1. What kicked off the concept for this book?
I was given the chance to pitch a young adult story idea to my publisher, and honestly for the life of me I couldn’t think of anything that hadn’t already been done … but I’ve always loved vampire stories, and I decided I wanted to go “old school” and not have my vampires be nice. I decided that first and foremost, they would be self-interested, which led me to the idea of vampires controlling a town and everything in it. Once I had the initial idea, including the idea that the vampires were secretly quite ill, I was able to start building the town of Morganville, and then started thinking about the people who would stay in a town like that, and why.
2. Which character do I think stood out in this book, and why?
I was really pleased with how Eve came out — she really jumped out in front as a vivid and fun character to write. She had tons of things to say, and it was very easy to really see her as a real person early on.
3. Five things I loved about writing this book:
A. Building Morganville. It was a very cool thing to give some thought to how vampires would build a town, how humans would influence it, and what it would be like.
B. Inventing the initial problem of Morganville, which had to do with the Protection racket that the vampires have imposed on the humans … how do you survive in that system?
C. The Founder. I wanted to create a mysterious, ice-queen character whose motives were unclear and whose methods were murky, at best.
D. Texas Prairie University. I thought the idea of this sub-standard, unimportant little university town, with its largely clueless transient population, was really fun to imagine.
E. Claire. I wanted to start her at a point of innocence and naiveté, and build her up gradually through conflict, but give her a core of genuine stubbornness that would let her survive.
4. Five things I didn’t love about writing this book
A. The length of the book. I felt it was hard to get all the information into the limited space I had! Morganville was a pretty rich creative environment.
B. The restrictive nature of writing just from Claire’s point of view. I got used to it, but at first, it was tough to find ways to encounter Morganville in that limited way.
C. I wish I’d spent more time on Claire’s university experience, especially her classes and fellow students, but see (A) above!
D. I really felt that I hadn’t completely grounded readers in the West Texas environment, even though I knew it well — partly, again, it was a space issue.
E. I hated having to cut the attack of the wild ferrets.
Okay, that last one? Totally made up.
5. If I could do this book over, what would I do differently, and why?
I think that I wouldn’t have had QUITE so dramatic a cliffhanger! It was done for a reason, and I think it worked, but it did seem really, really dramatic. I know some readers really didn’t like it.
6. Favorite quoted passage from the book
I think it’s probably this exchange between Shane and Eve:
Shane: “Cheer up. Just means you don’t have to put up with me telling you how much sex I didn’t get.”
Eve: “I’m telling Michael.”
Shane: “About how much sex I didn’t get? Go ahead.”
7. What I learned from this book
It was disturbingly easy for me to drop back into being sixteen or seventeen years old again! And disturbingly fun, too.
8. Fun research moment
I knew I might have gotten myself in over my head with Claire’s love of physics and math when I found myself Googling “linear inequalities,” and discovering that I had not the slightest idea of what it meant, even after reading the definition. So a great deal of homework was in order!
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