30 June 2011

Haunting Violet By: Alyxandra Harvey
Walker Childrens Books (June 21st, 2011), 352 Pages.

Synopsis: Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.

Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?

What is your favorite thing about writing in the Young Adult genre?

I adore the YA genre. I love how complicated and simple it can be, how far you can carry a metaphor and how you can find real friends in the characters you read and write about. Adolescence is one of the many rites of passage from ancient cultures that are lost to us. I think it’s to our detriment that they are missing from modern life. And I think YA literature and fairy tales and the wonderful intersection of both provide that.

Haunting Violet takes place in 1872 England, with your love of history you must have had a great time doing research for this book. Can you tell us anything about how you came up with the idea for Haunting Violet and what is it about this time in history that you knew would be the perfect setting for your story?

The idea for Haunting Violet popped into my head when I was reading about fake séances in the 1870’s. I love research into historical details so I was reading without any particular goal, just gathering like a magpie. But I could really picture Violet reluctantly working for her mother and how confused she would be if she ever found out ghosts were actually real. Once I had that question in my mind, I just felt compelled to answer it. And I’ve loved anything Regency (Pride and Prejudice!) for as long as I can remember and I think that’s where my love of Victorian England actually began. It was a natural progression until I just fell in love with the entire 19th century.

And at the end of the day there was just no better time in history for that particular story. It’s as much of a character as Violet is.

Can you share with us a favorite line or two from Haunting Violet?

“I was secretly entranced with the idea of a lady novelist. I should dearly love to be one. Or maybe a goblin-fighting pirate queen. It was difficult to choose sometimes” Violet, Prologue

“Surely a waterlogged girl with bracelets of bruises couldn’t be ignored like a wallflower. She stood out. And not just because of the smell.
I must be coming down with a touch of the ague.
Or suffering the effects of bad beef.
Surely that was it. I wasn’t sure which was preferable: hallucinations or illness or an actual psychical encounter.
I chose bad beef.” Violet, Chapter 4

Have you ever had an experience with a ghost? If so, could you share with us what happened?

I live in a gently haunted house built in 1860. Many of our friends who visit , especially the skeptical ones, have stories of having their hair pulled or seeing people where there are none. A few have even refused to come back! Happily, I’ve never seen a ghost since I have to sleep in our house and I already have a rather active imagination. Although, I’m not convinced I haven’t seen a ghost dog walking around. But that’s okay, I like dogs.

Can you tell us a secret about one of your characters in Haunting Violet?

Colin knows more than you think.

If you could travel back in time to live in any one place in the past, what year and place would you like to experience and why?

A great question that might keep me up at night! I’d love to visit so many places.

I would especially like to visit Regency England, circa 1815. I'd like to run around in a pelisse and flirt with handsome men wearing cravats.

I'd also like to drop in to Iron Age Celtic Britain, England late 1100's, Ancient Egypt, Victorian London (and Yorkshire to meet the Brontes), Quebec around 1630 (to see my ancestors!)....

I'd also kind of like to kick Henry 8 in the shins and then vanish back home safely before he could cut off my head. Is that so wrong?

Besides Vampires and Ghosts, is there any other supernatural/paranormal creature you would like to someday write about?

Absolutely! I have a soft spot for werewolves. And shapeshifters in general, actually.

And I did accidentally write a zombie book (out in 2012/13 sometime). I say accidentally because I thought I was writing about magic but then the zombies shuffled into the story and everything made more sense.

Lastly, would you tell us what you’re working on next?

I have a Faery YA “Stolen Away” out in May 2012 and the fourth book in the Drake Chronicles “Bleeding Hearts” out later this year. I am currently working on #6 of the Drakes and a few secret projects...

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us Alyxandra! We hope you’ll be able to come by again soon.

Thanks so much for having me!

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  1. I HAVE to read this book! I am so intrigued by the Victorian era's fascination with the occult.

    I agree with Alyxandra 100%...I would want to go back to Celtic Britain also.

  2. I'm sooo excited about this book! Thanks for the interview!!


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