Friday, January 24, 2014

Interview: Rosamund Hodge

http://supernaturalsnark.blogspot.com/2014/01/review-cruel-beauty.html

I'm hugely excited today to welcome young adult author Rosamund Hodge to the blog to answer a few questions about her debut novel, Cruel Beauty. I absolutely adored this book (read my full review), particularly the dark complexity of both Nyx and The Gentle Lord, and I simply can't recommend it enough to those who are looking for a very different take on the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. I was so thrilled when Rosamund agreed to stop by the blog (be sure and check back next week as I was lucky enough to ask her editor a few questions as well), so I hope you all enjoy the interview!

The castle the Gentle Lord calls home is a labyrinth of stairs, hallways, and locked rooms that require completely unique keys for entry. If you were a guest in the castle (for an extended stay), what would the key to your room look like?

Funny you should ask. I happen to know the precise answer to that question. My key would look like the silver one in this picture:


(They’re pendants made by Keyper’s Cove on Etsy. Sadly, by the time I tracked down the origin of the picture, those particular keys had sold.)

You’re seated at the Gentle Lord’s very special dinner table waiting for the evening’s meal to magically appear as it does every night. What foods do you most wish will be on the menu?

Crème brûlée. I feel weird about that, since I am a chocolate girl and always will be—just like I will always pick cats over dogs and Luke Skywalker over Han Solo (shut up, he is the best!)—but crème brûlée is my very favorite dessert of all time, and I will even order it when there is flourless chocolate cake on the menu. Because it is custardy vanilla goodness forged in fire, so what’s not to love?

The castle boasts a rather impressive library even though the books are nearly unreadable for a variety of reasons. What’s one book Nyx would love to have on the shelves in order to make herself feel more at home?

Unquestionably she would want Cosmatos & Burnham’s Handbook of Modern Hermetic Techniques, the first Hermetic textbook that she ever studied. Nyx may be bitter and conflicted about her mission, but she is an enormous geek who loves the Hermetic arts—which are her world’s magic-meets-technology—and in another world she would be happily programming computers or soldering electronics.

(The Handbook is actually named after Burnham’s Celestial Handbook, a 2,138-page catalogue of all the constellations in the sky, which was compiled by one man: the amateur astronomer Robert Burnham. I am no astronomer myself, but it was a favorite of one of my brothers when we were growing up.)

Nyx is not the first young woman to call herself wife to the Gentle Lord. If she could ask any one of his past wives a question, what would she most like to know?

“How can I avenge you?”

The world of Arcadia is both dark and utterly fascinating. What’s one aspect of our world Nyx and the Gentle Lord might find equally intriguing?

The Internet. Nyx, because of the endless research. The Gentle Lord, because of the endless schadenfreude.

You’re alone in the castle with nothing but your thoughts and a single key. The key is to a door that will either free both you and all of Arcadia from the demons that terrorize the city, or it will free those very demons with no way to imprison them once again. Do you take the risk and use your key?

Probably not, unless the situation in Arcadia was really bad and there was really no hope of turning up an alternate/safer solution. I mean, you’re talking 50/50 odds that every single person alive will be instantly killed or driven horribly, agonizingly insane. It’s hard to justify that kind of risk unless you really have no other options.

I realize that’s a fairly stick-in-the-mud answer. But it’s one thing to risk all for freedom when only your own life is at stake. When you’ve got the fate of millions of people riding on your choices, I really think you have to run the numbers, even if ultimately the numbers aren’t the only thing you pay attention to. And that problem—when everyone alive could be killed or saved by your choices, how do you weight one life against millions?—is a problem Nyx has to face as well.

If someone were using your life as inspiration for a new fairy tale or myth that would be passed from one generation to the next in Arcadia, how would the very first or the very last line read?

“And then she died.”

(Spoiler: it’s how your story is going to end too.)

• • • • • • • • • • •

CRUEL BEAUTY


Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.



• • • • • • • • • • • 

ROSAMUND HODGE

(photograph by Janelle Bighinatti)

When my older brother was thirteen, he started a writing club with his friends and wouldn’t let me join because I was only eight. I promptly swore that I would become a writer and make him sorry.

He still isn’t sorry. (I checked.) But in 2014 I will publish my first novel with Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins, so I guess everything worked out okay.

Some other facts about me:

• I practice Shorinji Kempo, a Japanese martial art based on Shaolin Kung Fu.

• Cruel Beauty is my debut novel, but it is somewhere between the third and sixth that I ever completed, depending on how you count things. (There was the 40,000-word mess I called a novel when I was sixteen, and the 220,000-word mess I briefly pretended was a single novel in 2009.)

• NaNoWriMo changed my life and got me finishing novels again after a long hiatus. But Cruel Beauty is not a NaNoWriMo novel. (The NaNoWriMo project that changed everything was the 220,000-word mess. Someday I may even revise it.)

• I grew up as a homeschooler in Los Angeles, and I spent my childhood marinating in Greek mythology, which is where all the Greek elements in Cruel Beauty come from.

• Then I got a B.A. in English at the University of Dallas, and an M.St. in Medieval English at Oxford. Naturally, I moved to Seattle and got a job with computers.

• I have studied five languages (Spanish, French, Latin, Old Norse, and Japanese), though sadly I am still not able to speak any of them.

• I love some things more than T. S. Eliot’s poetry. But not many things.

• I am represented by Hannah Bowman of Liza Dawson Associates.

40 comments:

  1. Oh- I love these questions. Perfect for those like me who are so curious about Cruel Beauty, it's world Arcadia, and Nyx and The Gentle Lord. I loved the book, and these questions and answers just add that much more to my fascination. Wonderful!

