Episode 19: An interview with Saskia Maarleveld

In this episode, we share our interview with The World of All Souls’ narrator, Saskia Maarleveld.

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Saskia Maarleveld

Saskia Maarleveld

 

 

 

 

 

Saskia Maarleveld Website | Twitter | Audible | Amazon

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All clips from the A Discovery of Witches audiobook are courtesy of and copyright Recorded Books and Penguin Random House Audio.

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Episode 18: Matthew, found

In this episode, we continue our A Discovery of Witches read-along with Chapter 17.

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Links
Heroic Enthusiasts by Giordano Bruno (1548-1600)

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If you found this episode magical, head over to iTunes and leave us a rating, a review and subscribe!

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All clips from the A Discovery of Witches audiobook are courtesy of and copyright Recorded Books and Penguin Random House Audio.

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Q&A with the Contributors to THE WORLD OF ALL SOULS

What better way to mark the release of THE WORLD OF ALL SOULS than to have a chat with its contributors? We are thrilled to share this Q&A with Jill Hough, Lisa Haltunnen, Claire Baldwin, and Colleen Madden.

Click here to listen to our podcast interview with these lovely women.

How did the idea for the project come about, and how did you become involved?

JILL: The project was inspired by the enthusiasm of Deb’s readers and their intense interest in the world Deb built in the trilogy.  After SHADOW was published, Deb and her publishers saw readers’ enthusiasm and curiosity deepen, and I think that’s when Deb started to imagine a companion book to the series. I’d been working with Deb since the publication of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES and knew the books fairly well so I was happy to join the project, especially alongside such a talented team.

LISA: I got involved very early because I had been editing Deb’s drafts since A Discovery of Witches.  Deb broached the possibility of my writing a companion volume around 2012, when Shadow of Night came out. We played with the idea, and shortly afterward Jill came into the mix. We had a good idea of the subjects we wanted to cover, but how would we find time to write and pull the whole project together at the same time? Then in 2015 Deb added Claire and Colleen to the project, and off we went!

CLAIRE: Discussions for a companion book to the trilogy had been going on for a long time. As the All Souls fandom grew, it became clear the community of readers were passionate about the rich and vast historical background to the trilogy. In the absence of a companion book, they had created their own forums to share and discuss all the different aspects of the world. There was clearly a need and desire for a comprehensive ‘World of..’ volume.

I was Deb’s UK editor at Headline and have worked with her since the first publication of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, publishing all three books there. When I went freelance I carried on working with Headline and Deb, and had just finished putting together the All Souls Real-Time Reading e-book for them when Deb approached me and asked if I’d like to work with her on creating THE WORLD OF ALL SOULS volume. Obviously, I squealed with excitement and said YES PLEASE.  

COLLEEN: deb asked me a lonnnnngg time ago thru my tumblr account if i’d ever want to work on a project with her.  i thought she was some freaky fan, wanting me to do a mural of gallowglass in their basement. but she proved to be legitimate. and then in 2016, she officially hired me to illustrate the TWOAS and i giddily said yes as then i knew she wasn’t a crazy person. 🙂

What part of the process of creating this book surprised you the most?

CLAIRE: There were lots of surprises and challenges throughout the whole process of putting the book together. Working as part of a team, and brainstorming ideas for all the things that could be included in the book, was so fun. As we got to work in more detail on each section, and delved into Deb’s inspiration cabinet, the incredible depth of the All Souls world kept astonishing me. Every aspect, from the science, alchemy and magic, to the people and locations, and down to the smallest historical details (such as the fact that Matthew Roydon really is recorded as living with a shoemaker in Blackfriars) is based on some real historical fact, person, place or fascinating concept. It’s a master-class in world-building!

COLLEEN: that the writers had to keep to word counts. FOR EVERYTHING!

LISA: I think the biggest surprise was the depth of the trilogy. I already knew that several of the characters were historically real, but in doing the research I discovered even more characters I hadn’t known were actual people. The line between fact and fiction started blurring in a very pleasant way, which is how I imagine Deb feels much of the time!

