…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
We will be giving away the ALL TEN books of the Rifter series by Ginn Hale! Press the “rafflecopter” link below for multiple chances to enter! GOOD LUCK! (winner will be announced June 23, 2014)
Sheri: I have a secret to confess. I don’t like crossing the line from anonymous reader to chit-chatty fangirl. Nope. I prefer to keep my nose in my book and avoid eye-contact with the author. So I cannot fathom what came over me when I closed my kindle after this intense series came to an end *sobs* and I sent the mastermind behind it all a message. I blame my book buzz (honest to goodness, my entire body felt like it was vibrating) and after I came back down, I panicked. What did I do? Ginn Hale visiting our blog? *begins to hyperventilate* Well, I phoned my dear friend Xing and together we (nearly) kept each other from passing out from excitement. Advanced apologies to all for any gushing that may (will) occur.
Xing: When Sheri messaged me that she got an okay to interview THE Ginn Hale, my face exploded (figuratively). And then, she asked for my help with coming up with questions, which felt like Christmas came early (and I wasn’t expecting any presents, since I’ve been naughty as of late). Where was I going with this? Oh, yeah. So, I had the opportunity to ask questions. To an author. To my favorite author of all time. *casually cleans up my Ginn Hale shrine* Anyways, I am so excited to have this interrog…interview with you! I’m a bit nervous, but excited to pick your (wonderful) brain and to hopefully get more people on The Rifter bandwagon (and ultimately to your other works).
Without further ado….Welcome Ginn Hale!
GH—You guys are way too kind! Thank you for having me!
Sheri: The Shattered Gates was a large buddy read for me and my friends. I relied heavily on Rifter veterans, *gives Xing a squeeze* but found bits of it confusing while reading. Though I enjoyed it, your unique language was especially challenging for me. Any advice to newbies wishing to begin this journey or those simply frustrated/confused after reading book one?
GH — Hmmm. I guess I’d have to misquote the X-files and reassure the reader that ‘the answers are out there’… but some won’t show up until book ten… unless you hunt down Xing!
I tried to include dictionaries and maps where I could to help readers along and I hid a few clues in some of the additional matter. (The print books have even more information, as well as a holiday coda.)
But I totally understand if it all seems overwhelming at first. The story and world are big and complex and in the beginning there are a great number of unknowns, which take time to resolve. (I’m still not sure of what I was thinking, inventing a language—crazy.)
If it’s any help, there’s a group on goodreads that probably knows the Rifter better than I do. Questions can be posted there, or any reader can always contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m happy to answer questions or just to send off PDFs of the dictionaries and maps. (Sometimes the digital books don’t seem to have them.)
Xing: Since I’m a stalker at heart, I remember you mentioning The Rifter took five years to write. Five years! Within that time-span, you’ve managed to craft a very engrossing world, create engaging characters, and develop a story that is both original and breath taking in its complexity and resolution. But my question to you is: where did it all start? Or in other words, what gave you that first spark of motivation to write this series that took five years to orchestrate?
GH— Believe it or not the very first spark came from a dream I had when I was still in college. It involved a hunt for this person who didn’t know it but was a destroyer god who brought down ruin on every one around but always survived. It was a very violent and vivid dream—I can still remember one bit that took place inside a school bus as it tumbled off a cliff.
Needless to say, no god-hunters purposefully crash a school bus just to find the one surviving godling hiding among the dead bodies of the mortal children who were his classmates in this version of the book. (Though I might use that for a future novel.)
But other images—like the Hungry Bones and the Gray Spaces– stuck with me and inspired me to keep coming back to the idea. Eventually I worked out an outline and started writing.
Sheri: If I had to describe your writing with one word, it would be…gorgeous. It definitely conflicted with the harsh and violent world you’ve created. As the blog’s scaredy cat, I think my heart stopped a few times (Xing: mine definitely did!). For me, I realized this series was much more than a stunning fantasy. What would you like our wary, non-fantasy lovers to know about The Rifter?
GH— Well, first I suppose I’d reassure them that the print volumes (The Shattered Gates, The Holy Road and His Sacred Bones) can be had for free from a library. So there’s no need to fear committing cash.
Then I guess I’d assure them that despite the fantastical elements the story is really a meditation upon how human relationships—be they loving or hurtful—shape both people and societies. While the story features magic, gods and time travel, it isn’t about any of those things: it’s actually about two isolated, lonely people who grow to love one another and in doing so, change each other and a world.
That said, I’d be the last person to push a non-fantasy reader into a book that didn’t appeal. The same themes might speak more perfectly to him or her in another book.
