Post Mortem

If We Shadows interview

April 7th, 2014

DEATH:
Hey there, living people! Welcome to Post Mortem, the fake online talk-radio show where fictional characters talk to me about their books, their Authors, and basically anything they want. I’m your host, Death. (Don’t let that freak you out.)

The next guest on Post Mortem is the star of D.E. Atwood’s debut novel, IF WE SHADOWS. Here’s the official back-cover copy:

Born female, all Jordan wants is to slip under the radar and live the last year of high school as a boy. His parents and siblings support him, but he’d rather be recognized for his acting and musical talents than his gender issues.

When Shakespeare’s Puck gives him three magical potions — true sight, true seeming, and true love — Jordan discovers being true to himself isn’t as simple as he thought.

Jordan must navigate the confusion of first love, a controversial role in the fall musical, and his transgender identity, while fairy magic creates a net of complications over everything he does. In order to unweave the spells laid over his friends — his supportive older brother, James, his playwright friend, Pepper, and Maria, another transgender student — Jordan needs to understand exactly how far he’ll go to reach his goals of finding true love, true sight, and true seeming.

Give a hearty round of applause to Jordan!

[APPLAUSE]

Jordan, give us an idea of what you go through in IF WE SHADOWS.

JORDAN:
All I want to do is a be a normal guy in my senior year of high school, but then I try out for the play and get a part that gets everyone talking about gender — which is exactly what I don’t want anyone to talk about since I’m transgender — and I’ve just met the girl of my dreams but I can’t even figure out how to tell her and oh yeah, Puck and fairy magic manage to make everything into chaos.

DEATH:
A little bit of chaos is good for the soul. You’ve got a lot going on — what would you say is the worst thing about your situation in the book?

JORDAN:
Oh man, that’s a complicated question.

DEATH:
[GRINS] I don’t like easy answers.

JORDAN:
You, you’re the worst thing.

DEATH:
Me?

JORDAN:
No offense meant, but you’re pretty terrifying. As a concept, not right now. Right this second I have this weird urge to get out my guitar, but we’ll just table that until later.

DEATH:
I’ve been known to bust out a guitar on occasion…

JORDAN:
[GRINS] I am definitely going to bring that up again later. But anyway, the thing about being transgender is that I’m always acting. Even when I’m not on stage, the biggest thing I have to remember is that I have to pass. I can’t just be the guy that I am, I have to make sure that everyone else is completely and absolutely and utterly aware that I’m a guy. They can’t even have a bit of a question in their minds. And when things start to go haywire, I’m afraid that people are looking at me.

DEATH:
So it’s fear that gets to you.

JORDAN:
Fear’s a big thing, you know? It’s like I can’t just get changed for gym or backstage, I have to think about what’s going to happen if someone sees me getting changed and notices. Will they beat me up? Could they kill me? Sometimes it’s scary and those aren’t the thoughts you want to be having when your other big thought is can I kiss this girl right now because she is the most amazing person I have ever met.

DEATH:
Ah, l’amour

JORDAN:
But yeah, it’s the fear, and it’s the fear of just how far that could go. Most people get nervous about getting pantsed in the hallway and being embarrassed. It’s a lot scarier when you’re transgender. And that’s in the back of my mind all the time.

DEATH:
Understandable. So what would you say is the best thing about your situation?

JORDAN:
Pepper.

DEATH:
The spice? The vegetable?

JORDAN:
The girl.

DEATH:
Ah! Details?

JORDAN:
You don’t get the details! It’s not that kind of book and I’m definitely not that kind of guy.

DEATH:
[LAUGHS] Duly noted.

JORDAN:
Seriously, she’s amazing. She’s just… she’s… I still go kind of speechless when I think about her. At least I can talk to her, right? I’ve never met anyone quite like her. She’s smart and funny, and she’s strong and she fights for what she believes in. She’s incredibly protective of her brother, but she doesn’t smother him or baby him. She’s gorgeous, of course. I love how she smiles, and how she talks about things.

DEATH:
Someone sounds smitten…

JORDAN:
[BLUSHES] Anyway… If my brother didn’t convince me to get outside my comfort zone and go for the play, even though I couldn’t just do the chorus, I might not have really gotten to know her, and I can’t imagine that. Everything turned upside down, sure, but I got to know Pepper. That all makes me sound like a sap, doesn’t it?

DEATH:
[GRINS] Yep.

JORDAN:
Especially when there are so many other great things about my life, too. Like my family, because they believe in me, and my best friend Maria, and my psychiatrist. I wouldn’t be who am I without them. Hopefully they’ll forgive me for being a little selfish about my first big crush.

DEATH:
I’m sure they will. Okay, time for random questions! If you could be anyone, who would it be?

JORDAN:
Freddie Mercury. Or maybe in the modern musical era, Adam Lambert. Because they’ve both got this whole I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude and they are who they are. And they’re larger than life on stage, and they’ve got this amazing presence that makes you get on your feet and get moving. Oh, or Gerard Way. Same thing, really. They’re all incredible performers who really put themselves out there and get in your face, but at the same time, they talk about the things they believe in and they don’t let anyone get to them.

DEATH:
Coincidentally, they all push against the boundaries of gender and sexuality.

JORDAN:
Yeah, but that’s not it. They don’t let anyone else define what people should expect about them; they make their own selves and let everyone take them or not. I wish I could have that level of confidence to just let the show go on.

DEATH:
And the show must go on, as Freddie once said. What’s your standard outfit?

JORDAN:
I have a thing for vests. Not a sweater vest, but the kind that looks kind of formal. I wear them over t-shirts or over a button down shirt. I like the way they add a stiffness to my outfit, so if someone happens to bump into me, they don’t feel my binder (or don’t realize they’re feeling it) or worse, what’s under my binder. Other than that, I like loose t-shirts and hoodies. Jeans. I wear a lot of jeans.

DEATH:
And, on a related note, what wouldn’t you be caught dead in?

JORDAN:
A dress. Except for being Viola on stage, there is no way in hell you are ever getting me into anything that screams girl. Even when I was little, when my family didn’t know, I used to refuse to wear dresses. And yeah, I know some boys do wear dresses, but this one doesn’t, thanks.

DEATH:
Gotcha. You touched on this before, but what are you most afraid of?

JORDAN:
I’m afraid of people knowing that when I was born, I was assigned as female sex. That people thought I was a girl until I was eleven and figured out how to get them to understand that I’m not. And the thing is, I can’t ever completely get away from that. I mean, it’s always there. It’s like this thing hanging over me and even making peace with the whole idea isn’t easy. Because it’s not something that just happens one time. I can tell one person today, and maybe they’re okay with it, but there might be someone tomorrow who finds out who isn’t okay with it. And they try to hurt me.

DEATH:
Yeah, some people don’t get it at all.

JORDAN:
Maybe what I’m really afraid of is people not understanding and people being afraid of what they don’t understand. Not just for me, but for Maria and everyone else like us.

DEATH:
In IF WE SHADOWS, were there any parts of the story where you were like, D., what on earth are you making me do? Or were you and D. in sync the entire time?

JORDAN:
It’s hard to talk about this without spoiling the story! Most of the time we were totally in sync and she just let me call the shots. It’s my story, after all. So I talked, and she wrote it down. And I guess I knew what was going to have to happen and how it would all resolve out, but that didn’t mean I had to like it. We had a really rough time getting some of the events toward the end on the page, mostly because my gut reaction was no way in hell about them.

DEATH:
Those tend to be the best scenes.

JORDAN:
We actually wrote ahead — something she doesn’t normally do — so I could see what would happen after, then we went back and got it written.

DEATH:
If you had your way, what would you change about IF WE SHADOWS?

JORDAN:
If I could change the world, I’d make it better for my friends to live in it, and that’s all I’m going to say on that. Anything more would be spoilery.

DEATH:
Can’t have spoilers! If you could make D. do anything, what would it be?

JORDAN:
ANYTHING?

DEATH:
Anything.

JORDAN:
Pee standing up.

DEATH:
[DIES LAUGHING]

JORDAN:
No, seriously! I’m pretty sure that no matter how much she imagines it, the reality of peeing with the wrong anatomy is worse than she thinks. And it’s not just the bathroom thing, either. I think she should try to walk in my shoes for a day. Make a homemade packer, try a binder, see what it’s like to be me. I’d also like to see her try to do the stuff on stage she thinks is no problem for me. She keeps saying she used to do all kinds of performance when she was my age, but she’s pretty shy about it now.

DEATH:
Tell me one thing in the real world that you wish you could change.

JORDAN:
It’d be nice if I could just wish up the perfect body that totally matches the me in my head, but I think I’ve also learned that magic isn’t always the best solution. I’m pretty sure something would go horribly wrong along the way if I tried it!

DEATH:
Yeah, magic tends to go awry at exactly the wrong time. So if your book, IF WE SHADOWS, goes Hollywood, who should play you and the other main characters in the movie?

