Rae Hachton is trembling uncontrollably. She often has trouble sleeping, but it’s been much worse these past few days. Why? Because she’s terrified. And who wouldn’t be, if it was their turn to sit on… the HOT SEAT.
Let’s get started. What genre(s) do you write, Rae?
I write for a slightly more mature YA audience, as, like many other YA novels, my books deal with edgier content such as drugs, sex, abuse, death, and suicide. However, the writing may be a little more raw than what one is typically used to. My characters are usually aged 17-22.
I adore contemporary stories about troubled, but strong minded MCs and I absolutely love Gothic/Horror Fiction, and almost always a well narrated Love Story, and these are the kind of books I aim to write.
[CJ: Ooh sounds intense. But cool. Very cool.]
Tell us about your latest book, Black Satin: The World Unfolds, in 25 words or less.
Black Satin; second book in the Pretty in Black Series: Ellie’s world is about to turn darker.
[CJ: Okay, you’ve got me. Tell me more.]
I am really excited about writing this one because while it is dark and creepy, it is beginning to shape into an almost magical realm and extraordinary events I never even created in my own mind from the beginning of this, are developing and demanding my attention. I’m getting very little to no sleep during this process, but I’m not going to complain in the slightest, I believe the book is worth it, and I usually sleep little anyway. Sometimes I’ll be in the middle of a nap, or driving in the car, and an idea for a new scene will strike, and I’ll have to record notes on my phone, because each scene is better and better. I know, at this point, I’m going to have a crazy time trying to collect all my notes into one collection, so I can make sense of where this is headed.
Pretty in Black, when I began writing it, wasn’t going to be a series. I did not find out about that little tid-bit until I wrote “The End” and realized that this was definitely not the end. Right now, I still cannot speculate whether this series will be three books or four. I’m excited to find out myself. I believe Marcus and Ellie know, but won’t tell me. How courteous of them to realize I’m already challenging myself to keep up, as it is quite difficult with those two.
Something I can say about Black Satin is that a new character arrives, and complicates Ellie’s life even further. Those following me on one of my sites, may find out more about this new character and how he is pertinent to Ellie’s story and development.
[CJ: How fascinating that you didn’t know Pretty in Black was going to be a series. It’s always interesting to hear about how books come into being!]
Most of us write part time. How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?
Usually, when I am not writing, I am reading and/or exploring my surroundings. A season in which I dare not write, is summer. I do not believe I can draw from memory any time in which I wrote anything during summer season. Summer for me, is a time of relaxation, and adventure. I love the beach. So, for 3 and a half months of the year, I do not write, and the rest of the time I do.
[CJ: Sounds like a great way to split up your year between your different past times- writing and relaxation. 🙂 ]
I also enjoy photography, graphic design and cinematography projects. Sometimes, I make short films. When I began college, my major at art school was filmmaking/cinematography. I wanted to be a director and this is still, very much, something I want to pursue later on in life.
[CJ: Film fascinates me too. If only we had time to pursue all of our interests!]
Tell us a little about your writing process.
I do not outline, I am a pantster. I just jump right in, once I’m inspired, but if the characters begin talking to me, I jot down notes or record snippets of conversation from them.
My titles almost always arrive before the story does.
[CJ: So far, your process is the opposite of mine!]
A simple lyric from a song has been known to inspire an entire book, or in the case of Pretty in Black, an entire series.
When I edit, I have to add words, not remove them.
I count syllables in every sentence when I do a read-through of my work, to make sure there are no stumbling blocks, and that ideas flow together nicely.
Contemporary stories are written in order, Gothic/Horror stories are written out of order.
Shortest book completion time: 4 days
Longest book completion time: 2 and a half months.
[CJ: For real? It’s taken me longer than 2 and a half months to read some books, let alone write them!]
Who or what are your biggest writing inspirations?
The Danish Duo band, The Raveonettes. I can more than likely trace every work I’ve written, back to one of their songs. I will do almost anything to get my hands on a new song of theirs, or a song I have not heard before. They’re releasing a B-side and Rarities album December 15, I believe, but they’re only making 1000 copies: 500 in CD and 500 in Vinyl. I will be ecstatic trying to get my hands on a copy.
[CJ: I’ve never heard of them. What song/s would be a good introduction to the band?]
