You have two stories in the integrated short story collection, Possessing Freedom. Without giving plot spoilers, what can readers look forward to in your two stories?
I write the part of Emma, a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl who can see ghosts and – quite literally – runs into Mark while fleeing a violent possession. The two become friends, and help each other deal with the unnerving experiences they’ve been having, including Emma’s dread that she’s going mad and the death of Mark’s sister.
Your two stories are told through the point of view of the same character, Emma (15), but they alternate with stories from the point of view of Mark (18), written by Beau Hillier. How would you describe your experience of writing your two Emma stories to fit in with Beau’s two Mark stories?
Beau had written such a great character in Mark! It was really fun to write the Mark/Emma scenes from Emma’s point of view. I came into the project quite late, and the first half of the novel had already taken shape. The second half was in progress, and I remember coming to one of the catch-up/planning meetings with a rather drastic idea of what to do to one of the characters. But it turned out to work quite well.
In a guest post on Writing Teen Novels you wrote, “When you’re writing a novel, it’s so important to make characters relatable and realistic. If you don’t, your readers will be rolling their eyes every time your character opens their mouth.” Without giving plot spoilers, what are some of the things which make Emma a relatable and realistic character?
I wanted to show that while Emma might appear nonplussed outwardly, in her inner world she was freaking the hell out. The ghosts in Possessing Freedom are doing some pretty terrifying things, and Emma is one of the few people who can see why and how it’s happening, and she’s had no one to talk to about it.
Possessing Freedom has a fan fiction competition running until August 31st, 2013, with a $2000 1st prize. What comments or tips do you have for writers who may be considering writing a short story related to Emma?
Make her sound like a teenager. Beau did such a good job setting up her voice and character. I particularly like her dislike of “weird” food and the way she speaks.
What is one of your favourite fiction books that you have read in the past year, and why does it stand out for you?
I’d have to say the one I’m reading right now. I saw the 90s film Onegin a few weeks ago and adored it. I’m extremely fond of romantic tragedies. So I decided to read the original Russian novel. It’s a shame I can’t read Russian, as it’s a verse novel and the translators have had the double task of interpreting Pushkin’s meaning AND making it rhyme. Nabokov (of Lolita fame) apparently shunned all the English translations that rhymed, and published his own that didn’t that he claimed was closer to Pushkin’s original meaning. Aside from being an entertaining story and an interesting commentary on Russian aristocratic life at the time, I can see it’s a book that you can get a lot out of by reading the different translations.
You have two novels, Blood Song and Blood Storm, published with Random House Australia. For readers not familiar with your novels, how would you describe what they can look forward to in Blood Song and Blood Storm?
Blood Song and Blood Storm are part of a fantasy trilogy that draw heavily from the medieval era and incorporates paranormal elements. Zeraphina is a princess of Amentia, and is nearly old enough to be married off to help the flagging economy in her country. But she has these strange hungers and needs she doesn’t understand, and when she and her family travel northwards for her sister’s betrothal, the hunger grows worse. There she meets a rather swarthy, infuriating young man who seems to know exactly what is wrong with her, but isn’t telling. And Zeraphina doesn’t know if he intends to expose her secret, or something worse.
There’s lots of adventure, a sprinkling of humour and a good dash of romance too. Blood Storm, book two, has just been released.
What is next for your fiction?
Right now, I’m working on a nineteenth century ghost/revenge story that is not quite a ghost story and not quite a revenge story. It’s called With My Last Breath.
Rhiannon Hart author site: www.rhiannon-hart.blogspot.com
The Australian Literature Review