JORDAN:
D. actually has this whole page of pictures of all of us! She had my brother cast as a younger Alex Pettyfer, so I guess he’s a good look for me, too, since we look a lot alike. I don’t know about Pepper, but I do have an idea for Paul. The other day I was looking at stills from The Maze Runner and the kid they’ve got playing Newt–Thomas Brodie-Sangster–he would make a perfect Paul. He’s got that whole pointy-chinned fey look.

DEATH:
If there’s one piece of advice you could give to your fans, what would it be?

JORDAN:
Trust yourself and be who you are. No one can tell you who to be better than your own heart. It’s not always easy to do (trust me, I KNOW), but it’s worth it in the end. We spend so much time being afraid to let people see inside our hearts, and when we do, it’s like getting out of a cage finally. We are who we are.

DEATH:
Excellent advice. Finally, who’s your favorite Horseman of the Apocalypse?

JORDAN:
Death, of course. Do you really think I’d say something else?

DEATH:
Smart boy!

Living people, give another round of applause for the star of D.E. Atwood’s debut novel, the talented Jordan!

[APPLAUSE]

You can purchase IF WE SHADOWS, either in print or e-book format, at Amazon, B&N, and Dreamspinner Press.

That’s it for this episode of Post Mortem. Until next time: Go thee out unto the world. Rock on.



Ghost In The Machine

May 5th, 2011

DEATH:
Hey there, living people. Welcome to Post Mortem, the fake online talk-radio show where fictional characters talk to me about their books, their Authors, and basically anything they want. I’m your host, Death.

Our guest today on Post Mortem knows a thing or two about little-d death. Or, well, at least about being dead. Or, well, at least about being a ghost. All Things Urban Fantasy says: “SHIFT is a very mature YA novel with none of the superficiality and self absorption that can plague this genre…Not just my favorite Paranormal YA ghost story, it’s my favorite ghost story ever. And Booklist says: “This sequel to SHADE will not disappoint fans of paranormal romance with its blend of action, star-crossed lovers, and entanglements, both dangerous and sexy.”

Star-crossed lovers? Ghost stories? You know I want to read it! Living people, say hello to one of the stars of Jeri Smith-Ready‘s latest teen novel, SHIFT…Logan!

[APPLAUSE]

SHIFT by Jeri Smith-Ready

Hey, Logan!

LOGAN:
Hey, Death, how’s it goin’?  It’s funny, I’ve known you for, like, eight months now, but never saw your face.  Did anyone ever tell you, you look like—

DEATH:
Yeah, I get that a lot. [GRINS] So for those who aren’t familiar with SHIFT, give us a one-line description of your book.

LOGAN:
Okay confession time: it’s actually my girlfriend Aura’s book.

DEATH:
Do tell!

LOGAN:
SHADE starts out on what was supposed to be the greatest night of my life—my seventeenth birthday.  The Keeley Brothers—that’s my band—did the best concert ever in front of A&R reps from two different labels.  Those guys were drooling to sign us up.

DEATH:
There’s nothing like good music.

LOGAN:
Then at the after-party at my house, Aura and I were going to, you know, do it.  It would’ve been the first time for both of us, and it was going to be perfect—I even wrote her a song.  But I’d had way too much to drink—I was totally nervous and still jacked up from the concert.  And then I did something really, really, I mean REALLY stupid, and I died.  And now I’m a ghost.

DEATH:
Yep, you certainly are. By the way, for those living people who haven’t read SHADE yet, none of that was really spoilerish, since it all happens in the first chapter or two.

LOGAN:
SHIFT, the sequel, is about what happens after the big thing at the end of SHADE. And how it makes everything better and worse. Um, I guess that’s the one-line description you asked for.

DEATH:
Heh. That’ll do. What’s the worst thing about your situation in SHIFT?

LOGAN:
The worst thing about being dead? You know, I’m really glad I get to tell you about this, because it’s like taking my complaint to the top.

DEATH:
Or, depending on your world view, the bottom.

LOGAN:
The worst thing is not being able to touch Aura. I can see her, hear her, and sometimes I think I can even smell her. But I’ll never be able to feel her get goose bumps when I run my fingers over her—

DEATH:
Her what?

LOGAN:
Ah, forget it.

DEATH:
Hey—ghosts can blush!

LOGAN:
I also hate being invisible to everyone over seventeen, and annoying to everyone under seventeen.

DEATH:
Well, now you just sound like a teenager in an adult world. Even with being dead and all, there has to be something good about your situation, right?

LOGAN:
Being able to go anywhere I ever went during my life, just like that. [SNAPS FINGERS SOUNDLESSLY] Free trip to Dublin whenever I feel like it.

DEATH:
And without the hassle of getting onto an airplane! If you could be anyone, who would it be?

LOGAN:
I’d be you.

DEATH:
Such flattery! Why would you want to be the not-necessarily grim Reaper?

LOGAN:
Because at least you made it to 27 before you became a dead rock star. I got cheated by 10 years.

DEATH:
Heh. Yeah, well. I get that a lot. So what’s the standard outfit for ghosts these days?

LOGAN:
I still rock the skate punk look—spiky bleach blond hair, Quiksilver cargo shorts, and Vans, always Vans.  I wanted to be buried in them, but they’d already dressed me—my body, I mean—before I realized I could put in a request. Anyway, I don’t skate much anymore since I got obsessed with music, but the look stayed. I mean, REALLY stayed, because when you become a ghost, you get frozen in the happiest moment of your life, which I guess was right before I died.

DEATH:
That could lead to some…interesting looks, depending on what floats your boat. So tell me: what’s a ghost like you most afraid of?

LOGAN:
I’m afraid that when I finally pass on, it’ll suck. Instead of some big reunion with all the people I love, dancing on clouds with a giant disco ball in the sky, there’ll be nothing and nobody, but I’ll still be aware.

DEATH:
Yeah, I could see that.

LOGAN:
It could be like in that play we had to read in French class, NO EXIT, where that dude and those two ladies went to hell and ended up in a room sitting on couches with people they thought were [BLEEP]. But man, that’d be heaven compared to being alone.

DEATH:
Loneliness can eat at you, this is true. What’s one thing about you that no one else knows?

LOGAN:
That I’m secretly glad Aura’s met someone like Zachary.

DEATH:
The living boy Aura is spending a lot of time with, right?

LOGAN:
[NODS] He’ll never do anything stupid and make her cry like I did by dying. He seems like he’d be good for her.

DEATH:
That’s very considerate of you…

LOGAN:
Hah, just kidding! I hate that guy. Can’t wait til he moves back to Scotland.

DEATH:
Hah! In either SHADE or SHIFT, were there any parts of the story where you were like, Jeri, what on earth are you making me do? Or were you and your Author in sync the entire time?

LOGAN:
Nah, Jeri gets me. I think she gets me better than she gets any other character. Maybe that’s why she’s so mean to me, because I remind her too much of herself, and people like us…I don’t know. Next question?

DEATH:
If you had your way, what would you change about SHADE or SHIFT?

LOGAN:
I’d have Zachary die instead of me. Duh.

DEATH:
[DIES LAUGHING]

LOGAN:
He’d die slowly, so he wouldn’t come back as a ghost.

DEATH:
Vicious! I like it! If you could make your Author, Jeri, do anything, what would it be?

LOGAN:
Um, what did I just say?

DEATH:
Heh. Duly noted. Tell me one thing in the real world that you wish you could change.

LOGAN:
I was going to say something dorky like make the Orioles win the World Series, but that reminded me of what I really want: I’d like to make Baltimore as awesome a city as its people deserve. Sometimes it almost gets there, but then [BLEEP] things happen and it’s in trouble again. I don’t have a clue how I’d fix it, but you didn’t ask for a plan.

DEATH:
I’m not a Big Plan sort of entity. If the SHADE series goes Hollywood, who should play you and Aura in the movie?

LOGAN:
It’d be cool to see Zach Efron and Vanessa Hudgens team up again to play us, but I think by now they’re too old. As long as things take in Hollywood, we’d probably be played by people we haven’t even heard of yet.  Maybe people who haven’t even been born yet.

DEATH:
Heh. Good point. If there’s anything I haven’t asked that you really want to talk about, go for it!

LOGAN:

Yeah, I got my own short story coming out this fall.  It’s called “Bridge,” and it’s in the ENTHRALLED anthology. It takes place sort of in the middle of SHIFT, but there’s no book spoilers in it, other than I’m still dead and still fighting with my brother. “Bridge” is the story of how we finally got talking again. Sort of. It’s written in free verse, I guess because I’m a songwriter. Also, I kinda ramble on sometimes, I don’t know if you’ve noticed.

DEATH:
Who, me?

LOGAN:
Telling the story in verse kept it from going off in a million directions and being as long as a novel. Oh hey, you’re mentioned in the story, by the way.  Jimi Hendrix and Elvis, too.

DEATH:
Yeah. I get that a lot. [WINKS] If there’s one piece of advice you could give to your fans, what would it be?

