Today, we’re bringing you part 2 of our three-part exclusive interview with Bethany Griffin, author of Masque of the Red Death:
Your book is based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death” short story, but you mention on your website that “Fall of the House of Usher” is your favorite Poe story. What do you love about it so much?
The Fall of the House of Usher was among the first Poe stories that I read, and I was so proud of myself (6th or 7th grade) for finishing it, even though I’m not sure that I “got” very much of it. We watched the movie in class, and there’s a scene when Madeline Usher jumps out from behind a door (after she clawed herself out of her coffin) and I jumped so excessively that I pulled a pearl off my sweater (It was a very fancy sweater, in my 7th grade mind, and had these pearls all over it) and all the pearls were connected, so the dropped off the sweater at 10 second intervals for the duration of the movie.
Because of the world in which Araby lives, her life is quite different from what teens live today. But many teens will likely relate to her strained relationship with her parents. What are some of the other sort of “universal” feelings/situations you see in MASQUE that teens will be able to relate to?
One of my favorite themes in music, and literature, is the feeling of being trapped, and Araby definitely has that. A big part of adolescence is the push and pull between being an adult and a child, you’re supposed to take on adult responsibilities, your parents still feel the need to protect you…so even in a normal life, I think many teens feel trapped. Obviously the love issues, she isn’t looking or a romantic interlude, but the feelings are there, and a certain someone brings them out for her. And her relationship with her parents, while not exactly healthy, I think is quite confusing, she wants certain things from them, attention, validation, love, but at the same time resents the way they show her those things. Her parents fail at certain times, but they still love her and want what’s best for her, they’re just lost themselves, and eventually she has to find her own way. Which is that step to growing up, I guess.
I’m sure you can’t say too much about book 2 quite yet, but what themes from Poe’s MASQUE will readers find in book 2?
Oh well, the rich/poor dichotomy is still there, the inability to hide or buy your way out of sickness and death, and while it isn’t a theme, a huge Masked Ball will be a big part of book 2!
Thanks, Bethany! Tune in for part 3 tomorrow!