Interview: A.J Betts Author of Rogue @AusYaBlogger Blog Tour
Thanks to Aus Ya Bloggers and Pan Macmillan Australia, I am THRILLED to be bringing you another interview! This time with A.J. Betts for her new book ROGUE, the sequel to HIVE!
Here’s the synopsis:
“There was no going back; there was no choice, anymore. I’d chosen out and this was it: hot-cold, dry-wet, bright-dark and lonely.”
Hayley has gone rogue.
She’s left everything she’s ever known – her friends, her bees, her whole world – because her curiosity was too big to fit within the walls of her underwater home.
But what is this new world she’s come to? Has Hayley finally found somewhere she can belong?
Or will she have to keep running?
Please find my interview below, and don’t worry, it’s pretty spoiler free!
Hayley is a beekeeper. What inspired you to give your character such a unique occupation?
Originally I was going to assign Hayley a job like Celia’s (tending to strawberries), but I realised I needed to give her a task that allowed her to roam through the world, and therefore see more of the other houses. I also liked that her job provided conflict: conflict with the bees, and conflict with other people who don’t value bees the way the gardeners do. (I would say more about Hayley’s role as beekeeper, but I don’t want to give any spoilers!)
Do you like bees? Would you consider adding a beehive to your garden?
When I was in Year 5, a teacher tried to convince me bees were interesting. I was not convinced! I’ve come to change my mind, of course, as has much of the population as the importance of bees is becoming more appreciated. I’ve loved learning about honeybees and Australian native bees – their social systems are intense, and their lives can be brutal. I would really like to have a beehive, but I’ve learned that a hive needs a lot of attention in its early days, and as I’ll be travelling a lot this year, I’d be a terrible bee-mother. When I’m more settled, it’s something I’ll do. In the meantime, I’ve bought a nesting box for native bees – it’s much easier as they look after themselves.
Rogue’s storyline picks up almost immediately from where Hive left off. Similarly, did you write Hive and Rogue back to back?
Absolutely! I wrote them together as a complete story. I’m really glad I did so, for it allowed me to ‘plant’ clues or narrative devices in Hive that would prove important to the story of Rogue. For a while I wrestled with the idea of how to present the story: as a single work, as two books, or as a trilogy. Eventually I decided on two – a duology – as it felt natural to separate Hayley’s experiences in two different worlds.
There are some uncomfortable truths about Hayley’s world that have come to light in Hive, leaving readers with lots of questions. Do you think that Rogue will be able to provide some of the answers readers are searching for?
There will definitely be answers. As the story is told in first person perspective in a chronological structure, the answers will be revealed as Hayley discovers them, either through other characters, her observations, or through realisations of her own. That’s not to say that Rogue won’t raise more questions though…
Though Rogue is the conclusion to the Hive duology, are you interested in returning to the world of Hive sometime in the future? Are there any characters that you would be interested in exploring more?
From early on, I knew how Rogue would finish. While the ending does lend itself to a sequel, I don’t feel the need to write it. I like to end a story where enough is tied up to satisfy me, but there is still a sense of the characters’ lives moving forward, with more adventures and mysteries. Having said that, there are some characters who I’d be interested in checking in on down the track: Hayley, of course, but especially Luka, Jarod, and Kid.
Thank you again to Aus Ya Bloggers, Pan Macmillan Australia and of course, A.J. Betts for giving me this opportunity!
See you later!