Hello traver! Welcome aboard our cruise!
Today, I have the pleasure to received Jessica S. Olson, author of Sing Me Forgotten, for a special interview! I’d like to thank Turn The Page Tours for this opportunity! Stick till the end to discover more about the book!
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What was the biggest challenge while writing Sing Me Forgotten? And what felt super easy?
Writing the villain character was the most difficult part. It took several rounds of revisions to get that right. And the romance was the easiest part—somehow Emeric and Isda both came into my head fully formed, and their relationship dynamic flowed easily. Some of the easiest scenes to write were the the ones that featured their relationship because the words would just pour out. I couldn’t type fast enough.
Each writer has their little habits. What are yours? Do you need to write in a particular place? Do you have accessories (special notebooks, candles, music…)?
I don’t have a lot of specific needs. I just need quiet (I have three small children, so that is hard to come by in my house!). I write with my laptop in a broken armchair. Sometimes I horde snacks, but that’s not a necessity.
Should Sing Me Forgotten be adapted, would you like the adaptation to be an onstage musical, a TV show, or a movie? And who would you like to star?
Oh, onstage musical would be my top choice, of course! I had a dream once that Andrew Lloyd Weber (creator of the Phantom of the Opera Broadway musical) called up my agent saying he wanted to adapt my book for the stage, and I was soooo disappointed when I woke up! But, if a stage adaptation didn’t work out, I think Sing Me Forgotten would be better suited to a movie than a TV show.
As for who I would love to have star? I absolutely love Sierra Boggess, who has played Christine many times on Broadway and elsewhere. She’s even a redhead, like Isda! I think she would do the part so well, and she has the perfect soprano for it. But as for the other characters, I don’t know!
Sing Me Forgotten is a Phantom of the Opera retelling, but what other musicals own your heart and soul? Are there any that could inspire you for another book?
I love Les Miserables, Anastasia, and Wicked. I have seriously considered writing an Anastasia retelling, but I know there have been a few in YA recently, and I haven’t come up with an original enough concept to try. But hey, maybe someday I’ll get some stroke of brilliance and it’ll happen! We’ll see!
If you had to swap lives with one of your characters, who would you choose and why?
Emeric. I love acting and singing onstage, so getting the chance to be a musical performer would be incredible! Plus, he knows how to make candy, which I think would be an incredibly fun skill to have.
What’s a fact/moment/piece of research that you love but weren’t able to include in this book?
I did a lot of research on victorian bathrooms during my first draft of this book, oddly enough, but the scenes that happened in the bathrooms were cut by my third or fourth draft, so that research ended up being useless. Oh well!
If Isda and Emeric met in our world, what would they study in college?
Music in some form, both of them, for sure. I think Isda would probably do some kind of piano or organ performance major, and Emeric would do vocal performance or maybe a Music Dance Theater major.
What inspired the magic system for your book?
I was thinking one day about how a song can come on the radio and bring back a million memories—like if you had “a song” with an ex-boyfriend. Every time you hear that song, you remember all these moments. All these emotions. And I thought… what if music literally could bring memories back? What if it could change your memories? What if it could erase them? And I built from there.
What are you looking forward to the most on release day?
I think the thing I’m most looking forward to is being able to go to a bookstore and see my book on the shelf. I’ve spent so much time in bookstores perusing the shelves and imagining my own stories among them. It’s going to be so surreal when it’s actually real!
If you could trade lives with any book character for a day, who would it be and why? What about a week? A month, year, or forever?
Oooh this is a tough one! I’d probably have to choose someone with cool powers. The ones that come to mind are the characters from Susan Dennard’s Witchlands series. I always thought the windwitches and waterwitches were so cool! The things they could do. I think controlling the elements would be really fun. I think I’d love to do that for a few days or a week. Maybe a month. Definitely not forever, though. I’m pretty happy in my own life. ☺
What would you do if you spent the day with Isda, Emeric, and Cyril (not necessarily together)? Where would you go to eat, hang out, relax, etc.?
I think Isda and I would probably go out for French pastries and stuff our faces while listening to epic piano concertos. I’d make Emeric teach me how to make caramels. And I would probably pass on hanging out with Cyril. I don’t think we’d get along very well hahaha
If Isda, Emeric, and Cyril (not necessarily together) were to hang out with characters from other books, who would they be and why?
I think it would be really interesting to see Isda and Emeric hang out with their counterparts from The Phantom of the Opera! I bet Isda and Phantom would play some incredible organ duets together, and Emeric and Christine could do a powerhouse vocal duet. I bet they’d also have lots to talk about. As for Cyril, I think he would probably get on really well with Severus Snape. Or maybe Jude Duarte’s dad from The Cruel Prince? They’d probably just scheme together and make epic villainous plans.
What is your favorite quote, scene, or moment from Sing Me Forgotten?
I love the final scene, even though it breaks my heart, because it shows how much Isda has grown and changed over the course of the book. How she truly has come to value herself and recognize how much she matters.
Were there alternate endings you considered, or did you always know where the story was headed?
Oh, there were various iterations of the ending. I had Emeric die in one, Isda die in another. Each attempt at the ending was trying to do something similar, though. The ending I finally settled on in the final version, though, is the one that does best what those other endings were trying to do. I hope readers enjoy it!
Why did you want to become an author?
I’ve had an immense love for story ever since I was a small child. And when I first read Harry Potter at age eleven, I knew this was what I was meant to do. Being an author has always been my dream, and it’s so surreal to have that dream actually come true!
Isda does not exist. At least not beyond the opulent walls of the opera house.
Cast into a well at birth for being one of the magical few who can manipulate memories when people sing, she was saved by Cyril, the opera house’s owner. Since that day, he has given her sanctuary from the murderous world outside. All he asks in return is that she use her power to keep ticket sales high—and that she stay out of sight. For if anyone discovers she survived, Isda and Cyril would pay with their lives.
But Isda breaks Cyril’s cardinal rule when she meets Emeric Rodin, a charming boy who throws her quiet, solitary life out of balance. His voice is unlike any she’s ever heard, but the real shock comes when she finds in his memories hints of a way to finally break free of her gilded prison.
Haunted by this possibility, Isda spends more and more time with Emeric, searching for answers in his music and his past. But the price of freedom is steeper than Isda could ever know. For even as she struggles with her growing feelings for Emeric, she learns that in order to take charge of her own destiny, she must become the monster the world tried to drown in the first place.
Title: Sing me Forgotten
Author: Jessica S. Olson
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Length: 336 pages
Release date: March 9th 2021
Genre: Fantasy retelling, Young Adult
Content and Trigger warnings:
addiction, child abuse, kidnapping, memory manipulation, minor self mutilation (for magical purposes), violence.
Jessica S. Olson claims New Hampshire as her home, but has somehow found herself in Texas, where she spends most of her time singing praises to the inventor of the air conditioner. When she’s not hiding from the heat, she’s corralling her three wild—but adorable—children, dreaming up stories about kissing and murder and magic, and eating peanut butter by the spoonful straight from the jar. She earned a bachelor’s in English with minors in editing and French, which essentially means she spent all of her university time reading and eating French pastries. Sing Me Forgotten is her debut novel.
Jessica is represented by Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis Literary Agency.