Q&A with Bex Hogan, Author of Viper

Question Time with Bex Hogan

As some of you may know, we did an impromptu read along of Viper this week in preparation for the release of Venom by Bex Hogan.

Venom is due to be released on April 16th 2020 and we were super excited at the prospect of a Q&A session with Bex beforehand….get all the gossip and all that jazz!

Below are all the questions our reading group had for Bex during our session!

Hi Bex!! Thank you so much for joining us, we’re just busy fangirling away here haha Think we can all agree we’ve absolutely loved reading Viper this week! We are 100% team Marianne!!

Aw, that’s very lovely to hear – thank you!

Can we just throw it out there and say our hearts broke for Grace! Did not see it coming!

Broke my heart too!

Did you always know you would kill her off? Or was it a spur of the moment decision?

I plan most things, but not that one – didn’t know it was going to happen until it did. And though I hated it, I knew it was exactly what Adler would do.

With that in mind, do you already have a finish for the series in mind and an end for all your characters whether they be happy or not? Or are you still developing?

Yes, book 3 is written! In fact I’m just taking a break now from edits.

Wow!! We can’t cope that you know how it all ends and we don’t even have book 2 yet!!

I knew from early on how the series would progress and end. Just wasn’t always sure exactly what else might happen on the journey!

Do you have a fan cast for Marianne and the rest of the characters?

I do! Zendaya is my dream Marianne!

Not sure for Grace – think a young Maggie Q as Nikita!

My daughter fan cast the actors from Merlin as her Torin and Sharpe – so Colin Morgan as Torin, Bradley James as Sharpe! Which I love!

But I am so stuck with Bronn! I wondered about Noah Centineo, being brooding rather than charming, but not convinced…

*What then ensued was 15mins of girls fangirling over different ideas…. Theo James, Issac from Teen Wolf and eventually…BEN BARNES!*

Ben Barnes is sooo Bronn! 

How dare Leigh steal him for the Darkling! 

*joking of course, he could and should definitely do both*

*At this point the chat was very off track….we started discussing where we were from, how annoyed we were getting at people breaking Lockdown rules…it was CHAOS!*

Back to the questions cause Tish is a terrible person at sidetracking everyone….How important is it for you to have strong female leads in a story? Would you ever consider male leads? Aka a Mr Ben Barnes special!

It’s definitely important for me to see strong female leads – and yes, M is a badass fighter, but it doesn’t always have to be about physical strength. I know a lot of amazing, strong women and none of them can wield a sword! But I would definitely consider male leads too!

Yes, we love Marianne for the journey she goes on in finding who she is and realising her inner strength! She is such a good role model in our opinion for Young Adult readers!

Aside from Marianne, who’s your favourite character and why?

Ahh, making me choose favourites! How can I choose?? I love them all! But I did love writing Milligan! She was such a nasty piece of work! I don’t think she had a single redeeming quality so that was a lot of fun to explore!

Unlike most first books, there are almost no physical descriptions of the characters. We love that we’re given the freedom not only to see the characters as we wish, but also to form our opinions on emotions and actions. Was this intentional?

Very intentional. I wanted to say enough to ensure it was clear this was a diverse world, but as a reader I like to create my own images of characters so wanted to give my readers the same freedom.

In regards to writing, What was the first scene for the book that you wrote? And which was the hardest?

The whole idea came in a dream – I dreamt the Initiation scene and that started this whole thing off! So I wrote that first, while it was clear in my head and then went away and worked out the rest!

We love the idea of the initiation process – We’d love to read all about Bronns’ and Graces’!

 *Suggestion came in for these to be written as preorder incentives*

That’s a really good idea! I’ve done quite a bit extra content that’s coming out on blogs in the run-up to publication so keep your eyes peeled!

The hardest scene in Book One (Viper) to write was probably the big final battle, building it into an epic finale. Lots of hours and work went into that one!

Question about the world cause we adore the map you have in the book – Whilst we learn about Floral Isle (where we are moving to permanently btw) and Rock Isle, is there a chance we will learn more about the others in Books Two and Three?

Yes, absolutely! In Book Two you’ll see a lot more of the West!  And a bit more again in Book Three – but it is hard to get to all of them without feeling too fragmented. I would love to write more in the world beyond these 3, including on the mainland!

