Author Interview: Margarita Montimore, Author Of “Acts Of Violet” and “Oona Out Of Order”

Hello Readers!

Today I am coming at you with a VERY special post… and probably one of my favorite posts I’ll ever write! I’ve been working with Flatiron Books for the last year and was offered an ARC of Margarita Montimore’s new book, Acts of Violet. I quite literally jumped at the opportunity to get my hands on this release early. For those of you who don’t know, I adored her last book, Oona Out Of Order, and named it one of my favorite books of 2020. It’s a captivating tale of Oona Lockhart who begins to live her life, one year at a time, out of order. On each birthday, she randomly jumps to a new age, going from 36 to 25 to 68 and so on. The only memories she has are those that she lived through and it left to fill in the gaps as so goes. It’s charming, filled with heart and so much personality – it’s impossible to not fall in love with the characters! Montimore is back with a new release, Acts of Violet, about a famous magician who performs the greatest trick of all time, making herself disappear.

I had the chance to chat with the lovely Margarita Montimore about her life, her books and everything in between! Without further ado, onto the interview!

Mr Geek: Margarita, thank you SO much for sitting down to chat with me – I’m excited to feature you on my blog! I can’t wait to talk to you about Oona and Acts of Violet but first, let’s start off with these crazy last 2 years. The pandemic was a life-changing event for all of us.  What did you do to help keep yourself occupied and sane during the lockdown?

Montimore: I took the dog on lots of hikes, hung out with my husband, watched a ton of TV and listened to many podcasts, crocheted, played video games, and kept in touch with friends via phone and occasional video chats. Reading was a challenge during that time, but I still made an effort to get lost in books as much as possible. But what helped keep me busy and sane most of all was researching and writing a new novel, one about a famous magician…

Mr Geek: I also had a bit of a hard time reading during the pandemic, it really was an ebb and flow. There were times I barely read and others that I couldn’t stop! I’m excited to talk more about your new novel, Acts of Violet, and this famous magician but let’s chit-chat a little longer, shall we? You mentioned watching a lot of TV during the pandemic, any TV show or movie recommendations?

Montimore: Movie-wise, I recently saw Everything Everywhere All At Once and was utterly blown away—it’s the best movie I’ve seen in at least a decade. I don’t think I’ve been affected this deeply by a film since I first saw Amelie. As for TV, Severance is hands down the best show I’ve seen all year. I’m also a big fan of Euphoria and Succession, and rewatching The OA, one of my all-time faves, always inspires me. And I have to have occasional Dateline binges from time to time – for me, that’s the true crime gold standard, and Keith Morrison’s fabulous narration is unlike anything else.

Mr Geek: A friend of mine wanted to see Everything Everywhere All At Once and we couldn’t find it in a local theater. I also actually just started Euphoria, I’m only a couple episodes in so far but Zendaya is quite the actress!

Montimore: Isn’t she incredible? My husband and I have a running bet of who we think will win an Oscar first, her or Julia Garner – they’re both phenomenal actresses, but I think Zendaya has the edge, only because she’s been doing more film work.

Mr Geek: Ironically enough, a friend of mine just recommended I started Severance this past weekend – that has officially been added to my to-watch list as well! Speaking of the big and small screen, I love when books are adapted into either TV shows or movies. Would you ever want to see that for Oona Out Of Order or Acts Of Violet?

Montimore: I would love to see it adapted for television, and fortunately Amazon Studios is in the midst of doing just that. It’s been fascinating getting a peek into the development process and to interact with talented people who have brought high quality projects to the screen.

Mr Geek: This is INCREDIBLE news! I will absolutely be keeping my eyes peeled for more release details and will most likely be bingeing the entire season the weekend it comes out! Staying on the theme of your books, I’ll never forget the day I walked into Barnes & Noble and saw it sitting on the shelf – the cover immediately caught my attention and as soon as I read the synopsis, I was sold. I absolutely adored that book and it was one of my favorite reads of 2020!

Montimore: Thank you, that means a lot to me.

Mr Geek: I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true! Oona is filled with so many anecdotes, life lessons and meaningful quotes.  One of my personal favorites was “All good things end, always. The trick is to enjoy them while they last.”  Talk to me a little bit about what this quote means to you.

