Jen: Katie, the main character in The Hallowed Ones, has led a sheltered life but is also curious and independent. Amish thriller heroines are few and far between and yet, Katie’s also familiar. She’s that “Final Girl” in the horror movie who’s smart and cool-headed in the face of danger.
What were some of your ideas about Katie as you were conceptualizing your story? Did she change at all as you wrote the book?
Laura: I wanted Katie to be a strong girl, but not in an in-your-face kind of way. I wanted her to have a really quiet perseverance and strong pragmatism that would carry her through some really awful things that are asked of her.
The thing that changed the most about Katie as I wrote was her age. I originally intended for her to be an adult woman. But she came out young, as a teenager. She was more naïve, more questioning. She struggled with individuating from her family and felt wanderlust more intensely than an adult would. Her challenges ultimately came to define who she was.
Jen: Between your book and Adaptation by Malinda Lo, I’m becoming suspicious of large gatherings of birds. Are the bird images in your book a Hitchcock thing or is there some kind of avian ESP I should know about?
Laura: In THE HALLOWED ONES, the ravens flee the coming disaster before humans really have an inkling that something terrible has happened. Ravens get a lot of credit for predicting the future. There’s a myth about the Tower of London in our world…that if the ravens that live in the Tower flee, the whole kingdom will fall. As a result, there are several kept in the Tower with their wings clipped today.
Jen: Okay, so I'm keeping my eye on those birds!
I think that The Hallowed Ones is the perfect scary Halloween read. What kind of things (real or fictional creatures, books, movies) do you find scary?
Laura: Thank you!
There are actually a whole lot of things that I find scary.
When I was a really little girl, my grandmother gave me a pair of slippers with plastic clown heads on them. They terrified the daylights out of me, staring at me from the floor near my bed. I couldn’t sleep – I was a shrieking, teary mess.
My mom, thinking she needed to get those clown slippers out of my sight, shoved them under my bed. And all I could think after that was that the clowns were under my bed. Who knows what terrible things they were doing in total darkness? Eeek!
Jen: That story is hilarious! But clowns can be scary. I remember this Scooby Doo episode that had me sleeping with the lights on when I was a kid...
Thanks to Laura for taking the time to stop by. I know she's busy writing The Outside, which is the sequel to The Hallowed Ones. I can't wait to read it!
You can find more about Laura and her books on her website, LauraBickle.com. You can also find her on Twitter or on her blog!
Laura also has a great reading list on her website for those of us who are fascinated with Amish culture.
If you haven't entered my stop on the Spooktacular Halloween Hop -- I'm giving away Laura's book AND zombie finger puppets -- I you can click here to enter to win it!