Saturday, February 12, 2011

Interview & Giveaway with Rebecca Lim

Welcome to Strange Candy Reviews, Rebecca. Thank you for joining us.

SCR: For those who haven't heard, what is your novel about?

My latest book for young adults – Mercy – brings together some of the genre-mashing I enjoy as a reader. It’s a YA mystery/crime novel – but with angels and Latin, choral music, school bullies and a whisper of romance thrown in. 

Its heroine is an exiled archangel who constantly finds herself shifted into an unbroken chain of human lives – she keeps “waking” to find herself inhabiting the body of a stranger and is forced continually to think on the fly, seek to find meaning, and adapt, just to survive. Despite possessing shattered memories of who or what she once was, she always remains true to her essential nature, regardless of what’s thrown at her. I tried to imagine what it would be like for someone with extraordinary powers to be suffering from a bizarre kind of amnesia where she only has prismatic flashes of memory and insight. The inklings of more than one past life, and of what she’s truly capable of, would (hopefully) make things interesting and keep the reader guessing, because the character would always be a little off balance. She'd be experiencing pretty much what the reader would be doing - trying to join the dots so that things make sense. 

SCR: Can you tell us a little about your lead characters?

With Mercy herself, I consciously set out to create a female heroine who can, literally, do anything if she puts her mind to it. I wanted to show that it's okay to be a smart-mouthed, think-on-your-feet, strong and abrasive, yet empathetic character, who also happens to be female. It's not something that should just be the province of male hero-types.

Ryan is the mortal boy who stumbles across the fact that Mercy exists, even though the face and body she’s “wearing” and the life she’s “living” belong to someone else altogether. To say he’s intrigued by her, is an understatement.

Luc is Mercy’s flame from way back that she’s being kept away from for reasons that aren’t yet clear to her (or the reader). Despite Mercy’s exile, Luc is somehow still able to contact Mercy in her dreams, while she’s asleep, though physically, he’s never been able to track her down. When he gets too close, she gets shifted again into another life.

SCR: Is there one place you'd love to go but have never been before?

Marrakech. It just sounds so otherworldly and beautiful.

SCR: Can you give us a little information about the types of books you write?

I’ve written books for boys and girls aged 9 –12, toddlers (2 - 4), and teen (13+) and pre-teen (9 – 13) female readers. Every book has been a blast to write but I have to adjust the language (I’m often reminded “no swearing!”) and conceptual layering. 

I probably feel most comfortable writing for the YA age group because they’re open minded and willing to embrace anything the author dishes out, provided it’s a good read and they’re hooked into the story. 

SCR: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

When I was around 6 or 7, but reality kind of intruded and I got sidetracked into a “respectable” day job for a while. 

SCR: Was there any research you had to do for your book?

I’m a lapsed Presbyterian choir nerd, so for the choral scenes I basically had the Mahler Symphony No. 8 score open next to me while I wrote them. 

But I have to stress that “Mercy” is not pushing any religious wheelbarrow whatsoever. Angels appear across many faiths and cultures and I’m writing non-denominational angels here. 

SCR: What is your work schedule like when you're writing? 

A bit mad. I have 3 kids who insist on popping up like gophers in the middle of the night (when I do most of my work). The words are either flowing, or I’m on another planet altogether.

SCR: Do you think you have an interesting writing quirk? 

Does brie count as a quirk?

SCR: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Everywhere. The news is pretty staggering; old poems; trashy magazines; the web; stuff I overhear in the street from eavesdropping on people.

SCR: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That YA readers are the most voracious and interested, switched-on and questioning readers out there. It’s an entire universe I don’t think I was fully aware of, and I’m really privileged to be a part of it.

SCR: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I haven’t fully committed to the idea of creating a website or blogging about what I’m up to, because I’m not sure if any one would be interested, frankly. But I do catch up on some of my reviews for “Mercy” online. And some of them have been really lovely, but others have been a little surprising.

I’m just happy when I find out that a reader “gets” what I’m trying to do. You create this stuff in a vacuum and hope that people will like what you’re doing and where you’re headed.

SCR: What do you think makes a good story? 

Strong, authentic, believable characters. Plus, a pacy storyline that doesn’t contain too many red herrings or cul-de-sacs. I personally can’t keep reading if the main female character acts brainless or has no backbone. That just gets my goat, sorry.

Rebecca Lim is a writer and illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia. She worked as a commercial lawyer for several years before leaving to write full time. Rebecca is the author of ten other books for children and young adult readers, and her novels have been translated into German, French and Turkish.

To win  a copy of Mercy, just answer this question:
Who is your favourite female character & why?
Giveaway is international and ends Friday 18th Feb.
Don't forget to leave your email.


  1. Who is your favourite female character & why?

    Thats a tough one! i always go back to Shadarii from "A Whisper of Wings" because shes quiet, kind, thoughtfull, smart and just all-around a wonderful person.


  2. Katniss from THG trilogy. She's the toughest and the most independent heroine I have ever encountered.

    sauvadeavelle at yahoo dot com

  3. I just recently read the book, The Season by Sarah MacLean. I LOVE the main character, Alex, as well as her friends, because they are strong and independent and don't mope and whine about men all the time!

  4. My favourite female character would be Cat from the Night Huntress series because she is a tough, can kick-butt with combat skills, is snarkingly funny and I just love this series!

    Thanks for the giveaway!


  5. I like Sookie from the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris. She's admittedly a fairly uneducated person, but not stupid, but when everything in her little world starts changing into vampires and shifters, she just takes it all in stride and does her best to help!

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

  6. My favourite heroine would be Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy.

    Not only is she totally badass, she knows the importance of love and friendship, she's also incredibly strong willed ;)

  7. I really like stephanie plum from the stephanie plum series. She is a normal person, with all the problems everyone has, but she deals with them all with a sense of humor.

  8. Stephanie Plum she's a bumbling mess but always gets her person in the long run!

  9. My favorite female character would be Anita Blake from the Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton. Anita can kick some serious butt but still be all girly at times and all the hott guys she's with makes me really envious.

  10. I agree with Rebecca, characters are the most important part of a story.

    One of my favorite female characters is Katsa form Graceling by Kristin Cashore because she's very strong and independent. When she sts her mind to do someting, she'll do it, no matter what.

    entrelibros_blog at

  11. OMG I'm kicking myself!!!
    I saw this book in a store while I was away but had not heard anything about it and so didnt buy it!!!! NOW I WISH I HAD, sounds awesome.
    My current fave female character is Cat from Jeaniene Frosts Night Huntress series


  12. My fave female character is Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games because she kicks butt.


  13. Cat from the Night Huntress series, because she is kick-ass and she get's Bones. *sigh*....Bones....

  14. Evie from Paranormalcy. She's so funny and kick ass! Plus her style is quite weird, and I wish I had the guts to do it!


  15. Mercy Thompson from Patricia Briggs' series because she's someone I'd actually like to meet.

    sgiden at

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