I thought about doing this post in the middle of the night (read as: 3am) and since no bad ideas exist after midnight* I thought, “Sure, why not go for it?” So I present it here in all it’s glory. You get to know a little bit** about me and why I wrote Paper Wishes!
SHQ: Spencer Hoshino Question
SHA: Spencer Hoshino Answer
*This is an arbitrary thing that I’ve made up just now. Please don’t take it seriously. m(_ _)m
** Probably too much.
SHQ: Hi, Spencer! How are you doing today?
SHA: Hi, Spencer! I’m doing great, thanks for asking – a little hungry, but I’ll survive. Haha.
SHQ: Your manuscript, Paper Wishes, is up on Swoon Reads right now. What inspired you to write it?
SHA: Well, if you had asked me a few days ago I would have said something like, “This story has been living in my head since back when I was working as a bookseller at Borders…” but yesterday I was listening to music, and the song Moments by Hamasaki Ayumi came on and I had this moment of, like, clarity, where I remembered how it actually got started. Back when I was about… I don’t know, maybe eighteen or nineteen? I started this web comic called “Yume/夢”, which is the Japanese word for dream, and it was basically inspired by that song.
SHQ: What was it about the song that inspired you?
SHA: Just the lyrics and theme of the song overall, I guess. Ayumi is quite a lyricist. When I decided to expand on the story, going from a comic to a novel, I changed the title a couple of times – Paper Wishes being the most recent. The story line was revamped a couple of times, too. Actually, someone mentioned that Paper Wishes read like a manga… It’s funny now that I think about it, because I didn’t realize that’s actually how it started out!
SHQ: Do you mind if I ask a few questions relating to comments you’ve received?
SHA: Not at all! *experiences intense feelings of anxiety*
SHQ: Thanks. So… Kai is such a likable character. Why would Vilvian need anyone but him? It seems a little unbelievable that she’d have such a great friend and not realize that he was head over heels in love with her.
SHA: *nervous laughter* Um, well, my reasoning was that they’d been so close for so long (read as: since birth) that Vilvian couldn’t read into the obvious signs that he had feelings for her. I mean, they’re naturally very tactile with each other, so short of Kai french kissing her suddenly or professing his undying love for her, I don’t think she would have known.
SHQ: Okay, speaking of them being close, we “get” that they’re BFFs but he’s only two years older than her. Why would Vilv’s mom give him guardianship over her?
SHA: Vilv’s mom is very open-minded and wanted to do what was right by her daughter, not by what society would have found acceptable. Sure, it’s an uncommon situation, but certainly not an impossible one. Kai is very honorable and had the motivation and means to support Vilvian until she became a legal adult. Because Kai is so close to Vilv, not only in terms of age, but emotionally, that Maya (Vilvian’s mom) knew that he would always do right by her, whereas his parents (work-a-holic father, overly maternal mother) might not have.
SHQ: Why is Nox so needy?
SHA: I struggled with this when I was writing, because that type of, um, obsession, I guess, is only complimentary up to a point before it gets creepy and frustrating. The thing is, Nox is so used to being with Vilvian 24/7, just hanging out in her subconscious until it’s time for her to dream, that he’s floundering in the real world, especially when they have to be apart. I think he gradually starts to come into his own by the end of the book, but no matter how well he acclimates to being real, he’ll always feel more comfortable being around her than not.
SHQ: Going back to Kai for a minute – don’t you think it’s pretty unbelievable that he was so accepting of Nox and the whole backstory?
SHA: I know I’m going to come across as pompous but… no, because the story falls within the paranormal/fantasy romance genre. Unbelievable things are going to happen. I’d like to think that I’ve written Vilv’s character as having a strong moral compass and being pretty forthright, and I think when you’re known for your honesty, people are less likely to doubt what you say – especially if one of those people was your longtime BFF. In actuality, I’ve said some pretty unbelievable things to my BFF that would make a regular person go, “Huh?” I’m not saying that she wouldn’t blanch a little at me telling her that my new BF was actually a celestial being, but I think she’d probably get over it in like, 0.0001 seconds, and ask me how she could make her dream BF a reality, too. Haha. (I have a really great BFF. Everyone should have someone like her in their life. 🙂 )
(On a side note, just because he doesn’t verbalize his doubt, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have any. As his creator, I reckon that Kai is just too polite to say anything about it.)
SHQ: Nox and Vilvian are pretty loved up, huh?
SHA: Yeah, they are! But it’s early days, so I’d be disappointed if they weren’t. During the first year of dating my then-boyfriend (now-husband), we were so cutesy that it was disgusting. I’d get excited about holding his hand, and I remember there was this one time he came to visit me when I was working at Baskin Robbins and I couldn’t stop smiling – it was this huge shit-eating grin, and I absolutely couldn’t control it. One of the customers made a comment like, “I’d smile, too.” 😉
SHQ: Like you say, it’s early days, so why did he jump the gun and propose by the end of the first book?
SHA: When you know, you know. You know? I mean, I started dating my husband back when I was in high school (hence me working at Baskin Robbins) and pretty early on, maybe a month or two in, he made this comment about how we’d definitely get married someday and how even though he couldn’t afford a ring then, he’d like to make a compromise. The compromise was basically something like, if he bought me ten stuffed animals, it meant we were totally engaged and going to get married. He fulfilled the quota in a month or less. (For those wondering, he proposed “for real” about three years later. An indeterminate number of stuffed animals, promise ring, engagement ring, and wedding ring later… we’re going into almost 12 years of togetherness, and four years of marriage.)
SHQ: Do you think your characters spend too extravagantly on each other? Who does that?
SHA: I know it might seem like they throw their money around, but it’s only because they enjoy buying gifts for their friends. Kai and Nox can afford it, because they have money. Other characters like Vilvian and Nikki need to save up or give gifts in other ways (like Nikki decorating the Paper Wishes shop.) An old best friend of mine, who I’ve lost touch with for more than ten years now, had this saying that was like, “Friends come first, even before myself.” and I really took that to heart. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on my close friends, even if I had to scrimp and save to do it, because I think they deserve whatever it is I’m buying for them, and because, selfishly, their happiness feeds my own.
SHQ: Which Paper Wishes character can you relate to the most?
SHA: Vilvian. She just lost her mom to cancer, and has no family to speak of. I, too, lost my mom recently… less than a year ago. It’s very fresh to me, so when I wrote about the dark period Vilvian went through, it was something I was living through, and had lived through in the past. The truth is, I’m an only child and my family isn’t very close – all the family members I was very close to have passed on, with the exception of a handful of cousins, so if I wasn’t married with children, I’d be very alone (in terms of family.) Like Vilvian, I also struggle with my feelings (particularly the negative ones) and have a difficult time expressing them to my loved ones, instead usually opting to keep them to myself.
SHQ: Which Paper wishes character do you relate to the least?
SHA: Hm… I’m going to have to say Kai, because I don’t think I’m that selfless.
SHQ: Should we continue this interview at a later time?
SHA: Yes, because I’m totally running out of questions to ask myself! LOL See you in episode 2, guys!