Welcome to Barren Island Books, an interview show in no way related to a popular music-based radio programme. Every Thursday, I will be exiling my latest guest to a remote island with only five books for company, selected from the categories I give them. It’s up to them to make sure they choose wisely, because they’re going to be stuck with these books for a long, long time …
My interviewee this week is Rebecca Hamilton, bestselling author of the Forever Girl Series (including The Forever Girl and Her Sweetest Downfall). When she's not being banished to a desert island, Rebecca can be found at www.paranormalfantasybooks.com, beccahamiltonbooks.com and www.theforevergirl.com.
Rebecca, thanks for joining us. First of all, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself – just so we know who it is we’re sending into exile. Illogical fears, unusual birthmarks, whether you’d rather wrestle a bear or punch a shark, that kind of thing.
I am deathly afraid of escalators! I won’t go down them. I go out of my way to find stairs or an elevator. I am also scared of driving. So I don’t drive. Ever. And would I rather wrestle a bear or punch a shark? Well, I guess punch a shark, since you actually have a shot with that. Wrestling a bear is not the recommended way to handle a bear encounter!
And what about your own work? What are the inspirations behind it? What would make someone else choose it to accompany them into exile?
I write paranormal fantasy, with elements of mystery, romance, and horror. But my inspiration shows most in my characters, as I’m most inspired by people, the things they say and what they do that makes them unique. I’ve been told by a few guys that they were surprised they like my book, that it wasn’t too “girly” for them. That said, I don’t think anyone should bring it with them into exile. It might spook them out, and there’s plenty enough else to worry about when exiled. On the flip side, maybe if Sophia can be tough, then readers of The Forever Girl can find strength in that, too.
Definitely! So now let’s move on to the books you’re going to take to the island with you. First up, it’s your favourite childhood book – perhaps the one that got you interested in reading in the first place, or the one you read over and over when you were young. Which will you choose, and why?
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. It was one of my favourites as a child and gave my imagination such a sense of wonder and magic. I remember checking my own closets for secret passageways to other worlds. Might give me that sense of hope that is needed to live in exile!
Haha, I also used to prod the back of my own wardrobe, convinced I'd find a way through if I only tried hard enough. In fact, I still try it from time to time … though I'm not convinced my flat-pack Ikea furniture is going to cut it as a portal to another world :-)
Next, the book that made the greatest impact on your life. This could be one that inspired you to become a writer, or one that made you look at the world in a whole new way – maybe even one that resulted in real-life romance or adventure.
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. I suppose there are a few stories that have really moved me, and many that have inspired, but this is the one that made me look at the world in a new way.
For your third book – and you’re probably going to need this one, all alone on a remote island – I’d like you to choose your greatest comfort read. You know, the one you turn to when you’re sad or ill or just need a little pick-me-up.
This one isn’t released yet, but I’m going to have to go with Louise Caiola’s The Making of Nebraska Brown. I’m editing it now, and it’s just a cosy, intriguing, entertaining read. It pulls me in and keeps me wrapped up in this whole other world of people I care about and makes me feel not alone.
Fourthly, it’s your unexpected treasure: a book you didn’t expect to like but did, maybe one outside your usual genre or that you picked up with low expectations but were pleasantly surprised …
The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard. It’s a mystery, and I’m very picky with my mystery. To the point I rarely read the genre. But Nancy has a way of making it so character-based, with people that intrigue you and a story that unfolds in a suspenseful way, that I ended up being a huge fan. I like all of her books now, actually.
And finally, I’d like you to choose your instant classic – the book you think most deserves to be read and reread by future generations. It’s up to you whether this book is already considered a classic or is something more obscure.
L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. I think it’s about the only book in the world where head hopping doesn’t annoy the crap out of me. It’s just so light and literary in an almost playful way, without even trying.
Unfortunately, I had to leave some of my favourite books behind because they are too depressing or scary!
I know what you mean. Some of my favourite books are both depressing and scary, but I wouldn’t take them to a place where I had nothing to cheer me up afterwards! Anyway, we’ll get your chosen books packaged up ready for your journey. Since we’re not completely heartless here at Barren Island Books, we’ll also let you take one song/piece of music, one film and one other item of your choice into exile with you …
Film: Becoming Jane. Ah, that movie gives me butterflies! Never really FELT the romance in a film before seeing that movie. Utterly moving.
Song: All of this Past by Sarah Bettens. There’s something about the music that just makes me float.
And one other item: A photo album with pictures of my kids — unless I can bring them with me, too!
Hmm. Up to you. Might be tricky looking after kids on a remote island … on the other hand, they’d get to take five books each as well, so you'd have a lot more reading matter! Now, before we whisk you away, you have one last decision to make: where you want your remote island to be located. You can choose anywhere you like for your exile, in this world or another.
Well, we know from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader there are plenty of Narnian islands to choose from. So that’s it – you’re ready to go. Thank you for joining us, and enjoy your trip!
Thank you for having me and for helping me pack up for my trip! For those of you not in exile, stop by my Facebook page today to learn about other great novels in the paranormal fantasy genre! Authors are welcome to come post about their books, and my favourites will be featured on my page! Or learn more about Forever Girl Month here.
If you are an author and would like to take part in a future edition of Barren Island Books, please get in touch with me via the Contact page.