Montimore: The biggest lesson I learned while writing Oona was the importance of living in the moment. I’m a very nostalgic person, so it’s easy for me to slip into memories of the past, or to become preoccupied in planning for the future, but I’ve been making a more concerted effort to be present and appreciate each day for what it is. It’s such a simple thing, but it makes a significant positive impact on my sense of well-being.

Mr Geek: Hearing your explanation of that quote makes me love it even more – probably because I also tend to be a bit on the nostalgic side! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in past, or even the future, that you lose sight of what’s happening right in front of you. The present is where the magic happens and magic is the perfect segue for us to start discussing Acts Of Violet! I just finished reading Acts Of Violet and I absolutely loved it!  Acts of Violet is your upcoming release about the Volkov sisters, Sasha and Violet.  Violet is a famous magician who disappears during one of her stage performances and is never seen from again while Sasha is left behind to pick up the pieces.  The characters were fun, well developed and relatable.  Would you say that you’re more like Sasha or Violet?

Montimore: I think there’s a part of myself in every character I write, but I also strive to make sure my characters don’t resemble me too closely, so that they can develop in interesting ways. The quality in Violet I relate to most is her desire to inspire and uplift people through her creative work. I also share Violet’s embrace of synchronicities and penchant for magical thinking. When I was growing up, I did dream about having a big glamorous life like Violet’s, but now such an existence strikes me as exhausting and lonely. Which makes me lean more toward Sasha in some ways. I can relate to her devotion to her husband and child—though in my case, it’s husband and dog—and her contentment at living a low-key suburban life.

Mr Geek: I love that you incorporate bits and pieces of yourself into your characters but also give them room to be their own unique individuals! Plus, this give your readers a chance to also see themselves reflected back in the characters too – what an awesome approach! I’ve always loved reading from multiple perspectives and Acts Of Violet is told using several different writing formats: Podcast Interviews, Newspaper / Magazine Articles, Emails and Hand-Written Letters in addition to your classic chapter format.  This was such an interesting mechanic and each format had a unique voice.  What made you want to tell Violet’s story this way?

Montimore: Violet was always going to be this intriguing, unknowable persona, where the only way you could get a sense of who she was would be by collecting all these different accounts from people who knew her, whether in a personal or professional capacity. Plus, after listening to tons of podcasts, I thought that specific format would lend itself well to unfolding parts of the mystery, of who she was and what may have happened to her. Personally, I love stories that use a variety of narrative techniques, which offer a way to show multiple perspectives while creating an immersive reading experience. I hoped writing Acts of Violet would offer readers the same sort of experience. At the same time, I wanted to include narrative chapters from Sasha’s point of view to give the story more cohesion and reflect her more grounded character.

Mr Geek: To be honest, I had a tough time picking out which style I liked the best! I loved Sasha’s chapters, hearing what was happening in present day and how everything was unfolding but I also really liked the Podcast chapters which helped build out Violet’s backstory! Your writing flowed so effortlessly and I want to talk a little more about the multiple writing formats for another minute.  Each style was used to convey a very specific part of the story – how did you go about plotting out when to use each writing style?  Did you have to go back and rearrange those different parts to help the story flow?

Montimore: My plotting happens more instinctually, so while Sasha’s chapters flowed, for the most part, chronologically, I wrote some of the other media elements as they came to me. There was definitely some rearranging of articles and podcast episodes. I even had a giant “crazy wall” in my office to inspire me and help me keep track of the different sections and timelines as I went along. Here’s a peek at part of it!

Mr Geek: This vision board is INCREDIBLE! Having read the book, I can see several elements that you had mapped out and included in Acts Of Violets. It’s really awesome to see things all come together the way they did! The picture towards the bottom, Vanish, actually inspired my next question. Oona Out Of Order and Acts Of Violet are very different and unique stories that both include a little sci-fi magic!  How would you say these books are similar and how would you say they are different?

