‘House of Night’ exclusive: P.C. and Kristin Cast talk ‘Awakened,’ three upcoming ‘minibooks,’ and standing up to bullies
How much fun do you have writing Neferet at this point? From the first page of Awakened, she’s delicious.
PCC: I love to write for Neferet. I squee myself out. If things scare you in these books, they scare me. If things make you laugh out loud in the book, they’re making me laugh out loud, too. I’m doing this journey with my readers. And Neferet, that’s a scary girl, okay. She’s frightening. And, I can even give you a little scoop here. It hasn’t been officially announced yet, but it is official that we are going to be doing three minibooks — we’re going to be calling them ”House of Night stories” — to come out between publication of the big books, and they’ll tell backstories. The first one is going to tell Dragon and Anastasia Lankford’s love story. The second one is going to tell Lenobia’s story. And the third one is going to tell Neferet’s story. I’m really looking forward to writing them, but I’m especially looking forward to writing Neferet’s. I want my readers to understand why she’s so broken. We’re gonna get to find out what happened to her as she was marked. By the end of story, I want people to understand Neferet and to maybe hope that she can change her choices later on. Although I’m not telling you she’s going to, because I don’t know that until it happens. But people will know what happened to Neferet to make her make the choices she’s made today.
The power of free will and friendship have always been important messages in the books. In Awakened, there’s a line Stevie Rae says, “Evil wins when good folks do nothing.” Is that the theme of this book?
PCC: It really is. The word “awakened” — I used it several different times, in several different ways. But I mean it to awaken people’s conscience. If something’s wrong, stand up and at least say, “That joke’s not funny. It’s not funny when you make fun of someone. It’s not funny when you hurt someone’s feelings like that.” Stand up and say it. And I’m talking beyond the little teen-speak when they’re just playing. I’m talkin’ about when you see wrong happening, and it really is timely with what’s going on with the gay kids so recently. It also happened with Glee. While I was writing this book, they were probably filming those episodes [with Kurt getting bullied]. I think we need to start thinking: just because someone makes different choices does not give anyone the right to judge them for it or make them feel bad for it.
I love that the Casts dedicated the books to LGBT teens. I have a great deal of respect for those who stand up to bullying.
I’m so excited to read Awakened and learn more about Neferet. Are you excited for the next installment of the House of Night series?