LOGAN:
Don’t swallow any mystery drinks, especially if they’re called “Liquid Stupid.” I mean, seriously, I shouldn’t have to tell anyone that.

DEATH:
You’d think.

LOGAN:
On a related note, never trust a drummer.

DEATH:
I am so telling John Bonham you said that. Finally, who’s your favorite Horseman of the Apocalypse?

LOGAN:
Easy—you, dude.

[ETHEREAL FIST BUMP]

DEATH:
Knew there was a reason I liked you!

Living people, give another huge round of applause to one of the stars of Jeri Smith-Ready‘s latest novel, SHIFT…Logan!

[APPLAUSE]

No, this isn't Logan. But it is his Author, Jeri Smith-Ready

Special announcement for Thursday, May 5, 2011! Leave a comment—preferably your own question for Logan, because he loves to talk—below to enter today’s drawing.  There will be two winners!

The Prizes:
Winner # 1 gets a signed copy of SHIFT, plus an iTunes copy of Logan’s “Sucks to Be a Ghost (Sometimes)” playlist (see below). Note: because of iTunes rules, the playlist is only available to US residents. The signed copy is open to all.

Winner #2 gets an unsigned copy of SHIFT, courtesy of Jeri’s publisher.

Additionally, all commenters will be entered into a draw to win the Grand Prize: annotated copies of SHADE and SHIFT, an early copy of SHINE (book three of the series, of which there will be no other ARCS) and an iPod Shuffle!

Open to international entries!  Winners will be drawn after 24 hours.

Author Bio: Jeri Smith-Ready’s latest release is SHIFT (May 3), the second in the YA ghost trilogy that began last year with SHADE (which just came out in paperback April 5).  She loves to hear from readers, so please visit her at www.jerismithready.com, or better yet, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jerismithready) or Twitter (@jsmithready), where she spends far too much time.


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

This playlist is available—with Jeri’s preferred choice of Flogging Molly song—for purchase from iTunes’s iMix site: http://c.itunes.apple.com/us/imix/sucks-to-be-a-ghost-sometimes/id434290107. Note: Jeri makes no money off the sales of her iMixes—she just likes to spread the word about bands she loves.

And don’t forget to buy SHIFT and SHADE at your favorite local indie, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or other fine bookstores near you!

That’s it for this episode of Post Mortem. Until next time, go thee out unto the world–rock on!



Smell The Roses

December 6th, 2010

DEATH:
Hey there, living people. Welcome to Post Mortem, the fake online talk-radio show where fictional characters talk to me about their books, their Authors, and basically anything they want. I’m your host, Death.

People say that you should take the time to smell the roses. Our guest today on Post Mortem has a thing or two to say about the scents of flowers. The Compulsive Reader says “Along with the lively cast of characters dialogue and mishaps and triumphs with Laurel’s ability, FORGET-HER-NOTS is a wonderful, light read for younger teens.“ The Story Siren calls FORGET-HER-NOTS “a fascinating debut, full of mystery, friendship and flowers.”

Living people, say hello to the star of Amy Brecount White’s debut novel, FORGET-HER-NOTS…Laurel Whelan!

[APPLAUSE]

Hey, Laurel!

LAUREL:
Hi, there …umm, Death.

DEATH:
Tell me about FORGET-HER-NOTS.

LAUREL:
Out of control magical scented flowers. I’m really sensitive to flower scents.

DEATH:
Yeah, I’m sort of sensitive to chrysanthemums and lilies. What’s the worst thing about your situation in the book?

LAUREL:
[COUNTS ON FINGERS] My mom died of cancer about six months ago. All these women are pursuing my dad. I thought going away to my mom’s boarding school would solve everything, but it didn’t. I’m lonely. And on top of all that, I keep getting these really bizarre sensations whenever I’m around flowers.

DEATH:
Bizarre? Such as?

LAUREL:
Tingles, spins, hums, and weird impulses.

DEATH:
I can see where that would be disconcerting. Anything positive about your situation?

LAUREL:

Nobody really knows me at my new school—other than my brainiac cousin, Rose—so I can be whoever. And something’s up with these flowers. Maybe something good. I mean, I feel this power shooting through me, like up my arms and tingly. Weirdness, huh?

DEATH:
Definitely. If you could be anyone, who would it be?

LAUREL:
I’d want to be my dead mom for a day, just to figure out what’s up with all this flower stuff. Did she know about it? She could have mentioned it.

DEATH:
Sure, but that would have been telling. What does a 14-year-old girl with flower power wear these days?

LAUREL:
We have to wear a uniform, which I’ve never done in my life, but it’s kind of a relief to roll out of bed and not have to think. Except some days, guys show up on campus, and I really haven’t figured the whole schedule thing out. I’d almost always rather be in my soccer cleats, shorts and a big T-shirt.

DEATH:
What are you most afraid of?

LAUREL:
I’m most afraid of being alone. But I am. At least sometimes. I don’t know how to move past it. Maybe this flower weirdness will help.

DEATH:
Maaaaaaaybe. What’s one thing about you that no one else knows?

LAUREL:
I miss my Dad, almost as much as I miss my mom. But don’t tell him. He’s cocky enough as it is.

DEATH:
Your secret is safe with me. In FORGET-HER-NOTS, were there any parts of the story where you were like, “Amy, what on earth are you making me do?” Or were you and your Author in sync the entire time?

LAUREL:
I think she pretty much got me. Sometimes she tried to protect me, you know, ’cause my mom had died and all. But we all have to stand up for ourselves.

DEATH:
You do indeed. If you had your way, what would you change about FORGET-HER-NOTS?

LAUREL:
Sometimes I see my mom in dreams, and it feels so warm and lovely. Not enough of that in the book. And I should have a better understanding of the guy world, even though I really don’t. Why’d she have to make me look like such a dork sometimes?

DEATH:
Because Authors believe in tough love. If you could make your Author, Amy Brecount White, do anything, what would it be?

LAUREL:

I know she lost her dad and all too, but couldn’t she have given me a chapter with my mom still around? And I want her to buy a bigger house with a big back garden where I can figure out all this flower stuff. Or maybe she should build a conservatory, so I can get flowers any time I need them. People are always asking me for flowers now.

DEATH:
I bet. Tell me one thing in the real world that you wish you could change.

LAUREL:
I wish everybody could have flowers every day in their lives. We’d all be a lot happier. I mean, now people get all these flowers when they die. What good is that?

DEATH:
Not much, especially when the dude in charge of death is allergic to them. [COUGHS] Anyway. If FORGET-HER-NOTS goes Hollywood, who should play you in the movie?

LAUREL:
I was pretty clueless in the beginning of the book, so I want someone undiscovered who can morph into me.

DEATH:
That can be arranged. If there’s one piece of advice you could give to your fans, what would it be?

LAUREL:
Pay attention to flowers. They can change your life. Really.

DEATH:
Sort of a living feng shui. Neat. Last question: Who’s your favorite Horseman of the Apocalypse?

LAUREL:

Didn’t they play for Notre Dame or something?

DEATH:
[DIES LAUGHING]

Living people, give a big round of applause to the star of Amy Brecount White’s protagonist of FORGET-HER-NOTS…Laurel Whelan!

[APPLAUSE]

No, this isn't Laurel. But it is her Author, Amy Brecount White

You can buy FORGET-HER-NOTS at your favorite local indie, as well as at Amazon and B&N.com. Buy early and buy often.

That’s it for this episode of Post Mortem. Until next time, go thee out unto the world. Rock on.



The HUNGER interview, part 2

October 19th, 2010

DEATH:
Hey there, living people. Welcome to Post Mortem, the fake online talk-radio show where fictional characters talk to me about their books, their Authors, and basically anything they want. I’m your host, Death.

We’re doing a very special two-part interview today. Actually, make that a Very Special two-part interview. (Nothing shouts “special” more than initial caps.) The first part is on The Book Smuggler’s website, which has me interviewing Jackie Morse Kessler, author of HUNGER. The second part is on Jackie’s website, where I interview Lisabeth Lewis, the protagonist of HUNGER.

Yeah, I get to interview both of them. [GRINS] Death knows no limits.

~ PART TWO: POST MORTEM ~

DEATH:
The next guest on Post Mortem thought at one point that if she’d be any Horseman of the Apocalypse, she’d be War. Well, she found out the hard way that she was much more suited to be Famine.

According to bestselling author Rachel Caine: “HUNGER is not just a good book. It is a great book. It is funny and sad, brilliant and tragic, and most of all, it speaks truth. I adore it.” And bestselling author Richelle Mead calls HUNGER “Fast-paced, witty, and heart-breaking! Jackie Morse Kessler is one of the most talented authors I know.” Kirkus says “[Kessler’s] ear for dialogue, fluid prose and dark humor elevate this brief novel above other ‘issue books.’ ” And according to Booklist, “Kessler offers a refreshingly new approach to the YA eating-disorder genre that reinforces the difficulty of conquering these diseases.”

Living people, give a warm welcome to the protagonist of Jackie Morse Kessler’s HUNGER…Lisabeth Lewis!