JILL: Even though we all lived thousands of miles apart, I was surprised by how intensely collaborative the project was.  When you read any given paragraph, you’re reading something that was drafted by one of us, edited by a couple of others, then re-worked and embellished by a third person (usually Deb), and finally, beautifully illustrated and imagined by Colleen.  (Also, we discovered plenty of surprises in the course of our research.  For instance: poor, poor Jane Dee).  

What’s your favorite thing about TWOAS? 

LISA: My favorite thing is the way the different categories interweave and overlap, providing an incredibly rich combination of fantasy world building, history, alchemy, fashion, mythology, and art. The book is so much FUN—you don’t read it so much as you experience it.  And I love the way both the trilogy and TWOAS make you think about the people and objects that have fallen out of the historical record. It gives me great comfort to think of a lost Holbein portrait of Margaret More, hanging over a loo.

JILL: I love learning new things so working on this book was a delight—I know so much more about Elizabethan fashion, and about people like Pliny the Elder (he had a terrible life/work balance), the functional and tactical differences between rapiers and broadswords, how to make candied violets, the relationship between phaeton carriages and Spyder cars, theories of time travel, etc.  I pity my friends because now I’m THAT PERSON at dinner parties…  

CLAIRE: It’s impossible to pick a favourite. There’s so much fascinating background to all the aspects I loved about the trilogy. Having studied history, I am always drawn to the wonderfully rich historical elements. And I love the way in TWOAS that this background is brought to life through the framework of the All Souls characters and their experiences – we never wanted the book to feel dry or too dense at any point. But looking at it overall, I think it’s the sheer scope of subjects covered that’s one of my favourite things about the book, and what really makes it stand out.

COLLEEN: the statues. the 3 sexy pages and the fashion. oh and the little chess pieces. all the little whimsical doodly bits, too! 

What was it like to work with Deborah on creating a book? 

CLAIRE: Fun, exhilarating, inspiring and a hugely rewarding experience! Having worked with Deb on the All Souls trilogy since the first publication of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, I knew it would be an absolute joy. But now being in a position to work with her on creating a book from scratch was really special and something I feel SO lucky to have been a part of.

LISA: It was such a delight! I don’t have a fraction of her fictional creativity but I love to write, so delving into her fictional and historical world was an ideal way for me to participate in the process.

COLLEEN: When it started, she fed me, wined me, introduced me to oysters and champagne, her wonderful working family (and her rocking mom!) and from that point on she could have thrown me in a pit to crush rocks with a hammer and i’d happily do it. 

During the process, i gave her lots of “in process sneaks” but my main bosses were claire and the jill-lisa. I did have deb’s world, in my hands tho, for a year and THAT was thrilling. 

JILL: It was lovely, actually.  Deb is a wonderful teacher and a gentle editor.  

Do you feel like you got a peek into Deb’s creative process and if so, what did you discover? 

COLLEEN: Somewhat. I feel like i helped bring the world of ALL SOULS to visual life. I feel like i spent an INORDINATE TIME researching, museum crawling, google diving, and thinking and sketching and processing the HOW i wanted to go about the illustrations, which must have been like how she chose specific elements, periods, narratives, character aspects (fictional and historic) of the first 3 books. I ended up thru that process, discovering “deb patterns” of thinking and creating, understanding her aesthetic, her “eye” and the way she has her readers use ALL of their senses thru her scenes. and her extraordinary gift of sparking my imagination and making me really want to push my elf, creatively, to render her world with the highest compliment of my talents. 🙂

CLAIRE: I wouldn’t say there’s a set process for Deb as such, but we definitely got an illuminating peek into how she used her vast knowledge and research as an academic to create the amazingly rich world that has captured readers’ imaginations. I also loved discovering some of the magical connections Deb said came to her while she was writing the books. One of my favourite examples of this magic is Deb’s story of when she was researching locations in Venice for THE BOOK OF LIFE. While being shown around a centuries old, beautiful palazzo (usually closed to the public) she noticed engraved in Latin on the fireplace in the main hall Christopher Marlowe’s phrase, “What nourishes me, destroys me”. This was all the sign she needed that it had to be Matthew de Clermont’s Venetian residence. Wonderful.

