Ahoy, there! Welcome to my stop in the Rough Romance Trilogy Tour! If you don’t know anything in the slightest about this fantastic series, you can go check out my review on the first book and if you’re on the fence about reading the sequel, let me enlighten you.
Today I have the lovely author herself, Selene Castrovilla, to answer some scintillating questions about her dreamy, dark series. And these are spoiler-free, btw!
Can you give a brief synopsis of what the Rough Romance books are about and what inspired you to write this tale?
The Rough Romance Trilogy tells the story of a domestically abused boy and a sheltered girl who find themselves in an unlikely romance which might be the death of one or both of them.
It all started with my boxing coach, who one day looked me in the eye and told me, “My dad used to come him and shove his gun down my mom’s throat every day.” That was intense!
He started telling me all these stories about the abuse, and how that abuse was all he knew. To him, it was normal. He told me that he got into fights and acted out, and he was labeled “bad.” No one ever bothered to look into what was troubling him.
I came up with Dorothy on my own — I thought. But when I started writing her character, he told me she was just like his first girlfriend. But he’d never mentioned her! It was like I was channeling her.
The whole thing started pouring out, tied to the backdrop of The Wizard of Oz. Not a retelling – but the essence. The reason we all identify with The Wizard of Oz. The search for home, whatever that means. Certainly Joey needs a different “home” than the home he lives in. He finds his home in Dorothy. But there’s that fear that at any moment, he could lose her. And there’s an additional fear, that he should lose her.
The love story brims from the emotions we all have, that love is tenuous and fleeting. And do we deserve it?
I thought Melt would be stand-alone, until my fans asked for more. Over and over! And when I opened my heart to Joey and Dorothy again, I saw that their story wasn’t over. There was more, and it was going to be a volatile, intense ride.
I hope that readers are inspired to consider their lives and loves from different angles, as a result of my series.
Describe Dorothy and Joey and what was it like writing from their perspective? Did you have a hard time writing their narrative voice?
It is frighteningly easy to fall right into Joey’s voice. It’s like I am him. I found Dorothy easier this time — maybe because she’s so broken now? What does that say about me?
When I write them I just open up my heart and listen to what they have to say. I’m a conductor. When I read back what I’ve written, I’m always surprised — like I’m reading someone else’s work.
The Rough Romance books are told in dual perspective. In Melt, Dorothy’s narrative is pretty straightforward whilst Joey’s is scattered. In Signs of Life, on the other hand, the roles have been reversed. Did you always know that you were going to write one character’s perspective in verse? And why write in verse anyway?
I don’t consider it “verse” – I think of it as “anti-verse.” The words are scattered because the character is broken. I don’t want to get into “why” because I might spoil something, but each character has been traumatized and altered. In Signs, Joey’s voice is “straightforward” because he’s trying to be “normal” and carry on for Dorothy’s sake. He promised her. But he’s really not, in my opinion. BTW, I think each reader should have their own opinion. Don’t let me tell you what to think. That’s what literature is all about.
Why is it called the Rough Romance series?
Because I like alliteration, and because it’s a rough romance! It was something I had to come up with in hindsight, since Melt was supposed to stand alone. So I thought: What two words describe the relationship at the core? I came up with it pretty quickly, and even after I brainstormed a bunch of other possibilities, this is the one that spoke to me. Simple, effective, true.
How important is the theme of love in young adult novels? Do you think it’s necessary for all YA to include at least a romance of some sort?
I think love is an essential theme in all literature. It’s the reason for me, and all writers, to write. Love is the thing that will save us all —it’s crucial for mankind’s survival. So, especially in this tumultuous world we live in, love is vital especially in young adult literature. Teens need something to cling to, and something hopeful to consider. Something positive to base their belief system on. However, love does not need to be a in a traditional “relationship” — it can be with family, friends, animals, the earth. You name it. You show me a work of YA literature, and I’ll show you a love story.
June 20th – The Recipe Fairy
June 22nd – Dystopian Citzn
June 24th – Actin’ Up with Books
June 27th – Kidbits
June 29th – A Book and a Latte
July 2nd – The Quirky Reader
July 4th – Rhea’s Neon Journal
July 6th – Wandering Bark Books
July 8th – Worth Reading It?
One signed set of MELT and SIGN OF LIFE (US Only) + $50 Gift Card to Amazon or Book Depository (International)