Today, the Enchanted Inkpot is thrilled to host one of our own, PJ Hoover, for a chat about her newest release, SOLSTICE, which has just been launched into the world.
From the Goodreads summary: Where Mythology and Dystopia meet...
Piper’s world is dying. Global warming kills every living thing on Earth, and each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles which threaten to destroy humanity. Amid this Global Heating Crisis, Piper lives with her mother who suffocates her more than the chaotic climate. When her mother is called away to meet the father Piper has been running from her entire life, Piper seizes an opportunity for freedom.
But when Piper discovers a world of mythology she never knew existed, she realizes her world is not the only one in crisis. While Gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper's life spirals into turmoil, and she struggles to find answers to secrets kept from her since birth. And though she’s drawn to her classmate Shayne, he may be more than he claims. Piper has to choose whom she can trust and how she can save the people she loves, even if it means the end of everything she’s ever known.
Okay, now on to your burning (no pun intended) questions!
PJ Hoover: I am the queen of hell and hot jokes, so bring on the puns! J
When building this world, which came first: the dystopian, dying world? Or the mythological world? What specific detail/setting do you think will captivate readers’ imaginations best?
PJ Hoover: Great question! It was totally the mythological world that came first. I wanted to use myths in a young adult novel, and so I started planning out the idea for SOLSTICE. I wanted the story to be more of a “what happens next” in the myth rather than a retelling of the myth. When I started brainstorming and was just a bit into the writing, the dystopian world fell into place. There was no other choice that made sense!
I thought Piper had some interesting relationships with several of the characters in the book, perhaps because many of them reflected our own complicated relationships with others. As you wrote this book, which of the relationships did you most enjoy exploring?
PJ Hoover: The relationship that was the most enjoyable to explore was that with Piper’s mom. Many teens think their parents are controlling and give them so little freedom. I totally felt this way when I was a teen. So I think the idea of a controlling, over-protective parent will help teens relate to Piper. Of course, Piper’s mom is a bit off her rocker, so their relationship goes beyond the normal teen/parent relationship I believe. Adding that slip into the crazy made it all the more fun to write.
Global warning obviously plays a role in this book. Is there a message from that which you hope to communicate to readers?
PJ Hoover: I’ll be right up front. I am not much of a “message” writer at all. My hope for SOLSTICE is that teens will pick it up and read it and enjoy it. And if they happen to walk away wanting to know more about global warming and helping the environment, then that is awesome. If they think about the book anytime the temperature rises, that is also awesome. But I also think there should be room for a book to just be a book.
What is one of the lessons you learned about writing as you worked on this book?
PJ Hoover: There are about a million things I learned while working on SOLSTICE, and the best part of that is that I can use all those things as I move forward in my writing. Maybe the most important thing I’ve learned which can never be iterated too many times is to never ever give up. Believe in your story and your world, and find the right advocates for it. I found those advocates in my agent and my editor, and I am thrilled to be able to bring SOLSTICE to publication with their help.
Is a sequel in the works for SOLSTICE? Or if not, what are you working on now?
PJ Hoover: I adore writing the world of SOLSTICE and would certainly entertain the option, but as of right now, there is no sequel in the works for SOLSTICE. As for what I am working on next, I have a middle grade Egyptian mythology story, TUT: MY LIFE AS AN IMMORTAL 8TH GRADER, coming out from Tor in Fall 2014. It’s a story about King Tut who is 14, immortal, and living in Washington DC with his one eyed cat, Horus. His crazy uncle from 3000 years ago shows up, and Tut wants revenge. It’s a blast to write and a story I can’t wait to share with the world.
Mountains or Beach?
PJ Hoover: Beach!
For sure! The snack/dessert you can’t refuse?
PJ Hoover: Popcorn J
A unique goal on your bucket list?
PJ Hoover: I want a behind the scenes tour of (1) The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and (2) DisneyWorld.
If you’re not writing, then you’re probably…?
PJ Hoover: Playing Wizard101 (http://www.wizard101.com)
Book on your nightstand right now?
PJ Hoover: THE LOST SUN by Tessa Gratton. I got the very first signed ARC!
PJ Hoover: Thank you so much for interviewing me! It was so much fun!
P. J. Hoover first fell in love with Greek mythology in sixth grade thanks to the book Mythology by Edith Hamilton. After a fifteen year bout as an electrical engineer designing computer chips for a living, P. J. decided to take her own stab at mythology and started writing books for kids and teens. When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing kung fu, solving Rubik's cubes, and watching Star Trek. For more information about P. J. (Tricia) Hoover, please visit her website www.pjhoover.com.