I am delighted begin the new year with an interview of fellow Montanan author, Cbeppa. When she is not writing, she is drawing and learning jiu-jitsu. Today we talk about her debut novel Hope and Vetiver: Accidental Anarchists. I especially appreciated what she said about friendship as the theme of the book, and hope that you will enjoy reading more about her work.
Will you tell us a little about your book?
My book is your typical Girl Meets Phantom, Ditches Her Parents, And Travels Across a Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland story. The girl is Vetiver Westing, who is moving from her hometown in Former California to New New York with her mom and dad. En route, she encounters a phantom named Hop. Hop is running from a pair of mysterious entities, and he needs someone to mask his presence while he travels. Vetiver agrees to help him, and they set out. But as they travel through a riot-ravaged city, a desolate plain, and a portal into a war on the other side of reality, Vetiver begins to wonder if Hop is helping her at all . . . or leading her deeper into danger.
How did you get the idea for the story?
A couple of years ago, I took a creative writing class. One night I took a break from homework and doodled a comic strip in the back of my notebook, and a story about a phantom on the run grew from the tip of my pencil. I sketched a couple of pages and realized I had the makings of a book.
Can you tell us about the cover art?
I draw and paint along with my writing habit, so I illustrated my own cover. I had an image of Hop looming over Vetiver from the beginning, but it took quite a few drafts for the drawing to turn out the way I envisioned it in my mind. I get a lot of questions about the object Vetiver is holding. It’s a homemade graffiti marker!
What themes were you hoping to explore in the novel?
Well, I didn’t plan any themes out, but they showed up anyway as I revised. Friendship is a theme, especially the ways friendship can be risky and precarious while enriching life. As the title implies, anarchy is also a central theme. Who do we listen to? Who can we trust, and is it safe to trust ourselves?
What is the best advice you have ever received?
What advice would you give to beginning writers?
Read constantly, and when you’re not reading, write.
What is next?
I have a couple rough drafts of novels lying around. I’m excited to see where they’ll go when I start revising!