An Interview with Rose Szabo, Author of What Big Teeth

February 10, 2021 | 12:00 PM

An Interview with Rose Szabo, Author of What Big Teeth

By Team Fierce Reads
Who's ready to learn all about one of the most exquisitely terrifying and strange gothic fantasy novels we've ever read? What Big Teeth is Wilder Girls meets Shirley Jackson. It's mysterious, haunting, and completely other. And its author, Rose Szabo, is here to tell you more about their truly monstrous debut. What makes Eleanor fierce? It's in her blood. As much as she'd like to think of herself as a frightened teenager, she's descended from predators, creatures who prey on humans. What's the most interesting thing you learned while researching What Big Teeth? I read Dracula, and then I read a bunch of essays about Dracula. And one of the things that came up a lot was the idea that Dracula was frightening because he was a monster who could assimilate—that he was rich, spoke perfect English, and had a country estate outside of London. I ended up really using that idea to flesh out how I thought about the characters, considering what their relationships were to assimilation since all the grandparents in What Big Teeth are immigrants. If you'd met Eleanor as a teen, would you have been friends? Probably not. As a teen, I can remember meeting other young queer women who were in the closet and we always bounced off each other in these really horrible ways. It was really hard to get to know someone closely when we both had the same secret. What's one fun fact most people don't know about you? In spite of writing a whole book about a family of werewolves, I'm not at all good with dogs. I like them, but we wind each other up pretty quickly. I'm very much a cat person. What's your favorite part of being an author? Getting to play with ideas. I feel like people who write nonfiction have such an obligation to the facts, and I think that's important, but it's also why I don't consider myself much of a nonfiction writer. I love the freedom to speculate and invent. What is your favorite mythical monster? I like all the shapeshifters. Werewolves, selkies. The boto, which is a shapeshifting freshwater dolphin. I really like the idea of animals becoming human or vice versa, because I think we are not actually all that different from animals. What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo Rose Szabo's thrilling debut is a dark fantasy novel about a teen girl who returns home to her strange, wild family after years of estrangement, perfect for fans of Wilder Girls. Eleanor Zarrin has been estranged from her wild family for years. When she flees boarding school after a horrifying incident, she goes to the only place she thinks is safe: the home she left behind. But when she gets there, she struggles to fit in with her monstrous relatives, who prowl the woods around the family estate and read fortunes in the guts of birds. Eleanor finds herself desperately trying to hold the family together—in order to save them all, Eleanor must learn to embrace her family of monsters and tame the darkness inside her. Exquisitely terrifying, beautiful, and strange, this fierce gothic fantasy will sink its teeth into you and never let go.

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