Shimmer is (finally) now published in the UK and to celebrate there are a few bloggers taking part in an online publication party. Yay!
Today I have another interview with Paula, all about Shimmer. I absolutely love this series and I think it's definitely my current favourite - it's amazing and you should all read it!
Be warned: there may be minor spoilers if you haven't yet read Haze and Shimmer.
Wondrous Reads: Shimmer is the first book in the series to feature a prologue and a who's who of the Rephaim (both very helpful!). Why did you decide to include these now rather than in Haze?
Paula Weston: It seemed like the right time to include them, to help readers easily dive back into the world of the Rephaim – especially if they haven’t recently read/re-read Haze before starting Shimmer.
Because of what happens at the end of Haze, all of the Rephaim are thrown together at the Sanctuary and I thought a quick run-down of who’s who at the start might help minimise confusion. But I wanted to do it in a way that was a bit of fun too. :)
Likewise with the prologue. By the time we get to Shimmer, there’s so much going on – so many layers of plot – that it was tough to subtly weave the back story into the early chapters (as I attempted to do in Haze). I tried it in Shimmer, but it slowed the pace because there was so much ground to cover. So the short prologue is a quick chance to bring everyone back up to speed, and I’ve written it in a way that I hope immediately draws the reader back into Gaby’s headspace.
WR: In Shimmer, Rafa is absent for a good chunk of the book. Considering he's been a major character so far, did this change your whole writing dynamic?
PW: It was more a slight shift of focus. I always knew Rafa would be missing from the page for a while in Shimmer because I wanted Gaby to face pressures without having him there as back-up. But I also knew readers would be impatient to find out what’s happening to Rafa. So my challenge was to balance both of those narrative aspects.
Rafa’s absence gave me the chance to focus on Gaby and Jude and explore their sibling dynamic. They’re still trying to figure out what happened in the past and who they are now, as well as dealing with the tense vibe at the Sanctuary and trying to unite the Rephaim.
And Rafa is still very much part of the story because so much of what Gaby does in this book is about him. Not having him in those early scenes also provides the opportunity for Gaby to learn more about him – and their past relationship – from other sources.
WR: Gaby becomes more of a leader among the Rephaite in Shimmer - is this a sign of anything to come, or perhaps a hint to her forgotten past?
PW: Gaby reacts to situations the only way she knows how: instinctively. Given she’s been a leader in the past (even if she doesn’t remember it), it makes sense that her instinct would be to take charge. Especially when nobody else seems to be stepping up, and especially when the situation involves Rafa’s safety. The way the Rephaim respond to her – on both sides – is a reflection of who she used to be, even though she’s clearly different to the Gabe they all remember. I think it’s safe to say it’s both a hint of her forgotten past and a sign of things to come…
WR: I'm not sure if you can say, but I get the feeling Nathaniel has a bigger part to play in this story, and that he could be involved with what Gaby and Jude can't remember. Am I right or completely off the mark?
PW: Ha! Nice try. But no spoilers here. :) All I’ll say is that Burn will have all the answers.
WR: Gaby and Rafa finally take their relationship to the next level in this book (yay!). Is this scene presented exactly as you first wrote it or did you tone it down to make it more YA-friendly?
PW: Actually, it was the opposite – my first draft was tamer! My focus with that scene was always about the emotional connection between the two of them. Their relationship is complicated, but in this moment it becomes very simple. In my first draft, I was more focused on that emotional side. Second draft, I thought more about the sensuality of the scene and teased out the moment some more. The version that’s ended up in the book is more a reflection of my approach to writing about intimacy than it is about considering who might read it.
WR: Shimmer ends on a horrible cliffhanger guaranteed to make everyone wish they had a copy of Burn right now. Have you always planned it to end like that?
PW: Yes! As soon as I plotted out the story arc over four books, I knew the third book would end that way. Right down to those last two lines.
WR: Now that you're three books into the series, which has been your favourite / most difficult to write?
That’s a tough question! I’ve almost finished the first draft of Burn (with lots of editing work ahead of me) so it would be easy to say it’s the most difficult because it’s freshest in my mind. But I also remember wrestling with parts of Shimmer too, so I think each book has it’s own challenges. I don’t know that I can pick a favourite book across the series, but Shimmer definitely has some of my favourite scenes. But then, so does Shadows…and Haze...
WR: What, if anything, can you tell us about Burn? And when can we expect it to hit bookshops?
PW: I can’t say too much without giving away the end of Shimmer, but Burn will have all the answers to the big questions. And, hopefully, a few more surprises and twists along the way. :)
I don’t have firm release dates yet for Burn, but it should be around this time (late June/early July) next year.
As always, thanks to Paula for answering my questions!
- UK publisher's site: Indigo