Sunday, April 24, 2011

Author Interview with Ramona Wray + Giveaway

Greetings, witches and wizards! Please join me in welcoming Ramona Wray, author of Hex, a Witch and Angel Tale, to Oktopus Ink! Ramona's agreed to stop by and talk about her book (among other things) as part of the Hex Blog Tour.

What was your inspiration for writing Hex?

Hi Emi, and thank you for having me. First of all, I need to say that the idea for Hex first hit me while I was watching Bewitched. Which should explain the cover -- it was my way of paying homage to the source of my inspiration. But writing a story about witches was something that HAD to happen. I'm Romanian, I grew up in a very superstitious country where witches are thought to live among the God-fearing folk. According to legend, they tend to be gypsies (but not always). And they're very powerful. They can get rid of or bring forth illnesses. They can cast hexes. They tell fortunes. They consort with the Devil. Romanian folklore is brimming with stories about witches. So, naturally, I had to write about one.

I've seen books that deal with angels and books that deal with witches, but never books that deal with both at the same time. What made you decide to combine the two? Were you ever worried about one kind of magic overpowering the other?

I don't know. I came up with the hex first and I needed a supernatural creature to fill Lucian's slot. Research pointed me to that Bible passage, and then I made the rest up. The whole halfling concept. I thought it would fit well with the hex. And, no, I never worried that one would overpower the other because there's a distinct mythology behind each of the concepts. The trick was to bring them work together in one setting and make that work.

Lucian, as a villain, easy to hate, yet lovable at the same time. Did you plan for him to turn out that way?

Actually, no. In the beginning he was going to be all-evil. Irredeemable. A lost cause. But, as it happens sometimes, I got to a point where the characters got fed up with my plans and decided to tell the story their own way. And, somehow, I ended up with a lovable/hatable villain. I like to think some magic was involved there.

If you were stuck waiting for the love of your life to be reincarnated, what would you do with your free time?

Try to hang on to my sanity somehow. Probably doing what Ryder did, get invested in causes. Try to make a difference. Focus on NOT counting the days.

If you could travel back in time, what time period would you visit?

I don't know. Maybe the 16th century, Italy. Experience the High Renaissance. Watch Michelangelo paint The Creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel...

Tell us a little bit about your writing process. How often do you write? Do you have a favorite writing spot? A favorite food that you eat or drink when you write?

I write every day, whenever I get a spare moment. I fill many, many pages that don't actually go in my books. But I think it's important to write every day. Before I start working on a new story, I spend a couple of months getting to know my characters. During this time I write all kinds of little things about them on post-its which I stick all over the house. The writing happens pretty fast once I get going, but then I spend much longer editing. No favorite spot, I usually go where the quiet is. I listen to music in between but never when I write. I drink tea and eat lots of fruit. Because I'm boring like that.

How long have you been writing?

All my life. I started by keeping a journal when I was six. Had my first short story published in a local newspaper when I was eleven.

Did you do any research while writing Hex?

Yes. I didn't know much about angels so I read as much as I could. I also did some research on Wicca, to understand what spells are and how someone could, hypothetically, cast one. Research is a big part of the creative process. You can only make up so much; there has to be some truth behind it, some facts to bring the whole thing together and hold it in place.

What was your favorite part of the book to write? Least favorite part?

I think I enjoyed every moment of it. I'm not sure I could write anything otherwise.

What's it like to be an author participating in a blog tour?

Pretty amazing. I get to meet a lot of wonderful people. Some of them become dear friends. Hex receives a great deal of exposure and, with it, comes the feedback from readers which is, by far, my favorite part. It's great.

Are you working on anything now?

Yes, I'm working on a dystopian fiction. It's called "Echoes" and I hope to finish it in a couple of months.

Awesome! Now, before we wrap up this interview, is there a specific message that you wanted readers to take away from Hex?

Only that happiness is, to a point, a matter of perspective. Even if her social status didn't change, Lily found happiness in the end. Because it's not about being accepted by everyone; it's about deciding who is worth seeking acceptance from. Sometimes one person, if it's the right one, is all it takes. I have a special love for quirky characters; I think the odd ones, the lonely, those who don't fit in are often very special. Given the chance, they can surprise you. I'd be happy if Hex convinced readers to consider this angle.


Awesome answers, Ramona! Thank you so much for stopping by to chat about Hex, A Witch and Angel Tale. It's been lots of fun. :D

In addition to stopping by the blog, Ramona's offered up a copy of her book. You have one week to enter. The giveaway will be closed on Saturday, April 30th. To enter, just fill out the form below. The giveaway is only open to US residents. (Sorry international readers! But if you're dying to get your hands on a copy of Hex ASAP, the Kindle edition is currently on sale for .99 cents. ) I will announce the winner on Sunday, May 1st.

For more details about the book, you can visit Ramona's website, blog, or chat with her on twitter.

Thanks, and gooooooood luck!

(P.S. OMG I FINALLY FIGURED OUT HOW TO USE GOOGLE DOCS. In the always wise words of Mr. Sheen, now I finally feel like "I'm winning.")