Author interview: Bonnie Hearn Hill on YA and astrology
Thanks for all the great questions you submitted to Bonnie Hearn Hill. Bonnie said she loved the questions and that they are her best yet! Today, I’ve got her answers.
A quick reminder, Bonnie is the author of the new young adult Star Crossed series, starting with Aries Rising, released earlier this month. The book tells the story of high school sophomore Logan McRae, whose life is changed after she stumbles on the book Fearless Astrology. She begins to put what she reads in this book to use in her life and finds new challenges.
Before I get to Bonnie’s answers, DayByDayWriter is featured in the Just Write Blog carnival today, and there are lots of other links to great writing blogs, so check it out.
Ok, now onto Bonnie. As I mentioned, Bonnie answered questions supplied by you, and she is giving away a copy of Aries Rising to the person who submitted her favorite question. The winner is Beth because, as Bonnie says, “she asked the most questions and made me think.” Congratulations, Beth! I’ll email you to get your address.
In honor of the winner, let’s begin with Beth’s questions, then move on to the others. Bonnie’s answers are in blue:
Oooh, that’s a nice one. A good friend asked me at the first book signing for Aries Rising which character is the most like me. I said Charles, the troubled Cancer student, is more like me when I was young, and Chili, the talkative Gemini, is more like me now. My answer surprised me and the person who asked the question. She said, “I thought you’d say Chili for sure.” What I realized is that many of us start out like Charles, and if we’re lucky, we grow and change.
Do you believe in astrology yourself? Now I do. Could you tell us about a situation that you think is influenced by astrology –- or can you tell us about someone you know who does believe in astrology? –Beth
Well, Beth, since humorous astrology and Cosmopolitan magazine writer Hazel Dixon Cooper came into my life, I totally reconsidered what I believed about astrology. Hazel can make anyone a believer. She helped me with the astrological aspects of my book, and I learned right along with my character. Other than Mercury in Retrograde, I don’t use it for predictions. I do use it as a cheat sheet when I meet a new person, and it seldom fails me.
Were you involved in a star crossed lover relationship? –Doris Fisher
Love the question. And, yes, on more than one occasion. My first husband was my high school English teacher, and I met my current husband in a writing workshop I was leading in 1999. I’m a Gemini and no stranger to star-crossed love.
Which of your books tested your skills as a writer the most and why? –Ina
Another great question, Ina. Probably the second book, Taurus Eyes, because there is a ghost in it, and I had never written paranormal before. On the other hand, Aries Rising was the first teen book I ever wrote. It didn’t so much test my skills as a writer, because I’ve written many books. It did challenge me to revisit my youth and remember how it felt to be young and to long for so much I felt was out of my grasp.
How was writing a fantasy different from writing a thriller? –Beverley BevenFlores
Not much difference, Beverley. Writing fiction is about character. Genre doesn’t matter.
Did you ever have a problem identified and solved through astrology? –Grace
Grace, Not really, but I have walked away from bad situations. I am a Gemini, and I know that when they are young, they are in love with love. I saved myself heartbreak by avoiding Gemini men. I also avoided some Scorpio relationships. Not that either sign is bad — they just wouldn’t be good for me. I’m with a solid, loyal Earth sign who makes me feel safe and secure.
What are your best tips for reaching YA readers and teens who are “reluctant readers”? –Lynn
Hi, Lynn. I have to go back to character again. Find books with engaging characters. I just read an amazing teen book without a single vampire in it. It’s 47 by Walter Mosley. 47 is the name of a slave, and this book combines the paranormal with strong character and history. I love it.
I’m starting to get more regular freelance writing jobs, and they’re taking my time away from my own YA writing. How did you find the time and energy to write while working a full-time job? –Andrea Buginsky
Andrea, it’s difficult but not impossible. I wrote in my car during my lunch hours. I got up an hour early and went to bed many hours late and sometimes not at all. Gave up television, telephone and e-mail. You won’t find the time. You have to make the time. You can catch up with life once you have that book in your hand. Don’t give up on your YA, Andrea. This is the time.
Have you ever thought of doing a story with one character’s story using the Aries based astrology chart and the other character with an animal based upon the Chinese’s astrological chart: how their paths converge and diverge using one of the universal themes of literature. –Aileen Kirkham
No, Aileen, but it’s an intriguing idea. Maybe you should do it.
Did you do anything different to move from adult to young adult fiction? –Narda
Narda, As I said before, good fiction is character-driven. I knew I wanted to write this story — these stories — and I knew a teen format was the best way to do it. The process isn’t much different when the focus is the character.
Thanks again readers for all your wonderful questions, and thanks Bonnie for your great answers.
You can read movie about Bonnie on her website, BonnieHearnHill.com and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Bonnie.H.Hill and Facebook.com/StarCrossedSeries. Aries Rising is already in stores, but the next two books in the series are coming this year: Taurus Eyes in the summer and Gemini Night in the fall.