Today, we’ve got part 1 our exclusive Q&A with A Thousand Pieces of You author Claudia Gray. Thanks for taking the to chat with us, Claudia. Readers – catch part 2 of this interview on Wednesday, with part 3 to follow on Friday.
It’s hard to articulate exactly why — there’s not a quantifiable reason, mostly — but all I can say is that these characters became so beloved to me, so quickly, and their emotions felt so real from the very start. While I love playing with the concept of alternate dimensions (and now have some trouble understanding why I didn’t do this earlier), that concept doesn’t really explain why this book matters so much to me. It’s more that Marguerite, Theo, Henry, Sophie, Josie and Paul mean so much to me, and A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU is their story.
Your other books have been pretty firmly rooted in the world of supernatural – but ATPOY dives head-first into science fiction. Did the switch in genres change anything about the way you approached working on the book?
Switching from paranormal to scifi didn’t feel like that much of a leap, to be honest; I’ve always been fans of both genres, and I think I’m not alone in that — most people who like one probably like the other, to some degree. When I was a little kid, I would read books about Dracula and watch movies about UFOs, and the differences between them didn’t seem to be nearly as important as the fact that they were both much, much more interesting than real life.
That said, the switch did influence how I worked when writing A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU. With magic and the paranormal, you have a big more “wiggle room” — if you need magic not to operate in a certain way at a certain time, or there’s some way for vampires to do this but not that, well, then, you simply design the mythos to work in that way. You can write in exceptions to every rule, if you need to. (Of course, you have to have some consistency, some hard limits — but still, it’s flexible.) With science fiction, principles have to be much more consistent and inflexible. The Firebird is a totally imaginary device, but I had to work out exactly how it would operate, all the things it could and could not do. That was probably the single hardest part of writing the book, honestly. And once those principles were in place, they couldn’t budge. Science fiction is a little more demanding in that way.
The question of love becomes much, MUCH more complicated in the worlds of ATPOY – and the underlying question really comes down to whether we are, ultimately, the same person in every universe, regardless of the different decisions we make, or the different situations we find ourselves in. What do you believe? And can we expect Marguerite and the other characters to explore this more in the next book in the FIREBIRD series?
I believe there is something essential that remains the same throughout all the universes — and yet each world’s version of an individual will also have something unique to them, some experience or thought or emotion that is theirs alone. When you fall in love with someone, are you falling in love with what’s unique to the world you share, or with that essential, deepest self? That answer is going to be different in different situations, and it is definitely something Marguerite and the other characters explore in even more depth in the future books of the series.
Thanks again for stopping by, Claudia!