Shatter the Stereotype

Hermione Lee Author Interview

The First Buds of Spring follows a teen girl who befriends the new boy in school, as their relationship grows mysteries and secrets are revealed that will change their lives. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I wasn’t inspired by anything in particular, though I have always wanted to write a romance novel. Here’s something funny: I’m an aromantic. But I always want to challenge myself to new heights. So far I’ve written fantasy, adventure, psychological horror, and romance, and I want to write a book of each genre. Different from the shy-girl-meets-rich-cool-boy-trope, though, I made my protagonist Azalea a bit mean and phony at first, although readers will learn later that it’s simply a façade to retain her popularity. I thought it would be cool to have a male protagonist (Bruce) help her recognize her inner beauty and encourage her to be herself instead of shaping her into who or what he prefers. And then the story formed in my mind. I aimed to write a novel that was cute, refreshing, lighthearted, and fun to read, unlike my previous works, of which were mostly dark and heavy in tone. Read the Otherworld trilogy and one of the companion novels, Helen’s Tale, and you’ll know what I mean.

Azalea and Bruce are both interesting characters with a lot of growth. Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing or did the characters’ personalities grow organically as you were writing?

Yes, I wrote an outline for the characters. I outline every novel project before starting it to give myself confidence and convince myself I know what I’m doing. Having detailed chapter outlines is important for me because I never write according to the sequence of chapters. Chapter 2 was the first chapter I tackled in The First Buds of Spring. Then chapters 10, 3, 1, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 6, 16, 8, 9, 11, 19, 18, and finally, 20. I remember the sequence because I keep track of them in my iPad.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Love and life are the main themes. I wanted to shatter the stereotype that romance novels are soppy, sentimental, and totally pointless. I imbued plenty of life philosophy in the story, stressing how people always hurry through and fast-forward their lives. If they stop long enough to feel, they’d see the magic around them. Azalea and Bruce bonded through their common belief in slowing their pace in life.

Another theme I hinted at (but will be explored in depth in the future books in the series) is racism and tribal rivalry. Taking advantage of races with weaker magical powers, as evidenced by the Fireflamers and Aquamarines’ tormenting the Woodlanders.

Apart from those, I also wanted to stress the importance of being oneself. Too many people lose themselves in hope of blending into the society. They erase their individuality due to their choice of conforming to mundanity. However, neither Azalea nor Bruce conformed to the crowd. On the other hand, they remained true to themselves. Sometimes “strength” refers not to physical power but rather to spiritual dominance over the shallow, foolish majority.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The First Buds of Spring is my third-published novel. I released it in June, while I had three releases in July—War of the Chaotic Worlds I, War of the Chaotic Worlds II, and Heart of the Forest. The former two are the third books of the Otherworld Trilogy. Apart from the titles mentioned above, I also have three other books contracted—Once Upon an Enchantress, Helen’s Tale, and Eric’s Tale, the latter two being companion novels to the Otherworld Trilogy. While Zack’s Tale and Eileen’s Tale, also companion novels, are awaiting contract, I finished another book yesterday titled Where the Magic Lies, a YA fantasy romance about a girl being forced to marry a fairy prince to atone for her mother’s sin. I’m hoping to self-publish it in August. Right now I might start a novel about a lost siren finding love.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Seventeen-year-old Azalea Wood is everything the girls at Lakebay High aspire to be—popular, beautiful, and perfect. Yet deep down, she desires someone who adores her for whom she truly is rather than the façade she displays on the outside. Fortunately, the arrival of a new boy by the name of Bruce Green flips her fate. Creative, caring, and considerate, he is everything Azalea has wished for. Embarking on a rocky journey of friendship with more than its fair share of bumps and bends, the two of them soon become more than friends. As their relationship solidifies, however, Azalea finds herself dealing with conundrums and dilemmas she never imagined she would be facing. When the revelation of the Greens’ family secret propels her to confront a difficult truth, Azalea learns to grasp and appreciate the meaning of love and makes a decision that will change her life forever.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on August 13, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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