Interview: Rae Hachton, Author of Pretty in Black1:55 AM
About this author:
What was the writing process like for this novel?
I remember the very first day I sat down at the computer to type the first word of Pretty in Black. It was April 9, 2011, and the sun was so very bright. I began writing this novel approximately at 1 p.m. And I wrote it in order, right after I made character profiles for both Marcus and Ellie. The very first words I wrote are the ones that open the book. I wrote every single day after that first day, and finished the first draft on May 6, 2011. The book sat on my desk for about a month before editing began, and during editing I added additional pages. The feeling I had when writing this novel is something I will never forget. I cannot quite describe it, but it was amazing.
How did you find the idea?
The idea found me instead, actually. In December 2010, snow had covered everything and I was sorta sad because I was 21 years old and I hadn’t written another book since Maybe, Maybe Not which I wrote when I was 19, and I knew I wanted to be an author, but I knew it would never happen if I didn’t actually write the books, so I was really upset with myself because I had no fresh ideas from which to compose a somewhat original manuscript. I stayed upset for a while, until March 2011 when I visited a cemetery at 10 pm one night, and I had a hallucination. I saw two people sitting on a grave—a guy and a girl—and they were talking, but when they embraced each other it was tragic, and I wanted to know why. So, this is the image I brought home with me, and I knew I must answer the question: why were two young people were out here this late at night, sitting on a grave, looking sad? Were they dead? Was one of them dead and the other one alive? The next day, all I could do was ask myself questions, and I kept doing this for a while, and I had a breakthrough in answers when The Raveonettes released their album Raven in the Grave. The song “My Time’s Up” inspired the entire Pretty in Black novel, but a lot of the other songs on that album helped me focus on this story, that was both beautiful and tragic and centered around love, death, and dying. After that, everything just sorta fell into place, and since Ellie was definitely a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, just like I am, he too, had a significant influence on this novel.
What kind of things inspired you?
A-ha! I’ve answered some of that in the question above but I can elaborate. Besides the cemetery, and The Raveonettes, and Poe, there were tons of other songs that inspired this book series, some of which found their way on the official Pretty in Black soundtrack which can be found on my blogs. I have always been a Corvidae lover, which means I love Ravens and Crows. I even have some living out in my backyard. Also, I loved the movie The Crow! And I’ve always been a fan of any deep romance, especially Romeo & Juliet, my all time favorite, so these things came together in an unique way to bring us Pretty in Black. And I have a whole set of new influences for the second book in the series, Black Satin!
Did you have any set backs while writing your novel?
I didn’t have any actual set backs, but when it was time for the cover design and layout of the novel, it took a while to decide on the overall style and art of the design/layout/story as a whole. I went through 10 different cover designs before landing on the one I have now, and in order to tell the story in the most effective way possible, I had to cut out a lot of content and rearrange some things, which is why I believe some people “don’t really get it” and that’s okay, because these things that were cut from the first book, reappear in Black Satin and everything will finally add up and “make sense” in ways that are unexpected.
I wanted to introduce readers to the story without blowing the entire plot arc for the series. I don’t like to give stuff away just for the sake of doing so. I like it to unfold, and readers have to pick up clues, and when it finally does “make sense” it should be in a way that “makes sense” but was not guessed earlier on in the series.
For example, in Twilight [& I can’t believe I am going to reference this book again, LOL] we spend a great deal of it in Bella’s head while she questions what Edward is? Kryptonite? Spider bite? Super hero? NO! he’s a vampire, as told to us on the back cover in the blurb. So that was sorta pointless perhaps? But I will not tell you what is going on, and then make you suffer through endless pages of a character trying to figure out for themselves what we already know.
But when you finally find out what is actually going on in Pretty in Black I believe that the aggravation some of you may feel right now from NOT knowing will dissipate and you’ll feel that the journey was worth it all.
I enjoyed reading from Marcus' more then Ellie, Who's head did you enjoy being in the most?
