on Nov. 8, 2011 :
Wow. WOW. Wo-wa-wee-wa WOW.
Yes, that is EXACTLY how I feel right now. I had family over my house this weekend and it was impossible to be on the computer when I was never at home. Lucky for me, I was able to read the entire book on my phone. I could not put it down and I got a dozen dirty looks from my mom which was all very much worth it.
I am the type of person that either gets sucked into a book on the first page and am not able to put it down, or I don’t get into it at all. Sometimes it can be a struggle fighting to try to find a spark, something that will ignite some interest. With Hope Colliers “The Willows: Haven” was instantaneous. The same way a spark creates a fire and spreads steadily over the land, I was all over the story. I craved it and needed it.
In the first paragraph alone there is already mystery and action; you will be one hundred percent mesmerized (at least I was.) I was captivated by the amazing flow of her words and how easy it was to connect with each and every single character. I cannot even remember how many times I fell in love throughout the story, well- it was two actually. My husband should really be jealous right about now! All joking aside, I love all these characters so much now, except for one.. ugh! Kevin, you will forever be in my doo-doo list. It feels as if we have all been acquaintances for a really long time.
Hope Collier gave an amazing spin to mythology and, even though I am not very familiar with it all, it was easy to follow and in the end all made sense. The moment I finished the book (5 minutes ago) I tweeted her: “OMG…@hopecollier, tell me a second book is on the works! I ate this book.” I really, really, REALLY *desperate voice* hope this is book #1 of many. I already told the hubby I want the paperback for my birthday coming up.. yeah, it is THAT good.
Hope you kicked YA a**! I could only wish, when I finish my book, it will be this amazing. This is what reading is all about. Immersing yourself in a different dimension, forgetting your own world, forgetting to even breathe when the main characters are kissing or having a very private moment. I want more! Pweeese?
INTERVIEW WITH HOPE:
1- I know you have been writing for quite some time, you actually wrote your first book at six years of age. What was it that got you to writing and made you keep going?
Making up stories is something I've always done. I lived in southeastern Kentucky until I was six. Living in the mountains was a breeding ground for my imagination. Everything from the stories my uncles would tell around the campfire to making up my own adventures with my cousins … everything had potential to grow into something more. We moved to "the big city" right after I turned six. My 1st grade teacher told us to put pen to paper, and write our stories down. After that, I just never quit.
2- What or who inspires you?
The thing that inspire me most is music. I admire anyone who can take what's essentially an entire story and squeeze into four minutes worth of rhyming words and a melody. I like the deeper meaning in the lyrics. I like how each instrument sets the scene as if it's a character in and of itself. Music moves me like nothing else.
3- Which authors do you admire and why?
First would be Elizabeth Isaacs. She's my mentor and personal Yoda! Her ability to make the reader truly feel is just mind boggling. I've never really *experienced* a story like I did with The Light of Asteria.
Second is Lisa Kleypas. Her characters in the Hathaway series are flawless in a flawed sort of way. I hope to one day write such distinct ones.
Third would be Janet Evanovich. No one writes relatable like Janet. She can take any situation in a story and make you feel like you're not the only one who bumbles through life.
4- How was "The Willows: Haven" created?
Haven came about, as cliché as it sounds, after I had a dream. Honestly though, 99% of what I write comes from my dreams. Gabe was the first character to really have a voice. He wasn't doing anything in particular in my dream. I just knew he was this inherently good person, and I got to thinking about him more. Who was he really? What purpose did he serve? Who could he affect with his life? Thus, Ashton was born followed by the rest. I'm not a planner, so the story came to me in pieces as the characters began speaking up.
5- a) I, personally, fell in love with two of the male characters: Gabe and Kyle. Were they written in reference to anyone you know? And if so, where can I find them? (DM me their number haha)
Haha! They weren't written in their entirety from anyone one person. I think bits and pieces have come from people and experiences I've had with others, but mostly they created themselves. Gabe, of course, came to me in the dream. I didn't have much say in his personality. He's actually quite hard to capture. As for Kyle, when I started the story, he wasn't even a main character. It wasn't until later I realized how important he truly was. At that point, he did the writing for me, letting me in on a need-to-know basis ;)
b) Have you ever or will you ever, use any personal experiences?
For me, just about everything is personal in some way, even if not in the obvious. A little bit of me or my life goes into most characters whether they have a trait or habit or weakness. Names, features, hobbies … most things in my story have purpose. As far as it goes for being non-human, well, that one is just a fantasy!
6- Will there be a second, third, fourth, fifth... installment? I NEED more!!!!
Without a doubt! I'm currently working on the sequel now. Expected publication is Fall 2012. My plans are for a trilogy, but seeing as I fly by the seat of my pants and follow the characters, that may change.
7- What can we expect next?
In Book 2, we'll get to explore the world Ashton, Gabe and the others live in. It's a more in-depth look at their origins, history, and abilities. Plus, some of those unanswered questions come to light leaving more mysteries to unravel
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)