Saturday, March 10, 2012

Interview with Kristy Berridge Author of The Hunted

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

I’ve always been a creative person, writing short stories as a kid, messing around in the art studio and even going on to study graphic design at university. Not satisfied I decided to head into the world of interior design, mad keen to express myself, but still somehow unsatisfied and unsure of my passion. That was when I turned back to creative writing. With some free time on my hands I sat down and really thought about what would interest me as a possible author. Always being a supernatural nut, staying up late with my father as a kid and watching late night horror films, I thought to myself … I have to do it. Hence my release of The Hunted in 2011 and now the upcoming release of The Damned, not to mention the three other books vying for attention in this series.

What is it about the paranormal, particularly vampires, that fascinates you so much?

What’s not to love? Although I do explore angles, demons, werewolves and magical elements within my books, I still always come back to vampires. Let’s face it, they’re known to be fast, strong, beautiful, and above all else … Immortal. Imagine what you could see and do with forever in front of you.

What inspired you to write this book?

If we’re calling inspiration a decision brought about by a moment of boredom and the spark of an idea, then I’ll say it was the urge to write something more than what was already available to me in other adventures.

Please tell us about your latest release.

The Hunted follows the story of Elena Manory, a young, self-assured sixteen year old born into the life of vampirism. Raised and supposedly protected by the Institute of Magical Intervention, she soon realizes that not everything is as it seems. There are hidden truths within her own blood to unlock, an alpha werewolf loose in her city, and a vampire named William very much intent on turning her world upside down. The only problem is, there’s a cue, and the vampires are proving to be the least of her problems.

Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?

The age of the character and their origins depended heavily on their choice of name. Some I plucked out of thin air, but obviously, British vampires would be better suited to names in keeping with their past.

Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?

Writing Elena was pretty easy. She’s based loosely on me, so I basically just thought about what I would have said and done as a teenager, but obviously turned the amp up a little in some respects. When I wrote snippets from other characters, particularly male, I did ask my husband a few times if he would say or think in the same direction I was leading my characters. Hopefully I got it right.

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?

Lucas Manory, Elena’s older adopted sibling. I found him to be a hoot, laughing like an idiot at some of the things he would say and do which is ridiculous since I’m the writer, but ironically you start to think of characters as people, and Lucas’s personality really took shape for me.

Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?

The characters basically take shape as I start writing. Every now and then I have a flashbulb moment where I think (insert character here) and I simply start to describe who and what I need in this position in order for the story to move forward.

What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

I’m partial to a scene where Elena and William really start to understand each other as supernatural entities. She’s recently uncovered secrets about her past and of course, William being the first vampire she’s ever met, she wants to feel accepted … understood, particularly when there’s still so much she’s yet to understand herself.

I felt cool air race across my skin as he drew in breath. I closed my eyes, waiting for the moment when he ripped out my throat—it was bound to happen any minute now. Several seconds passed before I opened my eyes again. His nose was no longer at my neck. His hands still held me securely in front of him and his body was still pressed against mine, but he was looking straight at me now. His face was completely expressionless and I suddenly felt more scared than I’d ever been in my entire life.

He knows.

His skin was more pale and translucent than it had been before, a transformation that I had not seen take place until my eyes had re-opened. His skin was streaked with faint lines of blue and when I looked closer, I could see that they were pulsing just under the surface. His eyes were completely black, no trace remaining of the magnificent green that I had previously beheld. In fact, there was nothing but darkness, not even the whites of his eyes present. They were like empty pits of obsidian, completely soulless and expressionless.
I sucked in a sharp breath, trying to calm my frantic nerves. I was not afraid of the sight in front of me or the transformation from man to beast, and I was not fearful that my life may soon be ended. What I was most fearful of was not being accepted by the one creature that I was supposed to become. I was so afraid that the first vampire I had ever met, that I somehow felt connected to, was about to turn from me with disgust and loathing.

I held my breath and closed my eyes again, waiting for judgement.