JILL: We got a lot more than a peek–we were absolutely immersed in her process (to mix a metaphor).  Even though I know Deb’s a historian, I was gobsmacked by the breadth and depth of scholarship she brings to her novels.  I’m all about the emotional journey when I read her books, but working on TWOAS reminded me that Deb is not only a student of human character—she’s also an astounding scholar.    

LISA: I’d been getting peeks into her creative process for several years, so I had some idea of how she operates. But so much of her creative process is unknowable. I don’t think even Deb fully understands it—she just makes magic.

Posted in A Discovery of Witches, Book of Life, Deborah Harkness, Interview, Shadow of Night, The World of All Souls | Leave a comment

Episode 17: ‘The World of All Souls’ roundtable

In this episode, we share our The World of All Souls roundtable with panelists Claire Baldwin, Lisa Halttunen, Jill Hough, and Colleen Madden.

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Many thanks to our very generous panelists! It was an honor to have you as part of our roundtable.

Claire Baldwin

Claire Baldwin

Claire Baldwin is an experienced freelance editor, writer and publishing consultant who has worked in the book industry for nearly fifteen years. The majority of these were spent at Headline Publishing Group where, as Associate Publisher, Claire commissioned and published a wide range of bestselling and highly acclaimed fiction, including Deborah Harkness’s All Souls trilogy. Based in London’s East End in the UK, Claire now works with authors, literary agents and publishers worldwide, most recently co-authoring and leading the production for the upcoming insider’s guide to the trilogy, The World of All Souls.
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Lisa Halttunen

Lisa Halttunen

Lisa Halttunen graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in European history from Brown University, and then received a Masters in Library Science from Columbia. After working as a librarian for a few years, she did a brief stint in publishing and then switched to technical writing. She is currently employed at IQVIA, where she creates online help for company products. Since the early drafts of A Discovery of Witches, she has also worked as one of Deborah Harkness’s several editors and maintains a “database” of the minutiae of the All Souls world.
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Jill Hough

Jill Hough

Jill Hough has a Ph.D. in American History from the University of California at Davis, where she met Deb Harkness when they were both graduate students. They bonded over their mutual love of history and horseback-riding. After Deb sold A Discovery of Witches to Viking/Penguin in 2010, she hired Jill to help her manage some of the many responsibilities that accompanied becoming a best-selling novelist. When Jill isn’t serving as Executive Director of general operations for Team Harkness, she’s either doing chores on her farm or taking a break with a good book.
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Colleen Madden

Colleen Madden

Colleen Madden has been drawing and eating crayons since she was two years old. She’s since stopped eating crayons (as that’s just not very smart) and nowadays writes and illustrates her own picture books for kids of all ages. Colleen also illustrates cool and complex things too, for older people about witches and vampires, highlanders and magicians (coming soon 2019!) and when not doodling up a blank page or dropping her iPad (o no!) she can be found running and eating and hanging out with the people she loves, in the Philadelphia area.
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If you found this episode magical, head over to iTunes and leave us a rating, a review and subscribe!

Ways to subscribe to The All Souls Podcast:
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Feedback
We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below, send us an email at [email protected], or call our feedback line at 916-604-4777.

All clips from the A Discovery of Witches audiobook are courtesy of and copyright Recorded Books and Penguin Random House Audio.

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Episode 16: All the yogurt you want

In this episode, we continue our A Discovery of Witches read-along with Chapter 15.

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Share The All Souls Podcast!
If you found this episode magical, head over to iTunes and leave us a rating, a review and subscribe!

Ways to subscribe to The All Souls Podcast:
Click here to subscribe via iTunes
Click here to subscribe via RSS
You can also subscribe via Stitcher

Feedback
We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or send us an email at [email protected].

All clips from the A Discovery of Witches audiobook are courtesy of and copyright Recorded Books and Penguin Random House Audio.

Posted in A Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkness, Podcast, Read-along | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment