Please welcome Rachael Eliker, Author of Midnight Slaves
For all of you YA distopian fans we have Rachael here to tell us about Book 1 in her New Haven Trilogy!
AL- First off, we all know a good villain can make a story great. Tell us your favorite personality trait of your bad guy?
R- One of my favorite characters to write in this first book was The Night Watchman. He’s mysterious, courteous yet venomous and tricky as a snake. He’s definitely one of those people you love to hate.
AL- A mysterious, courteous bad guy can get us all in knots, that’s for sure. How about your other characters? If one of them was going on a shopping spree, what would they buy?
R- Delphine is Jude’s younger sister and at the beginning of The Midnight Slaves, she’s pretty shallow and self-absorbed, so she’d happily spend hours at the mall buying all kinds of fancy, sparkly things for herself. By the end of the book, she’s grown and experienced enough that she would probably reconsider shopping sprees.
AL- I don’t know if I could pass up a shopping spree, well, if it was free anyway. Do you have any favorite lines or pieces of your book you would like to share?
R- Here’s one of my favorite clips from the book, that showcases what a tormented life could do to someone, in this case, Knox, who’s Zoe’s older brother. It’s brief, but it poignant:
Knox turned around and squarely faced his sister. His eyes were eerily dark and distant and his lips curled into a malicious sneer. “Who said I cared whether or not I’m any better than them?”
AL- Oooh, that is intense. It is amazing how something so short can give such an in depth view of a character, isn’t it? How long did it take you to write this book?
R- Like many of my books, this one has been playing out in my head for a long time. I often find myself daydreaming about favorite characters and working out plot details while doing otherwise menial chores. From start to finish, this book took about a year to complete, which isn’t too bad considering I’m also busy with a husband and four young children, in the middle of fixing up a monstrously large house and running a modest hobby farm, among other things.
AL-Wow, you sure keep busy. I must admit a hobby farm sounds like fun, especially if there are animals to cuddle. And I agree, I get my best ideas while daydreaming during boring house chores! While we are daydreaming have you ever thought of what actors or actresses you would want to play your characters if they were ever brought to the big screen?
R- It’s usually difficult for me to imagine what actor/actress would suit one of my characters because when I write them and they develop their personalities in my mind, they really are their own people, even if they are only imaginary. I don’t write thinking, “Ryan Reynolds would be really good at playing my character, ______.” However, with this book, there was someone who influenced Zoe, the mysterious girl Jude comes across late at night. Remember the Afghan girl with the green eyes who captivated the world on the cover of the June 1985 National Geographic cover? Her expression, body language, and looks very much embodied Zoe.
However, if Ryan Reynolds ever played a character in one of my books-turned-movies, I wouldn’t have any complaints.
AL- You and me both. I often thought his carefree, flirty ways would suit my Tim character very well. Him or Chris Pratt would make me happy! It is amazing how writers can take an image or a brief encounter and build a whole vivid persona, isn’t it? Tell us, what do you think makes your book stand out from all the others readers could buy?
R- I’m not under the illusion that everyone will love my books, but I do think this is one that appeals to a wide audience. It has action, suspense, romance, conflict and some great characters who really bring a lot to the story. One of my favorite elements of the story is that it was written without the gore, vulgarity, crudeness, etc so many other books employ to shock their readers. I feel like the story is strong enough to stand without anything that would offend a wide variety of audiences.
AL- It is a testament of a good story that you can strip it down to the bare essentials, without unnecessary ‘adulting’ and it can still hold a reader and entertain just as well as one peppered with ‘colorful adjectives’ and ‘mature content’. All you really need is a good story. And sometimes fiction can teach valuable lessons. Do you think your book has any life messages?
R- That’s one of the things I love about fiction—that if done right, it can be its own parable that teaches valuable lessons without being too “preachy.” In The Midnight Slaves, the main theme is being brave enough to do what’s right, even if you have to stand up against people who you highly respect. There are several other minor themes within the book, but I’ll let readers decipher those for themselves.
AL- Nice, inspirational message. It reminds me of the one I used to have written down, ‘To be brave enough to be crazy’. Having it as the moto on my checking account checks was probably a bad idea in retrospect though…..
It was a pleasure talking with you on the blog today, Rachael. I am sure there are many YA distopian lovers that would love to learn more about you and your books.
You can find Rachael on her site and social media links here:
And find her book on Amazon here: