Hey All! Today, I got to interview the lovely and talented Rosanne Rivers, author of After the Fear (you can read my review here : https://iluvhg.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/after-the-fear-book-review/)!!! Rosanne is one of the first authors I met when I started this blog over two years ago, and I’ve enjoyed chatting with her over social media and reading her excellent blog posts ever since. Here, Rosanne talks reading, writing, video games, and white chocolate cookies (yum!) Enjoy! :)
- What inspired you to write your novel?
Everything around me. England was in the middle of a recession, Facebook seemed to be invading its users’ privacy more and more, and there were riots right outside my door in Birmingham. According to the news reports at the time, another city near me, Coventry, was considering installing CCTV cameras which activated upon trigger words. So I took these things and imagined a future where we are all born into debt, mandatory social media and CCTV cameras. The Shepherds aren’t simply an evil government just out for themselves, but in the novel, they were voted in during a time of massive crisis, and took the measures they thought were needed to keep the country afloat. Usually, when that happens, those measures affect those with the least power, influence and money.
- What were the easiest parts to write?
The easiest scenes to write are the ones I’m most passionate about, I think. So the romance came very easily as I love the coupling, as well as scenes with Shepherd Fines because he fascinated me as a character – I wanted to know what he was going to do next! I find dialogue-heavy scenes exciting to write, because I think a lot of action goes on in between words or sentences. Most of the time when two people are talking, you can gather more about what’s going on/their relationship from their eye movements, hand gestures, whether they interrupt or not etc, than the actual words.
- What were the hardest parts to write?
Action scenes, definitely! It’s hard to balance the pace and the character’s emotions and voice with the actual events happening on the page. Fighting in itself isn’t that interesting; it’s what’s going on with the viewers; the expected impact of the fight vs the actual impact of the fight, and the change in outcome, which are the interesting things. And it’s tricky to capture all of that whilst keeping up a fast, engaging pace.
- What are some of your favourite YA novels?
Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore, Poison Study by Maria V Snyder, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. There are literally hundreds more that I love, but these are the first that sprung to mind.
- I have to ask (it is a dystopia blog): what are some of your favourite dystopian novels (or just one)?
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, 1984 by George Orwell, and more recently, the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. I loved The Hunger Games too. I’ve just started reading Shatter Me which I have high hopes for!
- Favourite writing snack?
White chocolate cookies. I am addicted to them. It shows how much I revere them as when typing this I went to start each word with a capital letter. White Chocolate Cookies. Yum.
- If you could be any character in your novel, who would you like to be?
Probably Shepherd Fines as he’s the safest and doesn’t have to fight! Realistically I’d like to be Alixis because she doesn’t suffer fools gladly.
- What do you hope readers will learn from/ take away from your novel?
I don’t want to answer this because whatever anyone takes away from the novel is their interpretation of it, and that shouldn’t be affected by me! There are of course reasons why I wrote the book and ideals which I would take away from it if I was a reader, but I won’t bog you down with them.
9: You’ve mentioned that you’re planning a sequel to After the Fear. How is that going? Are you planning to extend it into a trilogy or series?
This is a tricky one. I originally wrote the book as a standalone, but after, I did start to plan a sequel. When I revisited it a year later, I felt like Sola’s story was complete. I am not planning a sequel at the moment, but I will never say never.
10: Are you working on anything else now?
Yes. I’ve finished a YA fantasy novel which I will keep you updated on, and I’m currently working on a YA Shakespeare retelling with magical realism elements. Oh and if you like computer games I also wrote the script to a brilliant indie word game called Highrise Heroes, which you should check out if you want to be addicted to your screen for a few weeks desperately trying to find a 9-letter word!
11: You have a degree in writing. In what ways do you feel that’s helped you in your writing?
It originally helped because it made me take writing more seriously. Merely by making that decision to get into debt and spend another year studying was a kick to actually do something with it afterwards. Aside from the motivation, it helped me to critique my work and also to take on-board criticism without going in a sulk. It helped technically as well, for example I didn’t know what an omniscient narrator was when I went onto the course. (And I still can’t say it). But I do think that if you have the motivation and are prepared to do a lot of independent reading, you certainly don’t need a degree to write.
Thanks for having me!
Thanks so much for wonderful interview Rosanne!!! :)
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