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? And how long did it take for you to get published? 🙂

My advice for aspiring writers is always to keep going. Always! I started writing back in 2009 and it took me 8 years and 7 manuscripts to get signed with an agent. So I totally understand how hard it can be. My top tip to cope with rejections is to be working on something new while querying, so you’re already moving on from one baby to the next!

From signing with agent, it took another 15 months to get a book deal. So nothing happened fast for me!

TIP: Try never to compare your first draft with finished books! Remember how many edits they’ll have been through to get there!

Fun question! What snacks would you pair with the first two books?Alot of us snack and read and this is even more so during Quarantine!

Ooh I love snacks! Umm…chocolate biscuits for Viper, for comfort and energy. Ice cream for Venom…

Love it!! And of course, ALL THE RUM!!

What can we expect from Venom? Any Sneak Peeks or hints you could give us? Clearly its gonna be tough on the heartstrings if we need to stock up on ice cream haha

Umm..what can I say without spoilers… I think it’s quite different in some ways to book 1, less time on the water, more on the land. Some favorites might not be in it too much, but lots of new characters. More magic! And lots more bad stuff happens to Marianne! 😂

I wanted to push the story on, not feel like book 1 all over again.

What inspired you to write Viper? Any authors that inspire you?

So the inspiration came from the dream I had of the Initiation scene. Then when creating the world, I was very much inspired by where I grew up in Cornwall, close to the sea. I went to the Isles of Scilly a lot on holidays, and they def inspired the islands and their individual identities.

As for authors, V.E. Schwab’s journey to success really inspires me, it wasn’t overnight for her at all, but she kept at it until she finally got recognition.

What are your favourite authors or genres? If you aren’t writing, what are you reading?

I mean, fantasy is my favourite, but the annoying thing is I struggle to read it when I’m drafting!

So I try to read more adult fiction while drafting – maybe historical, or fairytale based – I love Kate Mosse, CJ Sansom, Kate Forsyth… My YA fantasy tbr pile is vast!

What’s your favourite book? 🙂

I can’t possibly pick a fav book! 😱😱 but I do love The Book of Lost Things by John Connelly! And Grimms Fairy Tales are a big favourite!

How does it feel when you see people posting photos and reviews of your book on Instagram??

Oh honestly, it’s totally overwhelming! I can’t tell you how grateful I am to every single person who not only takes the time to read, but then review, and stage a pretty picture! I still feel quite emotional every time someone posts something!

It must feel very surreal!!

That’s exactly the right word!

And our last question was…. what’s the biggest message you hope readers take away from Viper? Did you have one in mind?

I’m not sure I had a specific message in mind – I wanted to write a book that took readers on an adventure. Pure escapism! I wanted them to be able to disappear to the Twelve Isles for a few hours and enjoy themselves! I guess beyond that, Marianne embodies the idea of never giving up. Even if things go wrong, mistakes are made, or when you’re not sure what to do, just keep going. Which is what I think we all need to hear from time to time.

It is definitely an adventure and pure escapism! For me personally, i took the message away about having that courage and belief in yourself, accepting who you are and staying true to yourself no matter what the world tells you that you should be. It makes me feel empowered as a woman to watch Marianne take on the world!

Do you know what sort of book you’ll write after the series is done? 🙂

I’ve written an adult fantasy that’s just about to go on submission – so that’s exciting/terrifying! And I”ve got outlines for two different YA’s, one is a Celtic based fantasy, one’s a Victorian gothic fantasy.

Best of luck with them Bex! 😊 they sound amazing.

If any of you are on twitter, I’m going to have a launch party on there on the 16th April for Venom – details to come!

Thanks for taking time out of your weekend to talk to us 😄

You guys have been so lovely to talk to! Thank you so much!

As you can probably see, Poor Bex Hogan had a lot of questions thrown at her but it was soooo worth it! We had such a fun time and its great to chat with authors about their incredible books!

Hope you guys have loved this! What would you have asked her if you could? Are you surprised by any of the answers?

Lots of Love,

Kayleigh and Tish xx

2 thoughts on “Q&A with Bex Hogan, Author of Viper

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