Thursday, April 12, 2012

Interview w/ Robin Stevenson, author of Hummingbird Heart

About this author
Robin Stevenson is a Canadian author of thirteen novels for teens and children. She grew up in Ontario and now lives in Victoria, BC, with her partner and son.Visit her on  or stalk her on twitter @@robin_stevenson

Now for the interview

What inspired you to write in general and hummingbird heart?

I have always been a book lover and insatiable reader. Becoming a writer
was just one more way to indulge my passion for the written word.

Hummingbird Heart began in an odd way, with some disconnected pieces
writing inspired by memories from my own teen years. Those pieces of
writing are not part of the finished book though-- and in fact, this novel
changed so much during the writing and revison process, that it bears
little resemblance to its beginnings.

You have written and published a couple of books , does publishing a other
book feel different than an debut book?

Hummingbird Heart is actually my 13th book, and my 5th YA novel. My other
books are a mixture of middle-grade novels, early chapter books, and short
hi-lo novels.

My debut novel was a teen novel called Out of Order, published in 2007--
five years ago now. I think the first book is intensely exciting in a
different way, because everything is new and you don't know what to
expect. For me, it was hard to believe that it was actually happening. Me,

I still find it exciting to have a new book out though. Seeing the cover
for the first time is always a thrill, and I love catching sight of my
latest book on the shelves of a bookstore. It always amazes me that
something that began its life as nothing but ideas and scrawly notes can
end up there!

Who is[are] the artist[s] i 'm fanboying here! Lol?

The cover art for Hummingbird Heart is gorgeous, isn't it? I love it too.
It was done by a Toronto artist called Janice Kun
( to see more of her fabulous art).
Janice Kun also did the cover art for my 2008 novel, a Thousand Shades of
Blue-- that novel was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary
Awards and I have always suspected that the beautiful cover was at least
part of the reason for the novel's success! I asked my publisher, Orca, if
they would consider asking her to do the cover artwork for Hummingbird
Heart as well, and I was thrilled that they agreed! And of course, Orca's
art director, Theresa Bubela, came up with the awesome cover design.

Can you tell in a non spoilerish way what hummingbird heart is about?

Humminbird Heart is the story of a 16year old girl named Dylan. Dylan has
never met her father and knows little about him.  Her mother, who was
still a teen herself when Dylan was born, doesn't like to talk about the
past. Her father, Mark, has never responded to her attempts to contact
him. As far as Dylan is concerned, her family is made up of her mother,
Amanda; her recently adopted younger sister, Karma; and maybe even her
best friend, Toni.

And then, out of the blue, Mark shows up in town and wants to meet her.
Amanda is clearly upset, but Dylan can't help being excited at the
possibility of finally getting to know her father. But when she finds out
why he has come—and what he wants from her—the answers fill her with still
more questions. What makes someone family? And why has her mother been
lying to her all these years?

It's about trust and about forgiveness; and about how fragile life is and
how precious our relationships are. And also it's about growing up and
trying to make sense of family, friends, and the world around us.

What was your favorite scene[s] to write in  humming bird heart?

I don't think I have one favorite scene, but I loved writing about Dylan's
younger (and recently adopted) sister, Karma. She's just an awesome kid.

What got you in to reading , at what age and what kind of books did you
like reading as a child?

I was a bookworm as child-- perhaps because I was shy, or because we moved
a lot, or possibly just because I grew up surrounded by books and readers.
I started reading very early and books were a hugely significant part of
my childhood. Just about every family photo shows me with my nose buried
in a book. I was born in England and many of my early favorites were
old-fashioned and very dated boarding school stories, adventure
stories,and horse stories. When we moved to Canada, I was eight years old
and fell in love with L.M. Montgomery's novels, especially Anne of Green
Gables and Emily of New Moon. Later on I got into the sci-fi and fantasy
on my parents' bookshelves, and gobbled up books by Aldous Huxley, George
Orwell, John Wyndham, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradury and many others.

Do you have a set routine when you are writing?

