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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Hallowed Ones Tour!! Interview with Laura Bickle!

I'm a big fan of The Hallowed Ones, so I'm super excited to the author Laura Bickle, here with us today on our stop off The Hallowed Ones Tour!!  (Check out my reviews of The Hallowed Ones and The Outside!)

How long have you been writing?
I’ve always been scribbling, since I was old enough to hold a crayon. I didn’t believe, until recently, that other people would want to read what I wrote. It’s incredibly exciting to hear from folks who’ve enjoyed the stories I tell.

What inspired you to write your first book?
My very first book is still sitting in a shoebox in my closet. I think spiders are living in it now, and I’m afraid to touch it. It was an epic fantasy about a woman warrior and a dragon. I think I started writing books mostly to see if I could. I had a lot of ideas and I was curious to see if I could learn to put them together in a way that made sense.

My first attempt was a flop, but I learned a lot, and thought I’d give it another try because the second time had to be better (right?). And then another…

Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?
Katie, the heroine of THE HALLOWED ONES, was an interesting character to write because she's very strong in a quiet, enduring kind of way. She struggles to develop her own moral compass, independent of her parents and community. That requires a great deal of fortitude, just as much fortitude as dealing with the evil creatures in her world.

What is a secret about you that nobody else knows?
I have a plush salamander doll that I bring with me on overnight trips. It scared one of my roommates, Jeffe Kennedy, when she rolled over in bed and found herself face-to-face with his beady-eyed little face. “Eeeeek!”

If your real life as a teenager was a Young Adult book, what would you, the main character, be like?
I was very much a quiet, bookish teen. I would have been the girl who found some dusty magic spell in a library book that had been forgotten for a hundred years. Or else, I would have fallen into faerie during a walk in the woods. It’s a toss-up.

But I rule alien abduction out. My teenage years did not involve interstellar travel. Which is probably a good thing…it took me three tries to get my driver’s license, so I have no business being anywhere near the controls of a spaceship.

What book have you read too many times to count?
My all-time favorite is Robin McKinley’s HERO AND THE CROWN. I read it when I was a pre-teen, and fell in love with fantasy ever after. It was the first book I’d read that had a female protagonist who slew her own dragons. I was hooked. I’ve read it at least a dozen times, and always see something new and brilliant in it.

If you could hop into the life of any book character for a day, who would it be, and why?
I loved Kij Johnson’s FUDOKI. The main character was Kagaya-hime, a cat who becomes a warrior-woman while traveling the spirit road in feudal Japan. I’d love to see that world through non-human eyes!

What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever received?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is to set up a word count calendar and use it. It’s too easy to let the days and weeks slip by without anything productive happening. To that end, I really suggest that writers try National Novel Writing Month at least once. It got my excuses and blocks out of the way, and helped me learn that what I thought were my limits were not really limits. They were just walls I’d set up in my head.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
The most surprising thing, for me, was that I need the structure of a synopsis and outlining. I’ve always yearned to be someone who can just put pen to page have the words sprout…but I can’t do it that way. I need a scaffolding to begin, a skeleton on which to build some story-flesh.

And I think that’s true for most writers. Learning our own processes takes a really long time. What’s efficient and works for me won’t work for the next person. It’s such an individualized process, and there’s no one “right” way to do it. The important thing is that you’re *doing* it.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
In my day job, I work in a library…so reading is high on my list of favorite things to do!

I also collect comic books, graphic novels, and Tarot cards. I have a completely out-of-control action figure collection that has gotten somewhat embarrassing. It took over the guest room, and now I’m afraid to actually have guests stay there for fear that they’ll think I’m more of a giant dork than they already do.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Endings of books, the last hundred pages, are my favorites. I love seeing all the plot threads come together and the story unfurls itself. It’s really like running downhill…almost effortless. The ends are a lot easier than starting. The blank page intimidates me like nothing else. That’s my least favorite part of the process. 

To learn more about Laura Bickle and her books, visit her website. You can also find the author on Facebook and Twitter


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