Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"Tragic Silence" by E. C. Hibbs

Tragic Silence
by E. C. Hibbs

Tragic Silence is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

When tragedy strikes Bianka Farkas one night in her native Hungary, she loses more than a friend and her mobility. Some things are harder to understand. Waking up in a hospital, Bee struggles to remember exactly what happened the night she was attacked and witnessed a brutal murder. Memories of a mysterious figure plague her as well as bizarre and terrifying changes in her over the next few years. Facing this new horrifying reality with a surprising ally, Bee finally has the chance to take her revenge but at what cost?

Book Trailer

Meet the Characters
Bianka Farkas
Known as 'Bee' to many people, Bianka has been forced to walk with a cane ever since she was attacked as a teenager. She is burdened by terrible memories, struggling to come to terms with everything that befell her. But beneath a fragile-looking exterior, she is strong-willed and fiercely determined to live her life despite all the odds against her. She is intensely loyal to those she cares about, although often to the detriment of herself, which leaves her vulnerable in more ways than one.
Frank Anthony
A cartoon-loving worker at the Museum of London, Frank appears an unassuming young man to most. He is, however, a harmless vampire, and takes Bianka under his wing, passing on his astounding knowledge of the condition. He is gentle and soft-spoken, but has a firm sense of right and wrong, and will not hesitate getting his hands dirty if need calls for it.
A mysterious and nameless demon, this vampire is immensely powerful, having haunted the streets of Budapest for decades. Consumed by brutal determination and inhumanity, he commits himself to mentally torturing Bianka at every opportunity, forging a mental link that remains with her no matter how far she tries to run.
Lucy Denborough
Originally hailing from London, Lucy is a pretty and sweet-natured girl with a penchant for musical films. She and Bianka became acquainted in high school, after Lucy saved her from a group of bullies. Since that day, they were best friends, and an integral part of each other's lives. She always has a smile and a kind word to say, and although quick to show a brave face in times of danger, she is easily frightened.
Emily Denborough
Lucy's excitable and talkative younger sister, Emily is very artistically talented. She is close to both Lucy and Bianka, referring to her as "the Encyclo-Bee-Dia." Following the attack that cripples Bianka and devastates the Denborough family, she becomes withdrawn and struggles to cope with her anguish.
Michael Jones
A cockney student and Emily's old childhood sweetheart, Michael is a naïve young man who spends his time tracing his family tree in the many libraries and museums across London.

Praise for the Book
"She reminds me a bit of Anne Rice in the beauty of her writing. Hibbs' take on conversion to vampirism and the psychological effects of the change made this a totally different book for me. Loved the way she brought the main character along and worked with the struggles to make a life while it was changing." ~ HK Savage, author of The Empath Trilogy
"This was such an amazing book. I loved that the main character wasn't perfect. I loved that she was brave and would do anything for her friend and would keep her word. I loved that she didn't let what was going on get her down, she accepted what is and did something about it. I really loved the suspense and that this book wasn't predictable at all." ~ Escape into a Book
"The author has created a mesmerising, atmospheric world that skilfully blends reality with the supernatural. Her characters are very believable, making me feel as if I was with them, feeling their emotions. It's a gripping read... The deep bonds of friendship and loyalty is another theme I found engrossing." ~ Madeleine, reader
"This take on vampires was so incredibly refreshing I actually sighed with relief. We have a real scary vampire here - and not one that kills with a charming smile and sparkly eyes, this vampire isn't afraid to shed some blood to get what he wants... It's clear that Hibbs had thought through each twist and turn carefully, intertwining all our characters into a giant web of surprises and excitement." ~ Jacinta Maree, author of My Demonic Ghost
"The characters are well written... The plot is interesting and it goes into detail about different elements of vampire folklore which shows that Hibbs did her research... The villain is worth the price alone." ~ Bill, reader
"The haunting style and tone of the writing perfectly sets the scene for the content, and whilst it is a popular genre the story is original and innovative... A very clever plot line which I could see transposing well onto the big screen!" ~ Claire, reader
"Wow... talk about a paranormal thriller with a nice twist! I loved this plot... Fabulous read with some serious bits of horror. Not bloody but psychological which can sometimes be worse! But soooo awesome for horror lovers like myself!" ~ Christina, reader

