Friday, March 2, 2007

Chari-Dee Gets The Dish From Richelle Mead

Hey there! I've had a GREAT day, filled with a ton of family in my little ole' house, and with 6 kids ages 6mths - 7 years, and 5 adults packed in here, there just wasn't much time to squeeze in computer time. So I'm a bit later in posting today than I had planned, but I'm in a much better mood. And what a terrific way to end an already great day, I get to post my interview with Richelle Mead, and announce the winners of this months contest! Christina - You have won the Grand Prize - A signed copy of SUCCUBUS BLUES, a $20 Starbucks gift card, a $20 gift card for either Barnes & Noble or Amazon, and a dee & Dee tote bag. Please send your snail mail addy to deeanddeedish at sbcglobal.net and we'll work out all the details. As for my secondary contest, the "Guess my two favorite Cusack movies", they were "Better Off Dead" and "Serendipity", principessa, please send me your snail mail as well, so that I can send out your prize. And just so everyone knows, I have NEVER watched all of "Say Anything", sorry, I just couldn't. And now, with the announcements out of the way...

Dee - Can you describe SB in 5 sentences or less?

Richelle Mead - Actually, I can do it four. I had to do it when I was pitching it to agents. Here’s the actual blurb I used in my query to Dystel & Goderich, my current literary agency:

My novel follows Georgina Kincaid—a modern-day succubus living in Seattle. While myth and legend paint succubi as alluring, shape-shifting demons bent on seducing mortal men, Georgina’s life is much less glamorous. Her boss is a middle-management demon with an uncanny resemblance to John Cusack, none of her immortal friends understand the importance of good shoes, and worst of all, she can’t have a decent date without sucking away part of the guy’s life. When an unknown entity ‘helpfully’ begins killing Georgina’s immortal adversaries, she discovers there are some creatures out there that both heaven and hell want to deny.

Dee - Why John Cusack? I love "Better off Dead" and "Serendipity", actually they are two of my favorite movies, but I was curious if he's one of your faves, too?

RM - Weird story. I actually get a lot of ideas for how characters look by leafing through magazines. That’s where I found Georgina, actually. One day, I was looking for ideas for how Jerome the demon should look, and I found an ad with a demonic-looking guy who coincidentally looked kind of like John Cusack. And then I thought, ‘Why not have a demon who’s purposely trying to look like John Cusack?’ It seemed so absurd a thing for a creature of evil to do, but then the whole book is a mix of absurdity and darkness anyway. And for the record: Better Off Dead is one of my Top Five favorite movies.

Dee - The five page rule. I could NEVER do this, is this something you do? If so, what author writes so slow you can only bring yourself to read 5 pages at a time? I loved the idea of it, but could never bring myself to do that, I'm a good book whore, and have to read it all at once ;). (Note to readers: Georgina will only allow herself to read her favorite authors books, five pages at a time.)

RM: Now, now…Seth doesn’t write that slow. He’s average for an author; he only seems slow to his readers! But seriously, there is no author I’d limit myself for. If I love a book, I’m going to read it all as fast as I can. The problem is when I don’t want to read a book that I’m supposed to. Then I actually have to make myself read 5 pages a day. That would pretty much describe every non-fiction book I’ve ever read.

Dee - I'm curious about the amount of research that went into writing SB. With nephilim's, angels, demons, succubi and the like, how many separate sources did you have to scour to find all the information? It was obvious you knew what you were talking about, so I was wondering what sparked the idea. I guess what I'm asking, is kind of along the lines of what came first, the chicken or the egg? Did you get the idea of SB first and then turn to the Bible for information, or did you read these passages in the Bible and wonder, what if?

RM - All of the above, actually. I’ve been reading myths since…well, since I could read. So, by my teens, I already had a huge self-taught background in religion and myth. In college, there were few classes that I actually learned something new in. When I first got the idea to write a succubus novel, I already knew enough about succubi and other heavenly/hellish creatures to get started. Then, as I got deeper in, I’d occasionally have to turn to a book or the web. My other Kensington series—Dark Swan—actually required a lot more research because it’s filled with obscure monsters and demons.

Dee - What's up with the cover? Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's a bad cover, I just don't think it really matches the book. What do you think about it?

RM - I like the cover, actually. It in no way resembles the cover concept I gave them, but it’s completely different from any other book out there in the genre right now. No leather pants or back shots. Hoorah! The woman herself doesn’t look anything like Georgina, sadly, but the design helps capture a lot of the darkness in the book (though less of the wackiness).

Dee - I'm curious about the amount of research that went into writing SB. With nephilim's, angels, demons, succubi and the like, how many separate sources did you have to scour to find all the information? It was obvious you knew what you were talking about, so I was wondering what sparked the idea. I guess what I'm asking, is kind of along the lines of what came first, the chicken or the egg? Did you get the idea of SB first and then turn to the Bible for information, or did you read these passages in the Bible and wonder, what if?

