Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Weeping Blog Tour: Review and Character Interview- O'Dell Hutchison

Welcome to a stop on The Weeping Blog Tour hosted by Book Twirps. You Can See the Entire Tour Schedule HERE.

O'Dell Hutchison's first novel, a paranormal thriller called The Weeping, is set for release in just three days! Below is an interview with two prominent characters from the story, followed by my review.

Character interview: Catherine

1. It is obvious that Phillip was the love of your life. You were just a freshman and he was a senior in high school when the relationship started. He was popular and athletic, you were more quiet -- a loner, as some might say. How did such a match come about?
Honestly, I didn’t expect it at all. I was always very quiet and didn’t really interact much with kids at school. I’d known Phillip for years — it’s a small town — but other than the occasional “hello” we’d never really talked. The first time we had a real conversation was over the 4th of July weekend before I started high school. He was carrying a bunch of stuff to the beach for a barbecue and his package of napkins was open and scattered across the beach. I helped him pick them up and he invited me to sit with him and his family. From there we started talking whenever we would see one another and then he asked me to Homecoming when school started and it just went from there.

2.  It is one thing to be in love, but another entirely to make that love the only focus of your life, especially as a teen. Did you ever think some of your actions -- showing up in the middle of the night and calling to Phillip outside his window, planning to follow him across the country, calling him all the time -- were too extreme? 
Looking back on it all, I would say yes, but at the time he was all I had. I was young and so alone. He was my world. I had no stability before I met him and when he broke up with me I didn’t want to go back to the uncertainty of my real life. It scared me.

3.  What prompted you to try out for Our Town? Why wait until your last year of high school to make theatre a hobby?
 Actually, I’d been involved with theatre before. I usually worked crew or helped paint sets. I also had a few small roles in some other shows. It was Ms. Marilyn who encouraged me to come out and audition for the show. I was in a really dark place at the time, and she thought it would be good for me. I never expected to get a lead role. 

4.  When the theatre building caught on fire, why did you not rush after the actors who were running off stage? 
It all happened so fast. I didn’t even know there was a fire. I remember we were performing a funeral scene. My character had died and was watching her funeral. All of the actors were on stage for that scene, so it was crowded. I thought I smelled smoke, and then I heard screaming. People pushed past me and I fell — I couldn’t get up. By the time I was able to stand the stage was filled with smoke. I didn’t know where to go…

Character interview: Heath

1.  Your parents sent you away for the summer to Uncle Vic's to recover after your accident. Did you have any hopes that you could heal there?
Well, at first I just wanted to get away. I was really willing to go anywhere. I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen when I moved. I guess, in a way, I hoped I’d get better. I hated feeling the way I did.

2.  Do you think your dreams were a portal to the spiritual world? 
I really don’t know. I was definitely connected to something. I just don’t understand how. It’s weird, ya know?

3.  When you first met Molly, you described her as having a dancer's body, but not breathtaking, just "normal." As you got to know her personality, did she become more attractive than just "normal"?
I didn’t mean that in a bad way at all. I always thought she was attractive. What I meant was she didn’t have to try to be pretty. She wasn’t all dolled up like she was trying to make an impression and she wasn’t dressed for attention like so many girls at my old high school. She was pretty without trying. 

4.  When you were working the light cues for the first time, you heard static and whispering that no one else, including the stage manager Luke, heard. Was there any point that you truly thought, "I'm going crazy?" 
That was kind of the clincher for me. At that point in time I knew something was up. I wasn’t dreaming — I was wide awake. That’s when I knew that whatever was happening was happening just to me and since I didn’t believe in ghosts, I thought for sure I had completely lost it.

5.  Why did Vic insist on restoring an old theatre that was rumored to be haunted?  
Hmm, I dunno really. I mean, I don’t think anyone thought that the place was haunted. Josie said there were rumors that people would hear things and occasionally smell smoke, but nothing major had happened. Not until I got there.