Interview With the Author
Hi E. C. Hibbs, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, Tragic Silence.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
I think of it as maybe 14 or 15+. There’s some light swearing in it, and some violent scenes, but nothing too extreme.
What sparked the idea for this book?
I can never narrow it down to just one moment, but this book is especially tough because it came from a lot of different sources over quite a large length of time. But one thing that had a huge input was my own photosensitivity, which I was diagnosed with when I was sixteen. I was quite frustrated with the situation to begin with, so I started designing a type of vampire based on the things I experienced with light and the sun. I found the notes again a few years later and a novel grew out of them. Another important factor was that shortly before I started work on the book, I went through a tough period of personal loss, and I think a lot of that translated into the story in regards to the way Bianka reacts to situations.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
It can vary, but usually it’s the characters first. Even though I got the basic ideas for Tragic Silence years before I found the characters, it was the thought of Bianka that really acted as the catalyst for getting everything else into perspective. The characters are always the most important part of the book for me, and I try to make sure they are as real as possible.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
I know it sounds weird, but setting it in the ‘real world’! Most of the stories I write take place in a fantasy world, and I balked a little at the idea of having to deal with real locations, time periods, and languages! I was particularly nervous about the Hungarian sections of the book because I wasn’t able to travel there before I wrote it.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I’d like to think that if anyone wants to take anything away from Tragic Silence, it’s the idea of not being powerless. There are so many things in life which can make you feel small, or it can be easy to presume that when something goes wrong, you are all that is to blame. I see this story as one of endurance, getting by in the face of whatever is trying to destroy, and I think that’s a theme a lot of people can relate to: finding the mental strength to not give in.
Fantastic. How long did it take you to write this book?
About four months, because it went through a few different versions before I was completely happy with the flow.
What is your writing routine?
I usually focus on university work in the afternoon, so I tend to write in the evening, and aim for one chapter per night. I’ll put my MP3 on random, have a glass of fruit squash within easy reach, and then completely disappear into my mind for a couple of hours! I have a Victorian writing desk which I like to work at, but honestly I can write anywhere.
How did you get your book published?
I’d tried to get published for quite a while, but it turned into rejection letter after rejection letter. It was quite disheartening, but I decided to see if potential readers would actually be interested in my books if I ever did manage to be published. So I put the first three chapters online for some general feedback, which was all very positive and really spurred me on. But one of the people who read the snippets was Jacinta Maree, who had recently been taken up by Staccato in Minnesota. She insisted that I write to her publishers, and I was also accepted!
That's great! What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Don’t be disheartened by criticism. It can be very hard to take, especially when you’re starting out, but try to look for the positive in the situation, and how you can use that to improve. Honing a craft means admitting that you are never going to stop learning about it, but even though it’s important to always aim high, don’t beat yourself up; believe in what you are doing and love it for all it gives you.
Great advice! What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like to create artwork – graphite pencil is my main medium but I also do photomanipulations and the occasional digital painting. I practise Shotokan karate and archery as well, and I read a lot!
What does your family think of your writing?
They have always been extremely supportive of my writing. There are a lot of avid readers in my family, and I usually give my novels to my Mum to beta read because she gives me very good constructive criticism. She and my Dad were the ones who first urged me to pursue a career as an author.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I was born in Cheshire, north-west England, and I’ve lived there all my life, usually in quite rural areas. I’ve always been fascinated by nature, and when I got older I went to university and studied Animal Behaviour. I never really fitted in with the crowd at school, and I was bullied for it sometimes. That was tough, but I didn’t let it weigh me down because I was happy to be my own person.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
I loved reading! I think by the time I finished school I’d read most of the books in the library! I always preferred to read rather than watch TV or play video games.
Same here. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
It was something that happened very organically. I’d been making up stories since I was a little kid, and I moved onto novels when I was in my early teens. It never occurred to me that I could do it as something more than a hobby until my parents and teachers encouraged me to take it further. I was very humbled because I’m extremely self-critical of my own work. But the idea that I could be a writer was an amazing feeling, and I still smile when I think about how big a part it’s come to be in my life!
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Definitely. A lot of ideas which I’d later dig up for books come from things I saw or read about as a child. I’ve always been fascinated by fantasy and fairytales, and I’ve never lost that wonder about magical things. I think I’d find it very difficult to write a story which didn’t have some kind of fantasy or paranormal element in there somewhere!
Which writers have influenced you the most?
There are so many books and authors which I can think of who had an input in the way I write – I wish I could put them all! I’m a huge fan of Philip Pullman, Marcus Sedgwick, Garth Nix, and Neil Gaiman, and I’ve always loved classic literature so Charles Dickens and the Brontë sisters are definitely on my list as well. In regards to actually being a writer though, I will probably say Christopher Paolini and Selina Fenech. I first read Paolini when I was about fifteen, which was the age he was when Eragon was published, and it really helped me to believe that one day I could be an author too. And Selina Fenech was a huge help to me when I was just starting out; I love her books and artwork, and she gave me some invaluable advice about being a writer.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I always love to hear from readers! They all mean so much to me and I’m so thankful when they get in touch or leave me a review. I sometimes get asked where the ideas for my books come from, or what I’m going to be writing next. I get a lot of feedback on the concept artworks that I’ve made as well.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
This spring I finished writing the rest of the Tragic Silence series: The Libelle Papers and Sepia and Silver. They are both prequels to the first book which can be read individually, but the three all come together to form a larger story. So I’m hoping that they will be out in the world soon!
I hope so, too! Thank you for taking the time to stop by today.

About the Author
E. C. Hibbs has lived all her life in Cheshire, north-west England. A lover of stories from an early age, she wrote her first ‘book’ when she was five, and throughout school was a frequent visitor to the younger classes to read her tales to the children.
Living so near the coast, she loves anything to do with the sea. She studied Animal Behaviour at university and longs to work with marine mammals in the future. As well as nature and animals, she also has a soft spot for history, and loves paying visits to castles, cathedrals, and museums.
There are many things she could be without, but writing isn’t one of them. She carries a pen everywhere, in case an idea appears, and takes pride in still seeing the world as brimming with magic. Besides writing, she reads obsessively, her favourite genres being the classics and all kinds of fantasy. She also enjoys Disney and horror films, practising Shotokan karate, drawing, archery, and playing with her very cheeky kitten.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card.