Friday, March 30, 2012

Author Interview: Cambria Hebert

Today I'd like to welcome Cambria Hebert, author of the bestselling YA novel, Masquerade, to A Night's Dream of Books.  Since I will soon be participating in a read-along of the book, I thought I'd take the opportunity to get to know the author, as well as let my readers get to know her right along with me!  By the way, this is my very first author interview, so I'm very happy and honored to have Ms. Hebert start what I hope will become a tradition on this blog!

Thank you for having me here! This is the first interview I have done for a while and I am excited and happy to be here!

Well, let's begin with a couple of the usual queestions... Could you tell us something about yourself?

Sure! I love coffee, particularly lattes from Starbucks, I drink hot tea by the bucket full (nothing fancy just black Lipton tea with sweetener) and I have an irrational fear of chickens. Why chickens? I haven’t the slightest of clues. But my question to you is why not chickens???  I know I am a deep woman.   I also happen to be obsessed with werewolves. I am married to a Marine and have some kids and some animals. My favorite colors include pumpkin orange (love me some pumpkin bread), purple and apple green. I wish I could eat donuts everyday (I don’t because I like my jeans to fit me) and I exercise at least 5 days a week.

How did you get started as a writer?

Well, I’ve been writing a long time. When I was like 14 or 15 I wrote a book. It wasn’t very good and it’s still sitting at the bottom of my closet but I had such a great time writing it and that feeling stuck with me. Then in my later teen years I moved on to poetry and then life happened. I got busy with friends and boys (and NO I don’t mean that kind of busy with the boys, lol) and writing kind of stopped. Then I had some kids and became a stay at home mom and one day I saw one of those magazine ads for writing for kids and it reminded me how much I loved writing. So I started writing again. About 3 years ago I got really serious about it and knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life.

Well, we readers are certainly happy you decided to do that! What author(s) most influenced your own development as a writer?

I don't really know the answer to this question. Lol. I admire many authors. But I really think that one author gave me a love of reading and of storytelling from a very early age: R.L. Stine. I loved his Goosebumps and Fear Street series, and I used to read and read and I loved the fantasy kind of creepy worlds he created. When I wrote my very first book (not published yet), he was who I thought about. I thought, 'I want this book to give readers the same feeling that I got when I read R.L. Stine.' (That first book of mine is a young readers' book.)

What influenced your decision to write for the young adult market?

Hmmmmm.  This is a new question.  Very good.  I think I decided to write YA because that is what I love to read, and I think that YA is a very diverse world, and so are the readers.  I know SO many people who read YA that are not young adults (even though I totally am!) and my stories just seem to fit in that genre better than the rest.

Oh, I love YA myself!!  Even though I do review adult genres on my blog, I've gotten pretty obsessed with YA.  Well, here's another question you might not have been asked before.   How can an author relate to a character's traumatic experience, if the author has not had a similar experience him/herself?

Through the character. I think that a character can be empathized with, and rooted for, without really understanding her situation. Specifically for me, with Heven (who is disfigured), she herself told me. She is a real person to me, with thoughts and feelings, and she told me her experiences. I also think that while am not disfigured (and haven't been), I relate to Heven, and I think most women (and maybe even men) can relate to some part of her. I mean, who hasn't looked in the mirror and not liked what they saw? Everyone has inner turmoil just like Heven, and that is very relatable.

Would you say that the "Beauty and the Beast" fairy tale was the inspiration behind Masquerade, but in reverse, since it's usually the male character who is horribly disfigured, or is in some way 'monstrous'?

To be honest this book wasn’t inspired by "Beauty and the Beast". I never even thought of that until I read a review that said it was like the book Beastly (but for girls) and also like "Beauty and the Beast". I was stunned because it kind of is like that but I hadn’t set out for it to be. My inspiration for this book was literally me walking through Barnes and Noble one day and thinking “I want to write about a girl who is disfigured and thinks she’s ugly.” I want to tell her story because I think people would relate to that. Then I started to wonder how she got disfigured and the story grew from there. And you are right, I guess it is the guy who is always disfigured and he gets the beautiful girl. I liked the idea of a flawed female lead. One who had to battle her own inner demons. Sure there is a hot guy but he is far from perfect too, and I think that’s why they are great together.  Although, I am flattered that anyone would draw any kind of parallel between Masquerade and "Beauty and the Beast". J

Well, I do think that the parallels are there, and you have every right to feel flattered! Now, is Heven's plight a metaphor for our society's entrenched belief that a woman's worth is directly related to how beautiful she is?

