Soundless is my first stand-alone book, which is exciting for me because I usually end on cliffhangers, but now I actually have to get readers some closure. That’s a novel experience! Soundless is set in this fantasy world that’s inspired by the culture and history of ancient China, so that’s a neat place to draw on. It takes place in a village where no one has been able to hear for generations, so they develop this whole culture based on sign language, art and other visuals. They are kind of trapped on top of a mountain, and they have never seen the land below. One day, this girl wakes up and she has hearing back. She goes on a quest to figure out why this happened. She also learns that danger is threatening her village, and getting her hearing back is tied to that. She goes off to the lands below, and she’s accompanied by a formal love interest so things are complicated by that, as you can imagine! It’s a lot of fun, for sure!
What genre would your book fall under, and what attracted you to it?
I don’t know if this is a real genre, but I would say “historical-inspired fantasy.” What attracts me to it is that I love historical books. I’m a history buff. When I was younger, I thought I would be writing historical things, but I’m kind of sloppy with research. When I’m writing historical fantasy, I can pick and choose certain historical things, and I don’t always have to be precise. It kind of gives me the best of both worlds!
What or who was the inspiration behind your book?
There were a couple of things that really inspired me with this. One is that I feel that the culture and history in China, and the east in general, is really neglected here in the U.S. and in western culture. There is a vast wealth of stuff there that people don’t realize. There are thousands and thousands of years of history that are so fascinating. It was great to touch on something you don’t see a lot of. The hearing aspect was also fascinating. I have taken linguistics courses, and you talk about how sign language really operates in the brain like spoken language. It was really fun for me to work that into the book and develop that culture. I actually spoke with an old linguistics professor to get some background before I wrote this.
Which one of your characters do you most closely relate to?
This may sound like an easy way out, but I have to say I kind of relate in some small way to each of my main heroines in all my series. That’s the fun thing about writing books and creating characters. You put a piece of yourself into each of them. There is no character that has every trait of Richelle Mead; that would be a little terrifying! There is a character from my Georgina Kincaid series who has my sense of humor. Sydney from the Blood Line series has my nerdiness. You get to put it out there and put yourself into them. At the same time, you can put in things you don’t have that you wish you did.