The following is my interview with Zeinab Alayan, author of Puppet Parade. Read on to see us discuss talking puppets, self-publishing and Andrew the Annoying Ass.
1. Walking, talking puppets aren’t something you would normally see in fantasy. Where did the idea for Puppet Parade come from?
I always feel a little awkward answering that question, because I actually have no idea where it came from. I just wanted to write something for NaNoWriMo, and I started out with the idea of a girl who’d never seen her face, and then suddenly Oliver and his puppets appeared and I liked the direction in which the story was going, so I continued with it. I never plan my story ahead of time, so almost all the events in the story were just a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing.
2. Why did you decide to self-publish? Would you recommend self-publishing to any other aspiring writers?
I queried some agents before I went with self-publishing, but I kept receiving the “This is not what we’re looking for” response. I guess Puppet Parade is pretty unconventional and nobody wanted to place their bets on it. However, it still remains the first book I completed and I wanted others to read it, so I figured self-publishing would be my best bet. I do recommend it though to those who are willing to put every bit of effort into it; self-publishing offers you a lot of freedom, and the community is great!
3. What are some of your biggest writing influences?
Hmm. I’m not really sure. With Puppet Parade, I would say that my biggest influence was J. K. Rowling, but that doesn’t apply to my other WIPs as the style often varies. You wouldn’t think that Puppet Parade and the novel I recently finished were written by the same author.
4. Can you give us a hint about any future projects?
As I mentioned, I recently finished writing a novel titled The Muse Bunny. It’s a dark comedy with elements of magical realism and takes place in a world where muse bunnies (I went with bunnies from the term “plot bunny”) help writers with their creative process, but the bunny around which the story is developed would rather see his writer die than write the next bestseller. I’m now working on another WIP titled Penny For Your Dreams.
5. Who was your favourite character in Puppet Parade and why? Which one is most like you?
I always go for the funny character. You may have noticed while reading that Andrew the Annoying Ass had more lines than the rest of the puppets, and that’s because he amused me, haha. As for the character that resembled me the most… well, that’s difficult to say because I tend to avoid basing characters on my own self.
6. Which of the towns in the Parade would you most likely settle in and why?
I probably would’ve settled in Entertainment or Magic, because there always seems to be something fun and exciting happening there and all sorts of things to do and people to meet. Beauty is not a bad place either, but all the pleasantness may end up getting on my nerves after some time!