Aubrey Hansen is a brand new author debuting with her novella Red Rain. We’ve been excitedly watching her progress as she’s been working toward publishing the book, so we couldn’t wait to catch up with her for an e-mail interview.
Incredibooks: First off, tell us a little bit about your debut book.
Aubrey Hansen: Red Rain is a sci-fi drama about a girl and her quest to find the last Bible in the galaxy. When a computer virus deletes all the Bibles, 17-year-old Philadelphia hopes her deceased brother left a copy behind on Mars. But when her searches lead her into a secret hallway, Philadelphia disturbs a project that threatens to destroy her family and Earth. The book was inspired by the question “What if there were no Bibles left on Earth – none? What if the last copy was hiding on Mars?”
IB: What inspired you to become a writer?
AH: I’ve been making up stories as long as I can remember. When I was younger I designed elaborate worlds for my toys and mentally rewrote the books I’d read. But it wasn’t until I was a teenager that it occurred to me to write stories down on paper. I wrote my first novel for a fanfiction forum, and the author-gene in me broke loose. I haven’t stopped writing since.
IB: Incredibooks is a book review site, so we want to know about your favorite books. Can you share a couple of titles?
AH: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgenson Burnett was my favorite book growing up. Recently I read The Fellowship of the Ring for the first time and was very inspired by the way Tolkien handled religion in his fantasy world. My favorite modern book, however, is Angel Fall by Coleman Luck. I was deeply impacted by Luck’s honest and probing allegory.
IB: How do you come up with character names?
AH: Most of my characters come with a name. I’m not sure where they get these names, but the titles tend to stick! If I’m struggling to come up with names, I ask a friend of mine who can draw up a whole list of possibilities based on the character’s bio. Several of the names in Red Rain are derived from churches and sects mentioned in Revelation 2-3 — you’ll have to read the book to find out which ones!
IB: Have you ever incorporated yourself or anyone you know into one of your books?
AH: One of my early novel attempts was a co-authored fantasy which featured my writing partner and me as the main characters. Representing yourself on paper is harder than it sounds, and I’ve never had good success with it. However, when I let the novel develop naturally, I usually find pieces of myself reflecting in the characters.
IB: How do you work allegory or Christian themes into your books without it being blatantly obvious or sounding preachy or clichéd?
AH: Keep it natural. I study theme during the planning process, but when I draft I let it morph on its own with the story. If you have to force the theme, it’s probably going to be contrived. I think it’s especially important to keep the characters relatable and the religion realistic. Make Christianity a regular part of your characters’ lives. If your characters pray repeatedly throughout the book as a habit, it won’t seem contrived when they pause to pray during the big climatic moment.
IB: What is a typical writing day like for you? For example, where do you write? Do you always write at the same time of day? Do you listen to music when writing? If so, what?
AH: I’m a very diverse and erratic writer, so no two days are alike. If I’m in the thick of a project, I might put in 6-8 hours a day. Other days I may just work on a short project for an hour. I do most of my writing on a laptop in my bedroom, and I get the bulk of my work done in the afternoon. I’m almost always listening to music. I prefer instrumental, particularly soundtracks.
IB: What’s next for you, now that you’ve released your debut book?
AH: Currently I’m working on several short projects while pondering what my next novel will be. I’m tentatively planning to finish my fantasy epic, but it’s a very old (and long!) novel, so it isn’t the easiest book to write. It would be amazing to have it finally finished, however, and I’m eager to publish a second novel. Just keep writing!
Aubrey’s book Red Rain is releasing tomorrow, September 6. You can get your copy in a multitude of places, so visit the official page for a complete list. Also, be sure to check out Aubrey’s Facebook and Twitter profiles and give her a like or follow if you’re so inclined.