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    1. YAY! So glad you enjoyed the interview (and the book!). I just loved this story:)

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  2. Very interesting questions! I didn't think Nyx would care for the previous wives, but she does have a good heart, so it makes sense. I love the keys the author showed, they're intricate and pretty, I like the gold one more though. Thanks for sharing these, Jenny! It certainly made me feel more connected to the story :)

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    1. Aren't those keys gorgeous? I would happily accept either:)

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  3. Most awesome keys ever, I need those

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  4. I am so curious about this book, everyone seems to love it sooooo much! The keys are amazing though, i have always wanted to buy on of those, and to be honest, they are reasonably priced too!

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    1. I hope you give this story a try Sandra, I thought it was fantastic. Just something really different from what I'd been reading:)

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  5. Ooh, I love the key that she chose and both these questions and their answers are wildly entertaining! Absolutely lovely interview, Jenny, and thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks so much Keertana! Glad you enjoyed it:)

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  6. OMG. "And then she died." Yep! That's how it ends for everyone. Loved this interview -- and what gorgeous keys!

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    1. Yes to the keys. I want those two and a whole slew of others to make some sort of wall decoration. That would be super cool, but I'm not crafty in that area:)

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  7. Those keys are gorgeous.
    This was a great interview, Jenny. I had a lot of fun reading it. My favorite answer from Rosamund is definitely the last one! :P
    Thanks for sharing! :)

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    1. Hehe. I should have seen that answer coming ;-)

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  8. Fantastic interview and I love the keys….so cool! I have been dying to read this and can't wait to get my hands on a copy. Thanks for sharing this with us!

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    1. I can't wait to see what you think of it Christina!!!!

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  9. Hahahaha that last answer. Sassy! I've yet to read this book, but I've heard some pretty decent things about it. Perhaps it needs to make it onto my TBR after all. Great interview, Jenny!

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    1. *snort* Truer words were never spoken right? I hope you give this a chance Melissa, I was a huge fan.

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  10. I loved this interview and those keys are gorgeous! I would want them as well. ;)

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  11. After reading this interview, I'm even more intrigued by this story. Can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this book! I'm really curious to see all the Greek mythology elements in the story. Great interview, ladies!

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    1. I just loved the characters Rummanah, they were all so interesting. I could never quite predict what they would do next:)

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  12. I cannot believe that I haven't requested this one when it was time to do so. I let it slip. Yeah I'm world biggest idiot and now I have to wait till the book is out. I love the sound of it and those keys are so pretty. Great interview, Jenny :)

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    1. I hope you get your hands on a copy soon Tanja, I can't recommend this story enough:)

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  13. Love this interview and this book! It was so magical and something I can read over and over!

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  14. OH EM KEYS!!!!!! They're so pretty *stares* Every time I watch an episode of Master Chef, there's someone baking crème brûlée. Almost every time lol. I would love to bake it someday, I just don't know if I'm capable. It seems like a LOT of work. Even though I haven't met the characters yet, based on all the reviews I've read, the Internet seems like the obvious answer indeed and I think these two would have tons of fun with it ;) Thanks for sharing this fun interview. I'm even more excited about this pretty now:)

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  15. Take two... I just spent ten minutes shopping for keys on etsy. That shop is full of gorgeous stuff! Love it! Thanks for sharing. I laughed at the part about making her brother sorry and today he is still not sorry, we will see when the book releases,right? Just started this last night and so far I am really enjoying it! Have a happy weekend!

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  16. ARGH!!! My comment was eaten. Keep this short. Love the kids. Awesome interview. I am sure her brother will soon be sorry. Reading this now and loving it! Happy weekend!

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    1. Oh now both show up go figure. Blogger is definitely having issues today :(

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  17. Dyyyyyyying to read this book!

    Also, I'm now fighting the urge to go spend two hours on Etsy looking at key necklaces.

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  18. Love the interview. I'm so going to have to check out that Etsy shop too. Jenny, you have the best questions and I love how her story ends. Very perfect ending sentence. :)

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  19. Oh I love those keys! LOVE! This is a great interview, you ask the best questions! I just loved this book so much so it was nice to read more about it and the author!

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  20. Awesome interview, Jenny! I just finished CRUEL BEAUTY and loved it! And I do want those keys, beautiful:)

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  21. What a wonderful interview! I love these questions, and it's so great to get to know Rosamund better. I just finished Cruel Beauty and loved it! Mmm and now I'm craving creme brulee. :-) Love the last line in her fairy tale too, quite fitting!

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  22. Wonderful interview ladies! Jenny you are my idol when it comes to interesting questions. Creme brulee is an excellent dessert for the menu. I'd have chips, salsa and margaritas on my menu. My weakness and weekly indulgence!

    I love Beauty and the Beast re-tellings and I'm even more excited about this story after reading this interview! :)

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  23. I've seen so many brilliant reviews for this book and I'm equally excited to read this book very soon on my Kindle. I love the interview ladies. The keys was a rather interesting one, reminds me of Harry Potter slightly with the room of keys and Harry as to get the old one. And the library one, I mean the most interesting where magic meets technology. Brilliant. Great Post, Jenny! :)

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  24. I love the questions! They're all so great in how they relate to the book itself. I think it's funny that the characters would find the Internet the most intriguing aspect of our world, although it is pretty amazing ;) The keys are gorgeous, too.

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  25. She sounds like a lovely lady . Cool

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  26. I always love the creative questions you manage to come up with, Jenny. Lol, the last answer is too funny.

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  27. Lmao - "And then she died." That's my kind of fairytale. This was a great interview - both questions and answers! I loved Cruel Beauty!

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