Howdy Kim, welcome to the new & improved “Veronika Asks”! Ready for some vampire and YA chit chat? First, how would you describe yourself in three words?
A little bit of Astrology now: you’re Aquarius, aren’t you? They’re known for being honest, friendly and optimistic, but also unpredictable and contrary. Do you match your sign description?
Yep, I am. And I’d say those things fit me pretty well, all in all. I used to have this book called Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs and it always amazed me how well the description pegged me (except for the part about being blond and blue-eyed).
Your first YA novel “Sucks to Be Me: The All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire (maybe)” was released in paperback on August 11th 2009. Tell us more about Mina Hamilton! And first question (can’t help it): who picked the title? :)
My editor came up with the title. The original title that I wrote it under was “This Bites” but then a bunch of vampire books came out with “bites” in the title so we went back to the drawing board. It’s a story about a girl who’s parents are vampires and she’s being made to choose whether or not she wants to be one too – in a month’s time. And she’s got to go to “vampire classes” when she’d really just rather be a normal teenager.
I’ve heard there will be a sequel named “Still Sucks to Be Me”, out in September 2010…
Yep! Though the date was recently moved up to May 11th, 2010, which I am super happy about.
Why vampires? Do you think they are now a part of Pop Culture?
Vampires have always been a part of pop culture. Vampire myths have been around essentially as long as humans have been – and they exist in some form in pretty much every culture. They come and go in popularity, but they are always around.
I never thought I’d write a book about them, but goes to show that you never know what will happen!
You’re a big “Twilight” fan (you even mention Stephenie Meyer in the first chapter of your novel). Some people say authors try to surf on the vampire wave created by Stephenie to attract “vampire lover” readers. What would you answer to this?
I’m sure that some authors have done that. However, people don’t realize how s-l-o-w the publishing business is. Anything you see on a shelf today was written ages ago (usually). I wrote my book before Twilight came out, in fact (though it didn’t appear on shelves until 2008), and a lot of other vampire books hit the shelves around the same time as Twilight, which means they were written probably between 2001 and 2004.
The original reference in my book was actually to Anne Rice (since I hadn’t even heard of Stephenie Meyer when I wrote the book), but my editor and I decided to change it Meyer since she had become such a pop culture phenomenon and we weren’t sure as many teens would know who Anne Rice was today (she no longer writes vampire novels, in fact).
If, like Mina, you had to choose whether to stay human or become a vampire, what would you do?
If I were in the exact same position as Mina, I would probably choose to become one. But it’s hard to say unless you are actually faced with the decision.
How did your passion for reading and writing start? Is “Sucks to Be Me” your first completed novel (or do you hide some more unpublished gems in your desk)?
I’ve always been a reader and a writer. I do have some other unfinished manuscripts, but Sucks to Be Me was my first completed novel. Now that the second book is wrapped up, I’m working on a new book. It’s also a fantasy, but it doesn’t have any vampires in it. J
How did you get “Sucks to Be Me” published? Tell us more about your journey in the publishing world! What was the coolest thing? And the most difficult (and unexpected)? Do you have some tips for an aspiring author willing to be published?
Well, I’d been sending it out to agents and they all pretty much said the same thing: we like your “voice” but we don’t think vampires are a good sell these days (remember, this was back before Twilight hit big). I was about to try and re-write it without vampires of just work on something else when a friend of mine mentioned that her editor was looking for paranormal YA. She introduced me and they ultimately bought it (though it took them almost a year to decide).
Strangely enough, I got the news that I was getting published the exact same week that I found out I was pregnant.
As for some writing tips, I’ve got some on my website: http://kimberlypauley.com/2008/10/11/qa-how-do-you-get-published/ and I also host an online Writing Camp.
You’re the owner (and YA Goddess) of the popular “YABooks Central” website, revolving around YA books, YA authors, YA reviews…well, everything YA. How did it start? What can your readers expect from “YABooks Central” in the future?
It started back in 1998. Originally, I was a “guide” with the Mining Company, which then became About.com which then ditched most of their teen sites. So I started up YA Books Central because I had all these great author interviews and reviews. I’ve expanded it over the years and now have a staff of volunteer reviewers. We’ll continue to do giveaways every month and post reviews and interviews and more. I expect to hit 20,000 reviews this coming year.
On your website, you’ve reviewed hundreds of YA books and interviewed dozens of YA authors. Do you have a few favourite books/authors to remember?
I loved interviewing Clive Barker. He was just cooler than cool and I got to chat with him on the phone for an hour. And I adore Neil Gaiman (who doesn’t?). Honestly, I’ve pretty much yet to meet a YA (or other) author I didn’t like.
Is there a book you wish you’d written?
Hmmmmm. Maybe Coraline?
Do you plan on writing something unrelated to vampires and Mina Hamilton? Tell us a little bit more about your projects…
Yes, definitely. I’m working on something now about a teen girl with an unwanted (kinda useless) “super” power who stumbles into a celebrity kidnapping/murder mystery. And the next one I plan on picking up after that is probably an idea I have about the adopted son of Death. And there’s a joint project I’m working on with a friend.
The infamous “Nothing-in-common-with-books-question”: you’ve just found $100, how will you use your newly acquired money?
Hm. I really don’t know. I’d say The Sims 3, but I never have time to play anymore!
Author & Book: An impossible question
Movie & TV show: The Princess Bride and, um, well, Eureka or Glee.
Food: I’d say chocolate, but right now I’m craving potatoes. Love ‘em. Any kind.
City: Oh, that’s tough. I just like cities to wander around in!
Music: That’s harder than picking a book! Anything but country.
Hobby: Too many: painting, knitting, making soap, baking…basically, just making stuff.
Place to write in: my office at night, when the rest of the house is quiet
Quote or Motto: “Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.” —Lazarus Long (Robert. A. Heinlein)
“Tea or Coffee?”
Tea or Coffee? Coffee.
Saturday night. Disco & Restaurant or Home, Books & DVDs? Home, Books & DVDs!
Going on holidays. Beach or Mountains? Hm. Before, when we lived in Florida, I’d definitely say Mountains. Now? Kind of a toss-up.Sleepy Little Town or Crazy Megapolis? To visit? Crazy Megapolis.
Pick a DVD: Comedy or Weepy Drama? Comedy, definitely.
Like To Travel or Hate to Move? Like to Travel
Sport Lover or Couch Potato? Couch potato, sadly
Leader or Follower? Observer
Shy or Easy-going? Mostly Easy-going, but with snark on the side.
Serious or Funny? Funny