Ummm, I wish I could say I was that deep but I am not. LOL. I never once thought of a metaphor about this book or for it. All I did was tell a story I wanted to tell. I did hope and think that Heven might make other girls who are insecure about themselves watch her come out of her shell, and maybe be inspired to do the same. I wanted people (girls, generally) to see that being strong inside and letting that show through makes you beautiful. That confidence isn’t in the mirror but behind how you look.

Very well said!   In your opinion, is it harder for men to accept disfigurement in women, than it is for women to accept it in men?  Why or why not?

This is a hard question. I think that really it can go both ways. I think that if love is present, then accepting someone and all their flaws is easy. But I also think that a man who can’t accept a disfigurement in a woman wouldn’t accept it in another man, either (like a friend or family member). The same could be said for women. Really accepting a disfigurement in another person comes down to (once again) what’s inside someone.  

Is the character of Sam a reflection of what your ideal man would be like?

Ahhh, Sam...Lol.  Did I mention that I was married??  But IF I wasn't, sure I'd go for Sam!  I really like Sam, and my feelings toward him grow every day.  I think he is strong and accepting.  Accepting of others, but more importantly, of himself.  He doesn't care who he is.  He doesn't fight himself.  I can't say that he always likes the situations he is in, and he does fight against those sometimes, but deep down, I think he knows he is a good person.  Some might see him as arrogant or even bossy, but I don't see him that way.  I see him as a guy who loves someone, and that person has been hurt again and again, in unimaginable ways.  He only wants to prevent that from happeining again.  He only wants to help bring Heven out of her shell so she can be the girl he sees when he looks at her.  Oh, and did I mention that Sam is HOT???  'Cause he really is!  However, if I am being truthful, there is another male lead I have written that really would be my ideal man.....(See the next question for more of that answer.)  

Is the Masquerade series your favorite work thus far?

When you sent me this question, you hadn't realized that this is my first series, so you sent me a revision to the question, but I would like to answer this one, because while this is the first serries I have written that is PUBLISHED, I have written another series.  It's a wereworl series (Surprise!  Lol.)  There are four books in that one.   Its isn't published yet, but someday I hope it will be.  I have also written a Young Readers/Middle Grade book titled The Secret Ingredient, about a boy who discovers that the lunch lady is drugging the baseball team.  I would like to see that one published, because I think it would be appealing to boys and girls.  I also have Whiteout, which is a novella that was published in November, 2011 (it is an adult PNR), and also an anthology of short stories by various authors on Goodreads that I have two stories in.  It's titled Christmas Lights.  (All proceeds from that book go to the NCADV.)

Now, is Masquerade my favorite book, I have written, so far?? I can’t really choose. That’s like choosing between my children. I will say that Masquerade will always have a VERY special and large place in my heart because it IS officially the first novel I have had published. (And Heven and Sam are so awesome, lol). I will also say that my main character in my werewolf series (it's a guy and the series is written in his POV), Thadd, is probably the character who literally stole my heart and holds it still. My husband calls him “my other husband”.

At this point, do you see the Masquerade series becoming a trilogy, or do you think you might be writing more than 3 books?

I am planning four books in this series. The first three are written and I have started the final book. I do plan on some other novellas for back story on some characters and I am not sure how many of those there will be.

Oh, that's terrific!!  I'll certainly be looking forward to everything related to this series!

Thank you! 

How do you deal with having to write an emotionally-wrenching scene?

I get in there and write it. Sometimes I get teary eyed, sometimes I get a stomachache but mostly I write furiously until the scene is done.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers who find it hard to 'get started' because of the fear of failure?

Just start writing. You can’t fail at something you never even try to do. And that’s the beauty of writing; you can delete the parts that didn’t come out right and try again. I think the main thing is practice and feeling out the way you write, your own style. Will you like the first thing you write? Maybe not. That doesn’t mean that the next thing you write won’t be better. I wrote for years and wouldn’t let one person read any of it. I wrote and didn’t tell people I was writing. I was afraid it wouldn’t be any good.  I was afraid people would roll their eyes when I said “I’m writing a book”. (And they DO roll their eyes. Except now when they do it, I don't care.  This is something that you are doing for YOU. Then one day someone asked, "Can I read what you wrote?",  and I said "Yes", because I had gotten to the point that I liked it. Sure, I was scared they wouldn’t like it, but in the end, not showing my writing to anyone EVER was scarier than hearing it wasn’t any good.

