Interview With Rachel Hawkins, Author of HEX HALL
I first "met" Rachel when she came to my blog and congratulated me on signing with our mutual agent, Holly Root. I began following Rachel on Twitter and instantly enjoyed her fabulous sense of humor. When the opportunity to read an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of HEX HALL presented itself to me, I grabbed it. I was in for a real treat. HEX HALL is a hilarious, atmospheric romp with twists, tension, and heart. I devoured it in one gulp and couldn't wait for more.
Here's a peek at HEX HALL:
In the wake of a love spell gone horribly wrong, Sophie Mercer, a sixteen-year-old witch, is shipped off to Hecate Hall, a boarding school for witches, shapeshifters and faeries. The traumas of mortal high school are nothing compared to the goings on at "Freak High." It's bad enough that she has to deal with a trio of mean girls led by the glamorous Elodie, but it's even worse when she begins to fall for Elodie's gorgeous boyfriend, Archer Cross, and frankly terrifying that the trio are an extremely powerful coven of dark witches. But when Sophie begins to learn the disturbing truth about her father, she is forced to face demons both metaphorical and real, and come to terms with her own growing power as a witch.
I was so excited when Rachel agreed to be interviewed on the blog. She chose to take on the Were-llama because she can match him in both moxy and awesomeness.
Now that you know who's who, let's dive into the interview and reveal the CUPCAKE OF SOUTHERN GOTHIC AWESOMENESS my hubby made for Rachel. Oh, yes, it deserves all caps. Rachel's book is saturated with atmospheric Southern Gothic tension, so she asked for a cupcake to reflect that. I had several (fairly good) ideas, but my hubby didn't want to hear them. He informed me he knew what he was going to do and that it would be "cool." He was right, though "cool" is an understatement. The cupcake is, in fact, so cool, I'm posting two pics of it. One up close and personal so you can appreciate the detail he put into it (yes, the entire thing is edible). And one with burning candles in the background to really give it the haunting quality a HEX HALL cupcake deserves. Without further ado, here is the cupcake and Rachel's interview.
1. So, you’re a writer. I’m a super-scary shape-shifter who can command obedience with the awesome power of my glowing red eyes. What do we have in common?
I am a super-scary Mama who can command obedience with the awesome power of my “Teacher Voice.” And glowing red eyes, natch.
2. A woman with glowing red eyes? Perhaps I shall choose you to be my minion. I like to spit at my enemies from whichever end is closest to them. Do any of your characters have cool abilities like that?
Some of my characters can manipulate time, make it rain, and create things out of thin air. But I have to say, NONE of those are as cool as your Awesome Dual-Ended Spitting Abilities!
3. Thank you. It's nice to have my genius acknowledged. If I had a nickname, it would be The Awesome. You?
In college, my nickname was Red because I have red(ish) hair. As a result, my roommate once attempted to steal one of those “Stop Here On Red” traffic signs so that she could hang it over my bed. We kept it ultra-classy in college, obvs. I also answer to Lady Hawkins, which is what my students used to call me (Sadly, not because I seem like such a lady, but because my husband also taught at the same school, and was referred to as Dude Hawkins.)
4. If I met someone named Dude Hawkins, I'd be forced to spit in his face on sheer principle. I hang around this blog because I love stories. What’s your story about? Bonus points if it includes a llama.
HEX HALL is the touching story of a young llama who goes to a special llama camp, wherein she finds sweet, sweet llama love. (Okay, really it’s about a witch who gets sent to magical reform school. Secrets, grisly murders, snarkiness, and hot cellar love ensue.)
5. Hm. Perhaps you could add a special llama camp to book two. It's bound to help your sales. You’re making me a cake worthy of my awesome Were-llama status and decorating it to represent your story. What does it look like?
I would start by making a life-size replica of Machu Picchu out of fondant for you, then I would decorate it with Spanish moss, some Barbies making out, and swords.
6. I find your offering of Machu Picchu, Spanish moss, and swords acceptable. I do, however, burn Barbies on sight with the awesome power of my glowing red eyes. Any Were-llamas in your book?
Not that I know of. But there are a LOT of shape-shifters, so it’s possible. Although now I kind of want all of Book 3 to revolve around the students of Hecate Hall fighting an army of were-llamas. (Spoiler Alert: The were-llamas totally win.)
7. Spoiler Alert: We always win. Anyone in your stories who might be a Were-llama and you just haven’t figured it out yet?
Elodie seems like a spitter, so something tells me she may indeed be a were-llama.
8. Llamas or camels and why? Think carefully.
Ooh, this is tough! Well, camels do have humps (hee hee! Humps.) But then their mouths are particularly grody. Also, I’ve never heard of were-camels, so I’m gonna have to give the win to llamas!
9. Wise choice. You get to live another day. I give you a baby Were-llama as a companion. What do you name her?
Alejandra, which I would pronounce with a very heavy Spanish accent. I like the idea of “Alejaaaaaaandraaaaaa” echoing over the mountains.
10. My favorite word is “awesome” because, yanno, look at me. What’s yours?
Pamplemousse. It’s the French word for grapefruit, and I love everything about it.
11. As a young Were-llama, I dreamt of taking over the eastern seaboard one face full of spit at a time. What did you dream of doing when you were young?
Pretty much this. Writing stories, talking to were-llamas… if I were also married to a member of New Kids on the Block, I’d say all of 9 year old Rachel’s dreams have come true!
12. I spat in the faces of NKOTB and ate them for breakfast a few years ago. Good thing you've moved on from that particular dream. Cake or cookies?
13. Do you share chocolate?
I’m an only child. I don’t share ANYTHING.
14. What a coincidence. Neither do I. The Zombie Goat invasion is upon us. How will you fight them off?
First, I would make thousands of macaroni necklaces. Thanks to a Highly Unfortunate Incident in 4th Grade While At A Farm, I know that macaroni necklaces are every goat’s weakness. Once I’d distracted them with the tasty necklaces, I would have someone come up behind the zombie goat and make a very loud noise. This will cause the zombie goat to fall down, as goats are dumb. And then I would be triumphant!
Fantastic! Another non-goat-lover. No wonder I love her books. Thank you, Rachel, for the fun interview and for writing such a captivating book. To learn more about Rachel and HEX HALL visit her site. Now, for more fun! Rachel is giving away a signed copy of HEX HALL and a hexy t-shirt to one lucky commenter!
1. Leave a comment answering Rachel's question: "What supernatural creature would you be?" - 1 entry
2. Tweet a link to this interview (include @cjredwine or leave the link here so I can see it). - 2 entries
3. Be a follower of this blog. - 2 entries
4. Post a link to the interview on your blog (and leave the link here so I can see it). - 3 entries.
5. Tally up your entries in your comment.
Contest ends Friday, April 2nd at 8 p.m. central time. Good luck!