september zombie event comes to a close...with unicorns?

Part of the fun of the ‘zombie craze’ is that authors who wouldn’t usually write a zombie story are getting on board and adding to our culture’s overall entertainment value. This includes authors of young adult books. And this is also how an anthology called Zombies vs. Unicorns comes into existence. Only an awesome, completely ridiculous world could spawn such a wondrous thing. And yes, I’m going overboard. I think you like it.

It's a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths - for good and evil - of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

Holly and Justine are like competing Most Extreme Challenge (MXC) moderators. And by that, I mean they’re taking potshots at each other, each other’s choice of mythical being, and at the individual contestants (err…stories), all while being dubbed over in a foreign language. The result is hilarious, and the book is worth reading if only for their ‘introductory’ comments. BUT! Let me highlight my favorites for you and convince you to read this for yourself....

“Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Alaya Dawn Johnson

A dark, music-heavy zombie story featuring two misunderstood young men. One is struggling not to become a monster, the other already is – can they change? Is there hope?

“Purity Test” by Naomi Novik

Made of hilarious, in all sorts of ways. Combine a snarky heroine, a unicorn who can’t be too fussed about particulars, and five baby unicorns addicted to chocolate milk – what could go wrong?

“Bougainvillea” by Carrie Ryan

A seriously haunting story that draws from the true horror inheritance of the zombie canon. It’s a magnetic tale, set in the world of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, very shortly after the Return, on the island of Curaçao.

“The Children of the Revolution” by Maureen Johnson

Is the protagonist TSTL (too stupid to live) or just unlucky? Maureen Johnson crafts a hilarious and slightly horrifying zombie story that manages to do make fun of both celebrity adoptions and celebrity cults. Funny + frightful = fantastic.

“The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn” by Diana Peterfreund

Tragedy, teenage angst, a freak show, and a baby killer unicorn make for an out-of-the-ordinary story. Fans of Peterfreaund’s Rampant and Ascendant will be pleased, and newcomers to killer unicorns will probably be both confused and entertained. But what’s not to love about a boy named Yves?

“Cold Hands” by Cassandra Clare

Wow. Stunning story that takes the zombie trope and turns it on its head. Weird, wonderful (if you can use that word in conjunctions with a zombie story) and chilling. I think I may scream the next time someone with cold hands touches me.

“The Third Virgin” by Kathleen Duey

Mix a sociopathic unicorn in with a scarred young girl, and you have a disturbing story in an extremely well-written sort of way.

“Prom Night” by Libba Bray

What better way to close out the anthology than with a chilling, absorbing, but not so gory or violent that it’s painful sort of tale. One word? Haunting. Explores how people cope with loss, inevitable mortality, and what the law really means. Big themes for this magnificent (and oddly funny) little tale.

Recommended for: fans of zombies, unicorns, anyone not sure about either but willing to dip a toe in and test the waters, and those who like a little bit of horror with their comedy (but only every once in a while). Silly, suitable fun for the older teen set. Enjoy!

This is my final entry in the September Zombies event. Yay!

tyger tyger, burning bright

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | | 14 comments

I owe Kersten Hamilton. Twice. First, she introduced me to NetGalley. If you’re not acquainted with NetGalley yet, I’m putting on my commanding voice and ordering you to go over to the website RIGHT NOW. Trust me. Read books before they’re released, for free on your computer. That concept? All sorts of awesome. And Kersten was a love and sent a link and explained the whole thing to me, adding, of course, that I could check out the galley for her novel on the website.

Second, she wrote Tyger Tyger. This book was fresh and interesting and UNIQUE. I alternately laughed and cried over it the other night, and my roommates worried until I looked up with a teary smile and said that I was reading a really good book. After that, they let me finish it in peace. My only real complaint is that the sequel will take so much time to arrive!

Teagan Wylltson's best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures--goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty--are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn't worried. Her life isn't in danger. In fact, it's perfect. She's on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She's focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.

Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn's a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he's crazy or he's been haunting Abby's dreams, because he's talking about goblins, too . . . and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby's right.

The goblins are coming.

True story: I’m a horrible procrastinator. I got the note about this lovely book back in April? May? And didn’t read it until this month. I call this my hoarding tendency. If a book looks REALLY good, and I have access to it, I sometimes hold off on reading it, thinking that I’ll need it to get me out of a funk or to keep me occupied on the Metro or some such. When I know perfectly well that the Metro is always full of interesting people to watch, and that good books should definitely be read NOW.

