Day 1. It begins again... again. ;) This author is the main cheerleader of this event, and so I have to feature her on Day 1. :)
Kathleen Peacock lives in New Brunswick. Her childhood was spent fighting imaginary dragons, commanding make-believe armies, and piloting invisible spaceships. Her teen years were spent crushing on authors and writing stories about vampires. She used to work in an office until she discovered she's allergic to cubicles. Her debut YA novel, Hemlock, was released on May 8, 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. The second in the trilogy, Thornhill, is expected to come out this fall on September 10. You can find her at her blog and on Twitter (@kathleenpeacock). :)
Q: Since it's an event featuring Canadian authors, I figured I'd ask all the authors who chose the Q&A to say how they would count as a Canadian author, be it they were born here, lived here, or moved here. So, how Canadian are you?
A: Pshaw! I practically grew up on Degrassi Street! Actually, I grew up in New Brunswick in a small town on the banks of a river renowned for salmon fishing (seriously: there is a 27’ tall stainless steel salmon sculpture in the middle of town).
Q: Some authors have crazy stories about how they got their agent (multiple rejections, slush pile, multiple offers). Do you have one of those crazy stories?
A: Alas, no. I am incredibly dull. I had a list of agents I thought would be a good fit. One (happily the agent at the top of my wish list) rescued me from her slush pile.
Q: How important are critique partners/early readers/writer friends like Jodi Meadows and Debra Driza to you?
A: Having critique partners is awesome. You obviously learn from the feedback they give you, but you also hone your skills by providing feedback to them. They push and inspire you to be better.
Feedback aside, having friends who understand the writing process and the publishing industry—who know what you’re going through and who are willing to pull you down from ledges, give you an occasional kick in the butt, or celebrate with you—is such a lifesaver.
Deb and Jodi, in addition to being incredible writers, are amazing and supportive friends. I can’t imagine taking this crazy journey without them.
Q: In Hemlock, Mac is crushed by Amy's death and works to discover who murdered her on her own, not knowing what she's about to discover. Is Mac looking for redemption?
A: Absolutely. Mac is incredibly protective of her friends and has a habit of assuming responsibility for things that really aren't her fault. She has an almost unhealthy capacity for guilt—something that manifests in dreams. The version of Amy who haunts Mac is different than the girl she knew in life. Mac reflects on that difference in Thornhill, the second Hemlock book: I wondered, suddenly, if Jason and Kyle had their own versions of Amy, if their guilt, like mine, warped her like a fun -house mirror.
Q: Was Hemlock always planned to be the first in a series?
A: I always wanted Hemlock to be the first in a trilogy, but not being sure if an agent or publisher would be interested in three books, I tried to write it so that it could stand on its own. Once HarperCollins was on board for three novels, I ended up moving an entire subplot to book two and tweaked the ending of the first book so that it left a few threads untied.
Q: You've written blog posts and tweeted links to music videos that you've listened to while writing. How important is music while you're writing? Have you ever been pulled off course while writing because the music demanded a certain scene that wouldn't have fit in either Hemlock or Thornhill?
A: I enjoy writing much more when listening to music. Music helps me tap into specific moods and helps me visualize and work through scenes—almost like I’m seeing a music video inside my head. I try to tweet and post about music as a small way to show my appreciation and to (hopefully!) turn people on to artists they might not be familiar with.
I don’t think music has ever pulled me off course in terms of what actually ends up getting written.
Q: Are you excited for Thornhill's release, even though it's still a few months away? Is there anything you can share?
If by “excited” you mean “mammoth butterflies are living in my stomach,” then yes! Totally excited! ;)
Hmmmm. Sharing, eh? Here’s a tiny snip:
“Are you okay? Did they hurt you?”
I wanted to answer, but my throat was clogged with all of the things I should have said back in the office. A cold, black wave rose up as my hand curled into a fist. I lashed out, aiming for the door even though my eyes were closed.
The impact came too soon and was too soft.
My eyes sprung open. Jason stood in front of me, his palm a barrier between my hand and the metal.
“If you’re going to hit something, hit something a little softer.” He closed his hand around mine, cradling my clenched fist. “Trust me. I've had plenty of practice.”
Q: I know you love the anime Fruits Basket, we've talked so much on Twitter about it. What is it about Fruits Basket that keeps you going back to watch episode after episode? A specific character? The story? The fun of it all?
A: I have a handful of “comfort books” that I find myself turning to when I need a respite from a bad day(s) or need to have my faith in goodness restored. Fruits Basket is my television equivalent of that. It’s just this wonderful series about how one person—entirely by virtue of being themselves—can save someone else just by accepting and loving them. It’s about finding a place you belong and finding peace with the past. It’s this wonderful mix of humor and drama that always manages to make me feel just a little bit better.
All of the thanks go to Kathleen for taking part. Go check out Hemlock now and Thornhill this fall! :)