Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Mark by Jen Nadol + Interview (Spoiler Warning)

"Cassandra Renfield has always seen the mark—a glow around certain people reminiscent of candlelight. But the one time she mentioned it, it was dismissed as a trick of the light. Until the day she watches a man awash in the mark die. After searching her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person’s imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.
Armed with a vague understanding of the light, Cassie begins to explore her “gift,” seeking those marked for death and probing the line between decision and destiny. Though she’s careful to hide her secret—even from her new philosophy-obsessed boyfriend—with each impending death comes the temptation to test fate. But so many questions remain. How does the mark work? Why is she the only one who sees it? And finally, the most important of all: If you know today is someone’s last, should you tell them?"

When I picked up The Mark, I expected to read just another paranormal romance, but this books is so much more. I was truly amazed by the layers upon layers of details ranging from philosophy to Greek mythology. But don't worry, the author doesn't hit you over the head with philosophy, she introduces it in such a way that it's very interesting. It's so interwoven and beautifully done, that it makes this novel truly unique and special.

Cassandra Renfield, the main character, confronts a thought-provoking moral dilemma in this novel. She can see a light, the mark, around people that are going to die in the next twenty-four hours, and she has to decide whether or not to tell them. Needless to say, this would be a burden to anyone, let alone a teenage girl. To make matters worse, she has the ability to tell when people she loves are about to die, and there might not be anything she can do about it... Cassandra makes a journey in this novel, literally and figuratively, as she tries to understand her gift and use it. She doesn't just begin to discover herself, she also begins to untangle a web of mysteries about her family.

The writing in this novel well-done and fast paced. I recommend this book to fans of the Wake trilogy by Lisa McMann. The flow of the story and the themes of love and loss are similar, so Wake fans, read up!

The Mark is not just like other paranormal YA books, it's better! Kudos to Jen Nadol. And while I'm talking about her, I should mention that I had the great privilege of asking Jen Nadol some burning questions that I had about The Mark. Since The Mark is the first book in a series (Yah!) Jen was unable to answer some of my questions. Ah well, I'll just have to wait (impatiently) for the next book, Vision, coming out in 2011. By the way, Jen Nadol is one of the sweetest people I've (kind of) met!

*Spoiler Alert*

1. I found the idea that Cassandra is a descendant of Lachesis to be quite intriguing. How did you come up with this idea? It was actually my husband’s idea. I had the concept of the mark, the dilemmas it would pose and the philosophy element already in mind, but he wanted to know the why, why does she see it? I didn’t have an answer and told him it wasn’t important, the story was really about fate vs. free will, yadda, yadda. He thought I needed a why and if I was already talking about fate, maybe I should look into Greek mythology, that they’d believed in Fates, etc. When I researched them, I couldn’t believe what a perfect fit Lachesis was. Kind of like it was fated…

2. If Nan is also a descendant of Lachesis, why can't she see the mark? Was she only pretending not to see it? Ahh, what an interesting question…

3. Will the descendants of Clotho and Atropos ever make an appearance in the series? Another interesting question…

4. The Mark contains many references to philosophy. Were you interested in philosophy before writing it? I’d taken a philosophy class in college that was interesting and really, really hard. I hadn’t read much other than that, but the kind of discussions I remembered from that class were such a natural fit for the ethical dilemmas created by the mark that I knew almost as soon as I had the idea for the story that philosophy would be a layer of it.

5. What research, if any, did you do in the course of writing The Mark? I read a lot of philosophy - much more than made its way into the final book - and researched the mythology.

6. Can you tell me anything about the upcoming sequel to The Mark, Vision? Hmmm…Cassie moves to a new town, works in a funeral home and tries to answer the questions she’s left with at the end of The Mark. We see more of Petra. And Jack.

7. Will you continue to write YA fiction after you finish writing The Mark series? Definitely. When I wrote The Mark, I didn’t even realize it was YA - it’s just the voice that felt right. When agents finally categorized it for me, I realized that’s what all my stories are/will be. It’s hard to imagine writing anything other than YA.

I have some other questions that I'd like to ask so that my readers and I can get to know you a little bit better.

1. What is your favorite book/genre? I like both YA and adult fiction and prefer contemporary, historical and “light” paranormal/scifi (think Wake, Life As We Knew It) to chick lit, romance or fantasy/scifi. Some favorite books? City of Dreams, White Oleander, The Stand, The Dead Zone, The Hunger Games, Harmonic Feedback….

2. How long have you known that you wanted to be a writer? Forever.

3. If you couldn't be an writer, what would you be? In my dreams? An artist. In real life? The things I was/am: a business person (gotta pay the bills) and a mom.

Thanks to Jen Nadol for answering all of my questions and for being so nice to a newbie blogger like me!

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