Thursday, August 4, 2011
AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Alyxandra Harvey
Alyxandra: Thank you! I’ve been really pleased with how readers have taken Violet into their lives. And that they love Violet’s best friend Elizabeth so much was a lovely surpirse.
Scott: How much research did you put into your books? The Victorian society and setting seem to be pretty vivid.
Alyxandra: Victorian Britain, and the 1870’s especially, are such an integral part of Haunting Violet that they may as well be characters in their own right. I have a very developed soft spot for the 19th century, from the waltzes and fireworks at Vauxhall to the Great Exhibition, to the later interest in the paranormal. But since I knew more about the social mores of the Regency than the later Victorian years, I had to broaden my scope.
I read a lot of reference books, history books, and the irreplaceable “Mrs. Beetons”. We invited a medium to have a sitting for us at our house which was great fun. A friend also let me play with her set of Victorian camisoles, corset, gloves and parasol. I was able to admire tiny stitches and the thin white cotton and ribbon details. And having never been to Highgate Cemetery myself, I found YouTube videos surprisingly helpful!
Scott: Of all of the characters you have created, who is your favourite and what about them appeals to you over the others?
Alyxandra: I don’t generally have a favourite character or book beyond the work I’m writing at that moment. I will say Lucy from the Drake Chronicles is one of the easiest to write, so much so that I think she might like her own spin off series!
Alyxandra: Thank you so much! I really wanted to be able to explore the different parts of the Drake world, from the vampires to the hunters to those on the fringes. As well, you can have five people witness an event and they’ll all tell you a different version. For instance, if you say Vampire Princess, there’s a pretty specific image in your head. But for Solange, an actual Vampire Princess, there’s something else entirely. She’s not into tiaras and power, she just wants to be left alone.
I love this aspect of story and I wanted to be able to play with it.
Scott: With many supernatural themes in your books, do you have a favourite power that you would love to have yourself?
Alyxandra:I would really love to time travel. There are so many different time persiod I’d love to visit, but I’d also like to be able to get back home quickly and easily. As much as I love the Middle Ages, Celtic Iron Age, Regency and Victorian Society...I’m not sure I love it all enough to permanently give up hot showers, ice cream and women’s rights.
Shapeshifting wold also be fun!
Scott: As a writer it is interesting to hear what other writers read in their spare time. It is often surprising to hear the genres and variety of books other authors read. Can you tell us what are you reading at the moment and what you five favorite books are?
Alyxandra: I read a lot of historical non-fiction, poetry, romance and YA. I adore Mary Oliver. And I’m currently reading The Hunger Games because I think I might be the only person on the planet who hasn’t read it yet!
Favourite books are always tricky to pick but there are a few I that I just love: Solstice Wood by Patricia McKillip, The Wood Wife by Terri Windling and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. In Romance, I love Lisa Kleypas and Eloisa James.
Scott: A lot of new writers often ask about the amount of pages or words that a published author produces each day. How much time would you spend writing on a typical day, (if a typical day exists for a writer that is)?
Alyxandra: I try to write every day. It’s much easier to keep going than to start again. I don’t have a set schedule-- I love the idea of them and make them up really well but I’m pretty wobbly on the follow through. My inner rebel just sneaks in there. That said, I aim for between 1 and 5 single spaced pages every day. In the last week of a book I can go up to 15 pages when the fire’s hot!
And I carry the book around in my blood and my bones all day and all night, letting it percolate.
Scott: If you were stranded on a desert island, what five authors would you like to have as companions and why?
Alyxandra: A great question! I’d like to hang out with Terri Windling, Mary Oliver, Holly Black...and maybe someone who writes book on how to survive on a desert island.
Scott: Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to your next book.
Thanks for the chat!