First, here's a bit about the book:
Landry Park by Bethany Hagen.
Landry Park #1.
To be published: February 4, 2014
by: Dial Books.
Downton Abbey meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal
In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won't allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty - her family and the estate she loves dearly - and desire.
And now, here's Bethany!
Jessica: Welcome, Bethany. Thank you for sharing a bit about Landry Park with us! First off, describe Madeline in 5 words or less.
Bethany: Smart, concerned. mistrustful, prescient.
J: What is your favourite part of the world you've created?
B: I have to say it's the atmosphere--marble floors, swishing dresses, clinking china, all lit by blue nuclear lanterns and powered by nuclear power. It's the past and the future, all mingling together.
J: Ooh, that sounds so intriguing. Based on that description alone, I think I'd love to experience living there, if only for a little while. Which of the characters (aside from Madeline) are you most excited for readers to meet?
B: Without a doubt, Cara Westoff. I love my protagonist and the cute boy (David Dana) but I think Cara is the most fun to write. She's sassy and selfish and smarter than people give her credit for.
J: Sassy is always fun! I can't wait to meet her. Madeline seems to have a lot of challenges to face in the book. Which would you say she is most scared of, or what is her biggest fear?
B: Madeline has grown up with her estate as the be-all, end-all of her life. Every decision that's made in her family revolves around the estate. And Madeline's choices lead her in conflict with her father, who holds all the power in his hands. If she chooses to stand against him, she would never inherit the estate and I think that's her greatest fear. Without her estate, she feels like nothing.
J: Sounds like she's going to have some tough decisions to make. I'm so curious to see how it turns out for her. What has been the best part of the writing and publishing process for you so far?
B: This will sound frivolous, but getting a cover has been amazing. It helps that I had a marvelous agent and editor to shape my book into a much better thing to go with the cover, but still. When I saw it for the first time, I did a little jig. It's gorgeous and futuristic and speaks to so many things with in the book. It still blows me away.
J: It is a pretty fantastic cover! And the ARC has a kind of velvety texture... I hope they do that on the finished copy too because it's lovely! Do you listen to music while you write/edit? If so, can you share one song you listened to a lot while working on this novel?
B: I ALWAYS listen to music, which I think comes from working in public places like Starbucks. There's only so much awkward first date chatter you can handle when you're trying to write an epic battle scene. I listened to a lot of different songs for Landry Park, but one of my favorites is still Primavera by Ludovico Einaudi. It's something I could see playing in the ballroom of Landry Park.
J: Can you share a favourite quote from LANDRY PARK?
B: This is from a bust of Madeline's ancestor that sits in the foyer of Landry Park. It's one of my favorite quotes because it's been in the book for such a long time, and it was the first germ of where the gentry came from that I ever wrote. From this snippet of a famous speech this ancestor gave, I was able to unpack and extrapolate the entire history of the gentry and the Rootless.
"We will create order, elegance, and prosperity in our world. However, there is one class of people we deny this new ordered life. Those who fought the most viciously against us, who killed our women and children, and who didn’t surrender at the end. They shall never own land or a house, they shall not benefit from our schools or our doctors. They will be like bugs on the ground, without a future and forever rootless. . ."
J: Can you share a secret about LANDRY PARK?
B: A long, long time ago, I was writing a paranormal romance with angels and demons, and elements of Landry Park started springing up--the big houses, the debut balls. At the time, I was working at a local history museum where I was exposed to pictures of debutantes and 1950s fallout shelters, and I realized that was the story that was trying to emerge from the paranormal book. So I stripped all that away, and started with a girl on a beautiful estate fueled by nuclear power...and the rest is history.
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