Hunger

[APPLAUSE]

Hey, Lisa!

LISA:
Hey. [LEANS IN] So, uh, am I supposed to pretend that I don’t know you?

DEATH:
[QUIETLY] Just roll with it.

LISA:
Okay. I’m just worried about spoilers.

DEATH:
Never fear. That’s what editing is for. [GRINS] What, you thought the scythe was just for reaping lives? I believe in multitasking.

LISA:
Um. Great.

DEATH:
So in your own words, what is HUNGER about?

LISA:
I don’t realize that I have an eating disorder, or what that even means, until after I become Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

DEATH:
What was worse for you: being anorexic, or being Famine?

LISA:
Can I just say “Yes”?

DEATH:
Sure.

LISA:
Well then. Yes.

DEATH:
‘Splain, please.

LISA:
Having an eating disorder isn’t like a switch I can flip on and off. It’s…everything, you know? It’s all I think about. It’s my whole world. And it’s not like I want it to be. I have a boyfriend and a best friend, but I keep pushing them away. And my parents, God, don’t even ask me about them. The only one who gets me is another friend who’s bulimic. That’s what my world has become. It’s this nasty voice in my head, telling me I’m not good enough. I’m not thin enough. And I keep hoping that when I’m finally thin enough, everything will be okay.

DEATH:
And is it?

LISA:
I don’t know. I’m not thin enough. Don’t you see? I’ll never be thin enough. [BREATHES DEEPLY] That’s what it’s like. Everything is about food and calories and how long it would take to exercise away the little bit that I’ve eaten. I don’t want this. But I can’t help it.

DEATH:
And then you became Famine.

LISA:
[NODS] And everything got so much worse. Because then it wasn’t about me choosing not to eat. Then it was me seeing how people are starving not by choice but because rats and floods have destroyed their crops. How am I supposed to reconcile being anorexic when other people are starving? It’s messed up. And that’s not even counting how I accidentally ash away the food. And then what I did to my mom… [SHUDDERS]

DEATH:
Did anything good come out of what happens to you?

LISA:
Oh yeah. [SMILES] Everything good comes out of it. I find out that I’m stronger than I ever believed I was, and I’m able to do more than I thought possible.

DEATH:
See, that’s the cool thing about living people. You can learn.

LISA:
It wasn’t easy.

DEATH:
Where would be the fun if it were easy? [SMILES] In HUNGER, were there any parts of the story where you were like, Jackie, what on earth are you making me do? Or were you and your Author in sync the entire time?

LISA:
Oh my God, Jackie hates me! Do you know what she put me through?

DEATH:
Actually, yes. I was there.

LISA:
Oh. Right. So you understand. She’s horrible. I hate her.

DEATH:
Aw. Someone needs a hug.

LISA:
Ah…I’m good, thanks.

DEATH:
If you could change any part of HUNGER, what would it be?

LISA:
I wouldn’t have an eating disorder. I’d like myself for who I am. And I wouldn’t have tried to overdose. [FROWNS] And I absolutely wouldn’t have answered the door and accepted the package you gave me.

DEATH:
Hey now. It’s not like I forced you to take it.

LISA:
No, you were just all “Thou art Famine, thou art the Black Rider.”

DEATH:
You could have said no.

LISA:
I was intimidated! You’re Death! That’s intimidating!

DEATH:
[GRINS] Yeah, I can see that. If you could make your Author, Jackie Morse Kessler, do anything, what would it be?

LISA:
I’d make her relive her life in high school. Specifically, chemistry and trigonometry, two of her worst subjects. And I’d make her always have to wear braces. And I’d make her face break out. A lot. And…

DEATH:
I’m sensing some hostility.

LISA:
Did you read HUNGER? I think I deserve a little payback.

DEATH:
Heh. Duly noted. If HUNGER were to go the way of Hollywood, who would play you?

LISA:
Hmm. I think it should be someone unknown. Someone the world is waiting to discover.

DEATH:
What about me? Who should play Death?

LISA:
Since you look exactly like Kurt Cobain, I think Ewan McGregor should play you, since he’s going to be playing Kurt in the biopic.

DEATH:
Sweet. If there’s one piece of advice you can give to your fans, what would it be?

LISA:
It’s not about being thin, no matter what the Thin Voice says. It’s about being healthy.

DEATH:
Words to live by. Finally, who’s your favorite Horseman of the Apocalypse?

LISA:
Frankly, they all scare the hell out of me. But my steed, Midnight, was awesome. So I pick the black horse.

DEATH:
[SMILES] Nicely put.

Living people, give another warm round of applause to the protagonist of Jackie Morse Kessler’s novel HUNGER…Lisabeth Lewis!

[APPLAUSE]

No, this isn't Lisabeth Lewis. But it is her Author, Jackie Morse Kessler

You can buy HUNGER at Barnes & Noble, Borders, your favorite local indie, and Amazon.

Thanks for tuning in to part two of this Very Special interview. For part one, please go to the Book Smugglers’ website.

Until next time, go thee out unto the world. Rock on!



Vera, What Has Become Of You?

October 7th, 2010

DEATH:
Hey there, living people. Welcome to Post Mortem, the fake online talk-radio show where fictional characters talk to me about their books, their Authors, and basically anything they want. I’m your host, Death.

Our guest today on Post Mortem has a thing about secrets: she knows too many of them. Kirkus, in a starred review, calls PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ “A harrowing but ultimately redemptive tale of adolescent angst gone awry” and says “The author depicts the journey to overcome a legacy of poverty, violence, addiction and ignorance as an arduous one, but Vera’s path glimmers with grace and hope.” And New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins calls the book “Brilliant. Funny. Really special.”

If Kirkus and Ellen love it, then you know it’s worth reading. Living people, say hello to the star of A.S. King’s newest book, PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ…Vera Dietz!

[APPLAUSE]

Hey, Vera!

VERA:
Uh. Hi…Death.

DEATH:
So hit me: In one sentence, what’s PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ about?

VERA:
If you think your best friend dying is a bitch, try your best friend dying after he screws you over and being the only one who knows the truth about how he died.

DEATH:
For the record, I have a different relationship with dying than humans do. But yeah, I can see how it’s got to be hell for you. Tell me what’s the worst thing about your situation in the book.

VERA:
There are a lot of bad things. To start, I’m in love with my best friend for my whole life but could never do anything about it.

DEATH:
Ouch.

VERA:
And I keep all his secrets—some of which are just wrong to keep. And then he totally screws me over and starts to date the school slut.

DEATH:
Talk about wrong.

VERA:
I know. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he dies.

DEATH:
Ouch. Again.

VERA:
And there’s my family. My dad is this totally tuned-out accountant dweeb. And my mom ran off to Las Vegas when I was twelve. And she has secrets, too—which I’m keeping the same as I’m keeping Charlie’s secrets.

DEATH:
Drama!

VERA:
I know! And then there’s my day-to-day life in the here and now. I work full time while I’m still in high school, which sucks.

DEATH:
I can see that.

VERA:
I have no idea what I’m going to do with my life. And I’m being haunted by a thousand Charlies.

DEATH:
A thousand Charlies.

VERA:
[NODS] Who are trying to get me to clear his name. So, I guess the worst thing about my situation in the book is…being me.

DEATH:
Yow.

VERA:
But I wouldn’t be anyone else. Even though things are weird, I like being Vera Dietz now. I didn’t used to. But I do now.

DEATH:
Sounds like with all that bad, there’s also some good.

VERA:
I sound like a total downer, but I’m not, really. I mean, my life is cool. My dad is pretty cool—especially compared to Charlie’s dad. I like working at Pagoda Pizza. I make good money. I have friends there—and James.

DEATH:
James?

VERA:
Who is totally hot. He’s also twenty-three.

DEATH:
Ah. Older man. Gotcha.

VERA:
Maybe all my dad’s Zen books have rubbed off on me or something, but I see all of this as some sort of learning experience. Or training.

DEATH:
So what does one wear for such a learning experience or training?

VERA:
Jeans, t-shirts and boots—probably Doc Martens. I wouldn’t be caught dead in heels or dresses.

DEATH:
You should try a hooded robe. Looks good with a scythe. Speaking of which, what are you most afraid of?

VERA:
[PAUSES] For a long time I was afraid that I’d never stop hating Charlie. But now I think that will change. I was also afraid I would fulfill my family destiny by becoming an alcoholic. That was a big fear. But then I realized that if I don’t drink, then there’s no reason to fear that.

DEATH:
So are you fearless? Because I’ve got the perfect nightmare face that could change that…

VERA:
I guess the one big fear I’ve still got is about what I’m going to do with my life. I just don’t want to be a loser, you know? I want to do something important. But I have no idea what yet.

DEATH:
Give it time. Not too much, because mortals only have a handful of the stuff. What’s one thing about you that no one else knows?

VERA:
While I’m delivering pizza, I eat about four Twix bars per night and call it dinner.

