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Interview with L.J. Hatton

Ali: Hello L.J. Hatton. Thank you so much for stopping by at Dazzled by Books today. Hopefully we will be able to have a little bit of fun with this interview. Let's kick it off with what is your favorite book of 2016 so far?

L.J. Hatton: I've been a terrible reader this year. Between real life (aka the exploding washing machine...) and working on Book 3 for the Celestine series, I haven't read any books. But if we extend it to the end of last year, then my favorites are The Last Ever After (School for Good and Evil 3) and the final Cinder book (Winter).

A: Winter was definitely one of my favorite titles too. It was sad to see the story line come to an end but at the same time it was a great way to end the books. Next question, did you always want to be a writer?

L: Absolutely. I was a storyteller even before I knew how to write. At that point I used a voice recorder to tell stories. When I was around three, I "wrote" Hawaiian Dave by drawing a stick man next to a yellow splotch that I insisted was a pineapple. Dave lived in Hawaii, was very messy, and built a rocket ship out of trash so he could move to the moon.

A: That is awesome. What inspires your writing?

L: It's not as much inspiration as it is a matter of observation. Keep your eyes open, and you'll see enough things in the world around you that ideas will spark on their own. The world is stranger and more fascinating than most fiction.

A: That is such great advice for writers. I would have never thought about looking at writing as keeping your eyes open to observation. Even though this is something we would typically do anyway. What was the hardest part writing "The Celestine Series"?

L: This was the series that refused to die. It was written and rewritten and rewritten again. First it was steampunk, which I loved, but it was too dystopian when I finished. I'd been reading a lot of dystopian at the time and I was tired of it, so I made the book more sci-fi with the addition of modern technology and aliens, which didn't exist in the first draft.  

Also, it was originally set in Europe. Penn was English, and her voice was very different. I had to actually go back through and change many of the phrases and words because the slang was completely different. This was probably the fastest novel I've ever written, but it also became the slowest due to all of the rewrites.

Also, the number of active characters is huge. Penn's the main character, but her friends are all on equal ground as far as secondary status, so it's a juggling act to keep everyone in the scene from becoming house plants in the background.

A: Along that same line, what is your favorite thing about writing "The Celestine Series"?


L: The circus! That's where the story started.

The very first scene that I wrote was the one with Winnie in the mermaid tank during the circus tour, and the rest of the story spiraled out from there. Originally, there was A LOT more of the story confined to the circus itself, and I really liked detailing the different acts and performers. Circuses have this surreal quality to them where you can be doing something completely mundane, and then your brain gets this uneasy feeling because it's like reality suddenly tilts. It's an awesome thing.

I once worked at a Renaissance Faire, which isn't a circus of course, but behind the scenes you still get the carnival atmosphere. There's really nothing else in the world like it. You have to experience it to understand the subtlety of the differences between reality and carnival life. You basically walk through a wormhole into another dimension where the world is a few degrees different.

A: Do you have any habits while writing? For example: a specific snack food you have to have or maybe music playing in the background.

L: Silence.

I go into a writer cocoon where I don't notice or hear anything. I have my water bottle and silence, and woe to anyone who tries to bother me while I'm working.

A: What is your favorite thing to do when you aren't writing?

L: I like to tell people that I'm a professional pretender, meaning that I day dream a lot.

I watch YouTube videos for inspiration and information, as it allows me to see things in other parts of the world or hear new and interesting voices from around the world. You can do all the research, but without seeing and hearing a thing in real time, it won't be enough.

I've got my (psycho) dogs that somehow seem to multiply when I'm not looking.

I *love* traveling, and like to plan trips, even if they're trips I never actually intend to take.

A: What drew you to Science Fiction?

L: It's tendency to become science fact. Many of the inventions that become our everyday objects (like smartphones) start off as props in science fiction. It's basically applied fantasy, and encourages people to realize that the things someone dreams up can become the things that someone else actually builds.

A: What do you think is the most special thing about this world you have created?


The concept of family as something more than biology. There are different kinds of interpersonal connection, and they can all be as strong - or stronger - than biological connections. Penn starts off trying to save her biological family, but along the way, she realizes that her family is bigger than the sphere of her father and siblings.


A: If could describe your book in five words, what five would you use?


L: Surreal. Kinetic. Colorful. Unexpected. Determined.


A: Thank you so much for stopping by and chatting with us today. For all my readers out there, Check our L. J. Hatton's books at the link below.



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