Any of the songs that debut on the Pretty in Black book soundtrack:
- “My Time’s Up” from the album Raven in the Grave. This song is the song that inspired the entire series! Raveonettes are Ellie’s favorite band too, and this song plays for the first time at her school dance and she dances with Marcus Marble. This ends up being their song, kind of like how “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” is Edward’s and Bella’s Song. It reoccurs throughout.
- “Forget that You’re Young” also from album Raven in the Grave. Ellie and Marcus dance to this song at Ellie’s Halloween Dance.
- “Everyday” which is a badass cover song of Buddy Holly’s song, and The Raveonettes version sounds creepy, which adds to the mood of this book.
- And another one of their songs which will be found on the Black Satin [Pretty in Black #2] Soundtrack is actually a beautiful Christmas song called Christmas Ghosts
[CJ: Cool. I’ll check them out!]
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a writer?
Word Count: I’m probably too concise. Never enough words. It’s a challenge for me to land a MS between 35-40 k!
[CJ: It’s official – our styles and challenges are the exact opposite. My current MS is 140K, edited down from 171K!)
Censorship: My stories are left raw, I do not censor my characters. They are how they are. If they misuse drugs, they misuse drugs. If they swear a lot, or have a sexual addiction, I transcribe it onto the page in the direct way they tell me to, I leave nothing out, I want it to ring with authenticity, and I try to stay true to the character and the story. Doing this is not a challenge. What proposes a challenge is when someone reads something, and goes, isn’t that a bit graphic, don’t you think you can tone that down a bit? And I’m like, No I cannot. I’m not at liberty. I did not create this story, these characters are telling me about their actual lives!
In fact, and I’m positive many of you have not heard of this before, and would probably stress a degree of strong opinion about this option, but I’m having to put a Parental Advisory label, much like the one you might find on a musical CD from a rock band, on the back of one of my more recent projects, due to the content. A lot of people believe that parents are not involved in their childrens reading choices and if this idea were implemented, it would be useless, however, I live in an age of the sue-happy, so even if a parent allowed a child to purchase my book, and later realized the content was not exactly suitable for their fourteen year old child, I can only imagine what might happen.
My books are categorized as YA and many people view that as ages 14-18. I believe there should be a slight separation from Teen Literature and YA literature. Teen books are a little more naive and juvenile, while Young Adult books span from ages 17-22 and deal with events that take place during that last year of high school or while in college. I was a teen once, and I am still surrounded by many teens everyday. Not every young person can deal with mature subjects, and some can. It varies. Some teens are trying to be older than they are, and some young people ages 21 have not yet grown to a certain level of experience. There needs to be books for both. But if my story is about drugs, it will be about drugs, and not a high school musical about drugs.
[CJ: I agree that teens have different maturity levels and some are better at handling topics than others. I don’t see why books shouldn’t be rated in the same way as movies and cds – if I was buying a present for a young cousin, I would want to know the ‘teen’ book was matched with their maturity level.]
Right. Enough of the niceties. Time for the HOT SEAT questions!
*Insert scary music here*
If you had to give up either reading or writing for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
Reading. But really I would hate to have to give up either, but I guess reading, because if I’m still writing, then I’m still reading, so that would be the best choice. I could just write my own books and read them too!
[CJ: Smart move!]
Finish this sentence from your character Walter’s perspective.
Life would be a lot easier if… Ellie loved me, and not Marcus.
Oh no, slight Spoiler Alert! That sentence is relevant to the Black Satin plot line as new developments emerge. Another guy tries to vie for the attention and love of Ellie Piper.
[CJ: Nothing like a good love triangle to keep you burning through those pages! :)]
Now finish the same sentence from your perspective.
Life would be a lot easier if… fictional boys were REAL.
Girls, don’t we all wish that the world was all full of Edward Cullens, and Varen Nethers and Patch Ciprianos we could choose from?! Life would be spectacular if these boys could just jump right off that page! This is the reason girls read more! Duh!!
[CJ: The only problem I see with the world being full of Edward Cullens? That would mean vampires are real! EEK! Don’t know if I could cope with that!]
Thanks so much for taking a seat, Rae!
If you’d like to hear more from Rae, check out her blog, follow her on Twitter or visit the Pretty in Black website.
If you’d like a turn in the HOT SEAT, let me know in the comments and I’ll schedule you in for a buttocks burning. 😀