I am very happy to have Laura Bickle here to visit the blog for an interview! Her book, The Hallowed Ones was one of my first reads of 2013 and I have to say that it was pretty awesome 🙂 I thank Laura Bickle for accepting to do this interview. So without further ado, here is the interview!
The Hallowed Ones is a dystopian novel that takes place in an Amish community and also has Amish vampires in it. Did this idea form in your head slowly or did it just come to you?
I live not too far from a large Amish settlement. When I was a child, my parents would take me to visit, and I was fascinated by a world very different than the one I lived in. I’d see Amish girls my age over the fence and wonder what their lives were like. So, you could say it’s been simmering for awhile.
Some of that curiosity lingered, and I always wanted to revisit it in a story. It popped back into my head when I was writing about a catastrophic contagion. Considering all the incredible self-sufficiency they apply in their everyday lives, it seemed to me that the Amish would be uniquely well-equipped to survive a large-scale disaster.
I thought that The Hallowed Ones gives a very good look into how the Plain Folk live. How much research did it take in order to bring the novel to life?
Thank you! In addition to visiting the Amish settlement near where I live, I also did a good deal of reading…there are a lot of great books out there that look at the Plain way of life from a sociological perspective. National Geographic has also done a number of very good documentaries about the Amish.
I’m acutely conscious that I can’t know or understand everything about the Amish, never having lived in an Amish community. But I learned enough to develop an immense respect for the Amish way of life.
I adore Katie-I think that she is a very strong but in a quiet way. How did you go about creating her personality? Were there any changes to her as you wrote the story?
Katie was an interesting character to write because she’s very strong in a quiet, enduring kind of way. She struggles to develop her own moral compass, independent of her parents and community. That requires a great deal of fortitude, just as much fortitude as dealing with the evil creatures in her world.
I wasn’t sure if she would be a YA heroine or an adult heroine when I started writing the story, but she came out very YA.
What was your favorite and least favorite thing about writing this book?
The hardest part for me in starting a story is the beginning. The blank page intimidates me like nothing else!
The easiest and most fun comes for me at the end. There’s more at stake at the end of the story, more action, more emotion. All the plot threads are beginning to weave together, and I feel like I’m running downhill. I forget that I’m writing and get the pleasure of watching the story unfold on its own.
Is there a person that you would consider an inspiration to you as a writer?
My all-time favorite book is Robin McKinley’s THE HERO AND THE CROWN. I read it when I was a pre-teen, and fell in love with fantasy ever after. It was the first book I’d read that had a female protagonist, Aerin, who slew her own dragons.
Could you tell us what the expect in the second book in the series: The Outside?
The second book, THE OUTSIDE, will be released September 3. As the title suggests, Katie has to confront the devastation in the world beyond her community. Her chief challenge will be protecting those she loves and her own survival in a very dangerous new landscape.
The Hallowed Ones is available online and in stores.
About the author:
Laura Bickle’s professional background is in criminal justice and library science, and when she’s not patrolling the stacks at the public library she’s dreaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs (she also writes contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams). Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and five mostly-reformed feral cats. THE HALLOWED ONES is her first young adult novel.