DEATH:
Dude. Hardcore. In PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ, were there any parts of the story where you were like, “A.S. King, what on earth are you making me do?” Or were you and your Author in sync the entire time?

VERA:
We were in sync for the most part. I didn’t like that she gave me that concussion, but it healed and taught me a big lesson, so whatever.

DEATH:
We always hurt the ones we love. So they say.

VERA:
Apparently, that’s one of the few things we have in common. She claims to still have the lump on her forehead.

DEATH:
If you had your way, what would you change about PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ?

VERA:
I’d make Charlie not dead. I mean, obviously.

DEATH:
Obviously. If you could make your Author, A.S. King, do anything, what would it be?

VERA:
Act like a chicken every time she hears “Flashlight” by Parliament.

DEATH:
I love that. Tell me one thing in the real world that you wish you could change.

VERA:
I would change the way everyone ignores everything important while paying attention to all the bull[BLEEP].

DEATH:
Good luck with that.

VERA:
I think everyone is too judgmental. Does that make me too judgmental?

DEATH:
Who am I to judge?

VERA:
Seriously. We are becoming a selfish, compassionless society. The longer we’re here, the less we give a [BLEEP]. I want to talk about that. All the time. Every day.

DEATH:
You should. Silence is the thing that kills. Trust me on that. [WINKS] If PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ goes Hollywood, who should play you in the movie?

VERA:
Someone smart should play me. I don’t care what she looks like, as long as she’s smart.

DEATH:
And Charlie?

VERA:
Hmm. Someone no one has heard of yet with messy, grunger hair. Like Kurt Cobain.

DEATH:
[GRINS] Excellent taste! If there’s one piece of advice you could give to your fans, what would it be?

VERA:
Follow your dreams and work hard. And don’t complain. It could always be worse.

DEATH:
Now, if only people would take that advice… Last question: Who’s your favorite Horseman of the Apocalypse?

VERA:
Probably you.

DEATH:
Awwww.

VERA:
I feel like I’ve got to know you or something—I mean, with Charlie dying and everything. I’m okay with you now. Does that make sense?

DEATH:
Sure does.

VERA:
Please don’t take this as an invitation to come around. I mean, you’re cool and all, but I’d like to stay alive and do some stuff before I croak, okay?

DEATH:

No worries. I’ve got connections.

Living people, give a big round of applause for the star of A.S. King’s PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ…Vera!

No, this isn't Vera Dietz, but it is her Author, A.S. King.

[APPLAUSE]

PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ is on sale beginning October 12, 2010, at your favorite local indie, as well as at Amazon and B&N.com. Buy early and buy often.

VERA:
If you’re going to a physical chain store to buy, call first to check availability! You may have to order it!

DEATH:
That’s it for this episode of Post Mortem. Until next time, go thee out unto the world. Rock on.



You’ve Got To Have Heart

June 11th, 2010

DEATH:
Hey there, living people. Welcome to Post Mortem, the fake online talk-radio show where fictional characters talk to me about their books, their Authors, and basically anything they want. I’m your host, Death.

The next guest on Post Mortem has a broken heart — and not in the way that you think. Everyone, say hello to the star of Shari Maurer’s debut novel CHANGE OF HEART. . . Emmi Miller!

[APPLAUSE]

Hey, Emmi.

EMMI:
Hey, everyone.

DEATH:
Tell us about CHANGE OF HEART.

EMMI:
I’m a competitive soccer player with a great life, until one day a virus gets me so sick that without a new heart, I will die.

DEATH:
Dude. Sounds like you should be talking to my co-worker, Pestilence.

EMMI:
Well, for me to get a new heart, some other person has to die.

DEATH:
Ah. So you’re chatting with the correct Horseman. [GRINS] You’re in a tough spot. Anything good about your situation?

EMMI:
Well, I probably would have said not having to go to school while I was waiting for my heart, except the reality of it is that it’s really boring.

DEATH:
Yeah?

EMMI:
I miss my peeps!

DEATH:
Gotcha.

EMMI:
The funny thing is that when I went to school, no one really noticed me. Once I was out of school, I was e-mailing with my teachers several times a week. And I have a feeling that there was a lot of gossip about me. Every time I ran into someone from school, they would give me a funny look. [PAUSES] Strangely, the whole thing probably brought me closer to Sam.

DEATH:
Sam?

EMMI:
He was amazingly supportive and would chat with me and help me study.

DEATH:
Nice. If you could be anyone, who would it be?

EMMI:
Mia Hamm. She is probably one of the greatest women’s soccer players ever. She has set all sorts of records, played college, professional and for the US National Team. And then she went on to marry a baseball player. She gives hope to my hot baseball-playing boyfriend Sam and me for a successful soccer-baseball intermarriage!

DEATH:
Heh. Hope springs eternal, from what I hear. What’s your standard outfit?

EMMI:
T-shirt, sweats and flip flops—unless I’m wearing my soccer uniform and cleats, of course.

DEATH:
Of course. Missy from RAGE would love to hang out with you, I just know it. What wouldn’t you be, ha ha, caught dead in?

EMMI:
Using the phrase “wouldn’t be caught dead in” kind of freaks me out.

DEATH:
Whoops, sorry about that.

EMMI:
I have to say that even though I’m a bit of a jock, I like getting dressed up too

DEATH:
What are you most afraid of?

EMMI:
I’m most afraid of you, Death.

DEATH:
Why? I’m a nice sort of anthropomorphic personification.

EMMI:
We come pretty close in my story and unfortunately, I will be having you looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life.

DEATH:
Er. Well. It’s a nice shoulder, if that matters…

EMMI:
I’ll try not to think about you too much, but I think you’re always there in the background.

DEATH:
[SMILES] I always am, for every living creature. Comes with the scythe. What’s one thing about you that no one else knows?

EMMI:
I actually don’t hate my brothers as much as I tell everyone I do.

DEATH:
Blood is thicker than water, after all. In CHANGE OF HEART were there any parts of the story where you were like, Shari, what on earth are you making me do? Or were you and your Author in sync the entire time?

EMMI:
Shari had my best friend Becca and me have a No-Sex pact.

DEATH:
Oh my.

EMMI:
It made sense at one point, but when I got involved with Sam, I really wanted to chuck it.

DEATH:
Ah, l’amour. If you had your way, what would you change about CHANGE OF HEART?

EMMI:
The end. But I can’t tell you what happens, only that it’s super-awful and I wish it didn’t happen.

DEATH:
Duly noted. If you could make your Author, Shari Maurer, do anything, what would it be?

EMMI:
I’d put her in the hospital for a few days so she could see how it feels.

DEATH:
Heh. I bet she’d really love that. Tell me one thing in the real world that you wish you could change.

EMMI:
I’ve always said that after college I wanted to do a Peace Corp type thing, so I really wish I could make a world where there aren’t any poor children.

DEATH:
[NODS] That’s a good wish. If CHANGE OF HEART goes Hollywood, who should play you in the movie?

EMMI:
Well, if you know someone with crazy, curly hair that never does what it’s supposed to do, that would be good. Or they could wear a wig, right?

DEATH:
Sure.

EMMI:
Do you think that Britt Robertson from Life Unexpected could pull off the athletic part? I wouldn’t mind looking like her!

DEATH:
Absolutely. What about your friend Becca — who should play her?

EMMI:
Well, for Becca, it would have to be someone with great blonde hair. Maybe Blake Lively or Hayden Panettiere, though they may be getting too old to play us high school kids.

DEATH:
Don’t discount the magic of Hollywood. Hey, I understand you have a public service announcement to make. Go for it!

EMMI:
Something that both Shari and I are working on is to make people aware that they should register to be an organ donor. It sucks to think you or your family member might die one day, but there’d be a lot of good you could do — you could help eight people with your organs. As they say, you can’t take them to heaven with you, so wouldn’t it be great to leave them to help someone else survive? You can find out how to register at www.donatelife.net. You need to be 18 to register, but you can tell all your friends and family members to register too.

DEATH:
That’s an excellent cause. Dying is also about living. And being an organ donor helps you make a positive impact on the world, even after you’ve left. Rock on, Emmi. If there’s one piece of advice you could give to your fans, what would it be?

EMMI:
Patience is the key to life. I had absolutely no patience before everything began, but then I had no choice but to wait for things, so I learned: patience is a virtue. Isn’t that what they say?

DEATH:
Indeed. Finally, who’s your favorite Horseman of the Apocalypse?

EMMI:
Why, it’s you, Death. Duh!

DEATH:
Heh. Well put.

Living people, give another round of applause for the star of Shari Maurer’s debut novel CHANGE OF HEART…Emmi Miller!

[APPLAUSE]

SM

[No, this isn't Emmi. But it is her author, Shari Maurer.]

You can purchase CHANGE OF HEART at your favorite independent bookseller, the publisher WestSide Books, Amazon, and other fine bookstores near you.

That’s it for this episode of Post Mortem. Until next time: Go thee out unto the world. Rock on.



Come back, Shane!

