Tuesday, December 11, 2012

BIR2012: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock - Interview

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****About the book****
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Published Date: May 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA
The Story: Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac's life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac's hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy's killer:

A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome--also known as the werewolf virus--is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy's murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy's boy-friend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Kathleen Peacock's thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spell-binding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.


Tell us a little about HEMLOCK and how you came to write this story.
In a world where lupine syndrome is a global epidemic, Mac, Jason, and Kyle try to come to terms with the murder of their friend Amy at the hands (claws?) of a werewolf. For Jason, that means joining the Trackers, a right wing hate group. For Kyle, it means pulling away from the people who care about him. But for Mac, coming to terms with Amy’s death means finding out who killed her friend and why—even when her questions turn up secrets people will kill to keep buried. It’s a supernatural mystery with romance, tattoos, Tasers, and a slightly dystopian vibe.

A scene with Mac, Jason, and Kyle popped into my head one morning while listening to “It’s Been Awhile” by Staind as I walked to work. Mac had almost been killed by a werewolf and Jason and Kyle were arguing over who was to blame. I don’t think that scene ended up in any drafts of the book, but the story and the world evolved out of it.

As a writer myself, I know writing can be very personal and sharing the story with someone for the first time can be extremely difficult. Who was the first person to read a draft of HEMLOCK? Did you have critique partners? How did you stumble upon them? (Feel free to skip or elaborate on any part of this question)

The first people to read Hemlock were my mother and my best friend. They were fantastic, but they weren’t exactly unbiased. Fortunately, I also made some terrific friends on a writing forum and three of them—Laurie Devore (who writes amazing and gritty contemp), Debra Driza (Mila 2.0, out next year), and Jamie Blair (Leap of Faith, also out next year)—offered to read. Jodi Meadows (Incarnate) and Kate Hart (another amazing writer who blogs with YAHighway) also read individual chapters and last minute changes. My agent, also, is fabulous about reading things for me.
I live in a sparsely populated region of Canada, so I don’t have access to traditional critique groups. The internet—particularly forums like the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler—was instrumental in helping me develop relationships with other writers and find critique partners.
How has HEMLOCK changed from the original idea? Is there anything significant that has changed from the first draft to the final draft that you can share with us?
The original idea—that it was the story of three friends torn apart by a werewolf murder—has always stayed intact, but some of the characters and circumstances have changed. One big difference is that Hemlock now takes place at the start of Mac’s senior year rather than the summer after graduation. There were also a few plot lines and characters who ended up being moved to the later books.
How are your characters most like you? How do you differ?
I think Mac is the most like me. I didn't have her rough upbringing, but I’m a bit aloof and I have a hard time talking about my feelings. I’m fiercely loyal and protective of the people I care about, but it takes me awhile to open up. I’m not nearly as tough or brave as she is, though.

STAR WARS is awesome because....
Han shot first.
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