October 11, 2014

H2O Blog Tour: Author Interview

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for H2O by Virginia Bergin! Today I have a fantastic author interview to share with you!!

H2O (The Rain #1)
Author: Virginia Bergin
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Dystopia
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire


It's in the rain...and just one drop will kill you.

They don't believe it at first. Crowded in Zach's kitchen, Ruby and the rest of the partygoers laugh at Zach's parents' frenzied push to get them all inside as it starts to drizzle. But then the radio comes on with the warning, "It's in the rain! It's fatal, it's contagious, and there's no cure."

Two weeks later, Ruby is alone. Anyone who's been touched by rain or washed their hands with tap water is dead. The only drinkable water is quickly running out. Ruby's only chance for survival is a treacherous hike across the country to find her father-if he's even still alive.


1. What inspired you to write H2O?

The simplest explanation is that I read an article in New Scientist magazine, I wrote a (not-very-good) screenplay, then turned it into a novel after a teen friend gave me a copy of The Hunger Games . . . but WHY I did that is a different story of inspiration. When I read Suzanne Collins’ novel I couldn’t put it down. It reminded me what it was like to get totally, deeply lost in a story – and of how I’d read when I was a kid, gobbling books whole, devouring the entire science fiction shelf at my local library. I want to do that, I thought. I want to write a story for the sheer love of story-telling. I want to write a story - from the heart - that I wouldn’t have been able to put down. Who knows, maybe other people will feel the same way?

2. Did you do any special research for the book?

You have to know that I am the world’s laziest researcher. I’m hopeless at studying things in depth. (I’ll just do a quick search at the library or flick about on the internet and think, Yeah – got it!). So to begin with I didn’t do much research at all (Yeah - got it!) and just concentrated on the story. I mean, it’s fiction – right? – so who is going to care about whether the science is realistic?

I realised I did care. I realised the story would be much more powerful and interesting if there was proper science at the heart of it. So I went back to the library and the internet and studied microbiology and diseases and invented a whole, biologically realistic model for the bacterium from space . . . and then I realised I needed to check it. I was lucky enough to find two scientists who were willing to help, and I will never forget sitting in a cafĂ© in Bristol going bright red and um-ing and ah-ing and er-ing as I described Ruby’s story to a world-class microbiologist with a PhD.

3. Do you have any quirky writing rituals or habits?

Not really! I write straight onto the computer: I sit down and I stay sitting down until it’s done (very unhealthy). Because I’ve done other sorts of writing to earn a living (eg TV documentaries) I’m used to really tight deadlines that mean you just HAVE to get on with it, no choice . . . but that also means trying to get everything right first time because you might not have enough time to have a second go at it. The result of that is . . . I drive myself crazy when I write fiction. Instead of working at it in a sensible way, just getting a first draft down as quickly as possible then coming back to it, I find it really hard to move onto the next sentence if I think the last one wasn’t right.

The result of that is . . . I cut thousands – thousands! – of words as I write. I chop sentences, whole paragraphs, sometimes even entire chapters as I go along – but I never throw anything away. I’ve got all those words stuffed into what I call ‘Offcut’ files . . . but you know what? I hardly ever go rummaging there. Once a line has gone, it’s gone.

4. What book has inspired/impacted you the most?

That is the TOUGHEST of TOUGH questions. I’ve read so many brilliant books! But I think the ones that inspired and impacted me the most must have been those I read when I was a child, the ones that open your mind to how incredible fiction can be. Those are the books that really made me love reading and writing stories – but there were so many of them too!

OK. I’ll try. My favourite series when I was a child was the Narnia books by CS Lewis - just don’t force me to choose between The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – but I think the series that has stayed with me most is Tove Jansson’s Finn Family Moomintroll stories. She created such an amazing, believable world populated with such lovingly-written characters, a world that could be both beautiful and scary, but always wondrous. Story magic.

5. Any tips for aspiring authors?

GET ON WITH IT. I think there’s such a lot of advice out there and I suspect it’s best – not to ignore it, but not to get too hung up on it. If you want to write, the main thing you need to do IS write. Just sit down, every day if you can, and do it. All those self-critical thoughts? All that striving for perfection? All that wishing you could write something brilliant? Forget it, just start writing and keep writing – it’s the only way to learn . . . well, almost. The truly scary bit is I think you also need to put your ego to one side and be brave about showing your work to other people – not friends and family – but other people. Join a writers’ group! Join two! Don’t expect to be an amazing writer from Day One, just GET ON WITH IT.

Oh, and you’ll be reading a lot already – but just in case you’re not: READ.

6. What's up next for you?

A cup of tea? Then, after that, I’ve got to crack on with the next part of Ruby’s story. H2O is just the beginning . . . 

Thanks so much for stopping to chat today Virginia!
Virginia Bergin is the author of the young adult novel, H2O, a story about what happens when a totally ordinary (and utterly unique, because everyone is) teenager finds herself in a global apocalypse. Virginia works as a writer for TV, eLearning and corporate projects. Most recently, she has been working in online education, creating interactive courses for The Open University. She lives in Bristol, England.

In H2O, Virginia crafts a tale of desperation and survival about a world in chaos. Anyone who’s been touched by rain or tap water is dead. With a fascinatingly unique premise, a heroine that takes daunting risks and slim chances of survival, H2O’s fast-paced, unputdownable mystery and emotional survivor’s story will appeal to readers who enjoyed The Fifth Wave and The Hunger Games

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