So since I slacked on the posting – Winner will be drawn end of day Nov. 2nd and posted Nov. 3rd!
Final Day – Halloween Celebration – Interview with Victoria Kinnaird!
Today we’re talking with Victoria Kinnarird, author of The Red Sun Rises, one of the best YA books I’ve read this year. If you haven’t had a chance to read this book, you really need to go out and check it out! An amazing book, with so much depth.
Let’s start at the beginning, The Red Sun Rises address a completely different dynamic in the vampire genre, which is, a gay vampire. This has risen a few eyebrows, but it doesn’t hinder the story. If at all, it heightens the story, so all readers. So, what made you decide to create this dynamic in your story
I didn’t set out to write a gay vampire book, I just wanted to portray teen sexuality in a way that felt real. Vampires are very sexual creatures, and I think vampires that dabble in homosexuality are more common than people realise – there was definitely something romantic going on between Louis and Lestat! I just think people were surprised to see it discussed so openly and without a massive deal being made out of it. There’s a reason that Eren’s sexuality in particular is not mentioned at all in the blurb, and that’s because I felt like making a big deal out of it would be doing the novel a disservice. Eren is in a gay relationship and he has a gay best friend, but he accepts those things without giving them much thought at all, and I really wanted my readers to have the same reaction. But really, Eren just kind of showed up in my head that way. He’s incredibly charming, perhaps more charming than he realizes so of course his best friend would be in love with him! I thought it would be a more interesting play on the love triangle if all three people involved were male because that is something that so seldom occurs.
Next, the prophesy.. this plays a huge role in the first book. Was it hard coming up with an ancient prophesy, and making it sound realistic?
The prophecy actually came really easily to me. I knew that it would have the line: “and as the red sun rises…” in it, because that is of course where the name of the book comes from, and the rest just clicked into place. The prophecy is cool because Eren doesn’t believe in fate, at all, and he does not believe his destiny has been chosen for him. This is something that will come up again in Book 2 and Book 3!
I love how big of a role music plays in TRSR, why do you think music is so important to Eren, and even Corbijn as well?
Eren is someone who struggles to communicate with the world around him. He doesn’t communicate well with his dad, with his friends, or with his peers but he feels like music is something he really, truly understands. So much of Eren’s past and his future are completely unknown to him and I think he, as a character, takes real comfort in music. That’s why he goes to such lengths to see his favourite band play, why his favourite place in town is the music store and why he covers his walls with posters of his favourite musicians. It’s probably the one thing in his whole life – before Corbijn – that made sense to him. Corbijn’s relationship with music is slightly different, because one of his former selves was a classical violinist, so he can remember having a very deep connection with music and that is something he will rediscover through Eren as time goes on. Corbijn understands that Eren communicates better with a guitar in his hand, and they have a very touching scene together where Corbijn gets Eren to play.
I think the theme of being an outcast is done is such a lovely way in these books. It’s all too common anymore for books to take a outcast and make him a hero, but in TRSR, Eren does become the hero, but it doesn’t mean that he’s going to actually be accepted, by either side, because of his power, but I think he learns that being an outcast isn’t the worst thing you can be. What made you shy away from the classic outcast to hero model?
I just found the whole thing incredibly boring, to be honest. The things that made Eren an outcast have not gone away by the end of the book, he’s just as challenging as he was at the start – if not more so because he is a lot more confident by the end. I thought it would be entirely unrealistic for people to suddenly accept him just because he has done something good for them. If anything, Eren gaining the power he ends up with would drive people further away – they are scared of him, and that sort of fear breeds hatred. Having everyone worship at his feet just didn’t feel right for the story or the character.
I think in more than one way, your YA book really breaks down some commonly held beliefs in the way a YA book should work, but it’s got such strong heart in it, that you can’t deny what a good model this book is for younger teens. It’s inspiring, and it’s not too over-the-top. Did you set out to write this story to be a help to people? Or did it just turn out that way during the writing process?
I didn’t actively set out to write something that would help people, I just wanted to write something that was real, had heart, and that people enjoyed reading. I guess the moral messages in the book just wove themselves naturally in the story. I didn’t set it out in a way that each section of the book would deal with a different message or anything like that, it just came together that way. I’m glad it turned out the way it did, I think it’s very insulting when a book tries to tell you how to think and what to feel. If people take lessons from this book at all, it’s because they found them there, I didn’t put big neon signs in to the story (or at least I hope I didn’t!) and I think that’s why the feedback has been so positive – no one has been hit over the head with a moral tale!
Let’s talk bad guys..Gaunt has got so many elements to him that just make your skin crawl. Where do you get your inspiration for writing a villain like that?
Gaunt was really fun to write and that’s because he is completely over the top, and he knows it. He knows he’s a creep and he’s happy to play up to it. He’s someone who is very limited by the expectations of others and he doesn’t see past that at all. However, I hope that some readers understand that there is something very sad about Gaunt as a character, he’s kind of a hopeless romantic in a way and that makes him even more unpredictable! He has a brief cameo in Book 2 that I think people will really enjoy because it adds another layer to him.
