Author Interview: Avery Hastings

We're excited to welcome Avery Hastings to Reading Lark today to discuss her latest novel, Torn.

Andrea @ Reading Lark: What kind of research did you do for this novel? 

Avery: The majority of research I did involved places—specifically Durham, which I’d visited before but not for many years. Of course, Mercer’s Durham is futuristic and very different from the Durham we know today; but I wanted to be sure to give it an atmosphere that was very distinct and separate from Columbus. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Which character would be the most useful if you were stranded on a deserted island: Davis, Mercer, or Cole? 

Avery: I think probably Cole, given his physical intelligence. I would trust him to fight off wild animals, help me construct a shelter from twigs, spear fish, build fires, create smoke signals, and do whatever else it is you need to do to survive in the wild. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Was writing the second novel easier or more difficult than writing the first one? 
Avery: It was easier, actually! BEWARE, SPOILERS TO COME! Stop reading here if you are concerned. =) 

 The cliffhanger ending of FEUDS, the first novel, begged so many questions that it was very clear how to set up the sequel. I knew I wanted Davis and Cole to be together in the end; but I knew that their separation seemed insurmountable. And I knew I wanted to weave in the Olympiads and find a cure for Narxis. Feuds set up the roadmap for book two; after that it was all about connecting the dots. 

 Andrea @ Reading Lark: Have you ever had to fight for something you loved? 

Avery: I’m pretty sure I fought every day for my last relationship. (Womp womp…sadly it did not work out.) In love, though, I think there’s always a fight. Love takes a lot of work, nurturing, and commitment. There are all kinds of external factors that threaten love—even if you’re not separated by social/genetic status, as were Davis and Cole. Hopefully you aren’t fighting against all odds; but usually you are fighting against everyday challenges like job loss, differing communication styles, differing goals, etc. The course to true love never did run smooth. =) Beyond that, I’ve fought for professional goals—like getting a book published! That took a ton of courage and persistence. 

 Andrea @ Reading Lark: Since we already know your favorite bird is ortolan from the last time you stopped by, what's your favorite type of cupcake? 

Avery: Can we talk about donuts instead? Because I am in love with the coconut cream donut from Doughnut Plant, and I think everyone should know.

About the Author

Avery Hastings is an author and former book editor from New York City. Avery grew up in Ohio, graduated in 2006 from the University of Notre Dame and earned her MFA from the New School in 2008. When she's not reading or writing, Avery can usually be spotted lying around in the park with her affable dog. Like her protagonists, she knows how to throw a powerful right hook and once dreamed of becoming a ballerina. In addition to New York, Avery has recently lived in Mumbai and Paris, but is happy to call Brooklyn home (for now). 

About the Novel

In an America split into the genetically superior and inferior, a fiercely ambitious ballerina and a boy from the wrong side of the tracks must stop a deadly virus that is spreading quickly.

Determined to escape from TOR-N, a corrupt Narxis research center, Davis meets another recovered patient, Mercer, whose sweet smile and quirky sense of humor give her hope in humanity again—and a way out. As they make a perilous journey seeking clues that could lead to a cure, Davis and Mercer's friendship begins to evolve into something more... but she's still struggling to let go of her feelings for Cole, whom she believes is dead.

Meanwhile, Cole has plans to change his identity in order to compete in the Olympiads—where Imps have now been invited to compete against Priors. He begins training with Mari, the intense and rebellious daughter of a retired fighter, but through trials and tests that are both exhausting and exhilarating, he finds himself in over his head—literally.

Will both Davis and Cole have the strength to resist temptation? Will they have the courage to face the answers they're seeking? Will their love survive across the divide?