I am so psyched to have author Jennifer Bosworth here today for an interview! Her book Struck (review here) was amazing and I am so thankful to her for taking time out of her schedule to answer some questions about the series and about herself for me. Onto the interview!
A Bookworm’s Haven (ABWH): Can you tell us a little bit about Struck for those who might have read it yet?
Jennifer Bosworth (JB): Struck is the story of a seventeen-year-old girl named Mia Price, who is not only a human lightning rod, but also a lightning addict. She’s been struck countless times, and there’s nothing that makes her feel more alive than connecting to the energy in a storm. But, as with any addiction, lightning isn’t very good for Mia. It’s left her an insomniac with veiny red scars all over her body, and on several occasions being struck has even stopped her heart. This is why she moves to Los Angeles, where it hardly ever rains and lightning rarely strikes. But soon after she arrives there, a massive earthquake devastates the city. In the aftermath, two doomsday cults rise to power, one that wants to save the world and one that wants to destroy it to cleanse the earth of the wicked. Both cults believe Mia is the key to their apocalyptic visions.
(ABWH): Some people are of the belief that 2012 may bring an apocalypse to the world. Was this your inspiration for the world of Struck?
(JB): Strangely enough, back when I started Struck I wasn’t aware of the Mayan prediction. It’s just a coincidence that Struck is being released in 2012. Lucky for me, the end date isn’t until December, so I’ll have a few months to enjoy being a published author.
I’ve always been obsessed with apocalyptic stories, though. Stephen King’s epic novel “The Stand” instilled in me a fondness for stories that ask the question, “The world is falling apart. So now what?” But I love the way King balanced a realistic plague story with supernatural/horror elements. That’s what I set out to do with Struck . . . to balance realism with fantasy.
(ABWH): Mia is a fascinating character who is also a lighting addict. Are you intrigued with lighting as well?
(JB): Yes! Definitely! I’ve always been fascinated by lighting. Ironically, I’ve only lived in places where it hardly ever rains. But when I was a kid, every time it did rain, I hoped lightning would knock the power out so we could all sit in the dark and watch the sky light up. The wonderful thing about lightning is that no one really understands it, and most people don’t know what it’s capable of. Being struck by lightning can kill a person in a variety of ways, but it can also cause amnesia, rewire a person’s brain, give them Lichtenberg figures on their skin, veiny red marks that actually look like red lightning. And there have been cases when being struck by lighting has healed people of serious illnesses. You simply never know what lighting can do. The inventor Nikola Tesla had plans for harnessing lightning as a means to provide free electricity for everyone on the planet, but the power companies took away his funding. Lighting is this insane force of nature that is completely unpredictable, and that’s what I love most about it.
(ABWH): Do you have a favorite scene from Struck? My favorite part was the whole climax scene, it is still running through my head like a movie on repeat, lol.
(JB): I love the climax scene, too! Even though I’ve read it a hundred times it still gets my adrenaline pumping. One of my favorite scene is when Mia goes to visit the Dealer in Tentville, the sprawling tent city where many of the people who’ve been displaced by the earthquake now live. Not only does Mia have to contend with the hordes of desperate, starving residents of Tentville, but she has to face the psychotic, sadistic king of black market proprietors in order to get meds for her mom.
(JB): We had an incredible cast for the trailer! We definitely lucked out, because not only were we able to find actors who looked uncannily like the book characters, but they were also incredibly talented. Win win! There are, of course, little differences between the actors’ appearances and the characters in the book. For instance, in the book, Prophet has long white hair even though he’s young and attractive. The actor we cast didn’t have long white hair (and it would have been strange if he did) so we tried a wig, but that didn’t work. He looked too “rock me sexy Jesus.” In the end we had our hair and makeup guy airbrush the actor’s hair white and style it kind of anime, Dragonball Z-ish, which turned out to be its own kind of cool.
(ABWH): Struck ended at a point where it could be a stand-alone, but I would love to see more in this world. *wink, wink* Lol. Do you ever plan on writing more in this world?
(JB): I have ideas for a sequel, but I’m waiting for the right moment to start writing. It’s hard to follow up a book that has such high stakes (end of the world). But if enough people love the book and demand a sequel, I’ll give them what they want. So, all you readers out there, if you want a sequel, don’t be shy about telling me!
(ABWH): Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel?
(JB): Actually, what comes first for me is the title. I build everything around it, and if something doesn’t check against the title, it’s gone. But after title, I’d say the idea for the novel comes next, and my characters are formed around the idea or the situation. Once I know the situation, I can ask myself, “Okay, who is in a place to be most affected by the events of this story.” Also, when it comes to constructing characters, I find it’s essential to give them a substantial backstory and utilize as much of that backstory as possible. I want the backstory to not only inform the character, but to affect the way the character reacts to her current circumstances.
(ABWH): Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or a movie?
(JB): Yes . . . but usually not in a positive way. Recently I saw the movie “Young Adult,” and I identified way too strongly with that character. We’re both young adult authors who own tiny dogs, come from small, working class towns, drink too much bourbon, and, in general, still act like teenagers. Luckily I know I’m not the only young adult author who identified with that character. Hehe!
(ABWH): Do you have authors that are on your must read list?
(JB): There are very few authors I’d follow to the ends of the earth, but there are books that I tell everyone to read. “Little Brother” by Cory Doctorow; “Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn; “Reality Check” by Peter Abrahams; “The Talisman” by Stephen King and Peter Straub; “The Keep” by F. Paul Wilson; “Heart-shaped Box” by Joe Hill; “Room” by Emma Donahue. All of those books were game changers for me. Reading them altered me on a fundamental level, and changed the kind of author I want to be.
(ABWH): What things do you have to have with you when writing?
(JB): Coffee. Coffee. More coffee. Lemonheads. And a blanket because it’s always cold in my office.
(ABWH): What are the best and worst parts about being an author?
(JB): The best part for me is when I’m writing in the alpha state, when I stop being conscious of what I’m doing and just write. At those moments, nothing else matters except the work.
Worse part is when I come out of the alpha state and find myself doubting everything I wrote, every choice I made, every letter of every word. That’s the part I have to fight at all times. It’s so easy for writers to let doubt stop them from finishing what they set out to create. It’s a constant battle.
(ABWH): Can you share what you are working on right now?
(JB): Why not? I’m working on a post-apocalyptic fantasy western. It’s going to be . . . like nothing you’ve ever read before.
(ABWH): Thanks for stopping by today Jennifer! Do you have anything you would like to add?
(JB): Thank you for interviewing me! You had great questions and I enjoyed answering each and every one of them!
Struck releases May 8th and I cannot say enough good things about it! I have put the trailer below for you to watch to try and entice you more. It looks so sweet! It is almost looks like it could be a movie trailer and the tower looks exactly like I pictured it in the book! So check it out and let me know what you think!
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