We are so excited to be part of the blog tour for the second book in Paula Weston’s Rephaim series, Haze! Mary read and loved both the first in the series, Shadows and Haze, so read on for her interview with Paula below!
Interview with Paula Weston
On her inspiration, scars and writing combat
The world of Shadows and Haze is very visually realized, with a lot of wonderful and specific details. Was there a particular image (or person, or place) that was the first to come to your mind, or the first to really make you sit back and go “this is it, this is my story?”
The characters who became Gaby and Rafa were my starting point, although I didn’t know their story or their history – only that it was complicated and only one of them remembered it. The first scene I wrote was the one where Rafa comes to the bar. That scene played out in my head dozens of times before I finally realised it wasn’t going away and I should maybe get it onto the page.
From there, I worked out the context for their complicated relationship – which in turn opened up a whole world of possibilities for plot and world building. Once I’d settled on angel/demon mythology, I played around with the idea of using an Australian setting. I love the Australian landscape – particularly the tropics – so that seemed like a good place to start. The ‘a-ha’ moment came for me when I wrote what would become the opening chapter (Gaby running along the beach and then in the rainforest) and I knew the tropical setting would work for the tone I was going for.
Gabe and Jude have a very strong sibling relationship, and an unbreakable bond but they definitely have a complicated history with each other too. Where did the inspiration for their love for each other come from? Do you have any siblings?
I’m the youngest in a family of eight kids. My sister is the eldest, followed by six boys and then me. I’m quite a bit younger than the rest of my family, so I was always the pesky little sister when I was growing up. They all moved out of home when I was I was still in school. So it wasn’t until I was older that those stronger bonds really formed. It’s funny how we write about things that exist just below our subconscious, because I think Gaby and Jude’s relationship is my way of exploring what it would’ve been like to have a sibling closer to my own age. And to be honest, I only just worked that out by answering this question!
I love that you’re not afraid for your characters to be scarred, even though they’re able to heal, there’s always still a mark (specifically with Gabe and Ez). Did you ever hesitate and think about having the scars fade, or do you consider them an important character trait?
That’s such a great question. And no, I never hesitated to give my characters scars. Throughout the Rephaim series, I’m trying to show the consequences of decisions and actions – collectively and individually. And one of the consequences of being a soldier/warrior (as most of the Rephaim are) is living with injuries and scars. Even though the Rephaim can heal quickly, I wanted it to occur by speeding up natural processes, rather than a magical fix. Which means that while most wounds will heal, they will leave a scar. And those scars say something about the Rephaim and how they live their lives.
I’m also conscious that the Rephaim are many types of beautiful—and they should be, they’re the offspring of angels—but that doesn’t mean their physical appearance can’t be flawed.
How do you prepare for writing combat scenes so vividly?
I just dive in! I need to know what I want to achieve – emotionally and physically – in a particular fight scene, but that’s about it. The rest tends to flow once I start writing. The key for me is playing out in my mind what might logically happen in a sword fight or fistfight between particular individuals. It needs to work in context with the plot and character arcs.
As I mentioned above, I grew up with six brothers. One of them was a fifth dan black belt, so I spent a lot of time watching martial arts movies and learning to defend myself in the backyard. Even having limited experience with what if feels like to be in a physical contest is helpful in imagining fight scenes. (I recommend a karate class, not picking a fight!)
Mya is a character that is definitely going to divide readers. Did you have fun writing her, and when do we get to find out more of her history?
Yes, Mya is a lot of fun. She’s also tricky because she has quite a few layers – and you’ll see some of those start to peel back in Shimmer (Rephaim #3). I can’t tell you too much at this stage…
Is it pronounced Pan-dan-us or Panda-nus?
Pan-dan-us. (The town is named after the Pandanus Palm.)
What would you order at the Green Bean?
Short macchiato and a serve of orange-almond syrup cake with crème fraiche. (I’ve haven’t mentioned that particular dish in a book yet, but I’m confident the Green Bean would have it!)
Do you surf?
No. Body surfing is as close as I’ve come – and I was fairly ordinary at it.
Now a few quickfire questions to end:
Tea or coffee?
Coffee (I love a good espresso-based coffee).
Drama or comedy?
I enjoy both equally, although lately I’ve been watching more drama than comedy.
e-Books or physical books?
Physical books (but I have a kindle for travelling).
Indoors or outdoors?
I spend most of my time indoors, but I love being outside (in short bursts).
Three-way tie between Melina Marchetta, Maggie Stiefvater and Markus Zusak.
Too many…Most recent faves: 50/50, Warm Bodies. Longer-term faves (my ‘comfort’ movies): Amelie, Up, Garden State, Stranger Than Fiction, Hot Fuzz, Fired Up and O Brother Where Art Thou.
Favourite ice cream?
How about a top 3? Chocolate-peanut butter; Turkish delight; burnt caramel.
Thank you for this wonderful interview Paula!
Release: 5 September 2013
Gaby Winters’ life used to be pretty normal. She lived with her best friend. She worked in a library. She was slowly getting over the death of her twin brother, Jude. Until Rafa arrived.
Now Gaby has discovered she is one of the Rephaim – descended from fallen angels. She knows demons exist. That they are coming for her. And that Jude might be alive.
What she does next could change everything.
About Paula Weston:
Paula Weston is a Brisbane-based author and co-owner of a two-woman writing/design consultancy. She is an avid reader and blogger, a huge fan of Australian literature and fantasy/paranormal stories, a closet comic reader and TV addict and is borderline obsessed with the Foo Fighters. She and her husband share their home with a retired greyhound and a moody cockatiel. SHADOWS the first book in the Rephaim series, was her debut novel.