What was your inspiration for the Abandon series
The Abandon series is a modern "re-telling" of the myth of Persephone. Here's a video I made about how I discovered this myth and why I love it so much.
Why did you find the myth of Persephone so compelling?
Everyone can relate to that scary feeling of falling in love for the first time. You really do think you’d be willing to do anything for that person. And then there’s that sense a lot of teenagers have of never feeling quite like you fit in. I was always longing to find that one special person who would not only understand me, but come and take me away to a place where, not only would I finally belong, but I would be wholly and completely loved.
Is Isla Huesos, the setting for Abandon, a real island?
No. But it is based on a real island, Key West, which is the southernmost point in the USA. When the Europeans discovered it, Key West was actually covered in human bones (Cayo Huesos is the original name for Key West).
Is Coffin Week real?
Key West's Coffin Night Night–when the senior class and hides a coffin somewhere on the island, and the junior class has to find it—is a real event. As far as I know, it is the only event like it in the United States.
Is it true that in tropical cemeteries the dead have to be buried above ground?
Yes! Like in Abandon, bodies buried underground can be washed away in hurricanes so they have to be entombed above ground.
What makes Pierce different from your other characters?
Pierce Oliviera has been through a lot, even though she’s only seventeen. She’s already died (and been revived), but she can never forget about John Hayden, the guy she met during the short time she was dead . . . or that the reason she died was because someone in her own family killed her. That’s a heavy load for an adolescent girl to carry! People keep telling her to "forgive and forget," but would you?
Why is the relationship between Pierce and John darker than some of the romances in your other books?
Because both of them have been through so much! As we find out about Pierce in Abandon, and John in Underworld, both of them come from pretty messed up families. These two will have to overcome a lot of obstacles—vengeful spirits, their troubled pasts, as well as their own stubborn personalities—if they’re going to have any hope of being together.
Why does Pierce eat the food she is served in the Underworld? Doesn't she know she might have to stay there forever?
Pierce is familiar with the myth of Persephone, and she believes that pomegranate seeds are the food of the dead. Since she doesn't eat any pomegranate seeds, she believes she is free to leave the Underworld. There is nothing about waffles in the myth of Persephone.
What is the difference between the Furies and the Fates and how do they operate in the Underworld??
The Furies are spirits of departed souls who don’t like where they were sent after death, and have come back to seek vengeance. Sometimes they will possess a weak-willed person and entice that person into doing evil.
The Fates are the opposite of Furies. Though invisible, they act as caretakers of the Underworld. On Earth, when someone does good or helps another person, it's because a Fate has intervened. No one knows where the Fates come from.
Does Pierce understand the consequences of her actions when she and John spend the night together in the Underworld?
She did not. She thought he was referring to demon babies. But in the heat of the moment, it’s unlikely she’d have cared if she had fully understood. Pierce loves John, whom she has known for more than half her life, and she knows that he loves her back. And she believes she can fix everything that is broken in the Underworld, because she hasn’t lived there long enough to know better.
Can you give any hints about what we can expect in Book Three?
The Abandon trilogy is about people who’ve been abandoned in some way—often by their own families, but also by society. Hopefully in Awaken, Pierce and her friends will discover that what they’ve always been led to believe by others are faults within themselves are actually hidden strengths, and they will be able to turn their abandonment into salvation...not just for themselves, but for everyone in the world who’s ever felt like them.