Sunday, November 15, 2009
Interview with Becca Fitzpatrick, author of HUSH, HUSH
HUSH, HUSH is a dark and dangerous YA fantasy set in a town in coastal Maine involving a romantic liason between a high school girl and a fallen angel. The plot is involved but the action kept me completely riveted and never confused. I read through the book in less than a week, which is a big thing for me, because it takes a VERY engaging book for me to give up writing time. I just had to know what happened. So, I am so thrilled to introduce Becca Fitzpatrick, the author of HUSH, HUSH, who will give us some surprising insights into the book's origins.
Patch the fallen angel from Hush, Hush is such a dark and seductive creature. What gave you the idea for the book?
The very first inspiration for the story came from an experience in my own tenth-grade biology class. We must have been studying human reproduction, because my teacher asked me, in front of the whole class, to name characteristics I would be attracted to in a mate (yikes!) I sat next to a really cute boy, and the thought of naming characteristics I might look for in a mate was a humiliation I was not about to subject myself to. I told my teacher, “pass,” but the experience always stuck with me, and when I sat down to write Hush, Hush, that little piece of my history evolved into an early scene in the book.
Hush, Hush is set in coastal Maine and makes much use of it’s moody terrain. What is your connection to this area?
When I was in high school, I was pretty sure I would grow up to be a marine biologist. I had posters of whales and dolphins pinned up all over my bedroom, I had a huge collection of whale/dolphin T-shirts, my Christmas present from my parents in 9th grade was a whale-watching vacation to California, and my aunt and uncle adopted a humpback whale for me named Tanith. Every so often, the whale adoption agency would send me photos of Tanith in the wild, and once I even got a humpback whale calendar. As I was flipping through the photos in the calendar, I came across this amazing photo of a breaching whale, and in the background was the Maine coast, dense with evergreens. I hung on to that picture for years, and it was my dream to someday move to Maine. Eventually I forgot about that dream, but when I started writing Hush, Hush I found myself writing about a girl growing up in a small, atmospheric Maine town without even realizing that of course I'd picked Maine as the setting because of my childhood dream. It's funny how something so seemingly small as a photograph I first saw when I was fourteen years old could have such a big impact on Hush, Hush, but there you have it.
You wove your intricate plot so deftly, yet you left some loose ends that I can only assume are deliberate. I’m talking about the mystery behind Nora’s father’s death. I’m feeling this is going to be explored in the next book, CRESCENDO. Am I right, or is that top secret?
Without ruining anything, I will say that in Crescendo, you'll find out what happened the night Nora's dad was murdered. Let's just say he was living a secret life...one with ties to Patch...
Nora Grey is a pragmatic girl who shuns danger, yet is drawn into Patch’s dangerous web. Do you relate to Nora in anyway or is she strictly a fictitious character.
The only thing Nora and I have in common is our curly hair. (If I remember one thing about my teen years, it was how much I hated my hair. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to torture Nora with the same big, curly hair. Ha!) While Nora claims to be a sensible person who shuns danger, she's a pretty unreliable narrator. She's actually very lured by the idea of danger. Since her father's death, she's tried very hard to create a safe, comfortable life for herself. She's terrified that what happened to her father will happen to her. But underneath everything, she's a very reckless, impulsive, and spontaneous girl.
As a follow-up; is Patch based on anyone you know or would like to know?
His character was inspired by a guy I knew long ago. And that's all I'm going to say about that!
How long have you been writing? Is Hush, Hush the first book you’ve written?
I started Hush, Hush in the fall of 2003. After receiving several rejections for the manuscript, I put it away and started another YA novel called The Tornado Interviews. In the end, I came back to Hush, Hush, and found someone who believed in it as much as I do.
What was your road to publication?
Long and bumpy! It took me five years to write and sell Hush, Hush. I probably have around seventy five rejection letters.
What is the best advice you can give aspiring authors?
Keep a journal. You never know when your own life experiences will inspire a story.
What are some of your favorite reads? Which influenced you most as a writer?
Oh, wow. I love so many different types of books. I love Jane Austen, Diana Gabaldon, Karen Joy Fowler, Laurie Halse Anderson and Sandra Brown. This year, I really enjoyed Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
Tell us something unexpected about Becca Fitzpatrick.
Hmm. In high school, I could run the mile in five-and-a-half minutes.
Are you doing a book tour? Where are some of the places you are scheduled to visit?
I'm touring in January and February, but my schedule isn't finalized yet. I'll post cities on my website as soon as I can.
Can you tell us the best place to visit you online?
My website is www.beccafitzpatrick.com
Thanks so much, Lisa, for the interview!!
You are most welcome, Becca. Stop by again when CRESCENDO is due to come out.