Welcome to Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books. Today, I have a Q&A interview with Bex Hogan. This book has been an epic ten years in the making. In fact, there have been seven manuscripts and many rejections along the way. However, here we are celebrating the release of the fantastic debut book today. This week we are kicking off a blog tour with posts that will, hopefully, pique your interest. It's a brilliant high seas fantasy adventure that will take you to some amazing places. The book will be published on the 18th April 2019 by Orion Children's Books. It's going to be an epic trilogy that you will not want to miss. #StormAndSorrow
If you would like to know more about this book then please check out my book review HERE. So let us start this interview by welcoming Bex Hogan.
Your debut book, Viper, is the first book in the Isles of Storm and Sorrow. What can we expect and why should we read it?
Viper is a YA fantasy adventure set on the high seas. The first in a trilogy, it follows Marianne, the Viper’s daughter, who has to choose whether she’s prepared to sacrifice everything to fight against her cruel father. You can expect corruption, betrayal, magic and romance, all set against a backdrop of beautiful islands and dangerous oceans. At times it’s brutal and bloody – so if any of that appeals and you fancy a read, you’d make a writer very happy.
How and where did you get the idea for this book?
As so many of my ideas do, it came in a dream. It was a very vivid scene and when I woke up, I just had to know more about these characters. And what was going to happen next? What had led them to this point?
Though the story has evolved through many drafts, this scene is still in the book, exactly as I dreamt it.
Did you let the story and the characters take you on a journey or did you map out the whole plot and know exactly what you wanted to write?
To start with, it was definitely a case of going on an adventure with my characters, just to get to know them, and glimpse the world they inhabited. But then there comes a point where you need to take the map back from them and plot your own course, otherwise, you could be wandering a bit aimlessly. And with plotting out a whole trilogy, it’s definitely important that you know where you’re going and why.
What real-life inspirations did you draw from the worldbuilding within your book?
Growing up in Cornwall near the coast, seeing the sea stretching beyond rugged cliffs every day, was a huge inspiration for the Twelve Isles. We used to go to the Isles of Scilly too, for holidays, island-hopping in boats, and they were very much my template for a world of islands connected by an ocean.
Where is your preferred place to write?
My favourite place to write is at my desk in my writing room. I was very fortunate that we were able to convert our garage a couple of years ago, so I have space to be creative. I would like to pretend that it’s a tidy desk, but the truth is I’m usually buried beneath a pile of paperwork, and notebooks full of jotted down ideas. And more paperwork.
How important are stories to you?
Stories are everything – I think they are to most people in one form or another. They can be friends when you are lonely, teachers when you need guidance, an escape when life becomes too much. They can carry the weight of history. Shape societies. Or simply entertain.
Some of my favourite memories from childhood are the quiet ones where my mum would read to me, or my brother would make up stories for me on a moorland walk. I think the tales they told knitted their way into the fabric of my being, and will always stay with me.
What genre of books do you like to read? Do you limit yourself to reading only the genre that you write yourself?
The only requirement I have is that a book tells a good story, simple as that. It can be in any genre, although I do have a soft spot for historical novels, and of course, fantasy. But ultimately, all I want is to be swept away, to fall in love with characters and their lives, and to miss them when they’re gone. So not too much to ask!