Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for debut author Molly Booth’s Saving Hamlet, hosted by The Irish Banana Review! I’m so excited to have Molly here today! She’s here to talk about her discovery of Shakespeare, and how hard she fell for him! After her post, read more about the book, Molly, and enter to win a copy of Saving Hamlet!
Tell us about your love of Shakespeare and what it was like discovering him.
I didn’t fall in love with Shakespeare until college, but when I did, I fell hard. Right through the stage, down to the basement.
At Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, MA, spring semester of my sophomore year, I signed up for a literature course called Shakespeare and Sophocles. I was super intimidated by the reading list, but I’d heard awesome reviews about the professor, Lucius Salisbury. He immediately assigned us Hamlet, and I was scared. I’d only read some of Romeo and Juliet in high school; I’d skimmed it for the origins of West Side Story. Reading a Shakespeare play, eek especially Hamlet!, and writing a paper about it was a totally different ball game. (Professor Salisbury loves using baseball metaphors.)
I had a long commute to the campus, so I did a lot of homework on the train or on the bus. One afternoon, on the blue line train, I’d cracked open my well-worn, used copy of the play, and braced myself to not understand a word.
Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself.
Long live the king!
Those first lines hooked me, and I fell into the play. My mind swirled with the beautiful text, the supernatural (ghost dad) plot, and the connection I felt to the main character. I was in the middle of applying to transfer schools, and a little depressed, so Hamlet’s identity struggle really pulled me in. I’d never encountered anything that described being a human better or more eloquently. I was so into Hamlet that I almost missed my transfer to the orange line.
And I’ve been obsessed ever since! I went on to Marlboro College, where I studied Shakespeare and Elizabeth history, and along with my creative writing courses, this passion evolved into writing Shakespeare-oriented YA novels. Like Saving Hamlet, which is a historical time travel Shakespeare YA, and Nothing Happened, my spring 2018 book, which is a YA retelling of Much Ado About Nothing. I’m also about to start graduate school in Boston to continue my Shakespeare nerdiness in academia.
And this school year, I’m directing a Shakespeare play with a student theatre company in Massachusetts, All the World’s a Stage Players. We’re doing TWELFTH NIGHT, and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had!! A stormy shipwreck, mistaken identities, a prank with yellow socks — I’m thrilled to be directing it, especially with such a wonderful group of young actors.
So yeah, once I discovered Shakespeare, there was no turning back for me. I turn to Shakespeare for advice, for comfort, for direction, and for creativity. In a recent interview, author Patrick Rothfuss said: “When you’re a geek for something, it means you love it beyond all sense.” I am a total Shakespeare geek. I don’t exactly know why, but my life revolves around these texts and this history, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Emma Allen couldn’t be more excited to start her sophomore year. Not only is she the assistant stage manager for the drama club’s production of Hamlet, but her crush Brandon is directing, and she’s rocking a new haircut that’s sure to get his attention. But soon after school starts, everything goes haywire. Emma’s promoted to stage manager with zero experience, her best friend Lulu stops talking to her, and Josh–the adorable soccer boy who’s cast as the lead–turns out to be a disaster. It’s up to Emma to fix it all, but she has no clue where to start.
One night after rehearsal, Emma stays behind to think through her life’s latest crises and distractedly falls through the stage’s trap door . . . landing in the basement of the Globe Theater.
It’s London, 1601, and with her awesome new pixie cut, everyone thinks Emma’s a boy–even Will Shakespeare himself. With no clue how to get home, Emma gamely plays her role as backstage assistant to the original production of Hamlet, learning a thing or two about the theater, and meeting an incredibly hot actor named Alex who finds Emma as intriguing as she finds him. But once Emma starts traveling back and forth through time, things get really confusing. Which boy is the one for her? In which reality does she belong? Will Lulu ever forgive her? And can she possibly save two disastrous productions ofHamlet before time runs out?
About Molly Booth
Molly Booth grew up homeschooled in Massachusetts with her four boisterous siblings. She stage managed for three different community theatres in high school. Her first college was Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown, MA; she then went on to study writing, literature, and Elizabethan history on a very cold hill at Marlboro College in Vermont. There, she wrote the first drafts of Saving Hamlet, her debut novel, coming 11/1/16 from Disney Hyperion. Her second book, Nothing Happened, will be coming spring 2018.
Molly also writes for The Mary Sue, and sometimes other sites like HelloGiggles, The Tempest, and McSweeney’s. She spends most of her time snuggling her adorable dog Suzie, pet rats Meg and Marigold, and Harriet the queen cat.
10/24: Fiery Reads – Review
10/25: That Artsy Reader Girl – Guest Post
10/26: The Young Folks – Review
10/27: No BS Book Reviews – Q&A
10/28: The Book Cellar – Review
10/31: The Irish Banana Review – Top 10
11/1: The Plot Bunny – Review
11/2: Adventures of a Book Junkie – Q&A
11/3: Betwixt the Pages – Review
11/4: Princessica of Books – Guest Post