May 17th, 2010

DEATH:
Hey there, living people. Welcome to Post Mortem, the fake online talk-radio show where fictional characters talk to me about their books, their Authors, and basically anything they want. I’m your host, Death.

The next guest on Post Mortem is no stranger to danger, because he lives in a town filled with vampires. Dangerous vampires. The sort that drink blood, tend to go a little crazy, and have no problems with killing you dead. You know: the cool vampires. Everyone, say hello to one of the stars of Rachel Caine’s New York Times bestselling series, The Morganville Vampires . . . Shane Collins!

[APPLAUSE]

Hey, Shane.

SHANE:
Wicked scythe, man. Where can I get one of those?

DEATH:
Become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

SHANE:
Damn. I’m kind of busy.

DEATH:
Word. So your bio says you’re the “resident smart-ass and bad boy/good boyfriend, voted Most Likely To Kick Ass in Morganville.” [GRINS] I like it. Anything to add?

SHANE:
I am a bad-ass zombie killer. You know, in Dead Rising?

DEATH:
Sweet. Nothing like a little action-adventure/survival/horror video game to help take the edge off real-life vampire attacks. Speaking of which, tell us about your newest book, KISS OF DEATH. One line. Go!

SHANE:
Seriously, one line?

DEATH:
Yep.

SHANE:
I hate pop quizzes. Okay. Morganville’s a bad place to live, but a good place to leave . . . until our vamp chaperone Oliver takes us on a side trip that may cost us all our humanity, and our lives.

DEATH:
[CLAPS] Well done! Let’s go two for two: what’s the worst thing about your situation in KISS OF DEATH?

SHANE:
Dude, you’re kinda dark, aren’t you?

DEATH:
Comes with the scythe.

SHANE:
I guess the worst moment for me, personally, was being locked up, again, in a jail cell.

DEATH:
Again?

SHANE:
[NODS] Not by vamps, this time.

DEATH:
Well, that’s a bonus.

SHANE:
By cops. Which wouldn’t have been so bad, except my girlfriend Claire and my friend Eve were locked up in the next cell. Again, still not so bad, until the vamps showed up.

DEATH:
Yeah, I can see that being a problem.

SHANE:
Nothing worse for me than being helpless, and knowing that I’m about to watch Claire get hurt. Nothing.

DEATH:
With all that bad, there has to be some good. What’s the best thing about your situation?

SHANE:
There’s absolutely no downside to being outside of Morganville, especially when you’re on the road with the people you like best in the world.

DEATH:
Other than the occasional vampire attack, right?

SHANE:
Not really a big deal when you stack it up against being outside of Morganville.

DEATH:
Fair enough. If you could be anyone, who would it be?

SHANE:
I’d be Abraham Van Helsing. Father of vampire slaying. He knew his way around a coffin.

DEATH:
Heh. Well put. So what does a slacker/vampire fighter teenager wear these days?

SHANE:
I’ve got a kick-ass AC/DC tour shirt that’s been washed about nine million times, and a pair of jeans that I’ve spent a couple of years breaking in. I’ll tell you what I wouldn’t be caught dead in — or undead, whatever: that weird crap Claire’s freaky boss Myrnin pulls out of his closet.

DEATH:
Vintage vampire frocks?

SHANE:
Velvet coats and day-glo Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops. Seriously, if there’s a death penalty from the fashion police, he is toast.

DEATH:
Mmm. Toast. Switching subjects: What are you most afraid of?

SHANE:
You think I’m really going to tell Death what I’m most afraid of? Who does that?

DEATH:
My interviewees.

SHANE:
Oh, okay. Yes, sir. I’m terrified of comfortable beds, delicious tacos, and getting raises. There you go.

DEATH:
[STARES]

SHANE:
Why are you looking at me like that?

DEATH:
[STARES]

SHANE:
Dude, you’re freaking me.

DEATH:
[STARES]

SHANE:
Oh, okay, fine. I’m scared of waking up undead. You know, vampire.

DEATH:
Now we’re talking! How do you move past that fear?

SHANE:
By creating new ways to hurt vamps. Hey, it’s a coping mechanism. Also, survival.

DEATH:
Excellent points. What’s one thing about you that no one else knows?

SHANE:
I once made a really bad decision and kind of, uh, made out with the girl I hate most in the world.

DEATH:
Uh oh. It’s a good thing you trust me, because I’m thinking if that got back to Claire, you’d be in for a world of hurt.

SHANE:
In my defense, it was a long time ago. Plus, I’m a guy.

DEATH:
A very good thing you trust me. So. In KISS OF DEATH, were there any parts of the story where you were like, Rachel, what on earth are you making me do? Or were you and your Author in sync the entire time?

SHANE:
My Author is a freak. Just when I think we’ve got a minute to breathe and have a normal conversation or something, all of a sudden there are vamps or cops or wicked stupid small town idiots with baseball bats. I’m thinking of filing some kind of restraining order.

DEATH:
Doesn’t work. Their creative license overrides a character’s restraining order. If you had your way, what would you change about KISS OF DEATH?

SHANE:
I’d have fixed it so we could just keep on driving, and leave Morganville in the rear view mirror. Oh, and leave Oliver, our vampire chaperone, somewhere by the side of the road, preferably in the middle of a real sunny day.

DEATH:
Nice death imagery! If you could make your Author, Rachel Caine, do anything, what would it be?

SHANE:
The next time I take Claire to the drive-in, Rachel better not write it so we get interrupted. And I don’t mean in the middle of the film, either.

DEATH:
[LAUGHS] Nothing like quality time. Tell me one thing in the real world that you wish you could change.

SHANE:
That oil spill in the Gulf. Man, somebody needs to change that quick.

DEATH:
Agreed. If the Morganville Vampires series goes Hollywood, who should play you in the movie?

SHANE:
I like that Spencer Treat Clark guy. He’s not bad.

DEATH:
What about Claire’s boss, Myrnin?

SHANE:
Eve keeps saying Myrnin looks like somebody named David Tennant. No idea what she’s talking about.

DEATH:
Sometimes, it’s best just to nod and say “yes.” If there’s one piece of advice you could give to your fans, what would it be?

SHANE:
Invest in silver. And learn to electroplate stuff, because anything pointy you can silver-coat is a good idea, if you’re heading to Morganville. I like stakes.

DEATH:
And to think, some people’s travel tips are limited to bringing sunblock. Okay, last question: Who’s your favorite Horseman of the Apocalypse?

SHANE:
Do you really think I’m dumb enough to say anyone but Death right now?

DEATH:
[GRINS] Flatterer.

SHANE:
Dude, I survive in Morganville. I know how to read a room. [PAUSES] That War guy is pretty intense, though.

DEATH:
Heh. Indeed.

Living people, give another round of applause for one of the stars of Rachel Caine’s New York Times bestselling series, The Morganville Vampires . . . Shane Collins!

[APPLAUSE]

Rachel Caine

[No, this isn't Shane Collins. But it is his Author, Rachel Caine.]

The Morganville Vampires books include:

Glass Houses
The Dead Girls’ Dance
Midnight Alley
Feast of Fools
Lord of Misrule
Carpe Corpus
Fade Out
Kiss of Death
Ghost Town (coming October 2010)

That’s it for this episode of Post Mortem. Until next time: Go thee out unto the world. Rock on.



From Zero to Hero

March 3rd, 2010

DEATH:
Hey there, living people. Welcome to Post Mortem, the fake online talk-radio show where fictional characters talk to me about their books, their Authors, and basically anything they want. I’m your host, Death.

Here’s what Publishers Weekly says in a starred review about my next guest’s book: “Rhuday-Perkovich delivers a masterful debut, telling a layered middle-school tale filled with characters who are delightfully flawed and, more importantly, striving to overcome those flaws.”

That’s what I love about living people: their delightful flaws. Give a big hello to the star of Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich’s debut novel, 8TH GRADE SUPERZERO…Reggie!

8GS

[APPLAUSE]

Hey, Reggie.

REGGIE:
[STARES] I’m sorry, I’m more than a little freaked out by…this.

DEATH:
No worries. I get that a lot. Tell me something about your book, EIGHTH GRADE SUPERZERO.

REGGIE:
Um. Yeah. OK. With a pair of sneakers, a political campaign, and a little help from my friends, I might just change my life.

DEATH:
Ah, change. I’m into change. Just ask anyone who reads Tarot cards. What’s the worst thing about your situation in the book?

REGGIE:
Everyone knows me in…a certain way, because of a Certain Incident on the first day of school.

DEATH:
I can hear the initial caps. That had to be some incident.

REGGIE:
And there’s a real me so far down deep inside that I don’t know if he actually exists. He may be a figment of my imagination, like Night Man, my graphic novel character. [PAUSES] Maybe this is all there is. Maybe I’m just the guy who puked in front of everyone, who’s father’s out of work, and who can’t bear to look girls in the eye. I try to do the right thing, but everything seems so bad. I’m just one guy; I don’t know if my voice really matters.

DEATH:
Life can be hard. So I’m told.

REGGIE:
Also, my sister is evil.

