December 17th, 2011

Interview with Audrey Hart

Ana: What inspired you to write The Dig?

Audrey: Last year, I was lucky to visit the Minoan ruins in Crete. I was in awe of everything. Imagine, people lived here 4000 years ago. And I became so interested in the people who spend their lives hunting down these ruins. One afternoon, my iPhone buzzed and slipped out of my pocket. I gasped, thinking it had fallen between the cracks. And I freaked out and was really surprised about my reaction.  Anyway, the next time I sat down to work on my first novel, I kept going over that moment in my head. And then I knew that I wanted to write about a girl who lost her phone in a symbolic way.  That was my a-ha moment, I guess. I can tell a story about a girl who will learn that she’s not the disconnected person she thinks she is.


Ana: Teenage gods… where did this idea come from?

Audrey: When I meet new people I always wonder what they were like in high school. I think you learn so much about someone when you learn how they evolved, or haven’t. So I liked the idea of Zeus, who has this reputation for being so cold and domineering having had a period in life where he was actually kind of vulnerable. And who knows? Maybe the image he has now is totally untrue and he never did all these terrible things. Or maybe he got fed up on Olympus and eventually turned into the Zeus we read about it books. Teenage years are formative years, and that’s what makes the stakes so high.  Plus, the Olympian gods are such strong characters. It was exciting to me to make the leap that they might have been real people with flaws and baggage like all of us.

In high school, we all tend to put certain people on pedestals because of their appearances or their abilities. And I like the idea of Zoe dealing with a group of kids who are literally on pedestals. What a great journey for a teenage girl who thinks she’s sort of immune to cliques, to be alone, on Olympus, with the ultimate clique of teens. And I think the reason she falls so hard for Zeus isn’t just that he’s, you know, Zeus who’s hot and can fly, but also that through spending time with him, she’s changing her outlook on people. And that’s a powerful experience.


Ana: Who is your favourite YA author?

Audrey: I love Judy Blume because she’s funny and understands what girls go through as teenagers. I also love Barbara Kingslover. She has an amazing sense of adventure and pacing and her body of work is truly inspirational. Recently, I’m obsessed with Hunger Games (just like you, no doubt) and, of course…


Ana: When you were in high school, did you know that you were going to write a book? What did you want to be?

Audrey: I always wanted to write a book. But I also wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer, which was a rather unrealistic life plan as the show was canceled some years ago. I also wanted to be a psychologist and read anything psychology-related I could get my hands on. Writing is so much fun because you can create characters who are dancers and psychologists, you can sort of be everything you ever wanted to be without, you know, being them!


Ana: Can you tell us 3 random facts about yourself?

Audrey: I have no allergies. (Knock on wood!) I’m afraid of small dogs. There is an extra bone in my left foot. But you can’t see it or anything.


Ana: If you could take 5 things with you onto a deserted island, what would they be?

Audrey: A fully loaded iPad with a magical self-charging battery and super magical wifi, chili pepper flakes, a pillow, sun-block and a guitar because with all that free time, I might learn to play.


Ana: Please give us a teaser for the sequel!

Audrey: I don’t want to give anything away…but it just gets better, I promise.


And now some questions for Zeus himself.  Zeus in the house!


Ana: Was not knowing Zoe’s real name for so long strange or awkward?

Zeus: Oh, god yes. I think it would be strange for anyone, but when you spend 500 years with the same small group of friends, it’s really shocking to spend time with someone new. But it’s all for the best, because while it was strange and awkward, it was also exciting.


Ana: So, Hera seems like the jealous type… why are you still a couple, exactly?

Zeus:  Instead of answering this question can I take a nap? I’m kidding. It’s just such a hard thing to explain. Hera can be so exciting, and we’ve both been in this together, with our powers for so long. Every time we break up, I think it’s the right thing. But somehow, we always come back together. A relationship can be a crutch. In so many ways, life is easier when Hera and I are together. But I didn’t understand all of this until I met Zoe and realized that even though being with her on any level made my life harder, I wanted to know her, to get to know her. And that’s the kind of relationship I want to be in. All the hardships don’t matter because at the end of the day, we’re together for good reasons, not because we’re just used to being together and afraid of being alone.


Ana: Do you think that the many challenges you faced on Mount Olympus changed you at all?

Zeus: Absolutely. Zoe told me about my reputation as a jerk and that knocked the wind out of me. A few times over the past hundred years, I admit, I’ve had my moments and lost my temper. But those are the exceptions, you know? And to realize that hundreds of years from now, that’s all the people remember about me, well, first I was mad. But now I get it. You can’t control the future, what people say about you, even if you have powers. You can only try and live in the best way you know.



I’ll keep you posted,

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