On the Spiral Staircase with Blair Thornburgh
Blair Thornburgh is an editor at Quirk Books. She's also an armchair medievalist, feminist virago, extremely poor banjo player, and children's book writer. Her days at Quirk are spent reading Wikipedia articles about Icelandic necromancy for "research," forgetting what she went down to the book room for, eating snacks, and making puns with Rick (oh, and editing books. She does a lot of that). Her hair color changes about every six weeks, give or take. Her first novel Who's That Girl hit bookstores on July 11.
If you were stranded on Mars and could only have one book to read, what would it be?
Is there air there? Do we get enough natural daylight to read by or do I need to bring one of those little clippy book lights? Will Matt Damon be accompanying me?
Hm, no, seriously, I think I'd bring either Possession by A.S. Byatt, Tam Lin by Pamela Dean, the complete works of Shakespeare (they put those in single volumes!), Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman, or Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry. I can't narrow it down further until I know more about the Matt Damon situation.
Tell us about something cool you keep at your desk.
I have this knife that my sister bought me at the Renaissance Faire. It's a real knife, but it's been rusted shut ever since I used it to eat an apple. It also came in handy when I was Joan of ARC (get it???) for Halloween. Besides that, I have a great postcard of Elvis meeting Richard Nixon that my dad gave to me. Nixon looks…uncomfortable.
What's your fandom?
I love Shakespeariana and will often cosplay as actors from the Chamberlain's Men when I attend the Ren Faire (which is hard, because I have to take off my glasses for Authenticity Purposes, and then I bump into people). I also really love the late, great Clone High, which, if you remember, means you can be my best friend. Also Mystery Science Theater 3000 (the new ones were not that bad!) and Jeeves and Wooster (novels or TV show).
What's an unexpected talent or side effect you've picked up while working at Quirk?
When I was editing My Lady's Choosing, I had to make all these wacked-out flowcharts to figure out how the different plotlines would go, overlap, and end. It was really hard!! But I made it work and subsequently bragged about it to anyone who would listen—including you, O people of the internet.
I also sewed a lot of sequins on a bra and convinced my dad to pose for a photo shoot in his underwear. Truly applicable life skills, those.
If you were a Quirk book, which one would you be?
Basic Witches. I cast spells to make my books successes and it ALWAYS WORKS. And I always wear black.