Marissa Moss is the author, most recently, of Mira’s Diary: Lost in Paris, which tells the story of a young girl who gets swept back in time to the late 18th-century Paris, where she meets all sorts of historical figures (especially those in Paris’ thriving arts scene), and tries to act to prevent the Dreyfus affair. It’s a fantastic book. Read my review here and enter to win your own copy. In the meantime, enjoy Moss’ thoughts on how she creates her characters. —Elizabeth
There’s a little bit of myself in every character I create. Partly, that’s how I get to know my characters, by drawing on my own quirks and those of people I know (one of the dangers of being friends with a writer!). For main characters, like Amelia and Mira, these characters also become stand-ins for how I’d like to be, showing traits I wish I had.
Amelia is heavily based on me as a kid and the notebook I used to keep. Except where I was gawky and awkward, Amelia uses her sense of humor to define herself. She embraces the weirdness that I tried to hide. When I get fan mail from girls saying they’re just like Amelia, I think, “Where were you when I was a kid?”
Mira shares my love of history and art, my compulsive need to draw everything, but she’s much braver than I am. She thinks quickly on the spot where I usually come up with the perfect come-back the next day, not the next second. She has the same curiosity, the same willingness to experience other cultures, other times, but where I time-travel by reading and writing, she gets to do the real thing, meeting the people I’d love to meet, having the adventures I can only experience on paper. That’s one of the magical things about writing. You can create whole worlds and people them with characters you want to know. And those you want to be.
Don’t forget–you can learn more about Mira’s Diary: Lost in Paris and enter to win a copy for yourself here.