I am so excited that Rachael is my first interview for my blog! Here is what she had to say about her book Amaranth.
First of all tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Orlando but my heart belongs to the Pacific Northwest. I’ll get there soon enough. I live with my equally movie-obsessed, witty husband, 2 cats, and a crazy black lab retriever. I’m an animal lover, have a serious case of wanderlust, and am obsessed with indie films and music. Freelance writer by day, novelist and poet by night. Not a bad life.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I wanted to write since I was a kid, I just never thought I could actually pursue it and be successful at it. I sent off stories to publishers in 2nd grade and got letters of encouragement, and grew up writing song lyrics, poetry, and movie scripts, but it wasn’t until high school and my first year of college that my English teachers began pulling me aside after class suggesting that I seriously consider writing. A few years ago after hopping from dead-end job to dead-end job and being really artistically frustrated, I decided to make it more than a hobby. My poetry started getting published in literary magazines and then I decided to release the book. I’ve felt at home ever since. I can’t imagine doing anything else now.
Your novel has recently been released, how do you feel about that?
I’m thrilled and kind of lost all at the same time. I love sharing my work with others, and yet I’m such a private person that wearing it on my sleeve for the world to see freaks me out a bit. I just feel humbled that anyone is interested enough to my work. I know how it is taking a chance on a debut novel and a new author, especially when there is already so much vampire fiction out there to choose from. I’m just really thankful and having a blast launching the beginning of the series.
What was the inspiration for the characters?
I get most of my inspiration from indie flicks and music I listen to, particularly gritty, dark, and moving films. And Tim Burton. Everything Tim Burton. Florence and the Machine is my biggest influence. I listen to them a lot when I write, and listen to a lot of opera and heavy rock, too. Emotional, dramatic movies and music in general inspired the characters. As did a former French teacher of mine, whose real first name was Samira. She inspired Samira’s character in a huge way. She was very exotic, elegant, and she intimidated me every day in class because I really looked up to her. So I turned her into this incredibly exquisite yet deadly woman with a lot of power. Audrey was inspired by a real best friend I’ve had and lost.
Did you take personal experience and adapt it into the book?
There are definitely a lot of experiences and thoughts in the story that were personal in a metaphoric sense. Others were based on literal experiences, such as a family history of abuse and drug problems. I drew from all of that and used it to shape the story and Camille’s self-deprecating personality.
Do you have any authors that inspired you?
Absolutely. Sylvia Plath would be the first. Her work is so beautiful and so haunting, it just cuts through me. I also love Cormac McCarthy, his poetic and profound prose really floors me. And despite all of the haters out there, I love what Stephenie Meyer did with Twilight. I’m a complete fan-geek girl of the series.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I love all kinds of literary fiction and poetry, vampire fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, and romance. Right now I’m reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac and Angel Time by Anne Rice. I don’t mind super-girly romance, I’m just picky. Like I love The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, but don’t try to get me to read a Harlequin novel. I just start laughing and I can’t take it seriously. Not my thing.
Why did you pick the Bayou as your main scene for the book?
I’ve always had a fascination with Southern Louisiana, had always wanted to visit. I think it has this mystical, eerie quality to it that just lures you in. I finally got the chance to visit the areas I talk about in the book a few years ago and I was mesmerized the whole time I was there. That’s when the idea for the story came. I could see Camille and Gavin living there, could picture the bookstore where Camille worked, and the Hoodoo shop. Cafe Des Amis is a real pace, actually. I visited it while I was there and I remember passing through the bayous, too. I felt completely drawn to it. It’s very mysterious.
Do you believe in Voodoo or Hoodoo?
I had to do a lot of research on Voodoo and Hoodoo while writing the book, and while the story doesn’t follow the actual practices verbatim, it’s pretty close. In the very least, it’s heavily inspired by the real thing. I found that Voodoo is definitely a very old and a very real religion. Voodoo is the religion and Hoodoo is the application of specific folk magic practices, so they are different but are intertwined. I believe it’s very real. The history and culture behind it is all very fascinating.
Where can readers find your books?
The e-book version of Amaranth is available now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Smashwords. The print version will be available Sept. 30th through the same venues. You can also visit RachaelWade.com for free samples and any current promotions.
I want to thank you Rachael for taking the time to answer a few questions and I can't wait for the second book to come out in January 2012.