Today we’re excited to share Erin Summerill’s interview about her new novel, Ever the Hunted as part of the YABC Scavenger Hunt! Read on for more about Erin, her novel, and an extra giveaway! And don’t forget to answer the question from this post on the Scavenger Hunt form for a chance to win the Grand Prize!
You can find Scavenger Hunt rules and entry form HERE.
Kathryn Purdie: What drew you to write a book about a huntress? Do you have any personal experience with hunting? What inspired you to write the hunting part?
Erin Summerill: I was a photographer at some point in my life and I went to New Zealand to shoot a wedding and my second photographer is an avid hunter and she said, When we’re in New Zealand do you think we’ll have time to hunt a red deer or a red stag? And I was horrified because I don’t hunt animals. We talked about hunting for thirteen hours on the plane trip, and after that I thought I should write a book about a hunter.
KP: Did you ever go hunting?
KP: But she still wants you to?
ES: But I have a problem with the wilderness and I don’t like being outdoors and I don’t like animals. [To photographer] Maybe cut that part.
KP: Despite that, you’ve been to the Redwoods several times?
ES: When I was a junior in high school my dad took us on a family road trip to the Everwoods – I mean, the Redwoods – that’s where the name comes from! The trees are so big, we just called them the Everwoods. In the last four years I’ve gone four or five times to Oregon and the California coast.
KP: Do you think it directly influenced your writing? Did it change anything in your plot after you visited?
ES: It just was. It was organic, it just came out of me.
KP: Most people think of you as Hawaiian, but actually you spent most of your childhood in England, and this book is Scottish-y, English –
ES: I based it off 14th century English and Germanic rule, so I researched pre-medieval and medieval cultures.
KP: What are you, are you half English?
KP: Did you just grow up there?
ES: I’m, like, a quarter German.
KP: Let’s talk about your pre-published life. How many stories had you written before you got to ‘Ever the Hunted’?
ES: I had written eight, so ‘Ever the Hunted’ was the eighth. Seven really bad stories, and then one –
KP: So you’d been doing it 10 years before you got the publishing deal?
ES: I wrote one that was an urban fantasy, one that was steampunk, one that was sci-fi, another urban fantasy, then paranormal.
KP: What’s your favorite story out of those that never got published? Do you have a book of your heart, or is this the book of your heart?
ES: I wrote one before ‘Ever the Hunted’ that is one of my all-time favorites – it’s a contemporary spy book. Has anyone watched ‘Alias’? I love ‘Alias.’ It’s like a spin on ‘Alias.’ It’s like ‘Alias’ and a few other things mixed up together. One day I’ll come back to that one, but the other ones I’ll never come back to because they were bad news.
KP: She’s reinvented her spy book like 10 times, right?
ES: I have re-written that one from start to finish at least 10 times.
KP: What are you working on next? Do you have anything planned? Whenever I talk to Erin she’s got like five ideas.
ES: Right now I’ve been doing a lot of research on the colonial period of Hawaii. It’s very tragic. I’m trying to find a way to bring happiness and joy to write a story about.
KP: Which means rewriting history basically.
ES: Right, so there will be no annexation of Hawaii.
KP: I don’t know if you guys know this, but Erin and I actually donated kidneys to each my brother and her dad, and that was something that earlier in our friendship bonded us a bit –
ES: Made us best friends for life.
KP: We both started writing after we did this. Erin had been writing, but you wrote the major special story after donating a kidney. Can you identify how that happened?
ES: I’d started a story and I knew I wanted to have it set somewhere that was similar to the Redwoods and then I got stuck, and then right about that time, my dad needed a kidney, so I was like, I have two and you need one –
KP: It was that easy.
ES: And afterward I felt like a miracle worker and like I’m magic because I just saved my dad’s life and who else can say that? And that inspired the magic system in ‘Ever the Hunted,’ so I was able to go back –
KP: Can you explain how without spoiling?
