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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Author Interview: Jeri Smith-Ready

Award-winning author Jeri Smith-Ready lives in Maryland with her husband, two cats, and the world’s goofiest greyhound. Jeri's plans to save the earth were ruined when she realized she was more of a “problem maker” than a problem solver. To stay out of trouble, she keeps her Drama Drive strictly fictional. Her friends and family appreciate that. When not writing, Jeri she can usually be found—well, thinking about writing, or on Twitter. Like her characters, she loves music, movies, and staying up very, very late.

For more info on Jeri, visit her site(s):
-Website
-Twitter
-Facebook
-MySpace

Other books by Jeri:
-Wicked Game (WVMP Radio, Book #1)
-Bad to the Bone (WVMP Radio, Book #2)
-Bring On The Night (WVMP Radio, Book #3) - July 27, 2010
-Eyes of the Crow (Aspect of the Crow, Book #1)
-Voice of the Crow (Aspect of the Crow, Book #2)
-The Reawakened (Aspect of the Crow, Book #3)
-Requiem for the Devil
-The Wild's Call

Author Interview:

1) How old were you when you started writing? I was twenty-five when I got serious about it, but I’ve always been crazy about stories. When I was a kid I would read under the covers at night with a flashlight, or hide a book under the bathroom sink and pretend I had to “get a drink of water” so I could read one more page. My parents encouraged my addiction, but my grandmother told me if I didn’t “get my nose out of a book,” I’d end up needing glasses. She was right—I had to get glasses when I was eight!

2) What inspired you to write Shade? A few years ago I got an idea about a law firm in a world where everyone believed in ghosts (because they were real). Though I loved the cheesy tagline, “We sue dead people,” the idea went nowhere without a character to give it heart. Plus, I knew nothing about law, so the whole book would have consisted of “[look this up]” and [“ask lawyer friend about this]”. Finally, the character of Aura crept into that world, and my brain just took off: “Hey, what if she and everyone born after her can see ghosts?” and “Aww, how sad would it be if her boyfriend died and came back to haunt her?” and “Heeeeeeey, but then there’s this real live boy who—swoon!—is from Scotland.”

3) Are the characters in the books based on someone you know? The characters, no. But the book contains pieces of the world that I know and love. For instance, it takes place in Baltimore, which is one of the weirdest and most lovable cities in the world. It was just begging to be depicted in an urban fantasy. Back in elementary school, I was obsessed with astronomy. I learned all the constellations and read a bunch of books that were way over my head (I just skipped all the equations and funny-looking letters). Later in life, I even married an astronomer (go me!). In Shade, Aura has to work with the Scottish hottie, Zachary, on a history project involving ancient astronomy, things like Stonehenge and Newgrange—burial places that also marked the solstices. Part of their assignment is to map the constellations—which of course means being alone together at night out in the middle of nowhere. Yay!

4) What was the hardest part about writing Shade? Believe it or not, I didn’t know there would be such a thing as a “shade”—the dark, malevolent spirit a ghost becomes when it goes bad and bitter—until after I’d written the first draft, which was around the time we picked a new title for the book (originally the series was called GENERATION GHOST). In between drafts I was thinking the ghosts were too harmless and not exciting enough. Then I remembered that “shade” was a term used in Greek mythology to describe the restless, miserable spirits in the underworld. So then over the course of three weeks before the book was due to my editor, I completely revised the novel to incorporate the threat of these scary shades, including the possibility that Aura’s beloved dead boyfriend, Logan, would become one. Oh, and three days before it was due, I realized Aura’s mother could not be alive, because she held many of the answers to the ultimate mystery. So the character who was her mother became her aunt. That was a very busy weekend! I thought I would go insane trying to keep it all in my head.

5) If you had to describe your book in one word, what would it be and why? Passionate. In the wake of Logan’s death, Aura goes through soul-quaking emotions, like grief and anger and shame and love. I hope the reader will feel them, too.

6) Out of all the books you've written, which one is your favorite? Ack, I can’t pin down which one, but I think my two favorites are Shade and Wicked Game, probably because they were first in their series. I love exploring a new world.

7) Do you have any other projects you're currently working on? I’m writing the first draft of SHADE’s sequel, SHIFT, which will come out May 2011. Soon I'll be proofreading the pages of the third book in my adult WVMP RADIO vampire series, BRING ON THE NIGHT. That comes out this August. Page proofs are a fun stage, because we finally get to see the story in its final form, with pretty fonts and everything. Of course, that’s when we notice all the things we want to “improve,” but we’re only allowed to correct actual errors. This can be torture.

8) What books are you currently reading? LEAVING GEE’S BEND by Irene Latham, one of my Class of 2k10 classmates. It’s a beautiful middle grade novel that takes place in Alabama in the 1930s. I don’t want it to end, because the writing is the kind I love to savor.

I’m also reading an ARC of MORPHEUS ROAD: THE LIGHT by D.J. Machale, the author of the PENDRAGON series. It’s incredibly spooky. I find myself completely wide-eyed and slack-jawed while I’m reading it, wanting to tell the character, “No, don’t open that door!”

9) Do you have anything to say to all your readers? You are all amazing. Oh, and your hair looks great today, and I love that shirt. I also love to hear from readers, so I encourage people to come visit me at http://www.jerismithready.com or even better: http://www.facebook.com/jerismithready or http://twitter.com/jsmithready.

10) Tell us something about yourself that no one knows about. I’m afraid of clowns. No, wait, everyone knows that.

**Thank you so much to Jeri for this amazing interview! Everyone go and purchase Shade on May 4, 2010! (Available on Amazon NOW!)**


Check out my review of Shade here

9 comments:

Sherry @ Flipping Pages for All Ages said...

Great interview Eleni & Jeri! I will be getting Shade soon, can't wait to read it! :)

blueicegal said...

great interview Eleni!

elizabeth said...

Loved the interview! I am looking forward to reading Shade.

vvb32 reads said...

good interview. and i just got turned on to the crow series.

Simply Stacie said...

I am stopping in from The Saturday Network. I am already a follower of your blog and enter your giveaways. I just noticed how pretty your blog is though! I love the colours you have chosen.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

You did an excellent interview, Eleni. Your blog shows the obvious creativity and effort you put into it. Thanks, Roland

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Awesome intereview, Eleni! I have actually never heard that quote about sueing ghosts, but it's definitely interesting to know. And I'm so glad they picked Shade over Ghost Generation; it ups the level of coolness infinitely. :)

(And psss, yes, yummy abs. *drool*)

Insert Book Title said...

What a great interview! Thank you!

Robby said...

Great interview! I can't wait to read Shade. :]

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