Strange Chemistry author A. E. Rought dropped by the virtual offices to chat about her new book, Broken. Please give her a warm welcome!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[A. E. Rought] Yep, and alliterative to boot! “Compulsive, creative, caring.” The compulsive and creative go hand in hand. And I’m always cooking for, listening to, taking care of people—it’s the mother in me, I guess.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Broken?
[A. E. Rought] For me, it’s reimagining the whole of the Frankenstein story, and choosing a different character to tell it. Victor Frankenstein’s story has been told, and brilliantly. So I thought about his “monster” and all the fun I could have breaking hearts if he fell in love. To make it stand apart, I told it from the point of view of the girl he falls in love with.
I took the tropes of Frankenstein, added some theology, and then told the story of Emma, the girl who falls in love with a boy who’s not wholly himself anymore, and what happens when they find the truth of what his father did to make him that way.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[A. E. Rought] A long chat on the phone with my beta reader. I knew I wanted to play with a classic revisit, and fairytales are so popular right now I turned to Gothic fiction. Both my beta and I adore Van Helsing (Yes, I know, not the best in its genre, but still fun) and that movie’s version of Frankenstein’s monster, so we decide to make Alex a “monster” that was a product of his ‘creator’s’ actions, and a victim of them, too. It all snowballed from there. It may be Emma’s story, but Alex came first.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Emma?
[A. E. Rought] Stubborn, funny, broken.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Daniel had a theme song, what would it be?
[A. E. Rought] Oh, wow. What a tough question! I’ve gone round and round with this one since I read it. I think I have to go with So Much, by The Spill Canvas. (It fits Alex really well, too…)
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Alex won’t leave the house without.
[A. E. Rought] His cell phone. There are other things he can never leave behind, but that might give too much way…
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Alex’s bedroom?
[A. E. Rought] A mess because he’s one of those tidy types. A picture of his father—their relationship defies being captured in a photograph. A picture of his mother, because his father wouldn’t allow it.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Emma’s greatest regret?
[A. E. Rought] Leaving that balcony to go find help. Her entire future changed in that moment.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[A. E. Rought] My parents. Mom is always busy with a handcraft of some sort, and my dad was constantly building something. He would even make tools to get the job done. They taught me to embrace my creative side, and the many ways it can filter into my life.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[A. E. Rought] Caffeine, music and the atmosphere. My ultimate place of writing Zen will have a mug of tea, the current project’s playlist, and no outside distractions, like TV, family noise, etc. At the height of drafting, I will often grab up my mug, curl my laptop to my chest and slink off to the Writing Cave, otherwise known as my bedroom.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[A. E. Rought] I think my ultimate sock knock-offer book will always be Across the Universe, by Beth Revis. Other books have come close, but nothing has quite matched the Holy crap! response I had when I finished reading it. The tension, the layers, the concept… That book makes me want to be a better author every time I read it!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[A. E. Rought] I would have to say The Hobbit. I had always been a reader, but after that book, reading became something more than just an escape.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[A. E. Rought] I can be caught baking, sewing, weaving baskets, beading jewelry… Thanks to my mom, I’m a big handicraft person. I also like to occasionally drop my butt to the sofa, curl under a blanket and watch a movie. My latest favorite is The Avengers.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[A. E. Rought] I’m all over the place online!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!!
[A. E. Rought] Thanks for having me!!
You can pre-order Broken from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below:
About the book:
Imagine a modern spin on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein where a young couple’s undying love and the grief of a father pushed beyond sanity could spell the destruction of them all.
A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry’s boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetary and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog.
When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she’s intrigued despite herself. He’s an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely…familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel’s. The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there’s something very wrong with Alex Franks.
And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks’ estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows.