Sunday, June 22, 2008

Christina Meldrum

From a Q & A with Christina Meldrum, author Madapple:

Q: MADAPPLE is part literary mystery, part botanical thesis. How did you decide to combine these elements? What came first, the plot or the plants?

A: The skeleton of the plot came first and necessitated Aslaug being isolated from modern society. That Aslaug and her mother would live off the land and that Aslaug would see the world through the lens of plants seemed fitting at first, if not essential. But it slowly became absolutely essential. The more I learned about plants, the more plants began to shape the plot. In the end, the plants and the plot became indistinguishable for me. And now? I can't imagine the story absent the botany.

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Q: MADAPPLE combines other unusual elements as well. Norse and Celtic mythology, early Christianity, Greco-Roman mystery religions and various sects of Judaism are interspersed with references to scientific concepts such as quantum particles, parallel universes and dark matter. And all of this in a who-done-it. Why?

A: I love to read books that are entertaining but also intellectually provocative—and I hoped to write this kind of book. I was inspired by smart mysteries like Umberto Ecco's THE NAME OF THE ROSE, Donna Taart's A SECRET HISTORY and David Guterson's SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS. These books have page-turning plots, but they also are rich on a more cerebral level. I hope I accomplished this, too, even on a small scale.
Read the full Q & A.

The Page 69 Test: Madapple.

--Marshal Zeringue