Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Frozen by Mary Casanova

Welcome to Author Mary Casanova

Mary Casanova is the author of 30 books for young readers, ranging from picture books, titles for American Girl, and novels. Once a reluctant reader, Mary is passionate about writing “stories that matter and books that kids can’t put down.” Her books frequently land on state reading lists and have earned many awards, including the ALA “Notable,” Aesop Accolades by the American Folklore Society, Parent’s Choice “Gold” Award, Booklist Editor’s Choice, and two Minnesota Book Awards. When she’s not on the road for research or speaking, she loves exploring the outdoors in northern Minnesota with her husband, Charlie, and their two horses, and three dogs.

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
As a writer of historical fiction, I frequently “time-travel” to the past! Writing novels set in other time periods means being so immersed in research and writing that I feel I live in that other time, whether it’s Nazi-occuppied Norway (The Klipfish Code), the time of Louis VIX (Cecile: Gates of Gold), or 1920s in northern Minnesota (FROZEN)–each books draws me into an earlier time.

What is you favorite way to spend a rainy day?
Today was a rainy day. I spent it by riding and writing. I trailered my horse, Sable, to a nearby indoor arena for a lesson aimed at refining subtle communication. When I returned home, I settled into an afternoon of working on my current novel-in-progress.

Spontaneity or Planning Ahead?
In my younger years, I prided myself in being very spontaneous. At 55, however, I have learned to balance my natural spontaneity with more thoughtful evaluation of my actions. As a writer, I pay close attention to the ideas that “give me energy,” (the energy behind spontaneity.) Great ideas can be turned into novels not through spontaneity but by showing up every day and doing the work. I show up at about 9 every morning, whether I feel like it or not. I have lots of ideas; but it’s the discipline of “showing up” that has turned ideas into 30 published books!

TV or Movies?
Movies? Well, I have to put a plug in for my two American Girl movies based on my books: Chrissa Stands Strong, deals with bullying, and this year’s McKenna Shoot for the Stars, features a young gymnast determined to her challenges into strengths.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
My fellow author and friend, Jane Resh Thomas said: “Just do the work.”

What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?
After writing about wolves in Wolf Shadows, I got the idea of writing a story set in the mid 1500s in the south of France. I wanted to explore people’s superstitions at that time. It was the first time I’d conceived of a novel set in a different time period and country, and it required going there to do research. I kept thinking, “Why do you think you can write this?” But the idea was there. I traveled to Provence, where I set Curse of a Winter Moon. Had I not taken on that “crazy” idea, I would not likely be writing now for American Girl. Ten years or so ago, when they were publishing a series called Girls of Many Lands, they were looking for an author who had written a story set in France. The editor discovered my novel and invited me to write for them. I returned to France again, this time to write Cecile: Gates of Gold. I’ve been writing off and on for AG ever since.

How did you know you should become an author?
I realized in high school how powerful words are to communicate what’s inside. Coming from a family of ten kids, I definitely had a need to feel heard and to have a voice. I fell in love with the craft of shaping words and sentences into more complex ideas, whether essays or stories. I knew then what I wanted to do for work someday.

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
In the opening chapter of FROZEN, Sadie Rose sits at the piano playing Moonlight Sonata, a deeply brooding and moody piece. I thought it perfectly captured where she is at the story’s opening. Now there’s a book trailer in the works and I can’t wait for the composer to bring his musical vision to it. His name is Chris Koza (  and I expect he’ll weave lyrics and music together in a way that will reflect Sadie Rose’s journey toward wholeness.

What is your dream cast for your book?
My agent recently had an inquiry from a major movie producer about the novel. A movie is definitely in my “dream cast” for FROZEN. I can see it already!

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Set in 1920, FROZEN vindicates the life and death of a prostitute found frozen in the snow and stood up as someone’s joke at the start of a council meeting.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Moose Tracks! Partly because it has chocolate and vanilla and peanut butter all mixed together; and also because it’s the name of my first novel for young readers which was published in l995.

Frozen by Mary Casanova

Sixteen-year-old Sadie Rose hasn’t said a word in eleven years—ever since the day she was found lying in a snowbank during a howling storm. Like her voice, her memories of her mother and what happened that night were
Sadie Rose’s search for her personal truth is laid against a swirling historical drama—a time of prohibition and women winning the right to vote, political corruption, and a fevered fight over the area’s wilderness between a charismatic, unyielding, powerful industrialist and a quiet man battling to save the wide, wild forests and waters of northernmost Minnesota. Frozen is a suspenseful, moving testimonial to the haves and the have-nots, to the power of family and memory, and to the extraordinary strength of a young woman who has lost her voice in nearly every way—but is utterly determined to find it again. 

Giveaway Details
2 winners will each receive a copy of Frozen
Open to US only
Ends 9/6/12

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