Hi Rusty Welcome to Read for your future. Thanks for stopping by to let us get to know you better...
1. How did you come up with the concept for this book?
Having already written about zombies, I wanted to do a vampire book to switch things up a smidge. But… where do you start? It seemed like everything had already been written. I was reading all these vampire books, trying to find a new or overlooked angle. I realized that in a lot of vamp books, you’ve got a new vamp coming to a high school. And for whatever reason, nobody knows he’s a vamp and all these girls fall for him and then, well, we all know the rest. So I thought, well, what if somebody did know he was a vamp; and that somebody was another vamp, whose only goal was to wipe him out before he got to the human kids? It seemed like a fun idea to me, and I kind of built the world around that…
2. How did you come up with the names for the characters?
Wow, I don’t think anyone’s ever asked me that before! Generally, for the main characters, I will brainstorm some names that just “feel” right to them. Lily? I just like that name. It sounds kind of fragile but also beautiful and strong, too. And I mean, the bad guy *needed* a name like Tristan because it’s just perfect for him; kind of cool but a little *too* cool, if you know what I mean. And Grover, just… that seemed the perfect fit for the buddy, best friend role. So generally I have a list of six or seven potential names and eventually one of them just clicks with me.
3. How much are you and the characters alike?
Ha! Wow, well, usually I have a lot in common with the main character. That’s generally how it is. Even though she’s a girl, I really click with Lily in the way that she’s the new kid at the Afterlife Academy, that she’s kind of the underdog, and all the rest. It’s hard for me to write a main character who has her act together because…. where’s the fun in that?? But on Vamplayers, I would have to say I’m most like Grover!
4. Do you read a lot and what are you reading now?
I’ve always read a lot. Growing up, books really were my best friends. Today I have less time to read because I spend a lot of time writing, both with my day job and writing for YA. I read all kinds of things. So, right now on my nightstand I have a book about the Reagan years in the White House, a book full of Tim Burton interviews, a cozy Thanksgiving mystery, a Christmas book by Dave Barry and a Swedish crime thriller called The Redbreast. I try not to actually read YA while I’m writing YA so that I don’t start to adopt the tone/voice of whoever I’m reading!
5. What made you decide to go vampires?
Pretty much since I first read Salem’s Lot back in the day, I’ve always loved vampires. But I think what I like about them most is that they’re immortal. To me, that’s the real scary part. And that lots of kids – there always seem to be teenagers involved – willingly want to be immortal, despite what they’ll have to do to their fellow man to stay alive forever. So those kinds of themes interest me and after writing about zombies so much, I wanted to try something new; vampires seemed the perfect fit.
6. How did the cover come about?
Oh, I LOVE this cover. It’s the first cover I think I’ve gotten where the minute I saw it, I knew I wouldn’t change a thing! It was designed by James Tampa of Medallion Press. He has a great blurb about how he designed it on his website: “For this cover, I went out and bought some crossbow bolts, stuck one in a cardboard box, and took a bunch of photos of it. Everything was done in Photo shop at that point.”
7. So what is your next project and when is it due out?
Right now, honestly, I’m spending all my free time writing up the sequel to Zombies Don’t Cry. I don’t even know if the publisher wants it or not, but I have to get it out of me, you know? So I can really only answer half of that question!
8. Do you have a daytime job or are you a full time writer?
I have a daytime job AND I’m a full-time writer. Does that make sense? Seriously, though, I’m a full-time freelance ghostwriter, so I write for other people during the day and myself/YA at night. I’m really fortunate and very grateful to be able to do what I love for a living.
9. How did you get into writing novels and were you worried about peoples reactions to your books?
I’ve been writing novels since just about forever; literally, since I was eight or nine years old. I’d go through phases where I’d write a lot, try to get them published, get rejected, give up for awhile, go into a kind of “creative hibernation” and then emerge a few years later and start the whole process over again. But I got lucky and when Zombies Don’t Cry got published, I kind of had the confidence to quit going into hibernation every time I got rejected; so I’m grateful for that. As far as people’s reactions, yes! I don’t think you ever stop worrying about what people think; it’s human nature. For instance, as I’m writing this my new book, Vamplayers, has just gone out for review and I can see it popping up on a few blogs in their “In My Mailbox” features or “Is Reading Now” column and I’m all biting my nails just like I did when Zombies Don’t Cry first went out…
10. One last thing do you collect anything personally?
Do Christmas albums count!?!?!
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