Interview by: Lauren
1. What led you to the idea of making a vampire story that was funny?
Well, probably the biggest thing is that I tend to write “funny” vs. “serious” in anything novel length (though my short stories all seem to wind up crime fiction or science fiction, oddly enough). But I was also just brainstorming one night and thought it would be fun to turn a normal vampire story on it’s head. Most vampire stories take themselves very, very seriously.
2. How long did it take you to write the novel? Was it longer or shorter then you expected it to be?
Probably about six months. I wasn’t really keeping track exactly and various things interrupted it. Some days I can write quite a bit, others I get maybe 200 words out. For me, it is a good day if I get 1,000 or more words onto paper. Well, onto the screen, I guess, since I type everything. It took about as long as I thought it would based on my normal writing output (I’d be a lot more prolific if I didn’t have so many hobbies or, now, without a baby to slow we down).
3. What has the advance feedback been like thus far?
Really great! I’m very excited. I’ve already gotten a couple of really cute emails and letters from kids and teens (the youngest so far was 10, which is a little younger than I thought the book would appeal to, but hey, everyone reads at different levels). It is so cool to hear form people what they think about the book. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that. And the book was also nominated for the ALA 2009 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list, which is very, very cool. I’ll find out later this year whether or not it makes it onto the list.
4. Did you get any advice on being a debut author from anybody? If so, what did the say?
Hmmm, not specifically for my situation. I’ve actually asked pretty much every author I’ve ever interviewed what their advice is for new writers (see the Interviews section on YABC). Their advice is pretty much what I’d say myself: read a lot. write a lot. be open to constructive criticism.
5. You run YA (and Kids) Book Central. How has helping other authors promote their work contributed to being an author yourself, if at all?
Well, I guess you could say I have an appreciation for how difficult it is to get the word out about a book and how much promotional work it can take. There are hundreds upon hundreds of new books out there and there has to be a reason for someone to pick your book up — whether it is because they saw it reviewed somewhere or they just liked the cover or a friend recommended it. And if your book doesn’t sell, then you have an even harder time selling the next one (and it’s hard enough selling the first one!). Writing is a hard business and it isn’t for the faint of heart. And it takes a lot of patience. Sucks to Be Me was written in 2005 and here it is, finally coming out in 2008.
So get out there and support your favorite authors — buy a book or tell a friend!
6. If you had to describe Sucks to Be Me in three words, what would they be?
My husband calls it a “vampire bat mitzvah” story. Which I suppose it kind of is. 🙂
7. What is something about the novel that might surprise people?
Oh, this is a hard question! I’ve read it over and over so many times during re-writes that it is hard to think of anything surprising…um…shoot. The only surprising thing I can think of I don’t want to mention, since it would give something big away. How about just that vampires are people too, and can be just as boring or silly as the rest of us.
8. Do you listen to music at all when you write? If so, what did you listen too?
Sometimes. If I mention some music in the book, like during the scene where George and Nathan are jamming on guitars, I listen to that kind of music. Otherwise, I either listen to something kind of ambient (like Portishead, Morcheeba, Leonard Cohen, Amy Winehouse, or K. T. Tunstall) or nothing at all. I like pretty much every kind of music, except whiny country stuff (no offense to people who like country…I just had to live in Mississippi for a while when I was in high school and I seriously OD’d on it because it was all anyone listened to there at the time.).
9. Have you tried making a playlist for Sucks to Be Me yet? What songs do you believe would fit the book?
No, I haven’t, but I totally should. The only song that comes to me off the top of my head is “In These Shoes” by Kirsty MacColl, mostly because it is one of my favorite songs and always makes me laugh. I think Mina would appreciate it, even if it is just a tad risque. I’ll have to keep thinking on this and maybe get back to you later.
Remember to comment on here as well as the review on the Genre of the Month blog to be entered to win your own ARC of Sucks to Be Me! Contest ends Saturday, so hurry and enter!