Q&A with The Hunt for the Hollower Author Callie C. Miller
Today, I have the awesome privilege to host a Q&A with THE HUNT FOR THE HOLLOWER author Callie C. Miller. I loved all the playful elements of this middle grade fantasy novel, so I was really excited to have the chance to chat with the author about the inspiration behind some of her characters and what might be coming next fall in the sequel, THE SEARCH FOR THE SHADOWSOUL.
Let’s get to it!
I find that a story is often inspired by a question. Was there a question that inspired you to write THE HUNT FOR THE HOLLOWER?
HOLLOWER was an interesting writing process for me. There wasn’t a question, but I had Merlynda, Neci, and Iggy very firmly in my mind. I knew they each wanted to be true to themselves, and knew that they existed in a medieval-inspired world, and knew that this story would be full of things that made me laugh, but I didn’t understand what my characters’ journeys were until several drafts in. I was a less experienced writer when I started their story, and had to grow myself as a person in order to help the characters grow in turn.
One of my favorite characters is the wyvern. He’s so unexpected. I loved that he longs to taste funnel cake (who can blame him?). What inspired you to create him?
I love flipping expectations on their heads! Wyverns and dragons are typically depicted as large and vicious creatures, so the idea of Iggy being small and perfectly content to sunbathe amused me (though of course he’s still a beast to be reckoned with!). His voice came to me very clearly. He is funny and fierce, and even if he’s a little afraid of what’s to come he’ll rise to the occasion for his friends and the greater good.
Who is your favorite character? Are there things about your favorite character that couldn’t be included in the story?
I love all of my characters! But my favorites to write in HOLLOWER are definitely Iggy and Fang. Fang originally had a few more sections from her perspective, but they ultimately weren’t moving the story forward so I cut them.
Is there a scene or moment in the story that really sticks with you? Can you tell us a little bit about it and why it is so special to you?
Percy vanishing through the portal hurts my heart every time! Percy is, in a sense, Merlynda’s rock. She’s lost her brother, her partner in crime, and the security that when her magic goes awry, someone will be able to set it right. The fact that she feels responsible for Percy disappearing only twists the knife further. She’s heartbroken, and devastated, and terrified. This is the moment that makes the story so incredibly personal for Merlynda. It took me several drafts to get here, but once I did, everything clicked into place.
What do you most hope that readers take away from your novel?
Embrace all of you with your whole self. Many people will try to write the narrative of You, but ultimately you are empowered to decide who you are. And that somewhere out there, there are people who will love you as you are. If you haven’t found these friends yet—Courage, dear heart! You one day will!
You mentioned that the sequel to THE HUNT FOR THE HOLLOWER comes out next fall. I know I’m excited to read it. What do you think readers who enjoyed the first book in the series will be most excited to see in the sequel?
I hope they’ll be excited about all of it! My goal is for THE SEARCH FOR THE SHADOWSOUL to feel tonally similar to HOLLOWER, but still move the characters forward in a meaningful way. It’s another fun fantasy romp, but we’ll follow a different main character as they work through how they’ve been affected by the events of HOLLOWER. Our questers will reunite with old friends, make new ones, and encounter a mysterious form of magic that even Merlynda doesn’t know about!
About Callie C. Miller
Callie C. Miller writes for animated television shows, a video game company, and (most importantly) herself. When she’s not writing, Callie is most likely reading comics or playing video games or dreaming about hot chocolate. (Hot chocolate is very important nourishment for writers.) She received her MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. THE HUNT FOR THE HOLLOWER is Callie’s debut novel. Visit her at www.calliecmiller.com
About The Hunt for the Hollower
In this riff on Arthurian legend, a wizardess who is still mastering her powers goes on an epic quest to save her brother from an evil wizard in this “sweet and fun” middle grade adventure that’s “sizzling with magic” (Adam Rex, New York Times bestselling author) and is perfect for fans of Adam Gidwitz and Amanda Foody!
The great wizard Merlyn prophesized that his seventh descendant would do wonderful, miraculous things—baffling everyone when his great-great-many-times-great grandchild turns out to be twins . Soon enough, however, it becomes clear which sibling is the Septimum Percy is a natural with magic. Merlynda (to put it simply) is not.
But Merlynda doesn’t mind. Percy has always been by her side to cheer her up (and clean up) after her magical bungles—until the twins attempt a forbidden spell to help her control her magic, and Percy vanishes through a portal and straight into the clutches of the magic-stealing, mythical Hollower.
Aided by her best friend (who longs to be a knight), a wandering musician (who is fleeing from his past), and her brand-new, fierce familiar (who yearns for a taste of funnel cake), Merlynda sets off on a quest to rescue her brother. But to defeat this ancient evil, she must discover and embrace her true powers—or else lose her brother for good.