Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
I am very happy to welcome Kayla Joy, author of Hooverville, and to share with you the responses that she has given to my questions.
Read on to discover her replies and find out more about both her and her book!
I really loved my US history class in high school because my teacher taught us about very small concepts among the wider backdrop of history, and that just really resonated with me, and I was fascinated by the untold stories that nobody knew about. He taught me about Hoovervilles, and I sort of put it away for a while. A little while before I graduated HS, I was packing up my bedroom to move away, and I found two years worth of notes from that class. As I was deciding what to keep and what not to keep, the word Hooverville just stuck with me for days and weeks, and I began wondering about the people in the Hoovervilles. What were their lives like? Where did they come from? I couldn’t get it out of my head, especially seeing the homeless camps under bridges in Seattle and Olympia, where I lived, and I woke up in the middle of the night one night and just wrote, and it developed into a massive scale, sweeping romance that has been compared to Titanic, which is the biggest compliment to me.
It’s different for all my books. For Hooverville, I was a pantser and had no idea where the story was going until I got there. I was an actor for many years, so I keep a mirror next to my desk and act out the scenes as they come to me so I know how to best write them.
Computer, usually. I collect notebooks and pens, but I never feel like I have a good enough story to fill them up with.
Thomas Kelley is my #1 favorite character. The scenes with him were always the best ones to write, because Thomas radiates a comforting energy that continued even to myself.
I don’t know that I’d want to be anyone in this story? They all kind of got a rotten deal. Everybody is miserable the whole book. That said, Betty McKenzie seems like a happy lady. I’d be her!
Most of the characters just come to me! Peter and Eva and Thomas Kelley were just the first and only names that came to mind. I never brainstormed for them. Frank Alexander was named after an ex, and Annaleise went through five different name changes through different drafts. She was named after Little Orphan Annie (Hoovervilles are mentioned in the Annie Broadway Musical, so it was a nod to that) but her full name wasn’t Annaleise until the fifth or sixth draft!
Thank you for answering my questions! I’m so sorry everyone has such a rotten deal in this story and hope things work out well in the end – I’ll have to read it to find out. I hope your inspirational teacher realises his influence and teaching impacted so positively on you 🙂
Annaleise Winston can never seem to fit in with the Society Girls, the strict rules that govern them, or their selfish indulgence during the Great Depression. Behind closed doors, her publicly perfect new fiance, Frank Alexander, is violent and dismissive, but without his financial security, Annaleise and her mother will be on the streets with not a penny to their name.
When Annaleise finally has enough, she runs away and accidentally becomes stranded in a Hooverville, a lawless homeless encampment in Central Park, where she must keep her identity a secret if she wants to stay alive. But a kind shoe shiner named Thomas Kelley may get in the way of everything she thought she ever wanted. As their love for each other grows, the Great Depression worsens, and Frank will pay any price to bring back his bride.
Kayla Joy is an author and artist living in the Pacific Northwest with her family and her many animals. At 20, she has already self published two books: Morbid Tales from Behind the Mirror (available on Amazon now) and Hooverville. You can follow her journey at kaylajoybooks.com.