Google+ YA Romantics: Interview with Laura Bickle -- author of The Hallowed Ones!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Interview with Laura Bickle -- author of The Hallowed Ones!


My regular blog readers know that I loved The Hallowed Ones. 



Here's what I said -- you can find my complete review here....

"The Hallowed Ones is a thinking person's thriller, a post-apocalyptic horror story that's both truly scary and deeply thoughtful. Katie is a great heroine -- she feels safe in her small, conservative group of Plain folk, but she's also deeply curious about life outside. When an apocalyptic disaster strikes, the Amish elders preach that tragedy is God's will and obedience is required. Katie tries to follow the rules, but she just can't help but question them. And break them. Will her rebellious ways lead to her salvation or her downfall? I was on the edge of my seat waiting to find out."

I was so excited that Laura agreed to let me interview her...



Jen: Hi, Laura! I’m such a fan of The Hallowed Ones! Thanks so much for agreeing to stop by and answer a few questions…

Laura: Thanks so much for inviting me to come by! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed THE HALLOWED ONES, and I really appreciate the chance to “meet” your readers!

Jen: You’ve said said in other interviews that the idea for writing about a girl in an Amish community facing cataclysmic disaster came about as you thought about who might be best-equipped to survive an apocalyptic event.  If you could give yourself one (non-magical) skill that would help you survive the apocalypse, what would it be?

Laura: Hmm. I think that I’d most like to have a better understanding of native plants. I have some idea of what things are edible around here and which aren’t, but I’d love to know more about what can be used for medicine. I have a terrible black thumb, so I’d be pretty dependent on what I could find and not cultivate on my own! 

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 na├»ve, 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!

35 comments:

  1. Great interview! I loooooved this book!!

    That's interesting about the ravens in the Tower of London -- I had no idea they kept birds with clipped wings in it! Seems kind of weird ...

    My friend's grandma once made me a doll and it was the creepiest thing ever. I refused to take it home and ran home crying. My mom eventually got the doll and told me to say thank you and quit being a brat. ANYWAY, at night I would prepare the doll for bed by pinning its arms in its blanket and make it face the wall. It was the ONLY way I could get to sleep.

    Thanks for sharing, Jen!

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    1. Laughing as I imagine you strait-jacketing that doll so it couldn't come and get you in the night!!!

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    2. I love the image of the doll in the blanket strait-jacket! I wish I'd thought of that to do with the clown slippers... :-(

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  2. Awesome interview! I have seen reviews for this book. It definitely catches my eye :)

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    1. Thanks, Savannah! Jen is a wonderful interviewer - I'm so happy that she asked me!

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  3. What a fun interview, Jen! And you have succeeded in making me want to read The Hallowed Ones EVEN more. You must stop this nonsense, my TBR books are backed up enough!;)

    I liked the bird references most. Love the story about The Tower of London, Laura! I didn't know that but now I am intrigued and want to learn more.

    And I know how you feel about menacing flocks of birds, Jen, so I like how you slipped that in to the interview as well!:)

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    1. I swear -- everytime I go outside I am glancing suspiciously at birds. Those beady eyes, those pointy beaks....

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    2. Thanks, Heather!

      I won't tell you that I feed the ravens around here. There are a pair that come by my yard almost daily...they are very shy and prefer shredded wheat... ;-)

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  4. This was a great interview. I was only somewhat interested in this book before, but after reading your review and now this interview it sounds like one I need to read.

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    1. Enter the giveaway. There are zombie finger puppets too! They're super-cute :)

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    2. Thanks, Amy! I appreciate it! :-)

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  5. The Hallowed Ones was one of my favorite books this year. I love how it really made me think, while at the same time, scaring the heck out of me!

    That's so interesting that Katie's age changed. It would have been a very different story if she was older. I think it works with her younger. It's an age where you tend to question things and your place in the world anyway. The events happening around her just heighten that.

    And....clown slippers?? That would scare me too!

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    1. Thanks so much, Karen!

      Yeah, I tried it with her older, but she 'read' much younger...my beta readers were convinced she was a teen, and it made so much more sense to make her a young adult!

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  6. Great interview! I hadn't heard of this book till I saw it on the shelf at the bookstore where I work last night. It looks really good!

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    1. Thanks so much, Lisa! I hope it grows wings and flies off your shelves! :-)

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  7. Clown slippers?!?! No, just... no. And omg that pic from Scooby Doo is creeping me out. LOL Thanks for sharing this interview! :)

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    1. Yes. Clown slippers! And I remember that episode, too...creepy stuff!

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  8. Thanks so much for hosting me today, Jen! I'm having so much fun! :-D

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  9. Thanks so much for coming by to say hello! Clearly I need to do a post on childhood phobias -- these are such funny stories!

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    1. Childhood phobias - yes! Plenty of story fodder there! :-)

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  10. Awesome, awesome interview, Jen! I had no idea this was going to be a series, but I already wanted to read The Hallowed Ones after your brilliant review. And just so you know, I hate clowns, too. I blame it on my parents for letting me watch IT with them when I was an impressionable youth. Oh, and I loved how you describe Katie! I can't wait to meet her!

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    1. Uh oh -- I am probably warping my poor kids!!

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    2. I still haven't been able to bring myself to watch IT. Nuh-uh!

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  11. The Hallowed Ones is definitely one of my favorite scary books. I've been telling everyone they need to read it before Halloween :) Great interview! I used to hate clowns when I was little, like I was completely terrified of them. I would have thrown the clown shoes right out the door!

    Jesse @ Pretty in Fiction

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    1. Ha -- here we think we're being so nice, buying dolls and clowns for our kids...

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    2. Thanks, Jesse! Clowns are ebil...

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  12. I had never heard that about the ravens and the Tower of London-that's a cool story and one I'd certainly not disregard if I were British!

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    1. It's a cool superstition...someday, I'd love to see the Tower of London and the ravens in person. :-)

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  13. Yay for hosting an author you love! I am really excited to read The Hollowed Ones. It sounds so fantastic and I loved your review of it and this interview, too!

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    1. Thanks so much, fakesteph! I appreciate it. :-)

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  14. Slippers with plastic clown heads? :-( That is a cruel, cruel thing to do to a child. But maybe the terror helped spark the awesomely creepy scenes in THE HALLOWED ONES!

    I really enjoyed the book too. Thanks for posting this fun interview!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. Thanks so much, Wendy!

      It sure felt cruel at the time, LOL! My grandma is a little...warped!

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  15. A great interview. THE HALLOWED ONES is on my wish list.

    Clowns are scary.

    I bought my daughter some smurf sheets when she was about 5. She woke up screaming during the night. She had dreamed they were crawling all over her. We never used them again. Gave them to a young cousin who thought they were fun.

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    1. Oh noes! I have fond memories of Smurfs, but I can see where they could be scary!

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