Sunday, 20 September 2015

Interview with Anna Caltabiano

Welcome to Comet Babes Books today!

Can you please tell us more about The Seventh Miss Hatfield?
The Seventh Miss Hatfield explores a series of firsts--first love, first loss, and the first realization that memories are fragile.

When a drop from the Fountain of Youth turns 11 year-old Cynthia immortal, she is forced to take on a new identity as Miss Rebecca Hatfield—the seventh Miss Hatfield to be exact. Sent on a mission to time travel back to 1904 to retrieve a secret painting, Rebecca uncovers more than what she bargains for: the turn of the century transitioning into the modern world, a man terrified of death, and a love that will leave her reeling.

Can you tell us about the main character Rebecca?
Rebecca is a headstrong girl, on her way to becoming a young woman. She’s learning to make her own decisions and somehow control her own destiny in the midst of dealing with immortality and time travel. And you thought being a teenager was hard enough!

What would you describe this book as? Fantasy/YA/Paranormal
I am not sure my book fits easily into any categories. It could be considered a thriller, a coming of age story, a romance, and certainly the plot has elements of fantasy. I hope that it is read and enjoyed by young adults and adults who want to read a story from the perspective of a girl rapidly shedding her childhood and trying to forge a new identity.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like as the main characters?
I’d love lesser known actors to play Rebecca and Henley. There’s something about having fresh faces without any prior major roles. I think someone like Nicole Kidman would play a strong Miss Hatfield beautifully, while still showing her vulnerability. I’d also love an actor like Donald Sutherland to play Mr. Beauford. A girl can dream!

Can you tell us anything about your next book?
I’m currently working on the sequel to The Seventh Miss Hatfield. It’s definitely exciting to be working with some of the same characters again. It’s like meeting old friends. As for the plot, I can’t say much, but I think this one might even be more exciting than the first.

What kind of books do you like to read?I like to read a wide variety of things from classics by Charles Dickens to more contemporary works by Tao Lin. I tend to be up for anything between Lolitaand Bridget Jones’s Diary.

What books did you read as a child and were there any that inspired you to take up writing?
I suppose every book I read when I was little inspired me to take up writing in someway. Here are a couple just off the top of my head.

Francesca Lia Block's I Was a Teenage Fairy is one of the first truly shocking books I remember reading. Being no older than 11, I had originally picked up the book because of the word "fairy" in the title, but I soon discovered it was more than just about a tiny mythical girl with wings. Instead it was a metaphor for a young girl's painful encounter with an uncaring adult world that used her for its own ends. I think it was the first book that made me start thinking about using writing as a vehicle to explore difficult emotions.

The Everafter by Amy Huntley is another book that fostered some growth in me. It's a YA book in which the protagonist is dead and has to piece together her life and the circumstances of her death, through glowing objects in the afterlife, which turn out to be all the objects she lost while she was alive. She realizes that using these lost objects, she can re-experience and sometimes change the outcome of certain events from her life. It was fascinating for me to experience the afterlife Huntley created for her character and the importance she places on past memories.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I consider myself a pretty normal teenager (or at least as “normal” as teenagers can be). I love playing the guitar just for fun, playing tennis, hanging out with friends, and responding with a mass of emojis to grexts.

Do you like it quiet when you're writing or do you need background noise? (music or TV)
I love listening to music when writing. I find music can easily set the emotion for a scene I’m trying to write. But of course, when really trying to concentrate on writing a difficult part in a book, I find I have to turn it all off, and write in silence (if you call talking to myself silence).

Do you have a process for planning your books? Ie do you talk over an idea with a friend or a partner.
My process is quite similar to solitary confinement. I find that I get the most work done when I lock myself in my room. I try to outline my books before I start writing them, but once I start writing, I find that I always veer off course. I’ve learned to not panic when that happens and enjoy the ride.

Thank you for answering my questions.

Anna Caltabiano was born in British colonial Hong Kong and educated in Mandarin Chinese schools before moving to Palo Alto, California; the mecca of futurism. She lives down the street from Facebook in the town where its founders reside, along with the pioneers of Google and Apple. Caltabiano's high school classmates are themselves an eclectic mix: the lost offspring of ultra-wealthy Silicon Valley magnates, aspirational internet entrepreneurs and Stanford philosophy professors.

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