Thursday, 31 March 2016

HALF LOST | Q&A with 'Half Bad' trilogy author Sally Green!

Hello readers, and happy Thursday! I have an incredibly exciting blog post for you today... a Q&A with the amazing author of the Half Bad trilogy, Sally Green! I interviewed Sally for the first time in November 2014 (which you can check out here) just after the publication of the first book in the trilogy, Half Bad, so I think it's perfectly fitting that I interview Sally again on the very date of the publication of the last book in the trilogy: Half Lost. I don't know about you guys, but I am super excited for this last book, and can't wait to see how the story ends.

I was kindly sent Half Lost by Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review :)

Half Lost by Sally Green is out now, published by Penguin, £7.99.

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

A stunning, magical world. An international sensation.

Nathan Byrn is running again. The Alliance of Free Witches has been all but destroyed. Scattered and demoralized, constantly pursued by the Council’s Hunters, only a bold new strategy can save the rebels from total defeat. They need the missing half of Gabriel’s amulet—an ancient artifact with the power to render its bearer invincible in battle.

But the amulet’s guardian—the reclusive and awesomely powerful witch Ledger - has her own agenda. To win her trust, Nathan must travel to America and persuade her to give him the amulet. Combined with the Gifts he has inherited from Marcus, the amulet might just be enough to turn the tide for the Alliance and end the bloody civil war between Black and White witches once and for all…

Doesn't that sound incredible? Let's find out more about Half Lost, the amazing YA fan community, and Sally Green's plans for her next YA novel...

Hi Sally, thanks for appearing on my blog! How do you feel about the Half Bad trilogy coming to an end?

Emotional - all the feels!

Half Bad has been with me in one form or another for my whole (admittedly quite short) writing life. I love all the characters from the trilogy and Nathan, the protagonist, feels like a real person to me. I’ve been writing from inside Nathan’s head for the last four years and I’ll miss him desperately.
I’m incredibly proud of the trilogy and it will be wonderful to see all three of my books next to each other in bookshops.

Has your approach to writing changed at all since you started Half Bad?

Yes, in some ways. I’ve always been serious and professional about any work I do, but writing is how I make my living now, so I’m even more serious! 
I’ve tried ways to make the process of writing a book easier, planning more at the start being the obvious example. I did little planning for the first and second books and a lot more for the final book including discussions with my editor about the plot. Whilst this did remove lots of rewriting, which had been a real burden for the second book, I didn’t enjoy the writing process anywhere near as much as writing the first book where I did hardly any planning at all. And enjoying the process is important – I want to enjoy my job.
Writing a novel requires time and space for me to immerse myself in the characters and that hasn’t changed.

How has the YA community’s reaction been to the trilogy?

Fantastic – with the emphasis on FAN. I’ve had lots of support from wonderful bloggers from the UK and all over the world, and there’s a growing community of Half Bad fans on Tumblr, and most amazing of all is the fan fiction on AO3 (which I love). There’s a lot Nabriel shipping (Nathan and Gabriel) which I do support, though I try to be kind to the Annalise lovers too. I post my own fan fiction style scenes on Tumblr (sallygreenhalfbad) where I imagine my characters are living at home with me (under #at home with sallygreen), which sounds rather weird and self-indulgent and probably is. 

What has been your highlight of this journey (since you began the trilogy)?

Having fans. I don’t mean for my ego (though it’s a lot nicer to have people love the books than hate them), but really it’s because fans connect with Nathan and the other Half Bad characters: they spend time discussing Nathan and how he might react in different circumstances and they think about the issues he and the other characters face. It’s the biggest compliment and was something I hadn’t expected at all. I’ve done some great things because of the book - travelled to Russia and the USA, got a Guinness World record and a film deal etcetera – but the fans are the best.

What can readers expect from Half Lost?

More dead bodies. 

Yes, it’s true the body count keeps going up. But there is also a lot of love and some more mystery and magic and a couple of new characters. Nathan has taken magical Gifts from his father so he has to learn to use them. And there’s a lot more of Gabriel in the final book too.

When did you realise how the trilogy would end?

Quite early on when I was writing the first draft of the first book I had an image of the final scene of the third book in my head. This is what I’ve been working towards from that time and although it has grown in detail and how I got there has changed this final image is the same. The image I had of the end was influenced, I realise now, by my favourite piece of writing by Hemingway and the location is described in all the books of the trilogy. It reflects what is for me one of the main issues in the book – how war affects those who fight.

What was it like writing the very last chapter of Half Lost?

When I was starting to write Half Lost I wrote the final chapters first because I knew the end and I wanted to get it down on paper and show it to my editor to get his feedback.  I wanted to be certain that this was where I was headed – it would have been awful if he’d said, ‘No, that doesn’t work at all.’ 
The final piece I wrote for Half Lost was the acknowledgements. Goodness me that was an emotional experience! I had a box of tissues by me when I was writing that.

Which character in the novels do you think you’re most like?

I do think there’s a bit of me in each of my characters – there has to be. Even for the evil characters I have to put myself in their shoes and imagine what I would do if I didn’t have any morals at all. I know people might be surprised but I think the fifteen year old me was most like Annalise in that I wanted to do the right thing but was afraid and wasn’t sure what the right thing was. This aspect of a character – not being sure – to me seems the most true of what it’s like to be a teenager (and indeed an adult) and isn’t explored enough in YA fiction.

Do you have plans to write more YA in the future?

Yes, I’m working on my next book at the moment.

Sum up Half Lost in three words

Wounded not lost. 

Thanks, Sally, for an amazing Q&A! Guys, make sure you pick up Half Lost (and the rest of the trilogy if you haven't read them!) because you will not be disappointed! 

Check out Sally Green here:

Buy Half Lost here:

Until next time :)

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