ES: If you’ve read it, now you know. If you haven’t, just read it! You’ll get to the magic and just get it.
KP: Favorite book crush?
ES: I love Po from ‘Graceling.’ So good. Raphael from ‘Angel’s Fall’. It’s hard, there are so many.
KP: What about TV crushes or movie crushes. You don’t watch a ton of TV.
ES: I stopped watching TV like seven or eight years ago.
KP: But you watched ‘Outlander.’
ES: So let’s say Jamie from ‘Outlander.’
KP: What’s your favorite part from ‘Ever the Hunted,’ and then what’s your favorite romantic scene?
ES: I think it might be the end, because I got to the end. That’s a really big deal because it’s really hard writing a book. So I’ll just go with that as my favorite part. There’s a part where Britta has to track down this guy named Cohen who was accused of killing her father –
KP: And she was once in love with him, but now she’s got to – [Read summaries on their book jackets]
KP: The main character of her book’s name is Britta and [Erin] has a very obnoxious golden doodle also named Britta. What happened there?
ES: I got to the point – I think everyone gets to this point – where I thought the book was garbage and I was going to throw it away, and then my husband brought home this dog as a gift, so I named the dog Britta. But I had another friend who told me not to throw away the book, that she was going to write me a query – Miss Elana Johnson – so she wrote me a query and told me to send it out to ten people in the next hour. So I did, and I got an agent…. When I’m editing, I kind of read it aloud, and my dog will run up and jump in my face.
KP: You’re a photographer, so does that help you to visualize your stories more than you used to?
ES: I started doing both at the same time, but photography really took off. I do tend to write a big chunk of scenery first. In every scene I have the landscape all down and all the sensory details. I have to write five paragraphs of the landscape before anything happens, and then I have to go back and weave that through.
KP: Can we tell the bonnet story? Is it appropriate? Tell the clean version of the bonnet story.
ES: Tricia Levenseller, her book comes out in March, she’s a fellow author and friend. I received my ARC and we made a deal that we would let each other read the other’s ARC when we got it. So jokingly, before she got my ARC, I told her it was really steamy, there’s a lot of steam in it. So flash-forward about two weeks, I’m sitting at my house with another author and she gets a text from Tricia saying, I just finished Erin’s book, but there’s no ‘steam’ in the book. So I said, Just tell her to go back and read page 176 –
KP: [Erin] just randomly picked this page.
ES: So we just waited because we knew Trish was reading page 176. So Tricia texts back, and she says, there’s nothing happening on this page except that he gives her a bonnet. So I tell my friend, you should text back, ‘That’s a euphemism.’
KP: This is a question from Sarah Lawson: How much of the knowledge that you gained from your youth while stalking boys has become valuable while writing adult literature?
ES: It actually helped a whole lot. It really honed my hunting skills, so I was able to write an accurate portrayal of a hunter in the woods.
KP: You actually stalked your husband, right?
ES: It wasn’t crazy stalking. It was like, I would see him leave his house and follow him in my car dressed in black with war paint on. That’s it, it’s not like a big deal.
Meet Erin Summerill!
After completing a B.A. in English, Erin had aspirations to knock out the next great American novel. Her mom always taught her to dream big. Well writing proved tougher than she first thought. Tougher than chewing on a two-year-old gummi-worm that’s been hiding under a car seat. Plans changed. She didn’t write the next great American novel. No, she grabbed a Nikon and became a professional wedding photographer. During the day she posed brides and in the evenings she put scenes into action. Word by word. Manuscript by manuscript. Erin kept on writing.
The scenic detour of photography took her across the United States and even over to Australia and New Zealand, where she picked up world-building inspiration. After seven years, eight failed manuscripts, and a life-altering kidney donation experience, Erin finally had the vision to draft her debut young adult fantasy, EVER THE HUNTED.
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.
However, it’s not so simple.
The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart.
She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.
By: Erin Summerill
Release Date: December 27, 2016
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