RM - All of the above, actually. I’ve been reading myths since…well, since I could read. So, by my teens, I already had a huge self-taught background in religion and myth. In college, there were few classes that I actually learned something new in. When I first got the idea to write a succubus novel, I already knew enough about succubi and other heavenly/hellish creatures to get started. Then, as I got deeper in, I’d occasionally have to turn to a book or the web. My other Kensington series—Dark Swan—actually required a lot more research because it’s filled with obscure monsters and demons.

Dee - I'm a genre hater. Terrible, I know, for a reviewer to say that, but I can't stand them. When Jane started the discussion on the Romance genre and how paranormal romance, may or may not have a HEA, I was going to post an essay of my own about the whole thing, BUT, I honestly hate genre. I love reading genre fiction, I just hate the labels. I kept wanting to type, "Please don't label me. Don't categorize me, analyze me, Please don't label me." But I figure Nazareth would have taken offense, as would a lot of readers. So, since I don't want to label SB, and apparently, neither did Kensington since the side just says Fiction, where would you place it? Fantasy? Paranormal? Romance? Amateur sleuth w/ a side of paranormal? LOL

RM - I actually hate genre labeling too. You have no idea how much that urban fantasy/paranormal debate enraged me—particularly since I saw it on every blog and forum out there. I had to bite my tongue to keep from sounding like a ranting wench. But I digress. I think the closest match to SB is “urban fantasy,” but that’s still not entirely accurate. When I started writing it, I really didn’t have a genre in mind, and I’m not sure Kensington does either since they market it to several genres. But I don’t have a problem with that.

Dee - You used to be a teacher, what did you teach and why did you decide to quit to start writing full time?

RM - I taught English and American History to 8th graders—a rather astonishing vocation since I know very little about American History. Or 8th graders. But one thing I learned was that they suck a lot of energy, and although I loved them, I couldn’t teach a full day and still have the mental strength to come home and write. After the Succubus Blues sale, one career had to go. I chose to stay with the one that focused on sex and sin. (That is not an opening for jokes about Mary Kay Letourneau).

Dee - Did being a teacher help any when writing your YA books, you are working on?

RM - Probably the thing I found that’s most useful in both writing about and teaching teenagers is to more or less treat them like adults. Writing YA got a lot easier once I realized that.

Dee - You are very busy, SB is getting ready to hit shelves (more shelves I might say, congrats again) and you are already finishing up the YA, and working on more from Georgina, you also update your blog regularly and help Georgina with hers, how do you find time to do it all?

RM - I’m not entirely sure I have! I’m lucky enough to be able to write full-time, so that goes a long way. Setting goals for myself is a big part of it—like making myself write 4000 words a day. Excessive quantities of coffee are also vital. But most of the time, I’m just struggling to stay afloat. I end up doing a lot of last minute things, some of which I’m not proud of--like mixing instant coffee with drip coffee in order to stay awake. I’ve only had to do that once, and I never, ever want to do it again.

I want to give a HUGE shout of thanks to Richelle for being my FAB pick for February, I had such a great time spending time with Georgina and the gang! For more information about Richelle and what's next you can check out her website.

Take Care

6 comments:

Deb R said...

Congrats to the contest winners! I'm bummed though - I was at B&N today and saw SB and actually had it in my hot little hands and thought "nope, I entered DeeandDee's contest and I might win a signed copy" (I LOVE signed copies!) so I put it back. Sigh. But since it turned out that Christina is luckier than I am, I'll go back and pay money for an unsigned copy, because I must read it. :-)

Great interview, you two. Very interesting!

PS...about genre labeling, FWIW, the B&N I went to today (in Lexington, KY) had SB shelved with the romances.

Richelle Mead said...

Thanks so much, Charity! This has been a lot of fun.

jennybrat said...

Congrats, Christin and principessa!

Terri said...

Congrats Christina !!

Too bad it was not me !!

Ter

dee said...

Congrats to the winners. But *ahem* I am a bit jealous since *I* do not even have a Dee and dee bookbag yet. It's just not fair, I tell ya. The contest entries get all the cool stuff!
Seriously, it was FAB-ulous having Richelle around this week. She's truly wonderful, and I can't wait to see what else she writes.
Thanks so much, Richelle, and thanks to all of our great readers as well!

Christina said...

Yeah! I know I'm a little late posting...I've been really busy trying to unearth my computer from all of the mess in my office.
I didn't think I'd win...I never win anything...
Can you believe I found out about it when my mom emailed me a congrats?! I'm so excited! Dee...I emailed you my info so I think I'm all set!
Again...I have to say, "Yeah!"