While I do love Ellie, I had more fun writing from Marcus’s POV. The interactions between the people in Nevermore were more awesome to compose. Also, Marcus’s POV was added to the book very last, after I had removed the other content from the first book, because I felt it was completely necessary in order to effectively tell this story.
But I knew we all needed to be in Ellie’s head for several reasons, the most awesome one being we wanted to see how gorgeous Marcus was in the way that only Ellie could relate it to us.
Where did the names come from?
The names were immediate. When I sat down to write this novel, it was almost as is they were beside me and had told me their names themselves. The names fit them well, and they stayed for the rest of the novel.
Who would you cast as Ellie and Marcus if you were to make a movie.
Oh, this is easy. For Marcus it would be Ephraim Ellis and for Ellie it would be Stacey Farber.
Yes, both actors are from Degrassi because I’m a major Degrassi fan. Not only do I think these actors are absolutely perfect for the characters, but they look exactly like them and I know they would bring the characters to life because those two actors were the best actors that Degrassi ever had, besides Justin Kelly, who now plays “Jake” which, and I’ll just toss this out there, we are going to be introduced to a new character in book two whose name is Walter, and Justin Kelly would play his part.
What is your favorite novel of all time?
Wow, this is a tough one, so I will go with my favorite classic novel: Wuthering Heights
Why should people buy your novel and not some one elses?
I believe that one should buy the kind of books that he or she likes best, so I think the best audience for Pretty in Black would be anyone who enjoys Dark and Gothic fiction with fantasy elements that is balanced with romance. More than any other factor in Pretty in Black series, readers will definitely get the romance. Some books say Paranormal Romance, but slack on the romance part; mine will not do that. The romance will definitely be evident in every book, and will only get more intense.
What advice would you give to young Authors?
Instead of telling young authors to read a lot and write a lot and to never give up, I say this instead:
Write the type of stories that you are suited to write. These are the ones that excite you, wake you up in the middle of the night. Write the book that is missing on the shelves. Do not write the things that other people are writing. Do not be afraid of the stories that are within you. Do not write for the trend or for publication, because by the time you recognize a trend, it is long past gone and something else is silently taking its place. Write because writing the story makes you happy. Do not look up how to write or ways to write because this will do you no good. You do not need permission to write. And if you do, then: GO write, Right Now. Compose your story in the way that it comes to you. This is your story, this is your art piece. And doing what everyone else is doing will only give you more of the same, and over time, this will be boring and you’ll lose the thing that makes you an unique writer. I believe that the authors who are remembered the most are the ones who were themselves, think about that for a moment. Make a list of the authors you still hear about today. Each one wrote in a unique way, and you would easily be able to recognize that author’s story. So in the end, just be yourself. Don’t worry about whether it’s good or not, or publishable or not. Just make sure that in the end, it is yours and you will be fabulous.
When can we see more Ellie and Marcus action?
Black Satin on May 28, 2012!
Can you tell us if the next novel will be from Ellie or Marcus's head?
Black Satin will be divided equally between Marcus and Ellie both, but will open with Marcus Marble. However, book three has more Marcus and only a little of Ellie, and the last book will only have Marcus’s POV.
What is a perfect death?
Dying in the arms of the person you love.
Do you see your self in Ellie?
Most definitely. Two people couldn’t be more alike than us.
Tell us something fun about you.
I daydream, ALL of the time. So much, in fact, that I have created my own alternate universe in my head. Also, I have playlists and soundtracks for almost everything. I have one for driving, shopping, I have one for rainy days, I have one for mediation and inspiration, etc. I have a soundtrack for every book that I intend to write in the future. I have one for Halloween and Day of the Dead, and even one for my future wedding.
how can we learn more about you?
Formspring! Just ask me some questions, I love to talk! http://www.formspring.me/raehachton
Anything else to say for your self?
Probably! Ask me some more questions!