Rachel Hartman is Canadian and Seraphina is her first YA novel. She is also the author of a minicomic, Amy Unbound. She was born in Kentucky, USA, but has lived in England, Japan, Mexico and Canada. She has a degree in comparative literature, has written and illustrated comic books, and has worked in a variety of bookstores. When she’s not writing, she enjoys bellydancing, music, playing games, and walking her whippet. Rachel lives with her family in Vancouver, BC, where the natural beauty is well worth the rain. Seraphina will be released July 19, 2012 from Doubleday.
Ten Dumbfounding Facts about Rachel Hartman
- I will eat anything, once. I call it a sense of adventure. My husband calls it a poor self-preservation instinct, and is astonished that I survived long enough to pass on my defective genes. But the fact is, I love trying new foods, and the stranger the better. It started in junior high, when I found a recipe for cooking earthworms and had to try it (and then wondered why I didn’t have any friends). Since then, I’ve tried everything from corn smut to ginkgo nuts. Even if I don’t like the taste – natto comes to mind – I have a great story for later. And yes, my crazy genes did get passed along, and proved to be dominant. My son will eat anything too, and considers himself a foodie.
- I used to play cello. I was reasonably good. At the top of my game, I was playing Beethoven trios with one of my sisters on violin and our school’s music teacher on piano. I continued through college, but at some point the rest of my life got in the way. I’ve recently felt an urge to get back to music, however, and have been considering joining a choir. As my sisters used to joke: “You should become a singer, Rachel, and get back at the world!” Er, I hope they were joking.
- I have a whippet. Whippet good!
- I wanted to be a fire hydrant when I grew up. I was a bit slow to work out that “inanimate object” was not a viable career option. I also wanted to be a typewriter, a purple Volkswagon bug, and the Pink Panther. When I got older, and dare I say wiser, I considered being a cultural anthropologist, a chemist, a professor (it didn’t really matter of what – I was in it for the book-lined office), and a cartoonist. Although I was writing all along, the idea of making a career out of writing occurred to me rather late.
- I started my first novel at age eleven. It was gloriously dreadful, a straight-up Lord of the Rings knock-off. The main character – my thinly-disguised alter ego – travelled around the countryside with four lads, all madly in love with her. They were searching for a volcano which was, as you have already guessed, the only place hot enough to destroy the Dark Lord’s evil pin. Um, yes, you read that right. It was a straight pin, made of gold and pure evil, and it just showed up in our heroine’s sewing basket one day. Every chapter ended with the heroine passing out from a blow to the head – or possibly from one of the many bad metaphors.
- I lived in England when I was sixteen. My dad had a sabbatical at Wye College, in Kent. That was one of the most memorable years of my life, fostering a life-long love of Medieval architecture, rolling bucolic countryside, and drizzle (which has come in handy as an adult in Vancouver, BC!). What I loved most was the intersection of modern life, history, and literature. Walking down the street in Canterbury I could see Roman walls, Tudor-era houses, and of course, the destination of Chaucer’s pilgrims. The world was so rich with history that I was almost dizzy with it. THAT is something I miss dreadfully in Vancouver.
- I belly dance. I love to dance, period. I’ve done ballet, flamenco, tap, modern, and Scottish country dancing. Somewhere along the line I hurt my foot rather badly, which sent me looking for a less foot-intensive dance style. Belly dance was it, although I’m between teachers right now. I still like to put on some Zeppelin and shimmy around the kitchen. What, doesn’t everyone belly dance to “The Immigrant Song”? No?
- I am Canadian and American, both. I was born in the US, in Kentucky. We moved to Canada in 2003 because my husband got a job here. We are dual citizens now, which means we get to look dyspeptic in two different passport photos, as well as keep track of two passports when we travel. It’s super glamorous. Canadians can’t usually tell I’m an immigrant unless I say “y’all,” which I try to do occasionally as a badge of my ethnicity. My poor son, though, has to put up with the embarrassment of his parents prefering baseball to hockey.
- I used to draw comic books. It was fun. I loved it. But I think I did the right thing, switching over to regular prose-writing. I was always a better writer than artist. I do love drawing, though, and try to do it on my own when I have time. My son also loves to draw, and it’s something we do together.
- My favourite authors (at this moment) are Terry Pratchett, Lois McMaster Bujold, and George Eliot. I don’t really like to choose favourites, so I guess what I mean is “the authors I feel like I am having an extended conversation with.” I know they’re all very different, but I feel like they’re all preoccupied with the same things I am – belief, human nature, and what constitutes a good life – and they tackle these questions from different angles, giving me new perspectives all the time. They’re the people I can never adequately thank. I only hope I can pay it forward, and give some future reader new perspectives in turn. That, to me, is what books are for.
Random House are kindly giving away FIVE finished copies of Seraphina to five lucky winners!
This giveaway is for UK Only and ends 29th June 2012
To enter please follow Rafflecopter instructions below