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Summer 2017 Publishers’ Previews: Debut Authors: Five Questions for Jessica Townsend

Publishers' Previews: Special advertising supplement in The Horn Book Magazine

This interview originally appeared in the July/August 2017 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Summer 2017 Publishers’ Previews: Debut Authors, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a first book. They choose the books; we ask the questions.

Sponsored by
Little, Brown

Photo: Lani Carter.

Morrigan’s unhappy life is changed forever when charismatic Jupiter North sponsors her as a candidate for the Wundrous Society in series-starter Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow. There’s just one problem: members must possess an extraordinary “knack,” and Morrigan doesn’t…unless being cursed counts.

1. Which knack in the novel would you most like to have yourself?

Well, I would not want Jupiter’s knack for seeing people’s secrets and upsets and lies, because that would be horrible. However, a boy in the book called Mahir speaks many languages fluently — I would really dig that. Or the knack for talking to dogs, so I could make my giant bull mastiff understand that I am not actually an armchair.

2. Do you have a real-life knack?

I have several; however, few of them are useful and none would earn me a place in the Wundrous Society. Chief among them are a knack for being able to fall asleep basically anywhere and one for remembering the lyrics to an enormous repertoire of 1990s pop songs.

3. What was the inspiration for Jupiter’s sartorial splendor?

Jupiter wears precisely what I would wear if I were a six-foot-something, ginger-bearded legend who didn’t care what anyone thought of me. His look is part dandy, part world explorer, part rock star, and all custom-made. I firmly believe that if you’re a ginger you can get away with anything, sartorially speaking.

4. Which room in the Hotel Deucalion is your favorite?

I would love to hang out in the Smoking Parlor surrounded by a haze of peppermint or rosemary smoke, or try on all the costumes in the theater dressing room. But my favorite room is the grand foyer with its glass elevator and sailing-ship chandelier.

5. What can we learn about taking down corrupt leaders from Morrigan’s story?

Morrigan has a lot to learn about that herself. But the most important thing we’ve learned about corrupt leaders from children’s fiction — from the White Witch to Miss Trunchbull to Lord Voldemort — is that they’re always temporary.

Sponsored by
Little, Brown

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