Rebecca Hamilton was kind enough to give me a few moments of her time and discuss some of the inner workings of her first book, The Forever Girl.
First of all, your first book, The Forever Girl, deals with a rather unique twist on traditional paranormal creatures. Would you care to explain a little more about them and their origins?
Thanks for asking! I had a lot of fun with the paranormal creatures in my novel. I’ve tied them to the elements (earth, water, air, fire, spirit). I’ve mixed classic origins with modern ones and added a few of my own twists—this is true of all the paranormal creatures in my novels. In book one, however, the focus is mostly on the world and on witches. Other books in the series will more deeply explore the other elements.
Aside from fascinating characters, Forever Girl has several memorable locations, especially 'Club Flesh'. What were some of the inspirations for these places?
I’ve been told I’m a bit atmospheric and descriptive in my writing style. I attach a lot of emotion and vibe to a person’s surroundings. Whenever I choose a setting, I try to select details for those locations that will evoke what I’m going for. That said, there’s something to be said of juxtaposition as well; sometimes I prefer a cheery setting for dreary emotions to provide contract and empower the emotion that way. My inspirations really just come from within in that way, or perhaps it’s subconscious.
What was your motivation behind placing the setting in a smaller town?
I wanted a modern-day story, but I wanted to emphasize some of the not-so-modern thinking that occurs in our society today. So you could say the small-town setting met a thematic need in this story. For example, you expect a bit more tolerance toward differences in New York, because it’s already such a diverse community. When you have a community that is smaller as well as less diverse, those who are different go through more struggles. Sophia struggles with prejudices against her just as the paranormal world she discovers struggles with prejudices of their own.
You have an absolutely stellar voice for creating immediate suspense
and terror for the main character that the readers can completely
relate to. Do you draw from personal experiences?
Absolutely I do. As they say, write what you know. I may not know what it’s like to be a vampire or a witch, but I know what it’s like to be different, to be an outcast. I don’t think it’s so much as needing to relate the surface of one experience to another. Look at the emotions beneath. I don’t know what it is like to have my fingertips burned off, for example, but I know what it’s like to experience great pain, physically or emotionally, and I know how pain can sometimes drive you to consider things you wouldn’t. So I connect based on similar emotional experiences. I also try to put myself completely in the characters shoes. How would my point of view character experience something? It’s a little bit different from the inside out, as opposed to the outside looking in!
One of the things that I love in Forever Girl is that Sophia is a
truly terrible judge of character, despite her intuitions. Was this
intentional or did these aspects come out as you were writing her?
I see Sophia as intelligent, but her mind gets in the way sometimes. I also think that no matter how smart a person is, they are going to make a mistake. Sometimes they are too close to the problem, too emotionally involved, to see a situation as objectively as someone else. This is something that definitely developed as I was writing her. Basically, I was trying to connect to Sophia’s emotions, but I found that to do that I had to address that she sometimes ignored her gut feelings. Because of what she’s been through, she doesn’t trust her heart when she should. I guess what I’ve learned through Sophia is that sometimes you can try so hard to do the right things, to make logical decisions, that you end up making all the wrong choices. Part of her journey is learning to trust herself.
Outside of placing a lot of personality into your main characters,
each individual encountered in the story seems to be fully fleshed out
and well-written. How do you go about creating these individuals in
With character, a lot starts of intuitive. They “come to me”. Yes, that’s a cliché answer, but I don’t have a better one. Once they come to me, though, I can start asking them questions and learning more about them, and that is how they flesh out.
Finally, for those who haven't had an opportunity to check out your
book yet, are there any other tidbits you would like to share with the
Wow. Well, I guess sometimes I wish there were more genre tags to select for my books. I really want my book to fall into the right hands. Sales are nice, but what is more rewarding is when those who read enjoy what they are reading.
I’ve always found it hard to say who would love my book. A lot of the tension in the novel, especially early on, comes from mystery. But this isn’t a Mystery novel. A good portion of the book deals with a romance and the conflict that stops two people in love from fully giving themselves to one another. But I wouldn’t call the book a romance, either. There’s some action and adventure, but anyone who read this would tell you it’s not an action novel. It’s not literary fiction, though the themes are expressed using many literary devices. There’s nothing “urban” about the fantasy, either. Contemporary Fantasy works okay … but as you know, there’s segments of the story that just wouldn’t fit into that.
If a reader can go into my book with no expectation, or perhaps as a reader who likes a good story, no matter the genre, I think they might find something they enjoy. So if I could share one thing, it would be not to expect it to be just another genre book.
Thanks so much for your time and I'm looking forward to the next one!
Thank you for having me! And I’m just tickled you enjoyed the book as much as you did.