Do you think a first-time novelist should go the indie route, as you did, or try to get published by one of the big publishing houses?

You know, I'm not really an Indie. A lot of people think I am. I am published through a publishing house, so you could say I went traditional. Do I have a deal with one of the big 6? Nope. Did I try to get one. Yup. For years. I couldn’t even get an agent to read anything I sent them. I have about 100 rejections sitting in my office. So I bypassed the agent and started submitting to small publishing houses. I got a "Yes". I DID think of going the Indie route and I’m not ruling that out in the future. I think that which route to go is a personal decision and its different for everyone. It depends on what you want out of your career. If you want a big deal and to see your book on Barnes and Nobles shelves then get an agent and a big name publisher. If you want to write and share your stories, Inide might be the way to go. I can say that NO matter which way an author goes it is work. A lot of work. But it’s worth it. J


In conclusion, I'd like to thank you, Cambria, for taking the time to visit A Night's Dream of Books!  I hope you've enjoyed this interview as much as I have!  I know that my readers have certainly enjoyed getting to know you and your work better!

Thank you so much for having me! It was fun!

For more information on Cambria Hebert, Masquerade, and her other novels, as well as novellas, please visit her amazing blog, at http://cambriahebert.com/








12 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you!! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!! Cambria's answers are terrific, and we all got to know her better.

      If you live in the U.S., I hope you consider entering the giveaway! : )

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  2. i had such a fun time doing this interview!! Your questions were so creative and thought provoking. I really appreciate the time you spent putting this together and making it so colorful, i love the colors and the layout of the interview. This is a wonderful blog and I am so glad to have found it!!
    Thank you for having me here for the interview, you are a most gracious host. :-)

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    1. Oh, Cambria, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! I really tried to come up with interesting questions, although of course I did have to include the usual ones, too. I am so grateful that you appreciate all my hard work on this post, and believe me, it WAS hard, because the good ol' Blogger software gave me some trouble... Also, I had originally planned to include the giveaway in the same post as the interview, but the Rafflecopter code wouldn't cooperate...Every time I tried adding it to the post, and then clicked to view the finished product, the code appeared either at the top, next to your picture, or in the middle of the interview!! I wanted it to show up underneath the book cover and synopsis,but, there was NO way that was happening! I don't know if the problem in this case was Blogger, or the Rafflecopter code. Anyway...that's why I had to create a separate post for the giveaway.

      Thanks as well for complementing my blog!! Music to my ears!! I work very hard on it! I want my blog to be visually appealing as well as interesting, and I LOVE colors and widgets!!

      You're more than welcome for the interview, and I was happy to host it!! Your answers are AWESOME!! All around, I had fun, too!!

      Last but definitely NOT least, THANK YOU for writing MASQUERADE!!!! : )

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  3. What a fabulous job you did on the interview. I am good friend's with Cambria and I had no idea she wrote a book about a lunch lady drugging the baseball team. Fun! This is a great debut novel, I personally am excited to see where the series goes from here. Super glad you are on board for the read along. Read alongs are such a fun way to get to know some new bloggers. Looking forward to getting to know you better.

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    1. Thank you so much, Heidi!! I'm very pleased that you enjoyed reading it, and finding out more about Cambria's other work.

      Yes, this is indeed a great debut novel, and I, too, am anxious to see where this series will go!

      Thanks as well for welcoming me to the read-along!! I'm looking forward to getting to you know you, better, as well!

      Thanks for the fabulous comment!! : )

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  4. Amazing Interview. Loved what Cambria said about new writers. I also hope that we'll get a chance to read all of her books cause she's amazing. :)

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    1. Thank you!! I'm so glad you liked it!! Cambria wrote some very interesting things indeed, and she has great insights! I also agree that she's an amazing writer!

      Thank you so much for the wonderful comment!! : )

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  5. Great interview!!!
    Love your blog!!!

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    1. Thank you so much for complimenting the interview, as well as my blog!! I, too, enjoyed reading Cambria's answers! As for the blog, I work very, very hard on it, so it's nice when that is appreciated!!! : )

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  6. This is a great interview!! Thanks so much for the extra insight on things!! It was a lot of fun!! :)

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    1. You're very welceome for those extra insights! Glad you had fun, and thank you so much for the compliment!! : )

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