It’s no secret that I love YA novels with paranormal elements that surprise me. Very rarely do we get books about things like astral projection and other rare paranormal practices (or beings), so when I heard about “Auracle”, I had to read it just because of its mention of astral projection as a major plot element alone.
After finishing Gina Rosati’s debut effort, I had a ton of questions left over. Rosati was gracious enough to answer my questions about the novel, its possible future, and more. You can find the answers under the jump. Warning – this may be a teeny bit spoilery, so if you do read it and you haven’t read the book yet, you might get spoiled. You can read my review of the book here.
USAGI: Why focus on astral projection for (part of) the plot of this book?
GINA ROSATI: I used to get these crazy dreams a couple of times a week for years – they were awful, really vivid, always accompanied by this deafening buzz, and they were hard to wake up from. It was like being in a dream within a dream within a dream. I did some research and came up with lucid dreams and sleep paralysis, both of which can be caused by stress. Years later, I was reading a book by psychic Sylvia Browne, and she described my dreams right down to the buzz – she said this happens when you wake up during an out-of-body experience, and you are still half out of your body. Ms. Browne also says to take from her books what resonates with you. I’m not convinced that my dreams were OBEs, but you never know. Either way, it left a huge “what if?” with me.
U: Is this book a standalone? It felt like one, yet I don’t want Anna’s adventures to be over! Are there plans for any novellas, or perhaps a second book?
GR: Yes, Auracle is a stand-alone. I did draft a sequel just for fun, because you knew Anna was not going to listen to Rei’s many warnings and she gets herself stuck in that black hole we heard so much about, so Rei rescues her, weird inter-dimensional shenanigans occur, Anna coaxes Rei out of his body and he gets stuck in the black hole, Anna rescues him, and finally, Anna and Rei decide they are ready to take their relationship to the next level, and because he is Rei, he insists on using three different types of birth control simultaneously and showers immediately after.
I’ve considered writing a companion novel told from Callie’s POV which would also flesh out Seth’s story (Anna and Rei would be secondary characters), but that’s very up in the air right now.
U: Why construct Taylor the way you did – by first describing her as this sexualized creature? I’m curious as to your process (or Taylor’s evolution, if you will) with her journey from naughty school girl to faulty human being, so please tell me more about it!
GR: Great questions! I’m not sure I can answer the question about her evolution without revealing a few spoilers, but I’ll try.
One of the Auracle’s themes is judgment. I think humans evolved with an instinct to judge each other as a survival mechanism, because the ability to determine if someone means us harm is useful. But at some point in our evolutionary history, it seems that judging others has become a habit and an international pastime. The tendency to jump to conclusions before we have all the details can cause a lot of conflict.
But story requires conflict, so to be sure there was plenty of temptation to judge each other, I made the main character, Anna, and antagonist, Taylor, almost polar opposites – Anna is an introvert while Taylor is an extrovert; Anna is a hoodie/T/jeans girl while Taylor loves magnetic fashions; Anna is comfortable being literally invisible while Taylor has been raised to value appearance, regardless of the cost. In terms of sexuality, Taylor has experience and confidence while Anna has neither. We see Taylor from Anna’s first person POV – she’s heard the rumors about Taylor, but she doesn’t really know Taylor or her group of friends except for what she sees and hears.
Because part of Taylor’s character arc revolves around appearance, we discover that when it comes to relationships, she sets her sights on guys because of how they look rather than whether she has anything in common with them, and her relationships fail.
When Anna figures out that Taylor has a crush on her friend Seth, she comments, “I suppose if she judged Seth by looks alone, he would be quite a catch” but, “If Taylor took the time to know Seth, she would realize he’s a complicated guy”. This is a pivotal statement in the story, as it foreshadows the challenge – can Anna and the rest of the characters resist passing judgment on each other or are they going to keep digging themselves into a bigger hole of misunderstanding?
Taylor finally makes the connection when she realizes that Rei would make whatever sacrifice was necessary for Anna because their solid friendship is based on a long history together and common interests, but that maybe she and Rei stand a chance because they also have something in common. As she points out to Rei, “I just want someone to understand me.”
Taylor’s character arc often takes someone from an overwhelming desire to throttle her to empathy, because who doesn’t want someone to understand them? I hope people read her story closely, because there’s a lot of foreshadow, themes and threads that tie together in the end.
U: Did you do any research for this book? If so, what did you research?
GR: Soooo much research!!! I read books and articles about astral projection (I tried-I can’t astrally project), I read about energy as it relates to physics, energy as it relates to metaphysics, martial arts, Japanese foods, geography, tattoos (I got one for research and now I have three), I talked to a lawyer and yes, I realize that the trial could never happen that quickly, but I didn’t expect readers to hang out with Anna while she floated about for six months. Unfortunately, I didn’t have to research growing up with an alcoholic.
U: What are you currently working on? If you’re not able to talk about it, talk about a project you’d like to work on.
GR: I’m working on a historical/fantasy/speculative fiction/sci-fi/romance. It’s in the very early stage, but the metaphysical aspect is crystal energy and the theme is that all things are created equal.
U: You’re making a soundtrack for this book. You have only eight tracks with which to make it – make them count!
GR: Ohmigosh! Only eight? Okay, here goes:
My Skin – Natalie Merchant
Silence – Delerium/Sarah McLachlan
I’m With You – Avril Lavigne
Last Leaf – OK Go
Details in the Fabric – Jason Mraz
Lies in Our Graves (Live at Radio City) – Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
Secure Yourself – Indigo Girls
Ordinary Day – Vanessa Carlton
U: What inspires you?
GR: People inspire me. Life can be hard, yet some people are able to remain positive even when they’re dealt the worst possible situations.
U: Finally, do you have a particular message that you want your readers to take away from “Auracle”? If so, what is it?
GR: Positivity is the ultimate theme of Auracle. Optimists just naturally default to a positive outlook, but some of us need to stop and realize that energy follows thought, and there’s always something to be grateful for.