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Borderline by Mishell Baker: Q&A and Giveaway!

Friday, March 4, 2016

1) Who was your favorite character to write about?  

I loved writing Gloria.  I started by remembering every girl who ever made my high school life miserable, and blending them into one unbearable person.  Strangely enough, I ended up liking her.  Her voice came very easily to me, and I think maybe in the process of getting inside her head I learned a little something about all those girls I used to think I hated.

2) What was the hardest scene to write? 

The interview with Vivian at Gotham Hall.  It may not seem like much, but it's the most extensively rewritten and re-rewritten scene in the entire book.  It was only very late in the game when I finally felt I got it right.  It isn't just that Vivian is a tricky character to write -- she is -- but there was so much information that had to be given at that point in the story, and it all had to be given in just the right order, and it was a nightmare to figure out exactly what she could and couldn't say, especially as she can't lie.  It was like juggling a knife, a feather, and a bowling ball, and all the while it had to flow as though it were an organic, naturally-occurring conversation.

3) Are there any scenes you wish you could go back and rewrite?

All of them.  I'll never be satisfied.  But at some point you have to let go.

4) Do you identify with any character(s)?

I can identify with all of them at least a little bit.  If I can't, I revisit the character until I can find at least some point of sympathy.  Otherwise they don't come across as sincere.  But if I had to pick the one I identify with most, it's Caryl.  People assume Millie, because of the first-person viewpoint and the shared diagnosis, but Millie and I are actually different enough that I'm not sure we'd even be friends in real life.

5) What gave you the idea for the plot?

My husband.  I steal from him a lot.  Of course, he doesn't recognize his ideas once I'm through with them, but he's a very necessary part of the process.  He generates ideas a mile a minute and I just sift through them looking for stuff I'd like to write, since he's never going to.

6) Do you write in any specific place?

I have a tiny little office with doors that close, just off the TV room at home.  It's a bit noisy during the day, even with the doors closed, since I have small children, but it's quite peaceful at 5 a.m. which is when I do most of my complicated thinking.

7) Can we look forward to any more books from you soon?

You can!  The second book in the series is already drafted, and I'm contracted for a third.  If you like Borderline, you're going to love Phantom Pains. 

A year ago, Millie lost her legs and her filmmaking career in a failed suicide attempt. Just when she's sure the credits have rolled on her life story, she gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project: a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales.

For her first assignment, Millie is tasked with tracking down a missing movie star who also happens to be a nobleman of the Seelie Court. To find him, she'll have to smooth-talk Hollywood power players and uncover the surreal and sometimes terrifying truth behind the glamour of Tinseltown. But stronger forces than just her inner demons are sabotaging her progress, and if she fails to unravel the conspiracy behind the noble's disappearance, not only will she be out on the streets, but the shattering of a centuries-old peace could spark an all-out war between worlds.

No pressure.

Mishell Baker is a 2009 graduate of the Clarion Fantasy & Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop.  Her short fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Daily Science Fiction, Redstone Science Fiction, and Electric Velocipede.
Her urban fantasy series The Arcadia Project is being released by Simon & Schuster’s Saga imprint beginning with Borderline in March 2016.  The series is narrated by Millicent Roper, a snarky double-amputee and suicide survivor who works with a ragtag collection of society’s least-wanted, keeping the world safe from the chaotic whims of supernatural beasties.
When Mishell isn’t convention-hopping or going on wild research adventures, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two changelings.  When her offspring are older, she will probably remember what her hobbies are.  In the meantime, she enjoys sending and receiving old-fashioned handwritten paper letters.  You can write her at:
Mishell Baker
PO Box 78760
Los Angeles, CA 90016
If analog isn’t your thing, Mishell also tweets almost incessantly under the handle @mishellbaker.

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