Questioning AUTHORity is a weekly feature here at Bookish Serendipity in which I interview MG and YA authors. Today I will be featuring Rebecca Hahn, author of A Creature of Moonlight. I reviewed this book a couple of months ago and loved it. Find my review here.
About the Author:
Website | Amazon | Twitter
Rebecca Hahn grew up in Iowa, went to college in Minnesota, and soon after moved to New York City. She worked for two years there as an editorial assistant at a children’s book publisher while writing her first novel, A Creature of Moonlight, on the side. But her Midwest blood was calling her back; these days she keeps a cozy apartment in Minneapolis, where she converses with the winter cold, the wide sky, and many whispering trees.
ME: Hi Rebecca! I’m so glad you could stop by today.
RH: Thanks for having me! I’m really happy to be here.
ME: A Creature of Moonlight is one of my favourite reads this year. What inspired your debut novel?
RH: I started A Creature of Moonlight in the fall of 2011. I had just put away a different project that wasn’t going as well as I’d hoped. I was sitting in my apartment waiting for some sort of new idea to come to me, and the sunlight was shining through a flowered glass that was half-filled with water. Something about that image brought a story into my head about a woman picking flowers and a man who rides up next to her (except he’s not a man, he’s a sorcerer). When I’d finished writing that story down, I realized that a voice that wasn’t mine had been telling it. That voice was Marni’s (the narrator of Creature), and that was the beginning of my work on the novel.
ME: You worked in New York as an editorial assistant for a few years. What was that job like? Do you think it made you a better writer?
RH: I loved a lot of things about that job. I was assisting two editors at a children’s book publishing imprint, so I got to work on projects ranging from picture books to young adult novels. Working with people in that industry was great—they’re so passionate about their jobs. And I loved working with authors; I felt lucky to have the chance to be a part of bringing manuscripts to publication.
I’m sure the experience did influence my writing. I read a lot of submissions, which helped me to figure out what kind of writing appealed to me the most, and what conventions didn’t draw me in as much. And being surrounded by books opened up my ideas of what kinds of stories could be written and published.
In general, I think anything that exposes you to thinking and talking about books can be good for your writing. And of course life experiences—such as moving to New York City, working in a fascinating industry, meeting new people—add to the supply of ideas and images that you can draw on.
ME: What is a famous (or not-so-famous) quote you can relate to A Creature of Moonlight?
RH: The magical woods in A Creature of Moonlight are central to the story. In a traditional fairy tale, woods are often a source of magic and danger. Jack Zipes, one of the world’s preeminent scholars of fairy and folk tales, discusses the role of fairy tale forests in his book The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World:
“Inevitably [the characters] find their way into the forest. It is there that they lose and find themselves. It is there that they gain a sense of what is to be done. The forest is always large, immense, great and mysterious. No one ever gains power over the forest, but the forest possesses the power to change lives and alter destinies.”
ME: Where do you like to write? What does your writing routine look like?
I like to write in the quiet of my apartment, wherever is most comfortable and has a good view out the window. My routine varies greatly, but always involves lots of pondering and going grrr at my computer screen and hoping the story I have been writing will somehow be finished someday.
ME: What can we expect next from you?
RH: My second young adult novel is going to be coming out from Atheneum Books for Young Readers in the fall of 2015. It’s called The Shadow Behind the Stars, and it’s narrated by Chloe, who is the youngest of the three Greek Fates. There’s no connection to A Creature of Moonlight; instead of fairy tales, it’s inspired by Greek mythology.
ME: One of the things I loved most about A Creature of Moonlight was your lovely writing style. What advice would you give to teen and aspiring writers?
RH: Thanks very much! I would say: read tons, write tons, live your life. Pay attention to the world and your experience of it. Don’t be afraid of writing imperfectly; that’s how you learn and grow. Practice genuineness, and write whatever stories are calling out to you.
Thanks so much for taking the time to visit the blog, Rebecca!
Every other Wednesday, I participate in the Waiting on Wednesday meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine. This week will be no different! My pick for this week is Rebecca’s upcoming book, THE SHADOW BEHIND STARS. Here is the announcement from Publisher’s Weekly.
*From Publisher’s Weekly*
The youngest of the three Fates tells of the events that lead her and her sisters to leave their isolated island in aid of a mortal girl, only to discover that their quest to save the girl could bring about the end of the world.