2. Which, if any, character do you feel has the most of your characteristics (or acts like you do)? I think there’s a little bit of me in each of my characters. I guess I identify most with Cicely, emotionally, even though we are very different in that Cicely is much more practical than I am and she doesn’t believe in the supernatural (at least at first!). She takes a very “seeing is believing” attitude, while I’m more “believing is seeing.” I think you have to open yourself up to magic and then it will reveal itself, you know? In that way, I’m much more like Cicely’s best friend Zoe, who believes in everything from fairies to la chupacabra!
3. How did you get the idea for your work? What lured you to your topics? I have been a fan of vampires ever since I saw a play about Dracula when I was in the fifth grade. I have always read books about werewolves and witches and loved the way we use monster stories to talk about what it’s like to be human, to be an outsider, to have parts of yourself that you can’t control. I am a huge believer in the power of love and I wanted to write a book in which the characters’ love faces every possible test, a book that really gets at the heart of the question “How far would you go for someone you love? How much would you sacrifice?”
4. Which scene was the most intense, or most visual, for you to write, personally? Without giving any spoilers, the most intense scene for me to write emotionally was one in which an adult who is important to the characters dies. My own mom died of cancer when I was nineteen – just a few years older than my characters – so I really identify with that grief. It’s that double loss, losing the person you love and also losing your childhood. You know you have to step up now and be to yourself some of what that person was for you.
5. If you could cast any actor/actresses to play your main characters, who would you select? Great question! I had never thought about this before. Ethan Peck would definitely have to play Luke. He has that vampire intensity in those dark eyes! Ander would be harder to cast, but I think someone like Zach Roerig (who plays Matt on the Vampire Diaries) would be good, because he has that athlete/boy-next-door quality but I could buy him as a werewolf, too. Looks-wise, I might say Lily Collins would be right for Cicely, although it’s hard because a lot of young actresses are very polished looking and I picture Cicely as very much a real girl. I thought Emmie would be hardest to cast – she’s biracial and has a very unique beauty, with tight copper-colored curls and hazel eyes – but then I saw British actress Antonia Thomas and I think she would be perfect – that is, if she can do the sweet Southern drawl!
6. If you could meet anyone or see anything from your novel, characters or otherwise, what and/or who would you choose? I’d love to spend an evening at the Nightlife, the glamorous vampire blood bar where thralls – beautiful humans who love to be bitten – serve as both the waitresses and the drinks. I’m also fascinated by all things Victorian, especially steampunk and goth Lolita styles, so I’d love to visit the flash-back scenes in the book which take place around 1900. And, as a horse lover, I’d have to say that going riding with Luke would be a dream.
7. How did you go about selecting your cover? We had an extremely fun cover process. A photographer friend of mine, Rhonda Kist, offered to do a photo shoot with my niece Sage Magee playing the role of Cicely. We spent a few hours in a huge cemetery taking pictures as the sun was going down, and Sage did such an amazing job of bringing the character of Cicely to life. There’s a link to all of the pictures on the “Darkride” website www.darkridethenovel.com, in the “Behind the Book” section, for anyone who wants to see them. It was hard to choose which one went on the cover!
8. What, if any, is/are your next upcoming project(s)? When can we expect them? I’m currently working on the second book in the Darkride Chronicles, “Crossfire,” and I hope it will be out sometime in 2012. I’m also excited about another YA novel I’m working on which takes place in a school for kids who are cursed, and I have a few short stories in the works, too. I post links to my published short stories on my website www.laurabradleyrede.com, so you are very welcome to check them out there for free!
9. Why did you become (or decide to become) an author (or start writing)? I come from a big Irish-American family full of natural storytellers and I wanted to be a writer from the beginning. In college and just after I spent some time writing plays and song lyrics for local theatre companies and then, about seven years ago, I started writing fiction. I took some excellent classes at the
10. What do you love the most about being an author? I was always that kid who wanted to decide what game all the other kids would play, so for me a lot of the fun of being a writer is drawing other people into my game, into the world of my characters. There is nothing more thrilling than taking something that has been very private and internal and making it into something you can share with other people. I feel connected to readers I’ve never met, simply because we have a “mutual friend” in my characters, and to me that’s magical!
11. What or who inspires you to write? Since I write a lot of YA, I am very inspired by the teenagers in my life, my friends and my nieces and nephews. I feel like most adults don’t give teenagers the credit they deserve.
12. What is the top cause you champion? There are so many! I’m a lesbian mom, so of course I care about supporting GLBT families and making the world a safer place for GLBT teens. I also have a sixteen year old daughter who has Down Syndrome and autism, so I care a lot about the rights of people with disabilities. I’m also vegan and an animal rights supporter, and our family has done a lot of foster care for animal shelters, so animal causes are close to my heart, too.
13. What advice do you have for anyone who is interested in becoming an author? Read as much as you possibly can of the type of book you want to write – the good examples and the bad. Ask yourself why stories work for you and why they don’t. Write every day, even if it’s only for a little while, and even if you don’t feel inspired. Sometimes inspiration doesn’t strike until you are in the middle of a writing session – and sometimes it doesn’t strike at all- so you can’t wait for your muse, you have to just dig in! Find like-minded people online or in person who can be your support group and your networking contacts and who will offer you genuinely constructive critique that’s intended to make your work stronger. Know that writing is hard, emotionally vulnerable work, but it is also a real high. You can write and your hard work will be worth it for all the things you will discover about yourself and share with your readers in the process.
14. What is the one thing your readers should know about you? That I care deeply about my characters and the stories they have to tell. Some people might want to trivialize my kind of books because they are “just romance” or “just monster” stories, but I think that a book can be romantic and scary and sexy and fun – and still have something real at its core.
15. What is the one thing you want your perspective readers to know about you? That, even if you’ve read a lot of werewolf and vampire stories, this one is a little bit different and I hope they will choose to check it out.
16. If you could do anything (for a career), besides being a writer, what would do? I love visual arts and I would love to make a career out of creating an art or a craft. I sometimes dream of owning a funky vintage clothing store. I also recently started teaching writing workshops and found that I truly enjoy it!
17. Aside from writing and reading, what are your hobbies? I read tarot cards and even designed my own deck! I love thrift-shopping and I collect vintage Doc Marten boots. Making art of any kind is relaxing for me, and I love to hang out with my kids and take care of my Great Dane, Zeus, and our four pet chickens.
18. What is…?
…your favorite author? Probably Scott Westerfeld. I love all his books.
…your favorite book or series? There are so many! Recently I adored “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by Laini Taylor and Holly Black’s “White Cat.” I love Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series and Daniel Waters’ Generation Dead series. And I ate the Twilight Saga like candy!
…your biggest literary inspiration? Classic paranormal like Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
19. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what artists? I don’t listen to music while I write. Most of my writing time is in the middle of the night, after my kids are in bed, so I savor the quiet.
20. Is there anything, specifically, that helps you write (or is unique about your writing process)? My partner Marcy and I like to tell each other improvised stories. We’ve been doing it for years. If we’re on a long car trip or we’re bored, we’ll just start making up stories on the spot and some of the ideas and characters in the stories I tell her eventually make it into my written work. I know it’s not the way most people work, but for me it keeps the ideas flowing!
Thank you for participating!
Where to find Darkride:
Where to find Laura Rede:
Thanks again for joining Ricochet Reviews for an interview! (: