Monday, October 13, 2014

Blog Tour and Interview - H20 by Virginia Bergin

About The Book

#Survival #Rain #Psychological #Drama

In this tense, psychological drama, debut author Virginia Bergin 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

One minute 16 year old Ruby Morris is having her first real kiss at a party at Zach’s, and the next she’s being bundled inside the house by Zach’s parents, yelling at them to get inside. 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 has 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.

Author Interview:

Thank you for asking these tricky questions, Lynda!

Virginia Bergin is the author of the young adult novel, H2Oa 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.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

Very early on in the first draft of H2O, I almost lost my nerve. Not because I didn’t think I had a story to tell, but because I suddenly realised how brutal and horrific that story was. It’s all very well thinking, ‘I’ll write a story about an apocalypse’, but once you’ve got a real character down on the page and you’re starting to have to feel what she’s feeling and think what she’s thinking and you know how much she’s going to be hurt and frightened . . . you start to have doubts. Well, I did.

My first doubts were for readers. When I was 14 I watched a zombie film I wasn’t really ready to watch. I saw it with a bunch of friends and they all seemed fine about it. I was scared out of my mind. It gave me nightmares. The storyline of H2O was so horrific I worried I could traumatise someone, and it felt really weird and horrible to be imagining the deaths of so many people, but . . .

. . . once Ruby (my main character) had walked onto the page and found herself in the situation that’s she’s in, I knew I couldn’t leave her. It was too hard to walk away. In real life, there are kids and teens who can’t walk away from situations that would smash any adult. So I stayed, even though I didn’t want to, because I felt I should see it through . . . and because I couldn’t leave Ruby on her own.

What was your favorite chapter to write and why?

Because it had been so dreadful, getting Ruby through those first few days, I think – from that point of view – my most favourite chapter, emotionally, has to be . . . Fourteen. I don’t want to give too much away, but that’s when Ruby starts to see glimpses of a future, even though she does not - and cannot possibly – realise it. For the first time, she starts to make decisions that are not based on the past, but based on the present.

And I like this chapter because it’s a total mash-up between horror and comedy – and human compassion.

Why do you feel you had to tell this story?

Uh . . . that’s so hard to answer. When I started out, it seemed like such a simple thing: I just wanted to tell a really good story, the kind I wouldn’t be able to put down myself. Yes, I just wanted to tell a cracking good story.
Then I started writing it, and a whole load of other things piled on in. Things I feel very strongly about: the pressures teens are under, the state of the planet . . . and more specific, factual things – like us over-prescribing antibiotics to the point that they no longer work, and . . . so we all need water – but if you live in the Western world do you even know how that water gets to your faucet?

It didn’t stop there! There were much more philosophical things: who, really, is responsible for what? What would happen to religion and politics if we were all faced with a global catastrophe – and if there was such a catastrophe, how would it play out? Who would the government save? Who would you save – and what kind of decisions would you have to make? (About other human beings, and about animals . . . and about pets.)

Basically, it all spiralled out of control . . . but, luckily, I didn’t have to work out the answers to any of those things. I had a character, Ruby, who was going to work them out for herself . . . in her own way, and in her own time.

So: ‘Why did you feel you had to tell this story?’ . . . because I felt an obligation to Ruby and to all young people who are going through unbelievably hard times. H2O is not the answer to anything, I’m sure, but I’d hope it’d be a story that at least raises some useful questions.

How did you come up with the title?

This is such a good question.

The answer might seem obvious – dur, it’s water?! – but to me it is the story itself:

·         It’s science. H2O is the scientific name for water and this is a story with a lot of science).
·         It’s Ruby. The title stuck as H2O because first draft around I couldn’t stop to work out how to drop the ‘2’ below the line, as it should be . . . but then I realised - if I couldn’t stop to work it out, why would Ruby?
·         It’s about . . . the connections between things. Between molecules, between people, between ideas.

The UK title is ‘The Rain’ – and that works just as well . . . because this is a story about how simple things can get really, really complicated.

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