My review:

"Twenty years ago, Catherine Whitley was the victim of a horrible crime. Betrayed by her friends, including the boy she loved, she was left to die when the Rock Harbor Opera House caught fire, taking a disturbing secret with her to her grave.

Seventeen-year-old Heath Ingram was driving the night his Jeep careened off the road, killing three of his closest friends. Once a popular, outgoing athlete, Heath now suffers from severe depression and crippling anxiety. His parents decide to send him to stay with his uncle in Rock Harbor, Oregon for the summer, praying that by getting away he will be able to put this awful tragedy behind him.

When Heath starts working at the newly renovated Rock Harbor Opera House, he meets Molly, a young dancer who awakens in him a desire to start over and move on. But, when he begins having visions of a half-burned girl in a white dress, he starts to think he may be slipping even further over the edge.

As the apparent hauntings become more intense, Heath begins to fear for his safety. With the help of his friend Josie, Heath discovers an unsettling secret that ties the mysterious girl to both their families. When two of their friends die unexpectedly, Josie and Heath realize that something, or someone, is after the children of those who wronged Catherine, and they are next."

- Goodreads

  • Publisher: H, C & B Publishing
  • Date of release: March 6, 2012
  • Page count: 282 (hardcover)
  • Format: Kindle ebook
This novel grabbed me right from the start, made me want to learn more. Why is Catherine alone in the smoke? Why is her brain telling her she's stupid for thinking a boy named Phillip cares for her, that he won't come back? As part of the stage crashes to the floor, why does no one come to rescue her from the deadly flames?

Flash forward several years. Heath is in a car with his parents, traveling to Oregon to stay with his Uncle Vic for the summer. Heath needs to get away, get his mind off the memories of flipping his jeep with his best friend next to him and two girls in the back seat. But he relives these nightmares in his sleep, Jake's lifeless, bloody body, frightened cries for help that turn to nothing.

Vic puts Heath to work right away in the town's old theater that he is reopening. Strange occurences begin happening, but Heath is the only one who seems to notice-- weeping from the stairwell, a whispering voice on the headset, even a ghostly figure with a burned face.

Heath's new friends try to help him investigate. Molly, the petite dancer who's super sweet, captures his attention from the start, even though he knows Luke, the stage manager, has a crush on her. Then there's Josie, the punk costume designer. They have an instant bond, and she believes in ghosts and even helps conduct a seance. It is obvious the ghost is Catherine, but what does she want, and more importantly, who is she after?

The secondary characters were well-developed, and Juda was an entitled rich kid I loved to hate.  There are quite a few secrets about Catherine the reader discovers along the way, as well as the adults who were part of her high school life. The only part that truly shocked me was ending, which I felt was too abrupt. I wanted a more definitive resolution and also for the story to go on longer.

Heath was a great narrator. I actually felt that some of his thoughts about Molly were much cleaner than I'd expect of a 17 year-old boy. At times, I wondered why Heath didn't make connections faster when certain facts (for example, bits of Catherine's diary) came to light. Even though I liked Luke at the beginning of the story, I felt he was way too possessive of Molly. However, this shows a vulnerable, jealous side of a teenage boy in love and isn't an inaccurate portrayal.

It was crazy how clingy Catherine was. I guess when the love of your life up and leaves you, even if he didn't feel the same way, it's heartbreaking. Her focus was always on Phillip and how she could mold her life around his. Again, not an untrue representation of an infatuated woman blinded by love.

Final verdict:
Hutchison mixes suspense and mystery in the right portions to create genuine intrigue. He builds believable character relationships that will make you truly concerned for the well-being of each character, especially when death starts invading the small community of Rock Harbor. 


Christina Fiorelli said...

Catherine's answers broke my heart :((

And I love Heath's attitude:))

I have to read this book - I mean, there's a seance!!

Thanks for the character interviews.

ODell said...

Thanks for participating in the tour, Jenna!

Vicki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vicki said...

Very interesting character interviews. I completely agree with you about your analysis of the character and the ENDING!!! Great job :)

roro said...

totally indepth
good job