I found only one mention of these creatures craving sweets. It was enough. The image of a powerful winged demon stuffing his face with pastry was just too appealing to pass up. I had to use it, even though it was never specified what type of demon it was—one of the pleasures of writing fantasy is that it allows you the freedom to take small liberties with things. You can read the entire interview and review here.