Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Conversation with Bethany Hagen, Author of LANDRY PARK

The below-mentioned blue glasses - Bethany's website

Hi Bethany! I'm so excited to have another of my YA Valentines on the blog. I'm still waiting for my turn to read the community ARC of Landry Park, so I popped over to Goodreads and the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. The thing that peaked my interest the most is the combination of what readers perceive to be an almost historical fiction feel to a future set novel. How did this particular combination appear to you? Are you a big fan of both genres? (I am!)

Goodreads Link
I am a huge fan of the "future historical," as it were.  (Connie Willis's To Say Nothing of the Dog, Catherine Fisher's Incarceron, and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Taleare some of my favorites. [And I'm reading Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner'sThese Broken Stars right now and it's just magnificent.]) I'd like to be very intellectual here and claim that the basis of the appeal is in the juxtaposition of progress and regress, but I think the honest answer is that I adore science fiction and also flouncy dresses, and I wanted to smash them together to make a thing.

The author speak equivalent to art speak or educationese, impressive. All very lofty languages indeed. So Incarceron is one of my favorite world-building books. What are some amazing world gems we'll find when reading Landry Park? Any favorite fancy dresses? (Why fiddle-dee-dee, I do love that ballgown!)

There are MAGNIFICENT dresses.  Silk and lace and tulle and corsets and antique hair combs and embroidered slippers and yeah...all the pretties.  But I do have to say that  my actual favorite piece of Madeline's world are these Cherenkov lanterns that use the Cherenkov radiation effect for light.  They are bright blue but also kind of ghostly at the same time--and they are actually the original source of the Landry family wealth.  To me, they are a reminder of the way nuclear power is threaded through every aspect of gentry life, for better or for worse.

Well that is some heady reading material (says the non-science girl after visiting the Wikipedia page for Cherenkov radiation). And a very pretty shade of blue. Kind of like your glasses. Seriously you have the best frame style of all the YA authors. I secretly want Bethany Hagen glasses. Are there any baubles that Madeline values above all others in Landry Park? And does that change as the novel unwinds?

Madeline is surrounded by the Landry family crest, which is the atomic symbol (familiar to any high school student who had to lug around a 25-pound chemistry textbook.)  The family crest is wrought into necklaces and her father's cufflinks and her mother's hair combs, it's embroidered on her bedsheets and inlaid into the marble patio outside her ballroom doors.  She's been raised to be proud of her family and of her home. But of course, since it's a YA dystopian novel, our heroine soon learns that the history behind her family's success is much darker than she ever realized.

The Landry home sounds like the Ritz Carlton or something. Do you use visual references like Pinterest to find and write these details? What helped you in the creation of the Landry Park world?

There were a lot of things I relied on to help envision the world of Landry Park.  Pinterest was a wonderful resource because I could pull in so many different things to stitch together the estate in my mind--the grounds at Powis Castle, the exterior of the Chateau Fontaine-Henry--and, at the same time, reference gorgeous dresses and jewelry and moss-covered statues.  (You can find the Pinterest board here.)  

I also relied on music--Ludovico Einaudi, Thomas Newman and Dario Marianelli were on heavy rotation--and re-watched my favorite movies over and over again.  Gone with the Wind, the 1994 Little Women, Pride and Prejudice (both the 1995 and the 2005 versions,) and Jane Eyre specifically, plus I watched a LOT of Science Channel shows about space and future technology.  For a while, I had possibly the strangest Netflix queue in the Midwest.

That Pinterest board is sumptuous. Gorgeous imagery. Now I want to read this book even more! So this question will bring our chat to a close. Please tell the readers the next three books on your TBR pile, what liquid is in your cup, and what's currently playing on repeat. And thanks so much for stopping by!

Thanks for putting this all together.  You rock!

Next Three Books TBR: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, Unhinged by A.G. Howard, and Bruised by Sarah Skilton (<----I've been a karate geek for over fourteen years, and got my first black belt as a teen, so I'm excited for this one!)
Liquid in Cup: Coffee.  There's a biscotti next to the cup.  Life is good right now.

Currently on Repeat: The Gregory Brothers singing "Wrecking Ball."  Why is it so addictive?!

Next week, be sure and stop in when I chat with Lindsay Currie and Trish Leaver, co-authors of CREED.


  1. Lovely interview you two! I love the whole future/past smash-together as a concept, too, and am definitely looking forward to reading this one! Best of luck, Bethany!

  2. Those are great glasses! I've resolved that the next time I get glasses I'm going to go w/something more funky. I always play it safe and then wish I hadn't. =) Landry Park sounds fantastic!

  3. Fabulous interview. And I absolutely love the Pinterest board.

  4. Great interview, ladies. And I couldn't agree more, HAGEN glasses are the cutest!


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