Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook have no doubt seen my posts about just how great a read The Forever Girl was. As someone who doesn’t usually read that genre, it was a departure for me. The fact that I was sold on the first chapter and then loved the book in full should be a testament to the wide appeal this book offers and the compelling ability of the author, Rebecca Hamilton.
Today, I have a special treat for you! I asked this talented (and busy) lady to take the time to answer a few questions for me and my readers and she graciously consented. I’m very pleased to present this brief interview with Rebecca Hamilton. I hope you find it as enjoyable to read as it was to conduct!
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BL: In The Forever Girl, you’ve created a whole new take on the classic vampire mythology, as well as other monsters. How did you come up with this mythos?
RH: I was coming from a few angles where the vampires were concerned. First was that I wanted to take them back a little, history-wise, to some of the original myths surrounding them. That said, I wouldn’t say my vampires are your classic vampire, as in the “horror vampire”, and this comes from making them more villains (most of the time) than plain monsters. To me, there’s something scary about someone who can have a method to their madness … and I do think some of the vampires in my novel are a little mad! Beyond that, I really just wanted to make it believable that vampires exist without our knowing. I think some of what makes my vampires so unique is that I’ve tied their existence to things in history we know are true.
BL: Sophia is a bit of an outcast at the start of the book. I think a lot of us can relate to that, being shunned for something that makes us different. Was there a conscious decision to make Sophia an outsider in society, or was that just something that formed organically from the story’s plot?
RH: I’d say that part is mostly organic, though I did nurture this aspect of the story once I was done writing the first draft of the novel and the themes became clear. I knew my character was Wiccan and there would be a ritual at the start of the novel that would set things into motion. And the reality is, in the US, Wiccans are still pretty heavily judged, if not at the very least extremely stereotyped (and not often in a fair or accurate way). So being at least a little bit of an outcast was bound to happen to Sophia. But after I finished the story and started exploring the themes, it quickly became apparent that this story was about acceptance and prejudices and perceptions and all those wonderful and horrible things that shape our experiences in the world.
BL: As someone who doesn’t generally go out for “paranormal romance”, I felt that the romantic subplot in The Forever Girl was very well done. It helped to drive the story forward, but didn’t get in the way or steal the spotlight from the main plotline. How did you find that level of balance between romance and action?
RH: Not on purpose, I promise you. The reality is, I find romance very, very hard to write. It took some work for me to get in what’s there. Which is fine, really. The story wasn’t about the romance–the romance was just one aspect that moved things forward. I guess to answer your question, I wrote the story first, and worked the romance in later, using it as a tool to enhance and drive the characters, rather than using it as filler.
BL: You’re a co-founder and acquiring editor at Immortal Ink Publishing, which has a unique approach to the small end of the publishing industry. Can you tell us some details on what Immortal Ink is all about?
RH: I started Immortal Ink Publishing with my writing partner, RP Krall. Originally, we had two ideas. One was a site that helped promote indie authors. The other was a small literary magazine. We never made a move on either of those ideas. Then, when we both decided to self publish, we thought … why not bring those previous two ideas into the mix. We hugely support self-publishing, and we’re not trying to win any people over from that camp. If someone wants to self-publish, go for it! But we learned that there are a lot of people who don’t want to. They see what it costs to hire an editor, what is involved in marketing, and it completely stops them from putting their work out there. With us, they have a publisher who will invest in them and work for them. At the same time, we like to keep reading and reviewing and promoting indie books from authors NOT on our list, because the real goal is to get great books into the hands of readers. And lets face it, we’re a very small publishing house with only a few titles each year. We can’t publish everything great that will be submitted to us. So leaving ourselves open to help authors in other ways lets us do more of what we want to do without investing time and money that would take away from us giving quality service to the authors we sign.
BL: You’ve been extremely active on Twitter. What other social media do you use and how has social media affected your work as a writer?
RH: Mostly, it’s just Twitter. I try to do Facebook, but admittedly, I just never caught on to the Facebook thing. I don’t know what it is about Twitter, but I find it very easy to talk to people there and engage them in conversation. Maybe people just like talking to me more when they don’t have to hear me ramble beyond a 140 character limit. 😛
BL: What’s your daily writing routine like and what tools or software do you use?
RH: I don’t write every day. I don’t have time, unfortunately. I do edit daily, usually, either for myself or others. I just use MS Word. Nothing fancy here.
BL: Do you have any advice for writers trying to hone their craft?
RH: Read, read, read. Read books in your genre and out of your genre. Read books that explore writing craft. See what you like and what you don’t and ask yourself why. Try to do this based on your personal reaction, not on how some book on writing-craft tells you to react. (This is important to do, in my opinion!) Also, at the same time, don’t let your inner (or outer) critic stifle creativity. Sometimes the “right way” won’t be found in a rule book. Sometimes you are better off using an adverb. Sometimes bending the point of view rules a bit will make the read more suspenseful or entertaining. Never sacrifice entertainment for “rule-book-correctness”. But, at the same time, don’t ignore all the techniques available to you! Learn them, try them, explore them. Oh, and read. Always be reading.
BL: In your biography, you mention that one of your children is autistic. Is there anything you want people to know about autism?
RH: Autism doesn’t come in a box. There’s a quote that says, “If you’ve met one kid with autism, you’ve met one kid with autism.” The battle to be a person with autism or raise a person with autism is made harder by people who have preconceived notions of what autism is. They think it’s all arm flapping and not talking. This isn’t the case. Autism isn’t just about how you experience the other person. It’s about how that person experiences the world. Some people with autism and aspergers learn to stuff down the way they feel and the way they experience the world in order to “appear” normal and to do what they are “supposed to do”. This doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling, and it doesn’t mean they’ll never have a bad day. But what has been hardest for my family is when people see my kid is high functioning and then assume he’s just a bad kid, because they don’t understand where his behaviors come from. After all, here is a kid who has learned (through years of therapy) to behave somewhat socially (if inappropriately). Here’s a kid who eventually started talking. But his experience of this world still does not match most people’s. Also, people think that those with autism don’t want to be social, but that’s not the case, either. Often it’s that they don’t feel right doing it, or that they don’t know how, or that they think they are but you just aren’t perceiving it in the same way.
Sorry, I went on a bit of a rant with that last question! If I can share a video from YouTube that I find inspiring, it’d be this one:
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A big ‘thank you’ to Rebecca for taking time to chat! If you haven’t yet, you should check out her site, follow her on Twitter and, of course, read The Forever Girl!
Rebecca Hamilton writes Paranormal Fantasy, Horror, and Literary Fiction. She lives in Florida with her husband and three kids, along with multiple writing personalities that range from morbid to literary. She enjoys dancing with her kids to television show theme songs and would love the beach if it weren’t for the sand. Having a child diagnosed with autism has inspired her to illuminate the world through the eyes of characters who see things differently.
To learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder, please visit the website below.
Autism is a great challenge for parents and child.
From what I have seen, the human psyche is very fragile. Everything that happens to a person, shapes that person. It makes philosophers of us all.
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