DEATH:
Heh. What’s the best thing about your situation?

REGGIE:
I have the best friends a guy could have. Some — mostly me — might say they’re eccentric, but they stick by me no matter what, and I learn from them every day. Sometimes, things I don’t want to know, like about how Victorian women stuck apple peels in their armpits, but hey, small price to pay for true friendship.

DEATH:
Indeed. If you could be anyone, who would it be?

REGGIE:
Justin Walker, the guy every girl wants and every guy wants to be at my school, because it looks so easy.

DEATH:
What’s your standard outfit?

REGGIE:

Hoodie — but my mom won’t let me wear the hood up — jeans, and sneakers.

DEATH:
What are you most afraid of?

REGGIE:
I am most afraid of everyone knowing how afraid I really am.

DEATH:
See, here’s a secret: all the living are afraid. And if everyone knew that, the fear probably wouldn’t be so scary. What’s one thing about you that no one else knows?

REGGIE:
I wrote a love letter to someone.

DEATH:
Love is SO cool.

REGGIE:
I’m not sure if I’m going to give it to her or not.

DEATH:
You’ll make the right choice. In SUPERZERO, were there any parts of the story where you were like, Olugbemisola, what on earth are you making me do? Or were you and your Author in sync the entire time?

REGGIE:
I mean…the Dora shoes. I didn’t think I could do it!

DEATH:
Isn’t it amazing what we can do when we have to? If you had your way, what would you change about SUPERZERO?

REGGIE:
I’d find homes for everyone at Olive Branch. Wait — I’d have there be no Olive Branch. I still don’t get why there is so much trouble in the world, like the song.

DEATH:
Some things, we’re not meant to know. If you could make your Author, Olugbemisola, do anything, what would it be?

REGGIE:
I’d ask for a reunion with George.

DEATH:
Heh. For more that that, living people, you have to read the book. Reggie, tell me one thing in the real world that you wish you could change.

REGGIE:
I wish that we could treat each other with respect, even if we disagreed or didn’t like each other. Just remember that we’re all human —

DEATH:
Well, most of us.

REGGIE:
…And remember to look for that little thing in everyone that we can love. Ugh, that sounds sappy. I’ve been spending too much time with….well, anyway. You’ll find out.

DEATH:
I find out everything, in the end. If there’s one piece of advice you could give to your fans, what would it be?

REGGIE:
Pay attention. Listen. And value the small things.

DEATH:
Words of wisdom, to be sure.

Everyone, give another hearty round of applause for the star of Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich’s debut novel, 8TH GRADE SUPERZERO…Reggie!

[APPLAUSE]

OR-P

[No, this isn't Reggie. But it is his Author, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich.]

You can purchase 8TH GRADE SUPERZERO at Barnes & Noble, Borders, your favorite independent bookseller, Amazon, and other fine bookstores near you.

That’s it for this episode of Post Mortem. Until next time, go thee out unto the world. Rock on.



For Love Of Love…and Banana Bread

January 13th, 2010

DEATH:
Hey there, living people. Welcome to Post Mortem, the fake online talk-radio show where fictional characters talk to me about their books, their Authors, and basically anything they want. I’m your host, Death.

The next guest on Post Mortem has a sweet tooth, both for baked goods and for the idea of true love. The Book Butterfly declares: “What is not to love about a sweet, screwball comedy like SCONES AND SENSIBILITY? One can almost smell the delicious baked goods wafting throughout the air, and feel the cool breeze of summer as Polly leaves a wake of romantic snafus in the midst of her bakery deliveries. This is a book to sit back and savor, perhaps with your own favorite bakery indulgence and a steaming cup of coffee.”

Everyone give a warm welcome to the star of Lindsay Eland’s debut novel SCONES AND SENSIBILITY…Polly Madassa!

SandS

[APPLAUSE]

Hey, Polly. How goes it?

POLLY:
Yes, hello one and all.

DEATH:
If you had to sum up SCONES AND SENSIBILITY in one sentence, what would it be?

POLLY:
It is about both the joys and sorrows, the successes and failures of a hopeless romantic, such as myself, who only longs to find the people in her life their one true love.

DEATH:
A Cupid fixation. [NODS WISELY] Anything bad happen while you’re shooting figurative arrows of love at people?

POLLY:
[SHUDDERS]

DEATH:
I take that as a “yes.” Want to talk about it?

POLLY:
I despise even the remembrance of the situation, but I suppose that I must bring myself to it. It all happened upon a dusky evening when I came upon the window of my dearest bosom friend and found her father being strangled by his girlfriend whom he had met on the Internet.

DEATH:
Oh my.

POLLY:
True, he wasn’t really be strangled, but it looked very serious at the time. The situation ended with the woman, Ruthie, being incarnated (I thought the handcuffs went a tad too far though the police must do their duty) and my best friend not speaking to me.

DEATH:
Ouch.

POLLY:
I shudder at the thought of it all…It was just plain awful!

DEATH:
Tell me something positive that happens to you in the book.

POLLY:
[GRINS] Ooo, goody, goody…I mean, this is much more pleasant to think upon. [SIGHS] Well, the most wondrous part of my situation, aside from wearing the most elegant dresses and ribbons, baking delicious pastries and breads, and living by the wild open ocean, was the task I embraced of finding those I love their one true love. Really, what could be more wonderful than that? [PAUSES] Besides of course, meeting Mr. Darcy in real life…

DEATH:
Ah, l’amour. If you could be anyone, who would it be?

POLLY:
Oh, why Elizabeth Bennet or Anne Shirley, of course. Though I live in 21st century New Jersey, and they in a more romantic time, we are, I believe, true kindred spirits with each other.

DEATH:
Nice. What does a 21st century Cupid wear?

POLLY:
Hmm, I prefer my lavender dress with the white satin bow, and my straw hat (also adorned with ribbons cascading down my back).

DEATH:
Anything you wouldn’t be caught dead in? [SMILES]

POLLY:
Cut-off jean shorts and a t-shirt with the words “Wassup”…and yes, I was forced into this very attire for one horrible weekend that has surely left me scarred for all eternity and beyond.

DEATH:
Surely. Speaking of scars, what are you most afraid of?

POLLY:
I am most afraid of my dear friend having a most horrendous stepmother who will then ship her off to an orphanage.

DEATH:
I’m sensing some literary themes here.

POLLY:
I also fear losing my beloved sister to a horrible bore-of-a-boy that will take her away from me forever.

DEATH:
And how do you move past those fears?

POLLY:
Well, I simply will help my sister find her one true love and my bosom friend’s father find his.

DEATH:
Heh. A nice, simple plan. What’s one thing about you that no one else knows?

POLLY:
That though I prefer classic literature, and feign any mention of vampires or hairy werewolves, I picked up a copy of Twilight from my sister’s secret drawer. And to be quite honest, I couldn’t put it down. I mean, Edward Cullen is so awesome…I mean…he is such a dashing gentleman.

DEATH:
[WINKS] Good catch.

POLLY:
Now I find myself quite taken with anything vampiric.

DEATH:
They certainly have bite. In SCONES AND SENSIBILITY, were there any parts of the story where you were like, Lindsay, what on earth are you making me do? Or were you and your Author in sync the entire time?

POLLY:
We were in sync, I believe, the entire time, though I really do wish that she would’ve completely deleted Clementine’s boyfriend Clint from the text. Really, I pleaded with her quite extensively.

DEATH:
Authors have been known to turn a deaf ear. If you had your way, what would you change about SCONES AND SENSIBILITY?

POLLY:
All the parts that wound up not working out in my favor or the way that I wanted them to be would be completely changed to how I had envisioned at first: the situation mentioned above with my bosom friend and her father, Clementine getting stung by a jellyfish, and me falling into the sea.

DEATH:
If you could make your Author, Lindsay Eland, do anything, what would it be?

POLLY:
I would make her wear delicate dresses and bows, because really — the things she wears sometimes!

DEATH:
Tell me one thing in the real world that you wish you could change.

POLLY:
Well, honestly I would prefer to change lots and lots…I mean…many things. I would love to walk through the house by the flickering of candlelight. And how romantic would it be to ride to and fro school on a horse-drawn carriage? And all the girls and ladies would wear elegant dresses and the gentleman would dawn handsome suits and tall hats. [SIGHS HAPPILY]

DEATH:
If SCONES AND SENSIBILITY goes Hollywood, who should play you in the movie?

POLLY:
I would love for Megan Follows, the actress who played Anne Shirley in the wonderful movie, to play me.

DEATH:

What about Clementine’s boyfriend, Clint?

POLLY:
And as for Clint, my vile nemesis…I think he would be played by a large goat.

DEATH:
[DIES LAUGHING]

POLLY:
At this time, I shall include a delicious banana bread recipe that is currently sitting in the oven. [CLEARS THROAT]

Banana Bread, a la Polly Madassa

3-4 ripe bananas mashed
1/3 cup butter melted
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan. Place the mashed bananas in a bowl and stir in melted butter with a wooden spoon. Add sugar, egg, and vanilla and stir. Sprinkle baking soda over the top and stir. Finally stir in the flour. Adding ¾ cup chocolate chips only adds to the divinity of this recipe! Bake for about 1 hour.

