The author was kind enough to answer some questions about the series and the second book. I hope you enjoy getting to know a little bit about the books and the author.
Make sure you read till the end and enter the contest to win a copy of Dead Beautiful.
Amber - Amber - Welcome back to Amberkatze's Book Blog! How did you come up with the idea for the Dead Beautiful? Was it a long process or did it just come to you?
Yvonne – The initial idea came to me over the span of about three months. I was sitting in the library at my university, reading a text of Descartes for class when my mind started to drift, and I began to wonder what the world would be like if Descartes’s theories about the body and soul were true. I began to piece a loose story together in the months that followed, and then refined it over the next two years while writing.
Yvonne – It was difficult! I think the most challenging part of writing the sequel was making it different enough from Dead Beautiful to be an interesting story on its own. I hope I succeeded? It did take a lot of plotting and planning before I felt like I would be able to continue Renée and Dante’s story in a way that would make it feel like they were growing together.
Amber - How do you pick the names for your characters? Do they have any special meanings?
Yvonne – Renée and Dante have very purposeful names that hold significance in the plot. I won’t say exactly what they mean, so as not to spoil the end for readers, but I guess I partly named them after the writers who inspired this book.
Other than the two main characters, most of the names in Dead Beautiful are actually borrowed from my friends (I used either their first or last names). When you’re writing a school novel, there are just so many passing characters that I could have spent weeks just thinking up perfect names for all of them, so borrowing names was a lot easier. For Life Eternal, I chose all of the names, as it takes place in Montreal, in a different kind of school, so many of the names had to have a French origin. For those, I tried to choose words or portmanteaus that would somehow indicate the character’s innate personality.
Amber - What kind of research have you done for your books? Anything interesting or is the research boring?
Yvonne – Oh gosh, now I have to divulge my embarrassing secret… I don’t do a lot of research! That’s the beauty of fiction…if you know a little, you can make the rest up. I did do some research for Dead Beautiful. I reread a lot of philosophical texts by Descartes and Plato, and tried to teach myself a bit about Latin (which did not work) (I eventually ended up hiring a Latinist to help me with the language bits). For Life Eternal, my research was a lot more fun, as it mostly comprised going to Montreal and wandering around.
Yvonne – I’ve wanted to be a novelist since I was in elementary school, though I never thought I would write a young adult novel (or a paranormal one!). I ended up studying creative writing in college and grad school, though I focused on writing short stories and adult literary fiction. During one of my winter vacations, I started toying with the idea of Dead Beautiful, and decided to write it for fun in between classes. I didn’t think it would go very far, until suddenly I had a book deal and all of these deadlines. That was four years ago, and I’m still working on the series, and have plans to write other YA novels in the near future. So I guess I’m lucky. I turned down the right corner.
Amber - How much say do you have in the book publishing process? Eg. Do you get to pick the cover, title?
Yvonne – Good questions. I think it really varies from author to author, and from publisher to publisher. For Dead Beautiful, I had a lot of veto power over the cover (I think I rejected 2 before they showed me the cover on DB today), though I left the design itself to my editor and the designer at Hyperion. I chose the title of DB, and had control over final edits and the flap copy, though I would describe the entire process as a long conversation with my editor and the sales team. If we disagreed, we would both make an argument for why our way was better, and sometime I ended up agreeing with them, and sometimes they agreed with me.
Amber - I am sure that being an author has its ups and downs. What experiences have you had so far?
Yvonne – For me, the pros of being author are that I have control over the work I do every day. I get to do said work in your apartment, in my pajamas (Full disclosure: I am wearing pajamas at this very moment). I can work on any idea that tickles my fancy, as long as I can make it interesting to others, too.
The cons are that it can get a bit lonely. Even if I write in a café, the work itself is solitary, and requires sitting very quietly with my own thoughts for a long periods of time. For the most part I like that, though sometimes I miss having coworkers. It was also hard in the beginning to make myself stick to a schedule, especially when the writing was particularly hard. It’s also hard when you hear from a reader who doesn’t like your book. It just makes me feel awful to think that my story disappointed them. Though that can also a motivator to do better next time.
Amber - There has been quite a wait between the first and second books. Will there be more books in the series and will we have such a long wait again?
Yvonne – Sigh. This is where I hang my head in shame. There will be a third (and final) novel, though I’m currently working on it now, which means that it won’t be out in the US until summer/fall 2013…so yes…another long wait. I’m sorry. I’m a slow writer.
Amber - What are you listening and watching lately? Is there any music or other media that influences your writing?
I actually don’t have a TV so I don’t watch much other than what I can find online. Though I did just watch the Wire in a 2-week binge, and I LOVE it.
Amber - What books do you enjoy reading? Do you have any favourite authors/series?
Yvonne – Harry Potter! Those are by far my favorite books. I also love Jonathan Lethem, Sarah Waters, Kurt Vonnegut, Haruki Murakami, Kazuo Ishiguro. . . And for readers who really loved Dead Beautiful, I would highly recommended “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt.
Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be and why?
Yvonne – Ooo. This is hard. I think I would be a witch. Preferably one who started off good, but then turned evil after a mysterious happening in her past.
Amber - Thank you so much for being on the blog! I hope you will stop by again sometime!
Dead Beautiful Series
#1 - Dead Beautiful
#2 - Life Eternal
Win a copy of Dead Beautiful the first book in series and Yvonne's debut novel.
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