I'm the second stop on the Hunted blog tour that's hosted by A Novel Outing, and today I have an interview with the lovely Cheryl Rainfield, author of Hunted!
How did you come up with the idea for Hunted?
I drew on my own life experience for HUNTED. I'm a ritual abuse survivor; my parents were part of cults. So like my main character, Caitlyn, I know what it's like to have my life be threatened. And I know what it's like to be tortured. And I know what it's like to have to choose between hiding who I really am, or being myself, even if it means I'm hurt more. I think that's something a lot of people can identify with--the struggle to be who we are, even if other people don't seem to accept us. HUNTED, for me, is also an analogy to cults or cult-like groups that oppress. I deal with homophobia and racism, but I don't do it in slam-you-over-the-head way; I wrote HUNTED to be an entertaining, adrenaline-rush read. I want it to reach readers!
Another thing that inspired HUNTED is my love of fantasy novels, and especially fantasy where characters have paranormal powers. I read Lois Duncan's Down a Dark Hall over and over again (and many of her other books) as well as Cora Taylor's Julie; those books helped me escape the abuse and torture I was living. And I used to wish for paranormal powers, like telepathy or precognition, so that I'd know what my abusers were going to do before they did it, and maybe escape some of it. Instead, I wrote about it in HUNTED. :)
I talk about it in this video here:
What was the hardest part about writing Hunted, and what did you do to get past these blocks?
The hardest thing for me was trying to make sure that there was enough lightness and good feeling in the book to balance out the hard stuff that Caitlyn dealt with. It's easy for me to write about trauma--it's what I know--although, since I'm drawing on my own trauma when I write my books, that can also be painful.
I do multiple edits of every novel I write, and I take time off from the novel between those rewrites, and that helps me be able to say what I want to say in the way I want to say it. I also care deeply about my books, and that, too, spurs me on.Are there any more books planned after this book as a series?
I am working now on a sequel to HUNTED, and I've had many requests for that from reviewers, which is such a good feeling! I'm trying to write it as both a sequel and a stand alone, so that readers can come into the book at any point. I'm also working on another edgy realistic novel like SCARS.Why did you decide to put Hunted in a dystopian/post-apocalyptic world? Was it easier for you to create a new world?
For me, HUNTED is a reflection of our society. It's not so far off from how some of our society actually is. Since I grew up being tortured in cults, and the cults used a lot of mind control as well as torture, for me it's not a big jump. I also find there's a lot of oppression and hatred already in our society--sexism, racism, homophobia--which is also reflected in HUNTED. But there's also a lot of compassion, hope, and good people in our world, and that, too, I reflected in HUNTED.What made you want to make your main character a telepath?
I used to want telepathy a lot when I was a child and teen; I used to wish for it so that I could know what my abusers did before they did it, and escape some of the abuse and torture. Of course it never happened, but reading other books where characters had telepathy or other paranormal powers gave me a sense of hope, of possibility. It allowed me to dream, and to feel more powerful in a situation where I had no power at all.
I am also very sensitive to other people's emotions--I was hyper aware and alert as a child and teen, to survive the abuse. The way Caitlyn experiences her telepathy, the way she gets overwhelmed by people's thoughts and emotions flooding her, is a bit how I felt at times, growing up.What are you working on right now?I'm working on two novels--the sequel to HUNTED, and another edgy realistic book like my first book SCARS. I'm also working on an edit for my next edgy realistic book, STAINED, about a girl with port wine stain who's abducted and who must find a way to rescue herself, that comes out from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in Fall or Spring of 2013.How long did it take for you to get published?
It took me more than 10 years to get SCARS published, and I got a ton of rejections in that time as I edited and re-edited the manuscript, and sent it out to agents and publishers. I started feeling despairing in the last few years of sending it out and getting personalized and nice rejections but still rejections...and then I had two publishers both offering me a contract around the same time! It was such a delight to get published, and then to have my book reach people.
What were your favorite books of last year and what books are you looking forward to this year?
Some of my favorite books from last year are Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (YA fantasy/time travel); Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey (YA fantasy/medium); Witchlanders by Lena Coakley (YA sci-fi); Tighter by Adele Griffin (YA fantasy).
I'm really looking forward to anything by Ellen Hopkins; Cinda Williams Chima; Pam Bachorz; Kerstin Gier; Alyxandra Harvey; Alex Flinn; and so many other YA authors who are my favorites, and all the new authors whose books I'll be introduced to.
Thanks so much for the great interview Cheryl! I'm also scheduled on the tour for a review of Hunted, so come back on March 18th to see what I thought about this great-sounding dystopian.
Want to know more about Hunted?
Hunted (WestSide Books, Dec 18, 2011, F&W Canada, Feb 2012)
Caitlyn is a telepath in a world where having any Paranormal power is illegal. Caitlyn is on the run from government troopers, who can enslave, torture, or even kill her, or make her hunt other Paranormals. When Caitlyn settles down in a city, she falls for Alex, a Normal (someone without Paranormal powers), which is dangerous because he can turn her in. And she discovers renegade Paranormals who want to destroy all Normals. Caitlyn must decide whether she's going to stay in hiding to protect herself, or take a stand to save the world.
Read the first 6 pages: goo.gl/Z4ciy
Get fr-e-e HUNTED goodies: goo.gl/sq0zu
Check out the rest of the tour! The first stop was by Andie @ A Novel Outing, who's doing a Guest Post!