I’m absolutely thrilled to present author Andrea Berthot today here on Young Adult At Heart. Andrea approached me to read and review The Heartless City earlier this year, and I absolutely loved it (review found here!), so when I found out The Hypnotic City was available for review, I begged for a copy! I love Andrea’s writing and I’m so happy she agreed to take some time out from her busy schedule to answer some questions!
The Heartless City by Andrea Berthot
Series: The Gold and Gaslight Chronicles #1
Published by Curiosity Quills Press
Published on August 17th 2015
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Henry Jekyll was a brilliant doctor, a passionate idealist who aimed to free mankind of selfishness and vice. He’s also the man who carelessly created a race of monsters.
Once shared secretly among the good doctor's inner circle, the Hyde drug was smuggled into mass-production - but in pill form, it corrupted its users at the genetic level, leaving them liable to transform without warning. A quarter of the population are now clandestine killers – ticking bombs that could detonate at any given moment.
It's 1903, and London has been quarantined for thirteen years.
Son of the city's most prominent physician and cure-seeker, seventeen-year-old Elliot Morrissey has had his own devastating brush with science, downing a potion meant to remove his human weaknesses and strengthen him against the Hydes - and finding instead he's become an empath, leveled by the emotions of a dying city.
He finds an unlikely ally in Iris Faye, a waitress at one of the city's rowdier music halls, whose emotions nearly blind him; her fearlessness is a beacon in a city rife with terror. Iris, however, is more than what she seems, and reveals a mission to bring down the establishment that has crippled the people of London.
Together, they aim to discover who's really pulling the strings in Jekyll's wake, and why citizens are waking up in the street infected, with no memory of ever having taken the Hyde drug...
Heart-eating monsters, it turns out, are not the greatest evil they must face.
How long have you been writing and how did you get into it?
I’ve loved writing since before I could technically write. I would tell stories to my mom and she would write them down for me. I started attempting to get published after a college creative writing teacher told me she thought I should and gave me the confidence to try. I got about seven short stories published before I wrote my first novel in 2010. It hasn’t ever been published, but it did get me my agent.
What do you do professionally?
I’m a high school teacher. I teach English, Drama, and Creative Writing.
You teach creative writing. Do your students know about your books and how do they feel about their teacher being published?
Yes, my students know! I’ve even used the editing process with my books as examples for them. I would show them an original passage or chapter and then show them the same thing with the editor’s changes and comments and we would discuss how the changes would improve the story. They never seem to be SUPER impressed lol. They’re just kind of like, “Oh, wow. That’s pretty neat.” Then they move on.
Tell us what writing entails. What are the logistics?
I sort of have a critique group made up of friends, family, and a few other writers. Usually I write the book, then send it to my agent, then she suggests changes, I revise, and then she sends it out on submission. I’ve done this with four books now. The first one I mentioned earlier, which never sold, the second, which never sold, and then The Heartless City and The Hypnotic City.
What’s the most challenging thing about what you do?
Even though finding an agent and getting published is SO HARD, finding time to write is always the biggest struggle for me. I not only work full time, but I have two kids, and it is a constant struggle but it is worth it.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled in the name of research?
I have googled so many weird things! Probably either “condoms in turn of the century America” or “homosexuality in birds.”The Hypnotic City by Andrea Berthot
Series: The Gold and Gaslight Chronicles #2
Published by Curiosity Quills Press
Published on August 1st 2016
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Philomena Blackwell survived a city plagued with monsters, the gilded cage of high society, and the rule of a heartless man... and she aims to leave it all behind.
It's 1905, and London has finally been freed from Henry Jekyll's terrible legacy - its people cured, its thirteen-year quarantine lifted. The world is waiting, and for a girl who dreams of being its most dazzling star, what could be more enticing than the bright lights of New York City?
She is drawn across the ocean like a moth to a flame, her heart set on proving that while she may be small on the outside, her soaring talent eclipses even Manhattan’s towering skyline. When she lands a big break, it seems as if the city is ready to fall under her spell - just as she seems to be falling for a handsome young stage manager. But is it her stage presence mesmerizing the audience, or something more sinister behind the scenes?
Philomena has always relied on her fierce will and fiery heart, but a new and more terrible danger lurks in the shadows of Broadway's bright lights, and even a mind as determined as hers may not be immune to its seductive, insidious pull...
Both fans of The Heartless City and new readers alike will enjoy this stand-alone / spin-off tale of Philomena’s adventures on stage - and in love - in NYC.
What do you like best about being an author?
Expressing myself. When I’m writing, I feel like I’m doing what I was meant to do and truly being myself.
What didn’t you know when you started that ended up being important?
It’s so important to JUST KEEP GOING. There is so much rejection, so much waiting, so much self-doubt and disappointment. But you have to shake it off and just keep writing. That’s all that matters.
Are there any moments from your career that you consider your favourite?
Three come to mind immediately. The very first piece of writing I ever got published was a short story in a Canadian Women’s Journal. They called me to give me the news while I was driving home from work and I will never forget exactly where I was on the road when I got that call. The next was when I received the email from my agent saying she wanted to represent me. I read it right before an English class that I ended up teaching in an absolute stupor. The last is when I received the email from my agent saying that Curiosity Quills wanted to publish The Heartless City. I sat down on the floor and cried and my son came in and asked me if I was ok and I laughed and hugged him.
The Heartless City is inspired by Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Is the Hypnotic City inspired by anything?
I had never planned on writing a second book, but after I finished The Heartless City, I was so in love with Philomena I felt compelled to give her her own story. It isn’t inspired by any specific classical literature, although there are some Trilby/Svengali elements.
Will there be more books in the series starring other big cities around the world? (I think you should do one based in Sydney, Australia).
I actually just started the third book, which I had also not planned to write until after I finished The Hypnotic City. It takes place in Paris. But maybe after this I will get inspired to write another and set it in Sydney!