Montimore: Great question! I do like to play around with magical/surreal elements in my stories. I would say with Oona Out of Order, you know pretty much from the start that the story contains time travel, whereas with Acts of Violet, there’s more ambiguity about the strange forces at play. Both books are similar in that they feature protagonists dealing with loss and complicated family dynamics. They’re also similar in that they ask the reader to accept a world that is a bit off-kilter without reason—the cause for Oona’s time travel “sickness” is intentionally undisclosed and some of the magic in Acts of Violet remains shrouded in mystery, also intentionally. While I like to provide a satisfying overall story experience, I think it’s important to leave some question marks hanging for the readers to puzzle out. I like to think that helps keep the story and characters alive in their minds, wondering about certain aspects instead of knowing everything conclusively.

Mr Geek: I think that’s what I love the most about your stories – you are able to seamlessly incorporate these magical moments into mundane, everyday life! It really makes me look for the spark in my day to day! Margarita, thank you SO much for taking the time to hang out and chat with me!  Any parting words for my readers?

Montimore: Thank you for having me! I wrote Acts of Violet during lockdown, and it helped bring a little more magic into my life. I hope it has the same effect on readers.

This was such an incredible experience for me and I hope you also enjoyed reading along! Margarita is such an awesome person and I’d like to thank her again for taking the time to do this interview. Her new book, Acts of Violet, is available for preorder and will be released on July 5, 2022 everywhere books are sold (like here). I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it definitely added a little magic to my life!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Meet The Co-Hosts Of Tome Topple: Adri from perpetualpages!

Hello Readers!

Continuing on with my Tome Topple co-host interview series, today I’ll be featuring Adri from perpetual pages on YouTube! If this is the first interview you’re reading, I chatted with Sam from Will Read For Booze already and that post can be found here! That’s enough of an intro, let’s jump in and start chatting with Adri!

Mr Geek: Hi Adri, I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me. To kick things off, why don’t you introduce yourself to my readers. Tell me a little about yourself – what do you like to do outside of reading? Do you have any fun hobbies? What’s your day job? 

Adri from perpetualpages: First off, thank you so much for having me on the blog! For those who don’t know me, I am a queer, trans nonbinary, Mexican-American writer, book reviewer, and YouTuber. I run a BookTube channel called perpetualpages, where I share reviews for books I’m reading, recommendations, book tags, and lots of other fun book-related content! As a reader, my taste is highly eclectic. I read across all genres, age demographics, and mediums. I put a particular focus on reading works from marginalized authors, with a special emphasis on queer lit just because that’s where my experience aligns. Every one of my new uploads comes fully captioned and I include content warnings for every book I review, because I believe access to information is power.

Outside of reading, I love to play video games, take photos, watch movies/tv shows with my family and friends, color, go on long walks, and of course write! I have a Bachelor’s degree in creative writing, and I try to balance my own creative projects—poetry, short stories, fiction manuscripts—with my content creation. For work, I’ve dabbled in a lot of different industries. I’ve done some freelance content creation and writing, I’ve worked in the field of education as a tutor and teaching assistant, and most recently I’ve started working in the postal service industry! I kind of bounce around wherever I’m needed, but I think that just demonstrates a strong range of professional abilities, and I’m super proud of all I’ve done so far.

Mr Geek: I love that your degree in Creative Writing aligns so perfectly with your YouTube channel, current projects and all of the other elements in your life that you mentions. Very cool! Since we’re talking about YouTube, how long have you been a BookTuber?  I love the name perpetualpages, what inspired that?  How long have you been co-hosting Tome Topple?

Adri from perpetualpages: I started my BookTube channel in late 2013. So when November hits later this year I will have officially been making videos for nine years! It’s kind of surreal to quantify my experience in that way, but I suppose the numbers don’t lie.

I got to the name perpetualpages because I started BookTubing in the early days when alliteration was very much The Thing To Do. After toying around with a lot of different book-related terms, I landed on “pages,” because I felt it was a universal part of the reading experience. Whether you listen to audiobooks, read e-books, or read physical books, the “experience” of reading is often quantified by the page count, and you make progress by working your way through those pages, however they may be presented to you. With that decided, I just needed to find another “p” word and “perpetual” struck something in me because I think it alludes to a feeling of permanence and legacy. So all together, my hope was that “perpetualpages” would signify how the stories that truly matter to us will always stay with us. What’s more, I think it ties into my “branding,” so to speak, because I am very intentional with what I read and how I read, and my mission statement as a content creator and reviewer has always been to help other people connect with the stories they need the most, the stories that will always stay in their hearts.

