Saturday, January 25, 2014

Interview with Jenny Trout

Such Sweet Sorrow
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: February 4th 2014


Never was there a tale of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo…But true love never dies. Though they’re parted by the veil between the world of mortals and the land of the dead, Romeo believes he can restore Juliet to life, but he’ll have to travel to the underworld with a thoroughly infuriating guide.

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, may not have inherited his father’s crown, but the murdered king left his son a much more important responsibility—a portal to the Afterjord, where the souls of the dead reside. When the determined Romeo asks for help traversing the treacherous Afterjord, Hamlet sees an opportunity for adventure, and the chance to avenge his father’s death.

USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer Armintrout became interested in the macabre at an early age. Raised in a large Roman Catholic family, she viewed too many funerals at a formative age. She lives in a small, rural community in Southwestern Michigan and was born in 1980.

Can I just say how much fun it is to be a “debut” author again? My first book, Blood Ties Book One: The Turning came out in 2006, and since then I’ve had something like twenty-three books published. And suddenly, I’m a debut author again. It’s way more fun and less scary the second time.

Such Sweet Sorrow is the first book in the Wondrous Strange series. The idea is to take Shakespeare’s characters and plots and intertwine all of those elements into a supernatural Shakespearean metaverse. Many of Shakespeare’s plays incorporated supernatural elements and mythological references to begin with, so it’s just been a question of drawing those out and building on them.

The Blood Ties Series:

The Lightworld/Darkworld Series:

It’s quite a striking image, isn’t it? I think the art department had their work cut out for them, because it is such a strange story, but the gothic, foreboding feel of the cover really reflects the tone of the of the book.

In terms of paranormal romance YA, I’d have to say that my favorites have been Leanna Renee Hieber’s Darker Still, because it’s just so lush and the setting is so odd. It’s a romance fueled urban fantasy historical YA… that’s also a loving homage to The Picture of Dorian Gray. That sounds insane, described that way, but it’s such an addictive read. Also, people like to make fun of this one, but New Moon by Stephenie Meyer was so amazing. I’m pretty “meh” about the other books in the series, but New Moon really takes you back to the devastation and melodrama of first heartbreak.

They’re three people who are thrown into horrible situations by fate. In Such Sweet Sorrow, I took the supernatural element and extrapolated that out into Hamlet being an unwilling medium, able to hear the voices of the dead. Romeo wasn’t killed by the poison he took in Juliet’s tomb, but his near death has left him very weak, so he’s constantly battling this sickness even as he’s travelling the world, trying to find a way to get Juliet back. And Juliet is trying to adjust to the underworld, or the Afterjord as it’s called in the book, and she’s learning new things about herself and realizing that maybe she’s not the person she was in life. They were a lot of fun to play with.

The idea was developed by me and Nick Harris of The Story Foundation. My agent, Miriam Kriss, put me in touch with Nick, and he said something along the lines of, “What if Romeo and Hamlet were sort of ghost busters and they had to rescue Juliet from the underworld?” At first, I thought, “This has to be the worst idea of all time,” but then as we started talking about it, I could really envision how the story could work. We went through a lot of discussions and a lot of outlines before we settled on a story we liked, but now we both believe in this series very strongly.

I say, “come to it with an open mind.” I tried very consciously to make these characters my own version of Shakespeare’s characters, using just their core personality traits as archetypes. They have new motivations, because they aren’t in the same situations as they were before, so expect to see their personalities develop in different ways. Think of it as more of a retelling in the vein of Merlin or Hannibal. The characters are different, the story is told in a different way, but it nods frequently at its origins.

My favorite part was definitely writing about Hugin and Munin, Odin’s ravens, who briefly act as a guide to Hamlet in the Underworld. The second I started writing their dialogue, all I could hear in my head were the voices of Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand. So when Munin says one of my favorite lines of the book, in reference to human beings, “I'm interested in these creatures that can think and feel and empathize with each other on a very primal, animal level, and who have shut that bit off so they can indulge their depraved lusts for flesh, murder, and greed. It's brilliant!” that line came to me in Russell’s voice.

Heartlines” by Florence + The Machine. They’re both dreamlike, sinister, and passionate.

I did have a playlist for this book, and if your readers are on Spotify, they can hear the music I listened to while writing the book:

I would love to see Coco Jones as Juliet. For Hamlet, I’d have to say Alex Pettyfer, and as Romeo, Robert Sheehan. That would be such an amazing cast.

My pen name, Abigail Barnette, has a third book out in the series that started with The Boss, which is called The Bride. That will be out March 29th. And I’ll be working on book two of the Wondrous Strange series, which doesn’t quite have a title yet, but will incorporate characters from The Tempest into the ongoing storyline.

Just I hope they like the book, and thanks for giving it a shot!

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