‘Impossible,’ he murmured under his breath, ‘absolutely impossible.’

My eyes instantly flicked open at the sound of William’s voice. It was soft and confused, but I sensed no disgust or hatred. But the man in front of me was a predator and a killer and I was still nervous. He still held me close, his body hard against my own and unrelenting in its hold. His eyes were undeniably dark and dangerous, and his canines were slightly extended and ready to tear flesh.

‘When you kill me,’ I said in a voice barely above a whisper, ‘please make it quick.’

He blinked. It was the first real sign of animation I had seen in his face in the last few minutes. ‘Kill you?’ he whispered, releasing my arms and taking a few steps backwards. 

‘Why would I kill you?’

Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?

I didn’t really have to do a lot of research for The Hunted as it’s based in my own city. However, I did have to do quite a bit of research for The Damned and the following books in the series. I can’t really define it as interesting, but rather tedious when I just want to write. But it is a necessity if you don’t want to sound like an idiot.

What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?

Filming my book trailer was interesting. I had to go to the cemetery for a lot of still shots and it’s pretty damn scary when you go by yourself.

Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?

It doesn’t differ at all except for the fact that these creatures of the supernatural realm exist. Their survival – every species whether magic user, werewolf or vampire depends on the secrecy of their existence. This is something I explore quite vividly as the series progresses, because naturally, a secret cannot be kept forever.

With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?

The Hunted series needs to be read from beginning to end. There is a lot of information, action and character interaction. There are plots and sub plots and I fear readers will be easily confused if they don’t start fresh, however, all the books have a gentle recap at the beginning - should you be inclined to skip ahead.

Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?

Elena is me about ten years ago. Of course she is also ten times more proactive, brave, sarcastic, and emotionally retarded than I ever was, but the teenage attitude is there.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

Touch wood I haven’t encountered it yet, but I do have days where I’d rather lay on the couch and read someone else’s book or settle in for a good movie.

Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?

For some reason I can’t start writing until I know my e-mails are checked, twitter and Facebook updates are checked and I have at least a couple of hours spare.

Do you write in different genres?

No yet, but I think I’d like to branch out and try other things when I write the next book or series. I have a feeling I’ll always come back to Supernatural.

When did you consider yourself a writer?

I still don’t. I have a full time job, a mortgage to pay and no sense of fame and fortune on the horizon. I love to write, but I can’t really define myself as an author until that becomes my entire daily focus.

What are your guilty pleasures in life?

Chocolate and true Blood, preferably both at the same time.

Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?

I collect chocolate wrappers which I’m told is a little bit weird. I love to travel when I get the chance. I absolutely adore reading and funnily enough, I quite enjoy working out – must be the endorphins.

What was the last amazing book you read?

The last book I read that I enjoyed and would probably read again was Blood Lines by Richelle Mead.

Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?

On the couch, right under the air conditioner.

What can readers expect next from you?

The Damned which will hopefully be released in April may of this year and possibly even the Aligned later in the year or very early next year. Either way – I’m not going anywhere!

Where can readers find you on the web?

Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

He roared out in pain, the sound erupting from the pit of his stomach soon turning into a mighty howl that spat blood in every direction. His whole body began to quiver in front of me as his skin started to tear open, and thicker tufts of grey matted fur began to poke their way through.

His arms and legs began to grow, the bones shifting within them to allow for the transformation. His fingers and toes pushed through the end of his sneakers, disintegrated them with long black claws. The T-shirt he was wearing began to rip away from his body as he grew larger, the confines of the cotton no longer able to contain his growing form. I could hear and see the bones of his rib cage snapping and contorting painfully in his chest as the beast within released itself from the last of the flesh containing him.

Run, Elena!

This time I listened to the voice. I was not certain it wasn’t mine, but I followed the advice anyway. I swallowed hard and ran as fast as I could, ducking my way around him while his head was being warped by the beast inside of him. I had never seen anything like it, but I had no time to stop and observe. I needed to get out of there as fast as I could.

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