My regular blog readers know that I loved The Hallowed Ones.
Here's what I said -- you can find my complete review here....
"The Hallowed Ones is a thinking person's thriller, a post-apocalyptic horror story that's both truly scary and deeply thoughtful. Katie is a great heroine -- she feels safe in her small, conservative group of Plain folk, but she's also deeply curious about life outside. When an apocalyptic disaster strikes, the Amish elders preach that tragedy is God's will and obedience is required. Katie tries to follow the rules, but she just can't help but question them. And break them. Will her rebellious ways lead to her salvation or her downfall? I was on the edge of my seat waiting to find out."
I was so excited that Laura agreed to let me interview her...
Jen: Hi, Laura! I’m such a fan of The Hallowed Ones! Thanks so much for agreeing to stop by and answer a few questions…
Laura: Thanks so much for inviting me to come by! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed THE HALLOWED ONES, and I really appreciate the chance to “meet” your readers!
Jen: You’ve said said in other interviews that the idea for writing about a girl in an Amish community facing cataclysmic disaster came about as you thought about who might be best-equipped to survive an apocalyptic event. If you could give yourself one (non-magical) skill that would help you survive the apocalypse, what would it be?
Laura: Hmm. I think that I’d most like to have a better understanding of native plants. I have some idea of what things are edible around here and which aren’t, but I’d love to know more about what can be used for medicine. I have a terrible black thumb, so I’d be pretty dependent on what I could find and not cultivate on my own!
Jen: Katie, the main character in The Hallowed Ones, has led a sheltered life but is also curious and independent. Amish thriller heroines are few and far between and yet, Katie’s also familiar. She’s that “Final Girl” in the horror movie who’s smart and cool-headed in the face of danger.
What were some of your ideas about Katie as you were conceptualizing your story? Did she change at all as you wrote the book?
Laura: I wanted Katie to be a strong girl, but not in an in-your-face kind of way. I wanted her to have a really quiet perseverance and strong pragmatism that would carry her through some really awful things that are asked of her.
The thing that changed the most about Katie as I wrote was her age. I originally intended for her to be an adult woman. But she came out young, as a teenager. She was more naïve, more questioning. She struggled with individuating from her family and felt wanderlust more intensely than an adult would. Her challenges ultimately came to define who she was.
Jen: Between your book and Adaptation by Malinda Lo, I’m becoming suspicious of large gatherings of birds. Are the bird images in your book a Hitchcock thing or is there some kind of avian ESP I should know about?
Laura: In THE HALLOWED ONES, the ravens flee the coming disaster before humans really have an inkling that something terrible has happened. Ravens get a lot of credit for predicting the future. There’s a myth about the Tower of London in our world…that if the ravens that live in the Tower flee, the whole kingdom will fall. As a result, there are several kept in the Tower with their wings clipped today.
Jen: Okay, so I'm keeping my eye on those birds!
I think that The Hallowed Ones is the perfect scary Halloween read. What kind of things (real or fictional creatures, books, movies) do you find scary?
Laura: Thank you!
There are actually a whole lot of things that I find scary.
When I was a really little girl, my grandmother gave me a pair of slippers with plastic clown heads on them. They terrified the daylights out of me, staring at me from the floor near my bed. I couldn’t sleep – I was a shrieking, teary mess.
My mom, thinking she needed to get those clown slippers out of my sight, shoved them under my bed. And all I could think after that was that the clowns were under my bed. Who knows what terrible things they were doing in total darkness? Eeek!
Jen: That story is hilarious! But clowns can be scary. I remember this Scooby Doo episode that had me sleeping with the lights on when I was a kid...
Thanks to Laura for taking the time to stop by. I know she's busy writing The Outside, which is the sequel to The Hallowed Ones. I can't wait to read it!