The Novel Approach is pleased to welcome author Jude Sierra today on the Hush blog tour. I asked Jude to chat a bit about the title of the book, so enjoy the conversation and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win a $25 Gift Card at Interlude Press.
TNA: Hi, Jude, I’m so happy to have you at The Novel Approach for a visit on your Hush tour.
JS: Thank you so much for having me, I’m happy to be here!
TNA: Speaking of Hush, I’d love for you tell us a little bit about the title of the book. Was the book titled something else while you were writing it, or did you always know it would be called Hush? If so, what was the working title?
Hush as a title was a collaborative effort involving the Interlude team and myself in a hysterically funny phone call. The working title for the book was Dark Horse, because the origin of the book came from the Katy Perry song by that name. It never actually fit any theme in the book, it was just a placeholder. I am terrible at titles, and I rarely title things until I’ve completed them. Re-reading a work often generates an idea, but in the case of Hush, it just wasn’t happening. I think we’d all become so used to calling it Dark Horse, it was hard to imagine anything else. At one point during the conference call we became so desperate that our promotions director actually performed a dramatic reading of the lyrics to the song. That’s a moment I’ll never forget.
In the end, I think Hush was one of several ideas we were tossing around; at first we all kind of rejected it, but the more we talked about it, it just made sense.
TNA: How did you decide it was the perfect title for the book?
JS: Hush worked in little and big ways. The cover gives us one of them: a tryst in the library stacks at the university they attend. There’s a lot of that furtive, public sex in the book. Partly because it’s hot, but more because it creates a perfect set up for the dynamic they both enjoy — they both get a rush from the danger that requires a level of secrecy, but also the urgency they bring out in each other that makes it hard to stay quiet.
But more importantly than the sex, Hush is a book about secrets: ones the characters keep from each other, the ones they keep for themselves. Secrecy is one of the rules Wren sets down as a part of their game, and as the book progresses, one secret gives way to more, uncovers more, exposes more.
TNA: What’s the significance of the title in relationship to the book/characters?
JS: The secret Wren asks Cam to keep seems simple at first — that no one can know. The secrecy Wren asks for isn’t only for a specific sexual dynamic though: it is a part of a complicated set of rules Wren keeps for himself, both to protect his partner, but himselfas well. It becomes clear in the course of the book how much of himself Wren tries to keep from Cam, and how hard Cam fights to keep his true feelings as they develop from Wren. Through the book, we see how influential the secrets Wren is keeping — about himself, about his motivations, about his past — are in his decisions and choices, and how deeply informed they are by his fears. We see the toll complicated secrets can be, not only on Wren and Cam, but on their friendships and selves. The more tangled things get, the harder it is for either of them to keep secrets from each other.Hush covered the themes in this story so perfectly; once we thought it through, it became clear that it was absolutely the right title for the story.
Blurb: Wren is one of “the gifted”—a college sophomore with the power to compel others’ feelings and desires. He uses his power as a game of sexual consent until Cameron, a naïve freshman, enters his life. As Cameron begins to understand his sexuality and gain confidence under Wren’s tutelage, Wren grows to recognize new and unexpected things about himself. Can their game become a relationship as the power shifts from teacher to student?
She began writing long-form fiction by tackling her first National Novel Writing Month project in 2007, and in 2011 began writing in online fan communities, where her stories have thousands of readers.