So, it’s been a while since we had an author interview on Leah’s Bookshelf. I’m pleased to welcome Aubrey Hansen back for a second interview, though. She first joined us in January 2013 for an interview about her book Peter’s Angel. Please join me in welcoming her back for an interview about her book Red Rain.
What gave you the idea for Red Rain?
Strangely, I can still remember the exact moment I got the initial inspiration for Red Rain. I was at a park, swinging (swings are the best piece of playground equipment ever invented) and watching the bus barn across the street. I studied the rows of yellow school buses and thought… Wouldn’t it be just awful if they made us go to public school? (I was, of course, happily homeschooled at that point.) The idea for the opening scene, with the buses and forced government schooling and vocal Mr. Dass, came to me, and it remained almost exactly the same through all the revisions of the book. Eventually I mushed that idea together with an other idea I had–of a girl going to Mars with her father and getting into trouble with DNA-based security systems–and the first draft of the book was born.
There’s something about seeing a bunch of school buses that always makes me appreciate being homeschooled. Glad I’m not the only one!
Do you have a favorite character? Why or why not?
I’m not sure that’s a fair question to ask an author! I was always partial to Ephesus’s role in this book. His storyline had a lot of drama and emotion–even though a lot of it went on “behind the scenes” in back story that never actually made it into the book since the entire story was from Philli’s POV–and he’s a big brother character, which have always been favorites of mine. But, truth be told, I have a thing for Stanyard. But, that’s more relevant to the sequel…
What was your favorite scene to write?
Pretty much any of the scenes that involved Philli being emotional with her brother or father. 😉 Those were the easiest scenes to write, and many of them needed little revision. As is the case with many of my books, this one started with a disconnected jumble of scenes. What’s unusual about this book is that many of those original disconnected scenes carried through the revisions nearly verbatim. The pinnacle scenes, the ones I drew my initial inspiration from and built the book around, changed very little during the writing process.
What was the hardest scene to write?
The “wrap up” scenes after the climax. I’m still convinced they’re not quite right, as some of my reviewers would agree. Thankfully, it hasn’t deterred said reviewers from asking for a sequel!
What can readers learn from this story?
There are a couple of morals woven into the story, which is actually one of the book’s weaknesses. Being my first book, I think I tried to take it in too many directions. That said, the main moral is one many of my readers didn’t pick up–contentment. I’ve had many reviewers say they felt the ending was dissatisfied because (spoiler!) Philli ended up back where she started, in the concentration camp. The “problem” of the oppressive government wasn’t solved. That was actually my entire point. The moral of the story was to trust God in any circumstances–to do what was right even if it didn’t get you out of the concentration camp.
Do you have any closing thoughts?
Let it go! (And I don’t mean that as a reference to the beautiful song from Frozen.) Red Rain is my first book, and in some ways, it shows. But my readers, even though they were willing to point out the problems, still wanted more–and that’s how we should be with our writing. Your first few books will not be perfect. But enjoy them for what they are, take pride in your strengths, learn from your weaknesses, and keep writing!
Thanks so much for the interview, Aubrey! Does anyone else have questions or comments for Aubrey?