Heather Kassner: the Bone Garden
Hello, August! Are you (or your kids) going back to school? Well, here are a bunch of books to cheer you up!
The Bone Garden
by Heather Kassner
“Remember, my dear, you do not really and truly exist.”
Made of dust and bone and imagination, Irréelle fears she’s not quite real. Only the finest magical thread tethers her to life—and to Miss Vesper. But for all her efforts to please her cruel creator, the thread is unraveling. Irréelle is forgetful as she gathers bone dust. She is slow returning from the dark passages beneath the cemetery. Worst of all, she is unmindful of her crooked bones.
When Irréelle makes one final, unforgivable mistake by destroying a frightful creature just brought to life, Miss Vesper threatens to imagine her away once and for all. Defying her creator for the very first time, Irréelle flees to the underside of the graveyard and embarks on an adventure to unearth the mysterious magic that breathes bones to life, even if it means she will return to dust and be no more.
August 6th, 2019
Introduce yourself and your debut novel!
Hi! I’m Heather Kassner. I live with my husband in Arizona, missing the seasons and the rain but loving all the beautiful desert hummingbirds. My debut, The Bone Garden, tells the story of a crooked-boned girl made of dust and bone and dark imaginings, who seeks the source of the magic that breathed her to life.
What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?
The most surprising part of this debut journey is this moment right now—only a few weeks before the release of The Bone Garden—when time seems to be speeding up. Of course, this is what I’ve been waiting for, and I’m so excited, but I’m also more nervous than I ever expected to be.
Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!
I don’t know what I would have done this debut year without Joan He (Descendant of the Crane), Gita Trelease (Enchantée), and Gabby Byrne (whose Rise of the Dragon Moon debuts the very same day as The Bone Garden)! They are amazing writers and dear friends.
Who is your favorite character?
Irréelle is my favorite character in The Bone Garden because she is full of so much goodness and has such a hopeful outlook on the world despite the difficulties she faces.
How long did it take you to write this book?
I drafted The Bone Garden in about 2 months. (Of course, it needed lots of revision after that first draft…and I’ve never written anything that fast before or since.)
What inspired you to write this book?
My love of dark fairy tales definitely inspired the tone and atmosphere of The Bone Garden. As for the story itself, it came to me during a time in my life when everything was out of sorts. I’d just been laid off at work and was feeling both vulnerable and hopeful, so I guess it’s unsurprising that my main character, Irréelle, embraced both of these characteristics.
She also took on many of the feelings I had when I was younger, and which many kids can likely relate to—of being awkward (yes, I’m a little crooked-boned too), of believing what others say about you, of thinking that you don’t always belong.
What I wanted for Irréelle most of all was to be brave and hopeful enough to face the darkness in her life, just as I was trying to do for myself.
Describe your main character in 3 words.
Irréelle is many things, but as touched on in the questions above, most especially: good-hearted, hopeful, and brave.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
Daydreaming! Every story idea I’ve had started with just a glimmer of an idea. Picturing the character or the scene or the atmosphere in my mind and letting my imagination run wild usually comes before I ever type a single word. I try to see everything as if I were watching a movie in my head.
How do you select character names?
It depends! For example, in The Bone Garden, Miss Vesper’s name was inspired by Eva Green’s character in Casino Royale. In my second book, The Forest of Stars, the characters have stage names, so I thought long and hard about what sounded most magical and mysterious.
What is your favorite word, and why?
I’m not sure I have a favorite word, as there are so many wonderful ones to choose from—but that’s one of the things I like best about writing. Finding the perfect words to breathe atmosphere into a story!
If you could only buy one book this year, which book would it be?
Too late! I’ve already bought so many books this year. But one book that I’m very much looking forward to reading is The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.
Share a favorite song!
My husband wrote the song in this little video for The Bone Garden, so it will always be one of my very favorites!
Thanks for interviewing! I can't wait to read about sweet Irréelle on 8/6/19!