TRSR quotes, everyone’s got favorites, and you can see them all over goodreads, but what are your favorite quotes, from the author? Since you wrote them and understand their meaning more than anyone, can you give us a look at a few of your favorites?
I do have some favourites. When Corbijn says to Eren, “We’re together, you and I,” – I thought that was really sweet. Corbijn was raised in a very strange way and so this concept of dating and boyfriends is very foreign to him. I think that’s one line that gives real insight in to how Corbijn views his relationship with Eren. I also like when Eren quotes Twilight to Corbijn, I think that’s really fun and it’s just my nod to that series. Some of my favourite lines come about when Eren is discussing being turned into a vampire – so when Andy tells him that his dad is saying he’s dead and Eren says something along the lines of “Well, he’s not wrong” – those sort of half mumbled one liners are some of my favourites!
Dream Cast & Crew time! Who are your Eren, Corbijn, Andy, Guant ect? Do you have a director you’d like to get their hands on TRSR? Share with us a look at some of the people you’d like to bring the TRSR to life!
I was actually playing Fan Casting on my Facebook page the other day! It’s always fun to play. I think it’s hard for me to play it because the vision I have in my head is so clear that finding people to match it is pretty difficult. In an ideal world, I’d have Jamie Campbell Bower as Eren, Nicholas Hoult as Corbijn, Andrew Garfield as Andy, Jared Leto as Robert Anderson, Bryce Dallas Howard as Lilith and Robert Downey Jnr as Gaunt – not too much to ask for, right?! In terms of director, I’d really like Marc Webb. He’d be my dream director. I love his music videos, and I think he did a wicked job with (500) Days of Summer and the reboot of Spiderman, so I think he’d get the balance between heart and hero absolutely right. The soundtrack would be all my favourite bands – AFI, My Chemical Romance, Kill Hannah, Linkin Park, The Used, Alkaline Trio, A Day to Remember and so on!
Let’s talk TRSR: Fire and Ash, the next book in the series. You’ve given a few sneak peeks on the story, but can you give us an overview of the story’s next chapter?
The next book is a lot darker because Eren starts to realize that he can’t leave what happened in All Hallows behind him. The things he saw and that he lived through will be with him for the rest of his life – that’s something he has to come to terms with, and Book 2 finds him really struggling with that. He also goes up against The Order in a really big way, and starts to understand that the power he has is not going to endear him to The Order – in fact, it’s going to make them fear him and that fear will prompt them to treat him really badly. Everyone has to grow up in this book, they had to make their own decisions and they all have to live with the consequences those decisions will have on the people around them.
The relationships in TRSR were just getting moving. Eren & Corbijn, as well as the new bond between Eren and Andy. Can you give us a little insight into how this is going to help develop their characters in the next book?
The relationships between Eren, Corbijn and Andy are evolving pretty rapidly by Book 2. Eren’s feelings for Corbijn (and vice versa) continue to deepen, so that opens some pretty frightening questions around what they would be willing to do to save each other. Eren’s relationship with Andy is in an interesting place, because Book 1 finished with Andy declaring his love for Eren, how they deal with that – and how Corbijn deals with that – is going to be addressed in Book 2. Corbijn and Andy also find themselves living together, so the reader is going to get an insight into their relationship to each other as well.
Last question, I know that being an indie author is a tough road, do you want to give us a little insight into your journey to publishing and some of the things that really reminded you that this is worth it?
My journey to publishing was a bit of a convoluted one. I studied creative writing at uni and my lecturers were very much about the traditional route – write your book, find an agent, get published. Over the past few years, that model has become very out dated. Why do I need an agent? No one is going to be more passionate about my work than I am, so why let some stranger take it on and sell it? But I did go down the agent route and very quickly found it to be quite time consuming and unhelpful. I was introduced to Linna Drehmel, from Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing through a mutual friend. She was very supportive and encouraged me to go it alone and submit to publishers directly. I picked six publishers who were willing to accept manuscripts direct from authors – including CHBB – and submitted to them. Three of the six offered me a deal. I chose CHBB because I felt that it was important for this book to be presented in the right way. I wanted to keep the bad language, the all male love triangle and that sort of thing and luckily, SJ Davis at CHBB is a very brave woman who agreed with me. The first time I saw my book cover was when it really struck home. Having the book ranking on Amazon on release day was just incredible. Seeing some of the reviews has been wonderful too – they really did touch my heart. I never expected anyone to love this book as much as some people do and that means a lot to me. I recently received my first batch of the paperback edition, and holding my book in my hands has been really, really special! So it’s been a long road but definitely worth it.
Thank you Victoria for coming on the blog and really giving us your side of the story! What an amazing story it is!
Today’s entry, just comment on here and let me know if you’d want to read The Red Sun Rises!