Croak by Gina Damico has got to be one of the best books I read this month. Actually in the top three! I loved it and can't wait for the second part, Scorch, which comes out later this year.
So enjoy the interview! Enter the contest! But most of all BUY CROAK!!! You are gonna laugh, you may cry and you will be amazed!
Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here as a guest! Could you start things off by telling us a little about your debut book, Croak?
Gina - Croak is the story of a girl named Lex who has turned into a total brat. Her parents don't know what to do with her anymore, so they ship her off to live with her uncle for the summer - only it turns out he's a Grim Reaper, and so is she. And so is the rest of the town, including a whole bunch of other teenagers. Friendships are forged, mysteries are investigated, awkward sexual advances are made.
Gina - It just came to me one day. I was at work at a bread store, bored out of my mind, and the characters of Lex and Uncle Mort popped into my brain for absolutely no reason. I couldn't get them out, so when I got home I had to write them down. Then I kept writing, and eventually crapped out a book.
Amber - The jellyfish and spiders are a cool aspect to the whole Grim system you build in Croak. Are they your favourite animals or did you just want to use something weird? ;)
Gina - I mostly just wanted to use animals that conjure up strong mental images. The spiders are kind of a no-brainer, what with the red hourglass markings and all. And the jellyfish not only live in every ocean and have a huge range - which is an important element of the plot - but they also have a very creepy feel, and just sort of seem like they belong in a town full of Grims. Like mascots.
Amber - Lex has a twin sister but she is completely different to her. Are you anything like Lex? Or more like her twin Cordy?
Gina - I'd say a little of both - I have Lex's snarky, sarcastic edge, but I'm nowhere near as angry as she is. Cordy is much more of a goofball, and I am queen of the goofballs. I have a crown and everything.
Amber - How do you pick the names for your characters? Do they have any special meanings?
Gina - I love picking names that sound interesting, regardless of what they mean, like Driggs, Ferbus, Kloo. Then there are the death-related puns, like Uncle Mort, Elysia, Corpp. And Lexington, Concord, Norwood, and Grotton are all place names. So I guess a mix. Just practicing for the day I get to name my own real people, though I'm not sure my future kids will appreciate being named after random towns in suburban Massachusetts.
Amber - Will Croak has to be a series! When can we expect book #2? How long will Lex's story be?
Gina - Croak is indeed a series! The sequel, Scorch, is coming this September. And at the moment, I envision it as a trilogy. We'll see if that changes, but it probably won't.
Amber - Did you always wanted to be an author? Did you pick Young Adult and the paranormal or did it pick you?
Gina - I think deep down in my gut I always wanted to be an author, but my gut took a really long time to get the message to the rest of me. I had a fairly overactive imagination as a child, but didn't do much writing in high school. When I got to college, I joined a theater group that wrote its own murder mysteries, and that's where I fell in love with it. After graduating, I quit writing - yet again - but eventually picked it back up. Yet again. And, this time, with gusto. And I think I gravitate toward young adult because, seriously, I'm not even close to being an actual adult. And paranormal because I'm a ghost. Don't tell anyone.
Amber - I am sure that being an author has its ups and downs. What experiences have you had so far?
Gina - In general there have been FAR more ups than downs. Bad reviews are never fun, of course - and so far there haven't been too many, knock on wood - but good reviews more than make up for it. I really like hearing from actual teenagers, too. Sometimes it's easy to get swept up in what other adults and bloggers think, but when a kid likes what I wrote, that makes me feel all warm and squishy.
Gina - Not really. Ha - sorry, that's a crappy answer, but it's mostly true. I don't listen to music while I write, just whenever I take walks to plot stuff out. But, uh...how about "Don't Fear the Reaper?" Yeah. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Amber - What have you been reading and watching lately?
Gina - I've been reading a whole bunch of books written by the Apocalypsies, which is a fantastic group of YA debut authors that I am lucky to be a part of. There are a ton of great new books coming out this year, so be ready for them. I also just bought Adam Rex's new book, Cold Cereal, and it is taunting me as it sits on my bookshelf, waiting for me to devour. As for watching - I sink too many hours of my life into television as it is, but lately I've been simultaneously obsessed with and horrified by the new show Smash. I love anything Broadway, but holy bananas that show is nuts. The nonsensical plots! The cheesiness! The legwarmers!
Amber - If you could talk to any famous person, alive or dead, who would you be? and why?
Gina - I'd like to ask Allen Gant Sr., inventor of pantyhose, where exactly he got the nerve to torture women like that. How DARE you, good sir.
Amber - Thank you so much for being a guest on Amberkatze's Book Blog! I hope you will come back again ;)
Gina - Thanks so much for having me! Happy
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