Xing: I remember reading about how you planned John and Khalil’s timelines on a 18 x 24 sheet of newsprint. It seemed like you’ve done an awful lot of planning prior to writing the series, which was evident in the plot’s execution. Despite all the planning, was the end product what you expected from the very beginning?
GH— Hmmm…As far as the structure of the story and characters go the final books are quite close to what I planned… Except that I had somehow imagined that I could build and write the entire thing in something like 400 pages.
Was I ever in for a surprise!
In reality it took me 1000 plus pages.
Sheri: Your characters are exquisite, incredibly complex and deeply layered. I understand a favorite might be out of the question, but do you connect with one more than another?
GH—I’m really glad you liked the characters!
John and Kahlil are based on real friends of mine so I can’t help but love and understand them best. (And I will totally take them out to dinner when the next royalty check comes in!)
But the characters I worked most on feeling connections with and understanding were the antagonists: Dayyid, Fikiri, Laurie and Ourath.
I often reminded myself that from Fikiri’s point of view, John is a monster. He utterly destroyed Fikiri’s family and life. John used Ourath and broke his heart. And from Dayyid’s point of view, he’s totally right about both John and Ravishan: they destroy his entire world!
Laurie, on the other hand, parallels John in her ambition and motivation. She’s driven by immense loss and an unwavering love—she would sacrifice everything and endure anything to save Bill and their child.
Laurie’s motive is heroic, even if her means become horrific.
From their own points of view each of the “villains” could have been written as a tragic hero, really. Remembering that helped me to keep them human, I think.
Xing: What was the most difficult part about writing the series?
GH—Writing it. :)
It’s surprising how tough it can be to just make yourself sit down day after day for five years to plug away at the same story.
Sheri: Once I hit book five my vision cleared and suddenly everything began to fall into place. I would love to see John & Kyle on the big screen. Xing: YES! I believe all my favorite books/series should be made into a movie, I am curious…who would you cast as some of the characters in The Rifter?!
GH—That’s a tough question!
I tend to think that what makes books great is that each reader gets to make his or her own perfect cast… So I’d hate to ruin anyone else’s idea of who the characters are… .
I personally kind of imagine John as looking like Chris Hemsworth and Kyle more like Daniel Henney but then I got the idea to try and cast gay/bi actors just to see who was “out” there.
So far I’ve got Wentworth Miller—as a blond— making out with Matt Bomer in the roles of John and Kyle.
Zachary Quinto giving them the scowling of a lifetime as Dayyid.
John Barrowman could be Alidas in the later arcs of the books while Jonathan Bennett played him in the earlier ones.
Maybe Chad Allen would kick ass as the adult Fikiri.
Neil Patrick Harris would make a hilarious Hann’yu!
Portia de Rossi would be awesome as Laurie.
And Wanda Sykes could have any and all parts she wanted—because I love her!
Sadly, no matter how many dog actors I google I can’t seem to find one who seems like he/she could play Ji—never mind the matter of orientation, just think of all the dialogue there would be to memorize. :)
Xing: I like to believe every book I love carries a lasting message. After I finished reading The Rifter, I came away with the feeling that things happen for a reason. That while the individual events in our lives might not mean much to us, it can serve as part of something much bigger and purposeful in the lives of others. If there was one message you want readers to walk away with after finishing The Rifter, what would it be?
GH— I wrote the books while contemplating how powerfully one human being can impact the lives of all those surrounding him or her.
We aren’t all gods who can split the earth in two, but in each of our day-to-day actions we effect the people and world around us. Being aware of that allows us each to be more conscious of the harm or good that we can do. It might be nothing more than just taking a minute to offer a stranger directions or giving away spare change but every action produces ripples of effects.
But if readers find other themes that speak to them I wouldn’t dream of arguing…because those themes are there for that reader.
We each bring our own perspectives and insights to books and often completely different aspects of a story will resonate for one person and not another. Fiction can be a bit like a Rorschach test: each of us discerning a different reading from the same words. And I find that kind of wonderful.
Sheri: Our BioB team holds several die-hard fans of yours. Can you give us a sneak peak as to what shiny new stories we have to look forward to?
GH—I’m in the final edits of Champion of the Scarlet Wolf, which is the sequel to Lord of the White Hell. The digital editions should be coming out this fall.
The story follows Elezar out of a Cadeleonian prison on to a secret mission in the northlands where witches and mythical creatures still endure despite the Cadeleonian church. Of course he soon crosses paths with a wild and ambitious young man who tempts him into far more than just his bed.
Duels will be fought, demons battled, trolls awoken, a kingdom seized and at least one dog will be washed! :D
*clings to Xing to prevent tackle hugging*
Ginn, it was our great pleasure having you here…thank you for indulging us.
GH—Thank you for having me. This was really fun!
Ginn Hale can be found at: