Welcome to The Outside Blog Tour. Today we have a fun interview with the author, Laura Bickle. If you want to know more about The Outside, a YA paranormal book, then see what Laura has to say below. Enjoy.
The Hallowed Ones Book Two
Genre: paranormal YA
Date of Publication: September 3, 2013
SummaryOne girl. One road. One chance to save what remains… After a plague of vampires is unleashed in the world, Katie is kicked out of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. Now in exile, she enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two “English” friends and a horse by her side. Together they seek answers and other survivors—but each sunset brings the threat of vampire attack, and each sunrise the threat of starvation.
And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all?
In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to leave behind in return?
Jennifer: How did you come up with the world in The Outside?
Laura: I live not too far from a large Amish settlement. When I was a little girl, my parents would take me to visit, and I was fascinated by a world very different than the one I lived in. I’d see Amish girls my age over the fence and wonder what their lives were like.
Some of that curiosity lingered, and I always wanted to revisit it in a story. It popped back into my head when I was writing about a catastrophic contagion. Considering all the incredible self-sufficiency the Amish apply in their everyday lives, it seemed to me that they would be uniquely well-equipped to survive a large-scale disaster.
Part of the book is loosely based in Amish country, and the parts beyond the settlement are inspired by the landscape of rural Ohio. Researching the Amish way of life was fascinating, but it was also a lot of fun to write what I knew about other parts of my home state.
Jennifer: What were the best and most challenging parts of writing The Outside?
Laura: My favorite part was getting the opportunity to boot my heroine, Katie, outside of her Amish community. Since she was a little girl, she yearned for a chance to experience life beyond the gate of her settlement. Now that the world has been devastated by a plague of vampires, she’s challenged to use her self-reliance in unexpected ways to survive. It’s really a case of “be careful what you wish for.”
The most challenging part for me is always getting started writing a book. Staring at the blank page scares the daylights out of me.
Jennifer: If you were going to come up with a theme song for The Outside, what song would it be?
Laura: “When You Were Young” by the Killers.
Jennifer: Finish this sentence: I cannot write without…
Laura: Peace and quiet! I’ve never really been able to write well in coffee shops and places with a lot of people and noise. I get too distracted and self-conscious about whether I’m chewing my pen, making faces, or muttering under my breath. I really like being alone, and my little writing nest helps me concentrate.
Jennifer: What kind of books do you like to read? Have any favorites?
Laura: I love to read fantasy, any flavor.
My all-time favorite book is Robin McKinley’s HERO AND THE CROWN. I read it when I was a pre-teen, and fell in love with fantasy ever after. It was the first book I’d read that had a female protagonist who slew her own dragons. I was hooked.
Lauren DeStefano is another favorite. The Chemical Garden Trilogy is a must-read. I love her characters and the dilemmas she places them in – just extraordinary work that really makes me feel. I can’t wait for The Internment Chronicles.
Jennifer: Can you tell us three surprising facts about yourself?
Laura: Cats find me and enslave me. Every feral or stray cat within a ten mile radius knows where my house is through their magical cat-antennae. They turn up on my doorstep and move in. It’s a gift. Really.
I belly dance. Occasionally. Not well. And never in public.
I just started karate lessons this summer. I am the world’s most uncoordinated student, but I have thus far managed not to hurt myself or anyone else. Which is a success.
Jennifer: Can you tell us a little about your experience in getting published?
Laura: I’ve always been scribbling, since I was old enough to hold a crayon. I didn’t believe, until recently, that other people would want to read what I wrote.
Writing as Laura Bickle and Alayna Williams, I wrote four urban fantasies. Two are best summed up as “Ghostbusters in Detroit with dragons and arson” (EMBERS and SPARKS). The other two, DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE, are about a criminal profiler who uses Tarot cards to solve crimes.
THE HALLOWED ONES and its sequel, THE OUTSIDE, are YA thrillers. It’s been a lot of fun to see another part of the publishing business with YA.
If I had it to over again, I’d get over my shyness earlier and start submitting my work sooner. Submitting was scary, and I accumulated a lot of rejection slips. A lot. But submitting really taught me some good lessons in persistence and not taking business decisions personally.
Jennifer: Any writing tips you can share with those of us just starting to write?
Laura: I keep an old-fashioned paper notebook for each book I write. They’re largely illegible, containing scribbled notes and outlines, pasted scraps of articles, and bent photos. But I know where everything is. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to see how I’ve progressed through the project – all my finds are marked with a date. They are, in their ways, journals. They’re a great way to get organized and keep inspired.
Jennifer: I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to answer a few of my questions. Is there anything else you would like to mention before we part ways?
Laura: Thank you so much for interviewing me! It was a pleasure to meet you and your readers.
Author BioLaura Bickle’s professional background is in criminal justice and library science, and when she’s not patrolling the stacks at the public library she’s dreaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs (she also writes contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams).
Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and six mostly-reformed feral cats.
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