DEATH:
Post Mortem: the interviews that keep on giving. [GRINS] If there’s one piece of advice you could give to your fans, what would it be?

POLLY:
To laugh and cry, dream and believe…but always save enough room for dessert!

DEATH:
My favorite, of course, being Death by Chocolate. Last question: who’s your favorite Horseman of the Apocalypse?

POLLY:
O dear, is there a Horseman of Elegance?

DEATH:
Not the last time I checked.

POLLY:
If not, I think I’d like to pick whatever horse is white, because I think white horses are the most becoming of the equine race.

DEATH:
Heh. I’ll be sure to let Pestilence know.

Living people, give another round of applause to the star of Lindsay Eland’s debut novel, SCONES AND SENSIBILITY…Polly Madassa!

[APPLAUSE]

LE

[No, this isn't Polly. But it is her Author, Lindsay Eland.]

You can buy SCONES AND SENSIBILITY at Barnes & Noble, Borders, your favorite independent bookseller, Amazon, and other fine bookstores near you.

That’s it for this episode of Post Mortem. Feel free to comment. Let us know if you liked the interview, if there’s a question I should have asked…anything you’d like. Either Polly or I will get back to you. Or possibly Lindsay or Jackie; our Authors get nosy sometimes.

Until next time, go thee out unto the world. Rock on.



Killer Unicorns

January 3rd, 2010

DEATH:
Hey there, living people. Welcome to Post Mortem, the fake online talk-radio show where fictional characters talk to me about their books, their Authors, and basically anything they want. I’m your host, Death.

I have two words that sum up our next guest’s book: killer unicorns. I’m going to say that again, because let’s face it, those words go better together than milk and cookies. Killer unicorns. Locus says: “Tired of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Try Astrid the unicorn hunter.” Scott Westerfeld, author of Leviathan, declares: “As swift and sure-footed as a killer unicorn, RAMPANT weaves a vibrant new mythology from venerable threads.” And Tamora Pierce calls RAMPANT “A thrilling read, with strong girls, unusual and scary unicorns, and hidden dangers everywhere.”

In case you missed it: killer unicorns. Everyone, say hello to the star of Diana Peterfreund’s RAMPANT…Astrid Llewelyn!

[APPLAUSE]

Rampant

Hey, Astrid.

ASTRID:
Hi, Death. If at all possible, could you get lost? It’s like you’ve been stalking me lately.

DEATH:
I never stalk. Don’t need to. Everyone comes to me, eventually. So, RAMPANT. Killer unicorns. How’s a girl like you get involved in something like that?

ASTRID:
After watching my boyfriend get gored in the leg by a thought-to-be-extinct killer unicorn, I’m sent to a nunnery in Rome to train as a unicorn hunter because I, as a virgin descendant of Alexander the Great, am part of a long line of people with the magical ability to protect the world from the killer unicorn menace. [PAUSES] Want my job?

DEATH:
Next time I’m a virgin descendant of Alexander the Great, you’re on. What’s the worst thing about your situation in RAMPANT?

ASTRID:
Gee, where do I start? How about being ripped out of school before I have a chance to win the science fair for the second time in a row and sent to live in a nunnery, where it is my job to kill man-eating monsters?

DEATH:

I can see that being quite a bummer.

ASTRID:
Then there’s my crazy, unicorn-obsessed roommate, or the bone-covered walls that give me a headache, the fact that my duty to kill unicorns goes hand in hand with a rule that says I can never date a boy again, ever!

DEATH:
Well, that last probably makes your parents happy.

ASTRID:
Oh, and imminent death lies on the other end of every arrow point. That sucks, too.

DEATH:
Hey, I get around. Anything redeeming about your situation?

ASTRID:
In Rome, they have gelato stands on every corner. Yum!

DEATH:
[SMILES] Good stuff.

ASTRID:
Also, I met a cute boy here, but don’t tell anyone that, since, ahem, not supposed to date.

DEATH:
Your secret is safe with me. Cross my heart.

ASTRID:
And I get to hang out with my cousin Phil, who is my best friend.

DEATH:
If you could be anyone, who would it be?

ASTRID:
Marie Curie, because she was a brilliant scientist and her research helped cure thousands of people. Even though it eventually killed her. Hmmm, maybe we have more in common than I’d thought.

DEATH:
What does a unicorn hunter wear these days?

ASTRID:
A lot of cargo pants, because the pockets are big enough for spare arrow points and my alicorn knife.

DEATH:
Anything you wouldn’t be, ha-ha, caught dead in?

ASTRID:
Probably wouldn’t wear heels, especially not with these cobblestone streets around the Cloisters. You could break your ankle, especially if you have to start running. Which we do, because the other downside to my ability is that, on top of having magical powers over killer unicorns, I also draw them to me like catnip.

DEATH:
Nice to keep things interesting. What are you most afraid of?

ASTRID:
I’m really terrified of ending up a crazy loser like my mother.

DEATH:
Ouch.

ASTRID:
I mean, she was right about there being unicorns, and them being venomous monsters, but she’s still completely insane. Trust me on this one. And I had a plan to escape it. I was going to go to school, be a doctor, immerse myself in science.

DEATH:
How do you move past that fear?

ASTRID:
I’m a high school dropout learning magical hunting techniques. So far, I’m not doing so great with the “moving past” thing.

DEATH:
Give it time. Or more books. What’s one thing about you that no one else knows? You can trust me. Really.

ASTRID:
My cousin Philippa is my hero. I love her more than anyone else in the world.

DEATH:
That’s sweet.

ASTRID:
Also, I’m kind of ace at braiding hair.

DEATH:
Definitely a lost art. In RAMPANT, were there any parts of the story where you were like, Diana, what on earth are you making me do? Or were you and your Author in sync the entire time?

ASTRID:
She tortured me a lot. But I don’t think she had much of a choice in the matter, either.

DEATH:
I don’t know about that. Free will and all. If you had your way, what would you change about RAMPANT?

ASTRID:
Well, I probably would have slept with my boyfriend in the first chapter, so I wouldn’t have been eligible for this whole unicorn hunting thing.

DEATH:
[DIES LAUGHING]

ASTRID:
Then again, if I’d done that, I never would have met Giovanni. [PAUSES] Tough call.

DEATH:
If you could make your Author, Diana Peterfreund, do anything, what would it be?

ASTRID:
I’m pretty sure I’m getting tortured even worse in the next book, so I guess I’d have to say STOP WRITING!

DEATH:
Yeah, that doesn’t work. Tell me one thing in the real world that you wish you could change.

ASTRID:
I wish we had a cure for cancer. I know that’s cheesy and simplistic, but I do. I’d give anything if we could rid the world of disease.

DEATH:
I know a certain White Rider of the Apocalypse who might have something to say about that. If RAMPANT goes Hollywood, who should play you in the movie?

ASTRID:
I don’t know if I could choose me. That’s really egocentric, don’t you think?

DEATH:
Maybe, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Okay then, what about your cousin? Who should play her?

ASTRID:
Phil would totally be Amanda Seyfried.

DEATH:
By the way, viewers, if you haven’t checked out the book trailer for RAMPANT, you really should.

ASTRID:
And I’d like to take this opportunity to issue a public service announcement: Stay out of the woods.

DEATH:
Well put. If there’s one piece of advice you could give to your fans, what would it be?

ASTRID:
I have fans? Really?

DEATH:
Really really.

ASTRID:
Did my mother start a fan club? I wouldn’t put it past her. And, again: stay out of the woods.

DEATH:
Heh. Again, well put. Finally, who’s your favorite Horseman of the Apocalypse?

ASTRID:
That’s a tough one. I mean, on one hand, they are supposed to be all famine and pestilence, right?

DEATH:
Two out of four, yes.

ASTRID:
I’m very anti-pestilence. On the other hand, horses in general don’t scare me, not after seeing unicorns. I’m going to go with Conquest, because he’s got a bow.

DEATH:
And because I’m a gentleman, I won’t tell you that my Author has Pestilence doing double time as Conquest—he gets the bow.

ASTRID:
I like bows.

DEATH:
Who doesn’t? You know, besides killer unicorns.

Everyone, give another hearty round of applause for the star of Diana Peterfreund’s RAMPANT…Astrid Llewelyn!

[APPLAUSE]

DP

[No, this isn't Astrid. But it is her Author, Diana Peterfreund.]

RAMPANT is available at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Mysterious Galaxy and other independent bookstores, Amazon, and other fine bookstores near you.

That’s it for this episode of Post Mortem. Feel free to comment. Let us know if you liked the interview, if there’s a question I should have asked…anything you’d like. Either Astrid or I will get back to you. Or possibly Diana or Jackie; our Authors get nosey sometimes.

Until next time, go thee out unto the world. Rock on.