An exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-stopping adventure. Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die. Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life.
City of a Thousand Dolls is the debut novel from Miriam Forster and it is fantastic! My review for it is coming a bit later this month, but today (it’s release day!) I am happy to welcome Miriam Forster to More Than Just Magic!
I loved the idea of the City of a Thousand Dolls and the different houses within it. How did you come up with the idea?
The idea of girls being “groomed” for something came from a line in another book, but the entire idea of an estate with different houses just showed up in my brain one day at work. There was so much power in the idea that I knew I had to write it.
It took me a while to find a plot and characters for the idea, and those changed a lot in rewrites. But the setting stayed the same. I think the only thing that changed was the number of houses. I started out with ten or twelve, but that was too much, so it eventually shrank to six.
With some many rewrites how long did it take you to write the book from when you first thought of the idea until when you started looking for an agent?
I started the book in 2007, and it took me about a year to write. I think it was about six or eight months later that I started looking for an agent, and then two years of querying and rewriting before I got one.
My favourite character in City of a Thousand Dolls was the protagonist Nisha. What 3 words would use to describe Nisha for those who haven’t read the book?
Uncertain, stubborn and protective.
I would definitely agree with those!
Have you always wanted to write young adult fantasy? Or fantasy in general?
I have always loved to read fantasy, but when I was a teenager, young adult choices were mostly confined to contemporary literature: Judy Blume and Paula Danziger and series like Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley High. I didn’t care much for the real world, so I mostly read adult fantasy. (And Nancy Drew, but that was because I loved mysteries as well.)
It wasn’t until my twenties that I discovered all the wonderful new young adult books and it quickly became my favorite section of the library. And when I got serious about writing, those were the stories that showed up in my brain. It wasn’t a deliberate choice really, I just knew those were the stories I wanted to tell.
Speaking of writing, what’s one thing that you can’t live without while you’re working?
Some sort of hot beverage to drink. A lot of times it’s coffee. (Okay, most of the time it’s coffee. Mmmmm… coffee.) But sometimes it’s tea or hot water. But I have to have a hot drink to sip. It wakes me up and gets my brain started.
I’m the same way. I drink so much tea when I write!
Now that City of a Thousand Dolls is about to hit shelves, can you tell us what you’re working on next?
Yes! Sort of. I’m working on a companion book to City of a Thousand Dolls. It will have different main characters, but there will be some crossover with characters from the first book and we’ll get to see more of the Empire and the capital city. I can’t give too many details yet, but it should be out in 2014 sometime.
Thank you Miriam for stopping by!
Be sure to check out the other stops on the City of a Thousand Dolls blog tour:
2/6 That’s Swell