As far as Tome Topple, I am fortunate enough to say that I have been a co-host since the very first round! Sam reached out to a few different people to help her get this read-a-thon off the ground, and I had such a good time with it that I decided to make myself available any time it rolled around again! I always have so much fun interacting with readers, hosting reading sprints, and of course spending some dedicated time with those bigger books, so it always works out for the best.

Mr Geek: I had no idea that I was speaking with one of the original co-hosts of Tome Topple! That’s awesome that you have been around from the very beginning. It’s hard to believe that is is already the 4th round that I’ve helped co-host, and I’m obviously loving it! Speaking of things you love, if you could only read one genre for the rest of your life, what would you pick and why?

Adri from perpetualpages: As a lover of almost every genre that exists, this question is so painful! But I would probably have to say Fantasy. I think Fantasy itches that part of my brain that longs for a sense of wonder and imagination, and because it isn’t tied down to real-world constraints or logic, the concepts can really challenge a reader’s mind and provide limitless possibilities. Plus, Fantasy also comes with a lot of subgenres that would make me feel like I’m not missing out too much. I could still get those contemporary settings in contemporary fantasy or urban fantasy, I could still enjoy the richness of intimate relationships in fantasy-romance, and the fantasy genre covers everything from children’s books to adult books! The same could be said for many other genres, but as a life-long lover of Fantasy, I think I’d have to stick with it for good.

Mr Geek: I completely agree with you. When I chatted with Sam (2), she also picked Fantasy. There is just something about escaping into a great Fantasy book that I love. You previously mentioned that you’re a videogame player, as am I, and I also love a good Fantasy game. I always choose to be the magic user when I can! Shifting gears a bit, let’s talk about some of favorite, and least favorite, books from 2021!

Adri from perpetualpages: Not gonna lie, I have to go back and reference my bookish stats for this one! As a Libra, having to choose one definitive favorite is my worst nightmare, but I’m going to cheat a little bit and say it’s probably a tie between Fifteen Hundred Miles From the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa and The Witch King by H.E. Edgmon. Though they’re very different from each other, both stories are incredibly written and reading them brought me a deep sense of catharsis and recognition that I haven’t experienced before. I’m definitely anticipating both Jonny and H.E.’s next books!
I don’t love “putting books down,” because enjoyment of the arts is so incredibly subjective, and what’s a “bad book” for me could absolutely work on every level for someone else. It’s so often a matter of taste and reading experience that’s hard to definitively pinpoint. But just based on ratings alone, one of my lowest rated books of 2021 was Well Played by Jen DeLuca, which I think paled in comparison to the first book in the trilogy.

Mr Geek: I’ve never read either of your favorites, so you just made my TBR a little bit longer! I also don’t usually like hating on books, there is only one book out there that I despise but we can save that for another day! Since our time together is winding down, tell me about a few of your favorite books from past rounds of Tome Topple!

Adri from perpetualpages: Luckily, I can say that I’ve picked some real winners for these past rounds of Tome Topple! I’ve read everything from The Secret History to Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky and almost everything you can imagine in-between. Some real standout tomes for me have been Jade City, which set me on a path of utter devastation; Braiding Sweetgrass, which turned out to be one of the most personal and memorable pieces of nonfiction I’ve ever read; Priory of the Orange Tree, which I finished in a week out of sheer force of will; the entire Daevabad trilogy, which I listened to on audio over three different rounds; and Empire of Sand, which turned out to be one of my favorite books of 2021. I’ve had so many memorable reading experiences throughout my years of co-hosting Tome Topple, and I look forward to making many more memories!

Mr Geek: I don’t know Adri, I might have to ban you from future interviews haha – I added 5 new books to my TBR and bumped Priory of the Orange Tree, Jade City and the Daevabad trilogy to the top of the list! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me! Hopefully we can do this again for a future round!

And that concludes my interview with Adri from perpetualpages. If you couldn’t tell from our conversation, Adri is EXTREMELY good at giving book recommendations and their channel is just overflowing with that type of content! Be sure to check them out over on YouTube! Keep an eye on my blog, Twitter (@ItsMrGeekToYou) and the Tome Topple Twitter Account (@Tome_Topple) for my next co-host interview! Keep toppling those tomes!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek