Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Author Interview with A.C. Gaughen

The mysteriously named A.C. Gaughen (A.C. always making me think of A.C. Slater...) is here today with an interview about her debut young adult novel, Scarlet, which is amazing and you all should read it ASAP. Here's the lovely summary;

Now on with the interview!
Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance. Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire.

Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

There’s a bit of a love triangle in your novel. What made you want to write it into the story?

It is HYSTERICAL to me that people have been paying attention to the love triangle!  I thought that the romance in the story was super predictable, that one of the guys never had a chance (but I wanted to give him a chance because *I* like him), and that this was nothing close to a love triangle.  But apparently it is!  I think it just proves that authors never really see their work the way their readers do.  Which is AWESOME. 

I’m going to admit that it took me a whole to get into the language of Scarlet. Was there a lot of research involved for the dialect in this novel?

So, interestingly, and slightly off topic, a popular theory is that the dialect and cadence of late Medieval England is remarkably similar to the modern Boston accent (which is where I'm from). Which really has nothing to do with it.  It was a very authorial choice, actually--I knew Scarlet would have a very visual, very experience-based vocabulary, I knew that common folk in Medieval England had no access to the kind of learning that would lead nobles to know the difference between such complicated conjugations such as the past tense of "is" (thus her difficulty with "was" and "were"), and something that I put in there VERY deliberately is the lack of "-ly" adverbs.  The only "-ly" adverb Scarlet uses (with exception of a few that are in there for clarity) is HONESTLY.  I thought I was being quite clever!

If America’s Next Top Model used your novel as inspiration for a photo shoot, what would the set and the costumes look like?

It would be like a modern reinterpretation with all the girls in super dramatic scarlet evening gowns (preferably with insanely long trains) in the act of stealing things and posing with knives.  Off set the bitchy girls would make snide comments about stealing granola bars and knives in the back.  

If you could go on a dream date with anyone (alive or dead) who would it be and what would you do?

But if we're talking a ROMANTIC date, Aladdin.  He would make Abu steal something for me, I would swoon, and the magic carpet would catch me.  Solid.  
So, one of my teachers in my postgrad program really didn't like my writing.  I was eagerly retooling the same novel over and over, and she just wasn't into it.  She said, "Just write something different!" and--furious!--I went home and vented my rage into this angsty, grumpy, strange little voice.   It took me about three years to realize what the STORY was, but Scarlet's voice was there right from the very beginning.  

Do you remember what you were doing when the idea for Scarlet came to you? 

Jonah from the Bible. He lived in a WHALE for three days and three nights.  What goes through your head when you're living in a whale?  Don't tell me you're not curious. 

Your novel has a release date of February 2012 from Walker Children’s. Just how excited/nervous are you on a scale of 1-10? 1 being inhumanly calm, and 10 being about to wet yourself in public – and not care who sees.

Right now, probably about a 8, and that's down from a 10 last week.  I'm a pre-stresser; I like to freak out beforehand and then I'm cool as a cucumber when it's go-time.  I'll be a 2 for Valentine's Day!  

What’s your guiltiest of guilty pleasures?

Garrett's Chicago Popcorn.  I love the cheese flavor, and the pecan one.  They have one store outside of Chicago and it's in New York--RIGHT by the bus stop for the Bolt Bus to Boston!  I am totally obsessed.  That and loving my dogs to distraction.  They're painfully cute.  

Any plans to travel to New York City for BEA 2012?

Yes!  I'm definitely going to be around and hanging out with my Class of 2k12 debut authors (  I don't have the final word on all the events yet, but I'm planning on it!  

You have a lot of twists in this Robin Hood tale. Did a lot of them happen as the story was being written or did you go into writing knowing that they would happen?

What people consider the "MAJOR TWIST" in the book I knew from the start--most of the other twists are in there to make it less obvious!  I definitely am not a planner, so some of them took me by surprise--which is really the BEST part of writing!  

Thank you Mme. Gaughen for this awesome interview! I'm pretty sure I stole your author photo from your website... Scarlet comes out in bookstores near you on February 14 - just in time for Valentine's Day! Make sure to add it to your To Read lists and stay tuned for my review of Scarlet some time very soon.


Heidi said...

Scarlet is one of the books of the year I've been MOST excited for! I can't wait to pick it up (and am REALLY hoping it's going to be available in a digital format as I don't really buy physical books anymore). This is the first interview with A.C. Gaughen I've had the opportunity to read. I have to say the whole Jonah thing--awesome. I AM totally curious...

I'm sorry to hear about emergencies, but I wish you and your family the best of luck.

Madigan McGillicuddy said...

Great interview! I will totally have to check out this book.

Giselle from Book Nerd said...

Awww she's going to be at BEA! I WANNA GO!! :( I have yet to read Scarlet, but this makes me want to read it now too! Ahh great review.