Tara Hudson is the brilliant author of HEREAFTER. If you haven't read my book review you can read it here. I just want to say a big thank you to Tara herself for answering all of my questions and I hope you guys enjoy!
1. Hereafter includes my favourite elements - ghosts and the afterlife. Where did you get the idea for this story? Did you always intend for it to become a trilogy?
The idea for Hereafter came from a short story I wrote in college, told from the perspective of a young woman who does not yet realize she is dead. I set the original story in a place I only vaguely remembered - a Choctaw Indian cemetery to which my grandparents had taken me as a child. I could only recall how strangely quiet and overgrown the place was, and how I wondered whether anyone had visited those graves in this century. Only later did I learn this cemetery was my family graveyard.
The image of that place stuck with me for many years. So, I wrote a spooky story about it for a college-level fiction workshop, and then promptly forgot the whole thing. A decade passed, and after one too many work-related memorandums, I remembered how much I loved writing fiction. I started a number of different stories, but the rural cemetery kept returning to me. One rainy afternoon, I wrote the opening chapter of a ghost story for my two best friends, to distract them on their lunch break. Within twenty minutes, they both demanded more, and Hereafter was born.
As for the length of the series, I've always known how Amelia and Joshua's story would end and that ending certainly lends itself to a trilogy!
2. What i loved most about Hereafter was the intense relationship between Amelia and Joshua. Where did you get the inspiration for these two characters?
Amelia and Joshua have a unique connection that develops over the course of the novel. As I wrote HEREAFTER, I certainly let their relatonship build on its own, but I definitely drew upon some of the emotions I felt when I experienced my first love. I also infused a little bit of the trust and acceptance that I've learned throughout my marriage - acceptance of each others' quirks (including death!) is a key.
3. Tell us a little about your path to publication. Was it a wonderful experience as you hoped for?
Even better! I started HEREAFTER on April 14, 2009 (I still have the email I sent, the day I wrote the first chapter), and had an offer from HarperCollins on April 30, 2010.
The Official Publication Events happened after I'd been querying HEREAFTER for about two months. I decided to go for broke and query my dream agent, Catherine Drayton. When she requested the full manuscript, I honestly thought I'd have a heart attack. A few days later, she called me to ask if I'd work on some revisions before she agreed to represent me - I said yes, of course. Two days after that, I received the most exciting email from her: HarperCollins, one of the most amazing publishers ever, had contacted her requesting something in the vein of HEREAFTER. Eight days after that, we had a deal on the basis of nine chapters!
4. What is the most surprising thing you've learned since becoming a published author?
That it's not all sunshine and rainbows and unicorns? (Seriously, where are the unicorns?) In all honesty, a lot of writers' blogs helped me mentally prepare for the process, so nothing was a nasty surprise. But I've had lots of positive surprises. The way I felt when I got "The Call" is probably the best one - I had no idea just how awesome it would be.
5. Any advice to aspiring authors such as myself?
Keep at it! Whether you're on a first draft, a querying spree, or submission, there will be days when you feel like giving up; where it feels like wasted effort, or too much work. When those moments strike, remind yourself that unlike most "day jobs," writing is calling - oit's something you do for the sheer love of it. Take a break from it whenever you need to but make sure you stick with it; even if you never get published, hold tight to the fact that you're doing something you love. And thigns like that are always worth the effort.
6. And lastly . . . the sequel to Hereafter is called ARISE. What can readers expect to see happen? Can you give us a little teaser?
Only a little one! [I know I can't help it!] In ARISE, the stakes are a lot higher for Amelia and Joshua when the demons make a nasty reappearance. Amelia and Joshua travel to New Orleans [one of my favourite places people!] and participate in a dark ritual [I love dark rituals!], set in one of the creepiest places in the city: St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. And that's all I can say!
Thank you Tara for letting me interview you!
Be sure to check out her book and look out for her future sequels!
Be sure to add Hereafter on goodreads