This week I was fortunate to question the talented Australian YA fantasy writer Rhiannon Hart, author of the captivating Blood Song which I loved. I can’t wait for Blood Storm to come out, I hope the wait isn’t too long.
Here’s what Rhiannon had to say, I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did.
B&L: Your debut novel Blood Song is recently released. What can you tell us about it?
Blood Song is the story of a princess who is worried she’s not quite human. She travels with her sister towards a strange land that seems to be calling her, and in doing so puts her in danger. It’s an adventure story, and it moves at a quick pace. There’s a handsome, infuriating stranger too, who seems to know all that Zeraphina wants to find out, but isn’t letting on.
B&L: Can you see an end point for the story between Zeraphina and Rodden?
Oh yes! I know exactly how it ends for these two … but of course I’m not telling. It took a little while for me to see it but now it’s unmistakeable. Of course, stories live on after the writer has written “the end”.
B&L: Have you got a set number of Books of Lharmell planned or is it more a case of seeing how the story plays out as you go?
The Books of Lharmell have always been a planned trilogy, and there won’t be any “surprise” fourth or fifth book. Once it’s done it will be over. But I have been toying with a short story or two set in that world that may involve other characters.
B&L: Where did the inspiration for this series come from?
Inspiration always strikes in the strangest ways. I was sitting at my desk at work and I got this very strong feeling there was a girl who was going somewhere, and the destination was going to be far more important for her than the other people she was travelling with. But she couldn’t tell anyone else why, even though she suspected it was for reasons she should dread.
B&L: How did you create the Lharmellians?
They were so much fun. I wanted to make them as un-human as possible, and scary too. There should be no mistaking them for kissable vampires. Even the land they inhabit is toxic to humans. Everything about them says “stay away”. Once I had that general idea it didn’t take long for me to visualise them.
B&L: Can you tell us a bit about how you came to get Blood Song published?
I wrote it while doing a course on Writing for Young Adults at RMIT and I was pretty determined to get it published by the time I’d finished the first draft. So I went into major research mode. I knew I wanted an agent that would talk to the big houses for me. More agents in the US handle paranormal/fantasy titles like mine so I looked there. It took about three months to get an agent then six months of submission for her to get me a book deal. Such a rollercoaster of an experience. Talking on the phone to Zoe Walton (my publisher) at Random House Australia was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done.
B&L: A lot of writers are also big readers. What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading The Dead by Charlie Higson. Zombies! Gotta love zombies. I also just finished We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby and The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. I’ve been on a roll!
B&L: Have you got a favourite genre or author to read?
YA fantasy of course! I try to read as much Australian YA fantasy as I can.
B&L: What’s next for Rhiannon Hart?
At the moment I’m working on a ghost story for an anthology that will be out early next year and planning another fantasy series. There are also three standalone novels on my hard drive in various stages of completion. I jump between them like an anxious jumpy thing, not sure which I should finish! The second book in the Books of Lharmell series, Blood Storm, is done, and I’m about to start work on the third, Blood Queen. It’s going to be a challenge to write the last book, I can tell.
B&L: How do you spend your spare time and what do you do to relax?
I love to dance. I take classes in belly dance (inspired by some research I did for Blood Storm) and go out clubbing with my friends. I adore electronic music and there are some great clubs in Melbourne. Also, lots of reading.
B&L: What does being a woman mean to you?
Ooh, tough question! Women are so flexible when it comes to attitude or expression, I feel. Women can dress like men or women, do a “man’s job” or a “woman’s job”. We’re pretty lucky that way.
Thank you so much for talking to us Rhiannon.
Thanks for having me!
I devour books, vampires and supernatural creatures are my genre of choice but over the past couple of years, I have broadened my horizons considerably. In a nutshell – I love to write! I love interacting with a diverse range of artists to bring you interviews. Perhaps we were perfect before – I LOVE WORDS!