Monday, September 26, 2011

Guest Post Question and Answer ~ Alex Bledsoe author of The Hum and The Shiver


Alex Bledsoe author photo credt Valette Piper-Bledsoe (2)

Guest Post Question and Answer from ~ Alex Bledsoe

It’s all about his latest novel – The Hum and The Shiver US|UK|Canada.  Which will be released in the US tomorrow. In case you would like to win a copy link to our giveaway post.

It’s such a pleasure to have this guest post to share with our readers. Welcome Alex!   What inspired your book, The Hum and the Shiver?      

It was a conjunction of three things: Appalachian folk music, Celtic faery folklore, and the stories of the Melungeons of East Tennessee. Briefly, the Melungeons are an isolated ethnic group who legend says were already here when the first Europeans arrived in Appalachia. No one knows for sure where they came from or how they got here, although DNA evidence has gone a long way toward solving the “where” question. I thought, “what if they were a secret race of faeries hiding from history and minding their own business?” So I created my own isolated society, the Tufa.

the hum and shiver

You grew up in the Tennessee area, how did your childhood determine the setting of the story?    

Since two of the three major inspirations came from Appalachia, I couldn’t imagine setting it anywhere else. The beauty, mystery and magic of the Smoky Mountain setting seemed so appropriate that I kept it, and the rhythms of Southern speech are second nature to me. And while the issues that the characters face are universal, they’re expressed in a uniquely Southern way.

What special research was involved in creating the story line?    

I listened to a lot of music, the real old stuff that was sung in the mountains for generations before anyone ever thought to write it down: “Shady Grove,” “Barbara Allen,” and so on. I also listened to the music being made in that area today, because it’s a thriving tradition. I read about musicians, and how they felt about music and what it meant in their lives. I researched faery folklore and discovered that they were far from the harmless little sprites we think of today. And I thought a lot about how “family” and “religion” are defined in the South, and how they affect every aspect of life.

Who are the main characters in the story?    

The protagonist is Bronwyn Hyatt, a twenty-year-old Iraq War vet who was injured in combat and rescued on live TV. Now she’s back home in the mountains among her people, the Tufa, confronting both her recovery and all the issues that led her to leave home in the first place. There’s also a ghost waiting to talk to her, omens of death that seem to be targeting her mother, and her dangerous ex-boyfriend lurking around.

Craig Chess is a newly-graduated Methodist minister trying, in his easy-going way, to make some inroads in the Tufa community. When he meets Bronwyn, unexpected sparks fly. Don Swayback is a part-Tufa reporter who’s lost enthusiasm for his job, marriage, and pretty much everything else; his assignment to get an exclusive interview with Bronwyn causes him to reconnect with his Tufa heritage.

The antagonists include Bronwyn’s old boyfriend Dwayne Gitterman, a devilish old man named Rockhouse, and brutal state trooper Bob Pafford.

The main character, Browyn, is a strong, attractive heroine. Did you rely upon an actual person to develop the character and why? 

Her ordeal was inspired by the experiences of Jessica Lynch at the beginning of the Gulf War. But the character herself is entirely drawn from scratch. I wanted her to be someone who had endured a lot, but never let herself be a victim; as a teenage hellraiser she’d been nicknamed “The Bronwynator,” and deep down that’s who she remains. Now she faces a bunch of decisions she tried to avoid, and must figure out a way to be true both to her people, and herself.

You describe your book genre as “gravel-road fantasy”. Can you provide additional information surrounding the genre?      

It’s “urban fantasy” in a rural setting. In UF, the magical elements appear in the mundane world of cars, skyscrapers and crowded nightclubs. In my book the setting is still modern, but it involves tractors, small-town convenience stores and barn dances.

Who do you think would enjoy The Hum and the Shiver and why?     

It’s “urban fantasy,” but in the country instead of the city. So if you can conceive of a world where Charles de Lint and Rick Bragg co-exist, I think you’ll enjoy this book. Anyone who ponders what faeries would be like if they lived among us, understands the magic found in songs and music, and/or likes stories of people trying to do the right thing in a situation where “the right thing” isn’t always clear, will enjoy it.

What is the reception you've gotten to the book so far?    

The pre-publication reviews have been excellent; Publishers Weekly even called it a “masterpiece of world-building.” But more importantly, I’ve gotten e-mails from readers who received advance copies and who explained, in detail, how much the book meant to them. I’ve never gotten that kind of response before.

Thank you Alex! John has just finished reading The Hum and The Shiver and really enjoyed it, so a review is in the works. 

Bio:  ALEX BLEDSOE grew up in West Tennessee, but now lives in Wisconsin. Find more about him at his Website/Blog; Facebook; Twitter; Goodreads; and Google+The Hum and The Shiver ~ by Alex Bledsoe; Tor Books US|UK|Canada.  It will be available in all the usual online and brick-and-mortar locations, and for all the popular e-readers. There will also be an unabridged audio version.

Thanks for reading.


logankstewart said...

Being very familiar with the Appalachian region (I'm a Kentuckian, after all), I'm terribly fascinated by this book. What an insightful Q&A. Thanks Shellie, and thanks Alex!

Unknown said...

Logan -
I forgot you are from the area!!!

John snagged this one from me and he should have a review live by the end of the week. He really enjoyed the book quite a lot actually. Of the few he has read I think this is one which I will be reading too.

Not sure if Alex will get by the blog as he has this huge blog tour for the next week - which we are part of.

Good luck!!!!

Simcha said...

This was a very interesting post. I've been curious about this book due to the intriguing title and attractive cover but I just haven't had a chance yet to look into it, and I enjoyed the chance to read a bit about it and what went into writing it.

Unknown said...

Simcha -
When I read this pre-post I got even more excited about the story line in the book. It really makes a change from his other fantasy and right up on my interest shelf.

I am so glad you enjoyed it. Its been a pleasure doing this giveaway and guest post.

Laura S Reading said...

I am so very much looking forward to reading this. I believe in fairy magic and spend a lot of time with celtic music.

Thank you for the opportunity.

Unknown said...

My pleasure Laura -
That is what excited me about the book as well. I hope to see a review or your thoughts on one of your multiple sites. The book should be on its way soon.

Sorry about deleting your other message. Oh dear.

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