I am delighted to welcome Paula Weston to Bookbabblers as our November Author in Residence. Paula has answered a few questions for us below and we will be reviewing Haze as well as holding a giveaway to win the first two books in the Rephaim series.
Please tell us a little about yourself
I spend a lot of time writing. My professional background is journalism and government media/communication. These days, in between working on the Rephaim series, I have a communication/graphic design consultancy with one of my best friends (I write, she designs). I spend part of my day writing and editing a range of corporate and government documents, and the other part writing about sword fights and kissing.
Any spare time I have beyond those two things is spent reading (urban fantasy, dystopian, and contemporary YA, especially from Australia), watching TV (current favourite shows include The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Sleepy Hollow and Banshee – and I’ve belatedly discovered Friday Night Lights, which I love) and spending time with friends. I live in Brisbane (Queensland) in Australia with my husband. We have a retired greyhound (read: couch potato) and a noisy cockatiel.
Can you tell us a little about Haze and the Rephaim series?
The Rephaim series (four books) is about Gaby, a girl trying to understand who she is and what she may – or may not – have done in the life she doesn’t remember. In Shadows(Rephaim #1), Gaby discovers she’s not a backpacker, but part of a half-angel society (the Rephaim) searching for the Fallen. She’s hunted by demons and caught between two sides of a conflict she doesn’t remember. She also learns the twin brother she’s been mourning for the past year may be alive; that her memory of his death could also be a lie.
In Haze (Rephaim #2), Gaby tries to fit together pieces from her old life. She meets more of the Outcasts, clashes with Rafa over the search for Jude, and discovers an unexpected threat to all of the Rephaim. And yes, there’s a bit of a cliffhanger at the end…
Rafa is my favourite character in the series so far. Where do you find the inspiration for your characters?
Thank you, and that’s an interesting question! I think inspiration for characters – like story ideas – come from a whole range of conscious and sub-conscious influences.
Rafa is one of my favourites too. I have no idea where he came from specifically, only that I had a good grip on who he was from the start. I wanted to introduce him as a typical bad boy/smartass and then peel back the layers to show there are reasons why he acts and reacts the way he does.
This series is the first time I’ve written in first person, present tense, so Gaby has tended to sound a bit like me when I was nineteen (as far as her approach to conflict and anger management is concerned).
There are quite a few characters throughout the series, and I’ve worked to make them all different – through their life experiences, their attitudes and what motivates them at a deeper level. None of them are based on people I know. Honestly.
What are you working on now?
I’m finalising a draft of Shimmer (Rephaim #3) to go to my respective editors. I’ve also made a start on Rephaim #4 and will be working on that in between revisions to Shimmer in coming months.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Read as much as you can. Write as much as you can. Finish what you start. Not original advice, but valuable nonetheless. The more you read, the more you shape your own storytelling instincts. The more you write, the more you hone your skills and develop your style. And if you never finish a story or manuscript, how can you share it with the world?
Oh, and if you love write, don’t give up. It took me 16 years, six completed manuscripts and two plays between my first rejection letter and my first publishing contract.
What was your favourite childhood book?
I remember loving a stunning picture book of Beauty and the Beast when I was very young. I always felt sad when Beauty found the Beast in the snow.
Haze is available to buy now. Look out for our review, which is coming soon.
Indigo have kindly given us two sets of the first two books in the series to giveaway. To enter, please retweet this post or leave a comment. Giveaway is open to UK residents only and closes on 30th November 2013.