The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey
Publication: April 28, 2015
By: Delacorte Press
Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.
Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.
Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.
But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.
"Sparks fly...This first novel will please fans of Cassandra Clare and Game of Thrones watchers with its remarkable world building; richly developed characters...[and] a breathtaking climax that...cannot come soon enough!"—Booklist, Starred
"Grey's energetic debut offers a strong protagonist... [this] well-built world, vivid characters, and perfect blend of action and amour should have readers eagerly seeking the sequel."—Kirkus, Starred
~ About the Author~
MELISSA GREY was born and raised in New York City. She wrote her first short story at the age of twelve and hasn't stopped writing since. After earning a degree in fine arts at Yale University, she traveled the world, then returned to New York City where she currently works as a freelance journalist. To learn more about Melissa visit melissa-grey.com and follow @meligrey on Twitter.
~ Q&A with Melissa Grey ~
In THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT, Echo, a runaway human girl, is taken in by a magical race of creatures who live beneath the streets of New York. She’s trying to figure out where she belongs, and it’s the kind of journey everyone experiences in their late teens, but hers is complicated by a subterranean society nestled beneath Manhattan, otherworldly races at war, and a prophecy about a mysterious being—the firebird—that might be the only thing that can bring that war to an end and save the people Echo loves.
How did the idea for your book originate? What was your inspiration? Was there a particular event, circumstance, or something else that spurred you to write your first book?
There were two distinct seeds planted in my brain that grew into THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT. The first was Echo. She’d been organically blossoming in my head as a character for a while, and I knew the basics about her: She was a pickpocket turned career thief who was always ready with a timely quip. I just needed a story for her to occupy.
And then there was the firebird. Stravinsky’s Firebird is a fantastic piece of music, and I’ve been a fan of the ballet for years, so I started exploring the folklore behind the firebird and eventually discovered the story where Echo would live.
Please describe the greatest challenge you faced in writing this book, why it was difficult, and how you resolved it.
Figuring out the narration was the hardest part of writing the book. The first draft of the first chapter was in first-person present tense and that wasn’t quite working. First-person past wasn’t right either. I then realized that it couldn’t be a first-person narrative. In order to fully develop the world and the mythology of THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT, I needed to tell the story from different perspectives so that you would see it from different angles. Once I started writing it with multiple narrators, everything just kind of fell into place.
How much and what kind of research went into writing this book?
I researched a ton of mythology. I started with the firebird in Slavic folklore and branched out from there. There are two magical species in the book: the Avicen and the Drakharin. As their names would suggest, they’re related to birds and dragons respectively, so I broadened my area of research to cover bird and dragon mythologies from all over the world. I also had some logistical concerns, like how one would go about breaking into the best-guarded museums in the world. My search history is full of incriminating information. I really hope the FBI doesn’t come knocking on my door.
If you could create a sound track for THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT, what songs would you pick and why?
THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT playlist kept me company when writing the book, and most of the songs on it are ones I think Echo would like or ones that have lyrics that are relevant to the plot or characters.
“When I’m Small” by Phantogram
“Before” by Amanda Mair
“Bones” by MS MR
“Come Come” by Hot As Sun
“Wolves” by The Good Natured
“I Wrote in Blood” by Still Corners
“Better Off Dead” by The Sounds
“Keep It Low” by The Hundred in the Hands
“Black and Blue” by Uh Huh Her
Any words of wisdom and advice to aspiring writers?
Don’t aspire to write. Just write. You don’t need to be published or have an agent to be a writer. Writing is an activity, not necessarily an identity. Always put the writing first. Write anything. Write little poems on napkins while you wait for your chicken nuggets at McDonald’s. Write songs no one will ever sing but you. Write stories starring your favorite characters from Disney movies as baristas at Starbucks. Start writing anything that gets you excited, and then finish it. That last part is super important. Finishing can be hard but you’ll be really proud of yourself when you type “The End.”
~ Giveaway ~
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