HUSH, HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick: An Interview
Becca Fitzpatrick answers questions about her debut novel, HUSH, HUSH, about her journey to publication and about bad boys. Be sure to visit Becca’s website http://beccafitzpatrick.com
Pat: Hi Becca, I have about a thousand questions for you, but before we get to those would you mind giving a quick overview of HUSH, HUSH?
Becca: Sure! It's a darkly romantic story about a girl who falls for a fallen angel with a dark agenda to become human. It's being labeled as a paranormal romance, but it has a strong psychological suspense element.
Pat: HUSH, HUSH centers on angel mythology. Can you tell us why you chose to write about angels and a bit about the mythology behind the story?
Becca: Truth be told, I didn't set out to write a book about fallen angels. I set out to write a book about a really (really) bad boy. Not only that, but a really (really) bad boy who used to be...good. A boy who fell from grace to become someone sinister, sexy and dangerous. Over time, the metaphor of “falling” that I was carrying around in my head became something quite literal – a fallen angel. And when you think about it, fallen angels are the original bad boys. The ultimate bad boys.
Pat: One of the main settings in HUSH, HUSH is an amusement park with a dark underbelly. Personally, do you find parks and rides, like roller coasters, horrifying or fascinating?
Becca: What a great question! I find them horrifying. My earliest memory of riding a roller coaster is from when I was about five or six. It was one of those old rickety wood roller coasters, and when we came to a jarring stop at the end, my body slammed forward and I got a bloody nose from hitting the safety bar. The teenager sitting next to me told me that the monsters living beneath the roller coaster loved to eat children, and would be drawn by the scent of blood. I lived in fear of monsters for weeks.
Pat: HUSH, HUSH’s main character, Nora, demonstrates amazing strength when faced with tough situations and decisions. You showed equal strength by sticking to your writing goals even when things became difficult. Can you talk a bit about perseverance and finding strength as a writer?
Becca: I wasn't exactly a stellar role model, but I think it's important to be patient. Learning takes time. So does growing. Yes, there are authors who write and sell their first book in ten days, but the truth is, that won't be the case for most of us. Now that I've been through the process, I understand how hard it is to get published. There's nothing easy about it. Even after the book deal, it isn't easy. Yes it's rewarding and exciting and a huge accomplishment, but it still requires persistence and hard work. The writing-rewriting-submitting stage is good training ground for what comes later. Hopefully this isn't too cheesy, but writing is a lot like training for a marathon. There are good days and bad days, and days when you just want to give up. There are days when you feel like the work will never end. There are days when you wonder why you're doing this, and there are days when you feel on top of the world. If there's one thing I've learned, though, it's that the most rewarding things in life require the most work. So keep at it!
Pat: During your agent search and before submission to editors you went though several rounds of extensive revisions. Can you talk for a moment about melodrama, suspense and kicking your novel to the next level?
Becca: You know me too well, Patty – I'm the queen of melodrama! For the most part, I enjoy plot-driven novels over character-driven, so that probably explains my tendency toward melodrama. (I tried to keep it at a minimum in HUSH, HUSH, I promise!) For me, plot is the hardest aspect of writing, but also the most rewarding...when you get it right. I learned a lot about plotting over the course of the five years it took me to write HUSH, HUSH. I learned a lot about suspense, and how to create it. I wish I had a secret formula I could share, but I think it comes with practice. Outlining doesn't hurt, either. Ditto on intuition.
Pat: HUSH, HUSH is your first published novel. Have you previously entered writing contests or had short fiction published? If so, do you feel these things were an important part of your success or not?
Becca: After I finished one of the earlier drafts of HUSH, HUSH, I took a break from it and wrote another YA called THE TORNADO INTERVIEWS. It won second place in the Utah Arts Counsel’s writing competition, which took me by complete surprise. Winning was one of the catalysts that pushed me to continue rewriting and submitting HUSH, HUSH, so yes, I think it was instrumental in getting me where I am today.
Pat: Enough serious questions. Let’s talk about Patch. Will the reader ever find out the whole story about his mysterious past? And does Patch really like to cook or is it a put-on?
Becca: Readers will scratch the surface of his past in HUSH, HUSH. They'll figure out how he came to be where he is today, and why he is who he is. As far as figuring out the whole story, I don't think he wants you to know! Yes, he's into cooking. It's fascinating to him, because he can't...well, I won't ruin it for you!
Pat: So what is it that makes a bad boy so darn sexy and irresistible?
Becca: Laughing! I think it's different for every woman. I've always been drawn to the intelligent and thoughtful Boy Scout types, so I guess, for me, the bad boy draw has to do with curiosity and novelty – they're so different from everything I know.
Pat: When you were in high school which of your characters were you the most like: Nora, Vee, Patch . . .
Becca: Let's see. I was nothing like Patch. Nothing like Vee. I liked to do well in school like Nora, but that's where the similarities stop. I can be a bit of a slob, and I don't believe in eating organic. Although I did drive a brown Fiat Spider at one point, so I guess I'm going to have to default to Nora.
Pat: Aside from action and suspense, HUSH, HUSH is an unforgettable love story. What are your favorite fictional romances?
Becca: OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, FLOWERS FROM THE STORM by Laura Kinsale and WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte.
Pat: I understand you are working on a sequel to HUSH, HUSH. Can you tell us a bit about it? Will Nora be the main character and are any of the secondary characters returning?
Becca: Nora returns as the narrator and main character, and Marcie Millar returns to play a much more vital role in the plot. Another minor character gets his big break in the sequel, CRESCENDO, but you'll have to wait to find out who. Also, we find out what really happened the night Nora's dad was murdered...
Pat: Here’s a topic that’s been floating around lj and various writing groups lately.
From the genres they write in, to the colors they use on their websites and what they wear to conventions, some writers actively work on branding themselves. Have you made a conscious effort to brand yourself? Do you have any advice for writers about developing their public image?
Becca: I've heard this. To me, it makes sense. After all, if you write crime fiction, your website probably shouldn't be pink with stars and rainbows. People are more likely to remember and understand authors who have a strong and consistent brand. Readers are smart and savvy, and know what they're looking for. If an author doesn't have a clear brand, they might be overlooked by readers who aren't sure what they write.
Thank you so much for answering my questions. Would you be willing to stop by later and answer any additional question readers might have?
Thanks for having me here, Patty! Absolutely – I'll check back throughout the day.