Thursday, January 7, 2010

Walk Down A Dark Alley With Becca Fitzpatrick

Hi Becca! Thanks so much for agreeing to take part in this interview! Pitch Hush, Hush to us in a one liner.
Becca Fitzpatrick: A darkly romantic tale about a girl who falls for a fallen angel with a dark agenda to become human.

When and how did the idea of Hush, Hush come about? How did it go from there to publication?
The very first inspiration for the story came from an experience in my own tenth-grade biology class. We must have been studying human reproduction, because my teacher asked me, in front of the whole class, to name characteristics I would be attracted to in a mate (I know!) The experience always stuck with me, and when I sat down to write Hush, Hush, that little piece of my history evolved into an early scene in the book. I wrote the first three chapters in the fall of 2003, but I was a brand-new mom, and time was short. It wasn't until I went to Left Coast Crime (a conference for suspense and mystery writers) in March 2008 that the story really came together for me. That conference was magical. I was away from home for a few days, hanging out with friends, and I outlined the entire plot. I went home and wrote the story, and three months later signed with my agent.

Were there any notable changes from the first drafts of the book to the published manuscript?
Yes, quite a few. For one, the writing improved quite a bit! And in the early drafts, Nora's character didn't really exist – she was originally a cheerleader named Ellie. Also, there wasn't a mystery in the first draft.

Tell us more about research for the book.
I relied on Judeo-Christian mythology, then used my own creative license to flesh out details and make them relevant to the story.

What experiences, if any, did you draw from in your own life in order to create Nora? Is there anything in the books that happened exactly the same way in real life?
While writing Hush, Hush, I spent a good deal of time reading my own journals from my high school days. Hush, Hush is fictional, but relies on how I viewed the world as a sixteen year old. Most of my friends and I were wacky, impulsive, always on the lookout for fun and trouble, and making memories to last a lifetime. They were fun, scary, wild years.

Besides the originally inspiration for the story, which came from something that happened in my own biology classroom, there's a small scene in the sequel, Crescendo, involving a hot dog that I stole from my real life. Other than that, the stories are fictional.

Would you say that you’re more like Patch, Nora or Vee, or an insane mix of all three?
*Laughing!* I don't think I'm really like any of them. Patch is loosely based on a guy I knew a long time ago, and Vee's character was inspired by two of my childhood friends. Both Patch and Vee are very strong characters, and Nora is the calm between their storms.

What would Patch see if he met a Boggart? (In the Harry Potter series, a Boggart is a shape-shifter that takes on the form of its intended victim's worst fear.)
Patch's worst fear is being doomed to hell for eternity, and he feels the threat constantly breathing down his neck. If hell came at him in the form of a Boggart, he'd probably hold tight to the memory of who he used to be, who he is around Nora, and who he wants to become.

How did the transition of cheerleader Noelle transform into who Nora is now? (
Oh, wow. That was a five-year transformation. I started Hush, Hush in the fall of 2003, and Noelle (or Ellie) was a self-absorbed and ditzy character who, in some ways, resembled the character that is now Marcie Millar. She was very into how she dressed and looked, and in the end, it was hard to spend a lot of time with her. Plus, I couldn't see Patch going for her, because there was nothing very redeeming or challenging about her. Five years later, after quite a bit of rewriting, I'd replaced Ellie with Nora, a girl who appears to be the epitome of normal.

What would you do if saw an angel fall from the sky?
I'd probably run over and see if he needed help. Especially if he was shirtless and wearing hot pants.

Who are your top three choices respectively to play Nora, Patch and Vee?
Patch: Steven Straight

I couldn't choose just one picture, so feast your eyes.

Nora: Leighton Meester

I love her portayal of Blair Waldorf, rich beee*ch.

Vee: Nobody's good enough for Vee!
Hee, hee.

Do you view Nora as someone girls can relate to or someone they should aspire to be?
Nora is doing the whole high school thing, trying to be true to herself, figuring out who her friends are, and falling in love. I think most girls can relate to that.

What are your views on Nora and Patch’s relationship?
It's complicated...just kidding! Their relationship is intense and messy, for sure. It's a bit crazed at times. As the author, the scenes between them are never boring to write. Patch is an interesting boyfriend, mostly because he's not boyfriend material. He's not what you usually see in teen fiction, at least, that's my opinion. It's easy to make readers like a charming, boy-next-door, feel-good kind of guy. It's much harder to make them like a deviant. (Not that Patch is deviant, but he's definitely not the norm!)

What’s your pick for the overall theme song for Hush, Hush?
This song isn't on my playlist, but a friend sent it to me, and I think it's PERFECT. Trouble is a Friend by Lenka.

So I’ve heard that there is a different ending in the finished copy of Hush, Hush as compared to the review copies given out to reviewers. Will you tell us more about that?
The last page in the hardback is different than the ARC ending. Not a huge change, but I think the new ending leads better into the sequel. I think the consensus is that the new ending is better. Oddly enough, it was the original ending, which I changed during edits. Just before the book went to print, my editor asked if I'd mind changing it back.

Thank you for that interview Becca! Is there anything you’d like to add?
Just a huge thank you for having me here today! I'd love to know who your readers would cast for Patch, Nora and Vee.

Cross-posted at: LiyanaLand! on 14 October 2009.


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