1257157 Curiosities served
2008-03-25 9:49 AM
Interview with Tiffany Trent
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As many people already know (from all the gushing I've done here in the past), I absolutely adore Tiffany Trent's Hallowmere series. Her books are lush, gothic fantasies for teenage girls, set in the unsettled historical time period just after the American Civil War, and rich with vampiric fey, doomed romance, and strong female friendships. They're atmospheric and compelling, and I eat them up like chocolate! Her third novel, Between Golden Jaws, is officially out today, and in honor of her book-birthday, she's doing a blog tour across the internet. I was thrilled to get the chance to interview her here.
One of the things I've been really impressed with in your first two Hallowmere books is how well you filter in little historical details to make the Victorian setting feel vivid and real. There's never any info-dumping - we're just *there*, whether it's 19th-century Virginia or Scotland. How do you do your research for the Hallowmere novels? And have you ever come across any historical facts in your research that really surprised you?
The best way I can describe how I do research is that I’m following a thread through the labyrinth. I don’t know whether I’m going to find the Minotaur or something else entirely when I start. I just keep working my way through it. One tip leads to another. With John Pelham in In the Serpent's Coils, I was really looking for a Confederate hero. The poems about him appealed to me—the legends of his gallantry and so on. I had no idea he’d actually died at Kelly’s Ford near where I set Falston. And then I wanted to send the girls on a field trip to a battlefield, and there he was. Then, it all fell together like pieces of a puzzle (and there are still parts of that puzzle that have yet to be revealed, actually).
And one thing that was a surprise about John Pelham--perhaps the most fascinating!--is that it turns out I'm related to him by marriage, actually. I had no idea about that when I started. How often is it that one is related to one's characters?
The fairies in Hallowmere are dark and freaky and cool. How much of your magical system is based on lore you read, and how much of it did you create yourself?
Almost all of it is based on lore. But I remember when I was asked to explain what Hallowmere was, I sat down and wrote the mythos in one big breath and sent it off to my editor, who loved it, thankfully. I felt strongly that fairies are probably like many things in an ecosystem—they don’t last forever, but are recycled and become something different. Their power comes from change. Then I considered that probably many of them didn’t like this idea of being recycled, and so would seek immortality. And hence came the notion of vampirism…
The atmosphere in Hallowmere is beautifully lush and Gothic, complete with an extremely dangerous and amoral (and incredibly sexy) love interest. As a teen, I know I would have swooned over the Fae Prince! (Actually, I still do, when I read your books.) Did you grow up reading Gothic novels, or is this type of novel something you've only discovered as an adult?
I grew up loving Edgar Allan Poe and all the Romantic sorts—Byron, Keats, the Shelleys, Coleridge. As an undergrad, I discovered Gothic Lit, particularly lovelies like Horace Walpole, Matthew Lewis, and Charlotte Dacre. Dacre’s work especially compelled me and I even left a bit of tribute to her by having Corrine get in trouble for reading her book, Zofloya.
The third Hallowmere book, Between Golden Jaws, is coming out on March 25th. (Yay!) Can you give any hints about what we can look forward to in it? I know the next several books in the series will be told from different POVs. Will the end of Book 3 feel like the end of a complete trilogy, or will Corinne's storyline continue in later books?
Corrine’s story will continue in Book 10, Ouroboros Undone. Book 3 may not feel like the closing of a complete trilogy, but it *will* be the catapult into new and exotic adventures!
What are you planning to write next, after the Hallowmere series is finished?
I *hope* I’ll be writing a historical fantasy about Charles Darwin. But we’ll see about that. I would also like to work on writing more short stories, because that’s a skill I feel I need to perfect.
Thanks so much for hosting me!
I should add - since Tiffany and I did this interview, I was lucky enough to read an early copy of Between Golden Jaws, and it was delicious - my favorite book yet in the series, which is saying a lot.
You can also check out Tiffany's website, her livejournal, and two other stops so far in her blog tour: an entry she wrote on Alma Alexander's blog about her non-writing life with bears, and another interview with Tiffany on Sherwood Smith's blog, which focuses on the particular issues of YA writing and gives more hints about the progression of the series.
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