Elena Manory is by no means an ordinary teenage girl. Being born with the ability to heal herself from any injury, and with the knowledge that on her eighteenth birthday she will become a vampire, Elena is aware that she is more than a little different from other girls her age.
It isn't until she meets William Granville, an alluring and impossibly handsome vampire, that she begins to question her destiny and what secrets the Institute of Magical Intervention and her adopted family have withheld-secrets that could change the fates of not only her own life, but of the lives of all the immortals.
As events spiral out of control, William may be the only person Elena can place her trust in. He, and Elena's magical family, must fight to save her, joining forces to defeat a common, deadly foe. For William, it is his chance to save the girl that he has searched eternity to find.
With plenty of action, romance and drama, The Hunted is an engaging first novel from Kristy Berridge with broad appeal to young adult readers.
Born in Perth, Western Australia in 1982, Kristy Berridge was ushered into the world in a decade of bad hair, parachute pants, and blue eye shadow. Fortunately, she managed to avoid all three influences by immersing herself in the business of growing up, and hitched a ride with her fun-loving, and adventure-filled parents to the sunny state of Queensland. Here she completed most of her education.
After high school she went on to study Graphic Design and Illustration at James Cook University, and then furthered her studies at the local TAFE college with an Interior Design course. With this knowledge under her belt, she also decided to undertake a three year Design course at Rhodec International in London, to complete her education and propel her towards the successful career she now enjoys. She currently resides in Cairns with her husband Navaro.
Author: Kristy Berridge
Interview with Kristy Berridge
Question: What inspired you to write a fantasy book about vampires?
Kristy Berridge: I have always been very interested in anything supernatural, be it angels, demons, ghosts or the fey. But vampires and werewolves have always piqued a curiosity that I just felt I needed to explore further. I've loved watching these creatures being interpreted in books, film and television, so varied and yet always with common purposes - immortality, bloodlust and unsurpassed strength. I wanted to make sure that my vampires weren't afraid to draw blood with their fangs, tear flesh with sharp talons, or compel those around them to meet their own ends. I also wanted them to feel remorse, show understanding, and desire greater acceptance from their peers without compromising the years of intelligence and learning they have gained over their human counterparts. I think the key word is vulnerability in amongst the expected strength and general air of terror vampires often portray.
Question: There are several issues raised in this book. Was this deliberate or did the story evolve this way?
Kristy Berridge: Issues of abandonment hit home for a lot of teens. Some feel a lack of understanding from their loved ones, and others who are unfortunate enough not to have anyone at all often feel rejected and underserving of any good that may cross their path. My main character is not without, but she is missing acceptance from her peers and is often judged harshly for her choices. I wanted teenagers and young adults that read this book to relate and also understand that the power of change comes from within. In order to change your own circumstances you need to fight for what you want, believe in yourself, but also try to listen to the wisdom of those around you. I never personally expected this message to be clear within the story, but as The Hunted moved forward, so definitively shown was the increased strength of the characters. I've made sure to continue this message of empowerment throughout the whole series. It doesn't mean that we can all go out and kick werewolf butt, but it hopefully instils an 'I can' attitude to the readers.
Question: How important was it, to you, that The Hunted featured a strong female lead character?
Kristy Berridge: I've read a lot of supernatural fiction with strong female leads and I find myself drawn to them every time. Whether or not it is because I can relate, or because I get caught up in the happenstance of wanting to go along for the ride, I do not know. But I do know that I wanted a character that could evolve and show real depth. The best way I could represent this was by starting with a sixteen year old girl, caught up in the idiosyncrasies of a teenage life, slowing adapting to change as the world around her turns upside down. From small steps shows real evolution when faced with life and death situations - true horror and abhorrent violence against herself and those around her. Women are definitely stronger than they think, particularly in the face of adversity. I wanted The Hunted to reflect as much and I think it does.
Question: How did you go about creating the character of Elena Manory?
Kristy Berridge: Elena is loosely based on myself. I make a point in my everyday life to be as honest with those around me as possible while always being true to my own beliefs. I wanted my main character to be the same, so I put myself in her shoes in every situation, always pushing the boundaries that little bit further than perhaps I realistically would. Granted she is far more adventurous and a little cheekier than I was at her age, but after a while I forgot she was a character in my head and started to simply feel what Elena would say and do. As far as I'm concerned all my characters are real people now. I laugh with them, cry with them, and often find myself pulling faces when they are angry or sarcastic.
Question: What advice do you have for young, aspiring writers or artists?
Kristy Berridge: Never stop believing that you are capable of anything that you put your mind to. As corny as that sounds, it's simply true. You cannot be heard if you do not shout, and you cannot be seen if you do not stand out from those around you. Take rejection not as criticism but as motivation to try harder and succeed. For every person who dislikes your project, there will always be someone who loves it - never give up!
Interview by Brooke Hunter