Yes, I know it's not Friday, in any part of the world. But it's okay because it's still, essentially, the same weekend, which is good enough for me! Today's Featured Blogger is the lovely Rhiannon Hart, who blogs brilliantly about speculative fiction, dystopian lit, and the like. She's a name to watch out for in bookstores in the near future. Welcome, Rhiannon, to Steph Su Reads!
1. Hello, Rhiannon! Tell us about yourself in a few short sentences.
I'm an Aussie writer with a penchant for the apocalypse. Any sort will do--zombie, nuclear, asteroid--but only in books, of course! I write print and online reviews and articles and I'm trying to get a series published, plus work on a standalone novel. Otherwise known as plan B. There may be plan C and D in the works too ... basically I'm just going to keep writing novels until someone picks one up!
2. Tell us about your blog. When did you start it and why? What interesting things can visitors expect?
I started my blog to document my progress in getting published, and because I was boring all my less readerly friends talking about books all the time. When I discovered that there are hundreds and hundreds of book-mad people out there just like me, I just had to get involved! Visitors can expect reviews and news--I like to rave on about anything I'm excited about, like events or film tie-ins. I review new and older stuff, and at the moment I'm especially keen on rediscovering some old favourites. Just about everything is fantasy, dystopian and paranormal.
3. You recently participated in the Dystopia Challenge. What are some of your favorite dystopian reads, and why does the genre appeal to you?
I think that the genre appeals to me so much because the normal rules of society don't apply in dystopian books. As a kid I always used to relish days off that were on weekdays rather than weekends, because I knew that everyone else had to go to school/work. (I think that's the main reason I want to be a writer, too--so I can stay home in my jammies while everyone else gets suited up!) I enjoy seeing how people might react to things like hardship, oppression and persucution (eg. the hero), as well as the temptation of power and an overwhelming sense that they know best (eg. the totalitarian government/Big Brother etc.)
4. You've listed a lot of great titles that I'm definitely going to look in! Now you are an aspiring author, like so many of us are. What are your writing habits like? Can you give us a 3-sentence summary of one of your WIPs?
The WIP currently with agents is about a girl who discovers that her mother's attempt to save her life as a baby has caused her a great affliction: she now bound to a foreign land and destined to become a harming, a slave of the Lharmellins, who are like big wormy land mermaids that drink blood, are magical, and want to take over the world with an artificial ice-age. It's called Lharmell and is the first in a trilogy.
Everyone should read these just because they're so awesome: Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause, the Chaos Walking books by Patrick Ness, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
6. You are planning your dream writing retreat. Who would you take with you (currently published authors, friends, family), where would you go, and what sort of luxuries would await you there?
I would take all my favourite bloggers so I could meet them in person! I'd also take all the authors that I've mentioned above (even if they need to be raised from the dead) and we'd go to some lofty treehouse in the rainforest of Borneo and read aloud our favourite bits from our favourite novels to each other. Plus all the authors would teach all the aspiring writers their secret writing tricks and promise to put a good word in with their agents. Then we'd all get on a plane and go to a YA book expo and go completely MAD with books and signings and sessions.
7. lol, you should come to BEA 2010 then! What are one or two books that have changed the way you thought about writing/storytelling?
I couldn't name one or two. Every book I read I'm trying to reverse engineer it so I can discover how the writer made me feel this way or that way. I've become an even slower reader as I've gotten older, because I tend to mull over a good sentence, feel its rhythm and what it's trying to say.
8. What's your favorite thing about blogging?
The people! You're all so lovely!
9. What are some things you just LOVE to receive for presents? :)
This year I really want a two volume Oxford English Dictionary. Dictionaries are the most fantastic objects, and I always discover at least three new words when I'm hunting for the meaning of one.
10. And finally, what are 2 things about yourself that can spark conversation?
I can wiggle my ears! I usually start a conversation at parties/dinners with strangers by first working out who we both know, and then asking "Do you read?" It's far better than that awful question, "So what do you do?" I also do a very good job of knocking wine glasses onto people when they ask me what my book is about.
I don't know how well the knocking of the wine glasses onto people would be a strategy that works for me, but I loved learning about Rhiannon! Do check out her blog and remember her name, for it's surely one you'll want to watch out for! Thanks for answering my questions, Rhiannon!