If you read just a few pages of Rachel Hawkins’ Rebel Belle series, you will definitely notice that Hawkins has a fantastic sense of humor. We love to have a laugh here at The Daily Quirk, so to celebrate the release of the second book in Hawkins’ Rebel Belle series, Miss Mayhem, Rachel answered a few questions from The Daily Quirk about her books, along with a few silly ones thrown in for good measure!
The Daily Quirk: Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer?
Rachel Hawkins: I always joke that I’ve been writing since before I knew how to write since I played Barbies way more intensely than any girl should. I was also a big reader, and I wrote all kinds of (terrible) stuff in high school, but I didn’t think about becoming a writer until I was in my late 20s. I was teaching high school English, which meant I was reading a lot of YA, and that led me to trying my hand at it! Six books later, here we are! 🙂
TDQ: In the Rebel Belle series, Harper is a polite and proper southern girl, which means she has a tendency to use some pretty adorable local slang. As a southern girl yourself, what’s your favorite southern colloquialism?
RH: “Bless your heart.” It just does so much. It can be sincere, it can be passive-aggressive…so many uses!
TDQ: You put a unique spin on the concept of a Paladin (something I, probably along with quite a few other readers, was not familiar with before reading the books) in the Rebel Belle series. What was your inspiration for telling this story?
RH: I wish I had a really cool story behind all this, but I’m a big believer in letting the story come first, then finding what you need later. That’s how the Paladin thing came about. I wanted Harper to be some kind of knight, but I didn’t want to use that particular word as an official title. A little Googling, some library time, and voila, Paladin! And then, like most writers, I just twisted that concept to fit what I needed!
TDQ: Harper gains some pretty awesome fighting skills as part of her Paladin abilities. This begs the question: what superhero or action star would you most like to see Harper fight?
RH: Jackie Chan, mostly because I like to watch Jackie Chan find anyone and anything.
TDQ: Harper’s fighting skills help her fulfill her Paladin duty to protect David. Let’s say you magically become someone’s Paladin – who would you want to be responsible for protecting?
RH: Haha, as a mom, I kind of feel like I already am a Paladin. Keeping a VERY adventurous 9 year old boy from major bodily harm is nearly as hard as guarding an Oracle. 😉
TDQ: How was your experience writing book two in the series, Miss Mayhem, different than writing the first book?
RH: Well, for one thing, I wrote it multiple times! The first draft of Miss Mayhem was…okay, but after editing that draft with my editor, I really wanted to do something different, something a little bigger. I asked her if I could scrap the whole thing and start over (with just 6 weeks to write it, I should add), and thankfully, she said yes. It’s the first time I’ve ever started over from scratch on a book, but it was weirdly much easier to do that than to edit what I had again.
TDQ: The big climax of Miss Mayhem takes places at a beauty pageant Harper is competing in. Harper’s talent is baton twirling; what would your beauty pageant talent be?
RH: I would monologue the HECK out of something. Not sure what, but whatever it was, it would be very dramatic, and, I’d hope, involved fake blood, possibly some explosions.
TDQ: What can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
RH: I have Rebel Belle 3 coming out in 2016 wherein Harper goes on an epic road trip with some surprising company. Then I have a Middle Grade called Journey’s End out in Fall 2016 that involves Scotland and fog that eats people. You know, that old story. 😉
A huge thank you to Rachel Hawkins for taking the time to answer our questions and being a great sport! Be sure to check out Miss Mayhem, available now in book stores and for Kindle and Nook. You can also follow Rachel on tumblr and Twitter for more!