I have a seven year old son who is a home learner-- we unschool, which
basically means we follow our interests rather than following a
curriculum. We both love it and I have no plans to send him to school...
but it does mean that a set routine is pretty much out for the time being!
I write when I can-- which is usually when my son is asleep; or when he's
hanging out with his grandmother, my partner, or his friends.

Are you a plotter or just write what the characters feel like to saying?

Totally not a plotter! Though I frequently wish I was...

Have you any other books in the making at the moment?

I am curently working on the edits for a juvenile novel scheduled to be
published in the spring of 1963. The working title is The Record Breaker,
but that may well change. I'm also a few chapters into first drafts of two
other novels, one for teens and one for adults, but both of those are a
very long way from completion. A verrrryyyy long way. Sigh.

What are you currently reading, have finished or on your wish list?

Wow, good question. I just read a fabulous middle-grade novel with my son:
Raider's Ransom (and the sequel, Flood and Fire) by Emily Diamand. I also
just finished Moonwalking With Einstein, by Joshua Foer-- it is about
memory, and is both hilarious and fascinating. And last night I started
reading Phillip Reeve's Fever Crumb. If the first couple of chapters are
anything to go by, I think is going to be a great read.

Any song[s] that fit perfectly with  hummingbird heart scenes /characters
or the book itself?

That's an interesting question... I hadn't thought about that before! I
don't listen to music when I write (too easily distracted) so I'm not one
of those writers with a playlist for each book. It'd have to be a female
vocalist with a beautiful voice though, and maybe a slightly nostalgic
feel. I'm open to suggestions!

Why should we read humming bird heart?

Well, to be honest, probably not everyone should! If you're looking for
vampire romance, Hummingbird Heart isn't going to be your new favorite.
But if you enjoy contemporary fiction, appreciate realistic and complex
characters, like novels that explore relationships, and have ever felt
like you don't quite know where you fit in the world... then Hummingbird
Heart was writen for you

The book 

Sixteen-year-old Dylan has never met her father. She knows that her parents were just teenagers themselves when she was born, but her mother doesn't like to talk about the past, and her father, Mark, has never responded to Dylan's attempts to contact him. As far as Dylan is concerned, her family is made up of her mother, Amanda; her recently adopted younger sister, Karma; and maybe even her best friend, Toni. And then, out of the blue, a phone call: Mark will be in town for a few days and he wants to meet her. Amanda is clearly upset, but Dylan can't help being excited at the possibility of finally getting to know her father. But when she finds out why he has come--and what he wants from her--the answers fill her with still more questions. What makes someone family? And why has her mother been lying to her all these years?


  1. Great interview asked great questions and it was nice getting to know Robin. I am not a fan of contemporary, but this sounds delightful.

  2. Wow, that IS a beautiful cover! And intriguing premise, too. Thanks for posting this interview, Roro, I hadn't heard of it!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  3. Robin Stevenson is a new-to-me author... I need to nosey about her :)

  4. Interesting interview. I haven't heard of this author as well. I love the cover!

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my review
    @ Livin' Life Through Books

  5. I just love hummingbirds! Next to chickadees, they've always been one of my favourite adorable birds x) But aside from my bird love LOL this book sounds really sweet -- a story of trust, forgiveness, and life fragility isn't something I've read in a while! :)

    Awesome interview, you two!

  6. I don't read much contemporary, but I agree with you Roro the cover looks awesome. It almost looks like the hummingbird was painted with watercolors or something. The interview was very interesting to read too, thanks for sharing!

  7. Thanks so much for the interview Roro! I enjoyed your questions, and I appreciate your support in getting the word out about my new book. And I'm so glad to see that people are liking the cover-- I love it too.

  8. Great interview! I'm really looking forward to reading this. I never read anything like it before and the cover is beautiful.

    Safari Poet

  9. I really enjoyed this interview! I hadn't heard of Robin Stevenson or her books, but Hummingbird Heart sounds really good and the cover is gorgeous!

  10. Thanks for all the cover-loving in these comments! I was so happy with the art work; I think this is my favorite of all my covers. Hope you all enjoy the book!



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