I had the privilege of being interviewed about The Grove by the one and only Denmark Harris. Denmark really championed this story from the moment I started sharing it on Wattpad, and I'm extremely grateful for his support. Fuchsia and Cord are lucky to have such quality readers who believe in their quirky green world.
Q: What inspired you to write The Grove?
A: The Grove is my second botanical novel, but unlike Hot Pressed, in which the plants mirror peoples' actions and character traits in a mystery format, this story involves actual plantlike people and therefore fits in the fantasy genre. The Grove began last summer over coffee with Playwright, Jeff Price (WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT) who thought it would be interesting to have a story where at first the scene looks like the normal high school drama, etc. until slowly the reader catches on that there's more to these students and the world they navigate. After getting some helpful feedback from him on a draft, I let it rest six months and was surprised to find I really wanted to allow this story to bloom for another season.
Q: To escape an awkward situation, Fifteen-winters-old Fuschia calls upon the help of a "Messenger," who appears within a minute atop a pretty awesome bike. Tell us about these messengers. What purpose do they serve?
A: Messengers are what make the world go around...one of the fun things about this story is that the reader has to guess exactly what's going on. So without giving too much away, I'll just say that without Messengers, there would be no tribes in the Grove. I can share that Messenger's wings have been clipped, hence the bikes needed to "buzz" around (wink), and the most important thing they can deliver is a Promise Kiss. The bike is also a device to morph human and plant behavior.
Q: In The Grove, many tribes are mentioned. Fuschia belongs to the Brook Primrose tribe. What impact does each tribe have on their community as a whole? What purpose do they serve?
A: Since these are plantlike people, their character traits are usually survival based. Each tribe uses their particular outstanding trait to help the community, or in some cases, harm it, whether intentional or not. It's all about survival. Paintbrush tribe members are pretty, powerful people who get others to do the work for them. Columbine with their clicking spurs are the guards, the enforcers of law in the Grove; Harbell, with their magnified voices, are the story tellers; and Toadflax are so invasive they have been banned from the community. Arnica tribe is most healing, an altruistic species, yet rebellious too. They use their power for good and can afford the risk because of their station.
Q: Fuchsia, must share, has a quite peculiar smell about her. This smell even convinced Del to gift her some perfume. What sort of predators does Fuschia's smell protect her from?
A: Any number of munching creatures might be repelled by her scent, even possibly the Hand of God if she's lucky.
Q: What are Promise Kisses?
A: A Promise Kiss is a major event in a teen tribe member's life. It's something that can only happen once, but isn't guaranteed to occur at all. Only a Messenger can deliver the Kiss, and only a male tribesman (like Del Larkspur) can order that delivery. But Fuchsia learns no matter how precarious her situation is with Del, there are many who never got a Promise Kiss and are forsaken and even outlawed by the community.
Q: Fuchsia's act of compassion could lead to her being executed by way of Sunangel injection - if her secret is discovered, that is. Another method of execution is by The Hand of God. What is The Hand of God?
A: The Grove community is taught to worship a god whose giant hand picks tribe members' heads without warning. Fuchsia learns from Cord that his family (of Arnica tribe) suspects the Hand of God is another species, a predator, and being Arnica, they are adapting in ways to recover from and even repel the beheadings. So even when the odds are against them, there's a sense of hope. Personal Faith is a strong theme in the story.
Q: Thank you for taking this interview.
A: Thanks so much for having me. I really hope you continue to enjoy the story!
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The Grove is a Wattpad Featured Story. Fifteen-year-old Fuchsia speaks like an average teen navigating the usual drama, but her community of tribes called The Grove is an even more terrifying place to be than the halls of high school. The two major...