This week again I was lucky enough to have a YA author give me an exclusive interview! The idea behind the “Writer in the Spotlight” feature is that published (and bestselling) authors are the best source of advice for us, would-be-published writers. Today’s interview is with Dystopian writer Teri Hall.
A writer in the spotlight – 3
Genre : Dystopian, young adult literature
Location: Washington State, USA
Website : http://www.terihall.com/
Books : The Line Trilogy – The Line (2010), Away (2011), The Island (no release date yet)
Why did you decide to write a YA Dystopian novel?
I think dystopias offer a unique opportunity to explore big questions. Are the values our society holds the ones we should be reinforcing? What is important? What is true bravery? What choices would you make if you were put in a situation where every one of them was crucial?
Is Rachel, her mother and Ms Moore based on real people?
The Unified States are a very interesting (and frightening!) place to live in. How did you come up with the Unified States?
I really just took what’s happening now (border tension, nationalistic fervor, loss of personal freedom in hopes that it will somehow “protect” us from harm, humanity’s innate fear of the “other”) and extrapolated in order to try to envision what things could look like in the near future. The scariest part of that process was that it was so easy to see how we could get to a place like the Unified States within a very short time.
The relationship between Vivian and Rachel is very well described, as well as the contradictory feelings that teenagers can experience toward their parents. How did you go about writing about those?
I remember being a teenager, and I know plenty of teenagers and mothers, so that special sort of love/resentment thing was pretty easy to write about. The way you think your Mom might be the stupidest person on earth sometimes, and then as time passes you realize what she’s been dealing with, and how you had no idea that her actions might have had a whole set of adult concerns attached to them that you had no idea about.
What type of music did you listen to when you were writing this book?
I don’t like to listen to music while I write. I generally like only silence or bird sounds from my open window.
What are you working on now?
Book three of the trilogy. It’s called The Island, and I am having a lot of fun writing it.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Nope. Nobody ever mentioned that as a possibility.
When and where do you write?
I write in a tiny home office, whenever I can find time.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Hmm. I do experience difficulty writing sometimes, but I think it’s less of a block than it is just being too tired, or too distracted, or too . . . something.
What do you say to people who want to be writers? How difficult is it to get published?
I try to say very little except “good luck” and “keep trying” to people who express to me that they want to be writers. I think all writers’ paths are unique, and that advice about some general way of doing things is not very useful. In terms of how difficult it is to be published, I don’t have a good answer. I’ve watched some great writers get passed by or published only after exhaustive attempts, and I’ve see the opposite happen, too.
Away is already available in hardcover in the UK. It will come out in paperback in September 2012.