Well I got a chance to READ Exiled, and I'll tell you what. I was impressed as all get out. I think the questions I ask RaShelle will make clear the whats and whys of that, so I think without further ado, I will just let you read the interview! (RaShelle in Blue, me in Purple)
Hi Hart – Thanks so much for having me today. These questions are AWESOME!
I think one of the tricky parts in Sci Fi is beings who have enough differences from humans that they feel foreign, but enough similarities that we still identify. Your main character, Venus, is a brilliant example of this. Did you have to take special care to achieve this, or did it come fairly naturally? If naturally, why, do you think (reading you've done?)? And if it was planning, what were some of the things you kept in mind?
You’re so sweet. Thank you. When the idea for EXILED happened, I knew I wanted her to appear human even though she wouldn’t be. That was planned, but I had to write the first draft, get into the world and the characters before I discovered exactly what her differences would be. Then, of course, there’s THE BOOTS. That idea was literally a lightning bolt. I knew I wanted something relatable and attainable, something that readers (which are mainly female) could connect with, visualize, and understand. SHOES popped into my mind! And the rest, that her weaknesses are “captive” in the heels of the boots, fell into place.
I loved your trick to explicitly explore teen emotion. Venus, a princess from another planet, has been trained to be rational and put her people before her own emotions, yet on earth, she takes on several human teen features, including the influx of hormones and emotion. This is genius for letting her address them explicitly without seeming too daft (as a human girl might in the same territory). What I want to know is where this idea came from—was there an actual plan to allow for this exploration? I’m a big fan of romance. Love to read it, watch it, experience it… And there’s something special about that first time you feel those feelings of love. When you go from thinking the opposite sex is disgusting to heart-pumpingly fantastic. I knew I wanted that aspect in the story. So I did plan with those thoughts in mind.
I really loved the atmosphere on earth poisoning Venus slowly (is that mean?)--the reason is it gave a huge urgency to her task, but I also read it as a pollution warning—that maybe we need to clean up our act here. Was this green message intentional? Or just a device for writing tension? It’s like you’re inside my head, girl. It was both. I wanted the urgency, for sure, but I also wanted to send a small message. Green is good. ;D
This was probably the most original collection of ideas I've seen in a story—I'm impressed as heck with your ability to pull together such a strange and fantastical mix into such a smooth story. What do you credit for this? Where do your ideas usually come from? Thank you! A lot of my aha moments came during rewrites. Inspiration for the story came from The Count of Monte Cristo (his being framed for crimes he didn’t commit) and the poem, Venus and Adonis (her great love for a human and his dismissal of it).
(Two parter) (as if any of my questions are one-parters) Venus had to be rescued a few times, largely because of the Earth's atmosphere making her weak. But it's explicit she's much stronger, better trained, and more coordinated at home. In future books do you have plans to let HER be the hero? And finally, this is part of a series—the first few pages of the next book were included at the end of Exiled. How long a series do you have planned? And was the longer story your original idea, or did you build on? And how many of said series are already written and in the pipeline? As a matter of fact, yes. In book 2, BEGUILED, Venus is the hero. I’m very excited to let the readers see the tough side of her.
The Connected Series will consist of three novels. In the beginning, I set out with the intention of writing one, but as I wrote the story, I realized it’d be way too long. When I ended EXILED where I ended it, I knew it was the perfect place to stop. It felt right. And it made knowing where to end book 2 much easier as well. EXILED is the first. BEGUILED is the second, and then DOVETAILED is the final installment.
As for what’s “in the pipeline”, the entire series has been mapped out and planned to “the end.” Book 2 is being written and will be out May 2012 and book 3 will be out November 2012.
Book blurb: (from Goodreads): Stubborn, sixteen-year-old Princess Venus of Kelari wants one thing, to become immortal, that is, until someone exiles her to Earth, kills her irrihunter, and takes her family.
Now she wants revenge.
First she’s got to get home. But before she can return to Kelari, the Gods have commanded her to help an arrogant boy named Michael find his soul mate. Only she doesn't know the first thing about love.
Rather quickly, her inexperience with human emotion is obscured by other matters—alien-controlled psychotic teens that are out to kill her, and a government group that is set on capturing and dissecting her.
Worst of all, Venus will suffer a painful death-by-poisoning, thanks to Earth’s atmosphere, if she remains on the planet longer than one week. Still, Venus is a Princess and she's got a plan. Surely, with her help, Michael will fall in love with a human.
But time is running out and Michael is falling for the wrong girl—her.
Author Bio: RaShelle Workman lives with her husband, three children, and three dogs. When she gets a quiet moment alone, she enjoys reading about faraway places. And, in case you were wondering, yes, she does believe there is other life out in the Universe.
Links to buy Exiled:
Thanks so much, RaShelle! And good luck with your series! You've got a great start here!