Luckily, Juju at Tales of Whimsy reviewed this one and was super-enthusiastic about it ("beguiling, fresh, earnest?" sounds like love!). Then Heather of BURIED IN BOOKS urged me on by saying that it had zombies. And as it happens, I’m in the midst of the September Zombies Event. So…done deal. Turns out the ‘zombies’ are a sort of disgusting cat goblin, but that’s perfectly fine. Zombie = zombie equals zombie. It counts.

About the story: Tea thinks her family is normal. Well, weird maybe, but normal, when tragic things start happening,… and she begins to see things. Or does she? Then her cousin Finn arrives to disrupt the life she has all mapped out, and trouble follows him wherever he goes. Thus begins the adventure of a family caught between two worlds. It’s full of Irish legend and myth, and the rich descriptions of the creatures on both sides (or is it worlds?) are simply gorgeous.

I don’t think I can praise the inclusion of Irish myth enough. It was new to me (and probably will be to a lot of readers, even if they’re fantasy buffs), but it was woven in right with the rest of the story, and used to such an effect that I felt surprised and gratified when I figured things out. That may be a good test for a well-written book – if it teaches you something new in such a way that you are only impressed, and don’t feel ‘taught.’ This was such a one.

Hamilton’s story tugs on the emotions. Even while I alternately appreciated the fantastical elements and wondered a bit at certain gaps in the plot, I was feeling everything intensely. It’s not perfectly told, but I connected to it. It’s rather violent in parts, and some decisions made by the characters were hard – so hard! But I never felt cheated or wronged. Instead, it was emotional, un-put-downable, and a terrific start to a series that I’ll be reading to the very end.

Recommended for: fans of fantasy and fairy tales, emotive and romantic (in the best sense of the word!) YA lit, darkness with a heaping side of hope, worlds just beyond our own, and adventures that aren’t all that they seem.

Tyger Tyger will be released by Clarion Books on November 15, 2010. I received an e-galley from NetGalley for review.

teaser tuesday (55)

It's Teaser Tuesday, a bookish blog meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Here's how it works:

Grab your current read and let it fall open to a random page. Post two (or more) sentences from that page, along with the title and author. Don’t give anything vital away!

“And though they were clearly not doing well, I guess the voices in my brain were telling me that these kids had dieticians and had spent a lot of their short lifetimes on private aircraft (that has to mess with your inner ear balance), and maybe that’s just what being really rich looks like.

But there was another voice in my hear – a quieter one, way in the back, telling me to leave, to get out of the house and away from them, to go back into the rain, to hitchhike to London or starve or even just to call home.”

-p. 149 of Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier’s (eds.) Zombies vs. Unicorns, from “The Children of the Revolution” by Maureen Johnson

author interview with beth kephart (+ giveaway)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 | | 31 comments

Today I’m welcoming author Beth Kephart to the blog. She has written several award-winning books, and her most recent, Dangerous Neighbors, came out last month from EgmontUSA. Did I mention that I LOVED it? [begin side note] I still cannot believe authors actually answer my questions! I mean, how awesome is that? I am a lucky, lucky duck. [end side note] Check out the interview below. Oh, and bold letters = me.

First of all, thank you for writing such a wonderful, moving book. I couldn't believe how much I loved it while I was reading it. You've made a fan for life! And thank you (a second time) for answering my questions!

Thank you for being an ideal reader. Because, truly, it takes two. A writer dreams. A reader chooses whether or not to embrace that dream. Readers make writers lucky people. My books are all quite different from one another. I’m so appreciative that Dangerous Neighbors did speak to you.

Do you have a sister? If so, did you model the relationship between Katherine and Anna on your own knowledge? And if not, how did you craft their relationship?

I do have a sister, but this relationship between the twins Anna and Katherine was not in any way modeled on my relationship with my sister. Katherine is a lot like me—responsible, heavied down by responsibility, prone to sweeps of guilt or remorse. I wrote of the sisters in the way that I did for I’d gone through quite a stretch of self doubt and, to be honest, a fear of marginalization. I understood Katherine deeply. She was within me as I wrote.

Do you have a favorite sister relationship in fiction? Who and why?

I have often encountered young sibling relationships that I love, for example, in the early fiction of Louise Erdrich. But I’ve never quite seen a relationship between women described as perfectly as Gail Caldwell describes her best friendship with Caroline Knapp in her new memoir Let’s Take the Long Way Home. I think that book is perhaps one of the truest books I’ve ever read—one of the most instructive and wise about the way that women lean on and grow up with one another—whether sisters or friends. I know you asked for fiction in your question, but for some reason, I am still very much inside that particular relationship—two grown women, as close as sisters ever are—in my head.

Your descriptions of late 19th century Philadelphia were superb. Do you ever sketch out physical spaces that you are going to describe? Or look at old floor plans or some other visual guide?

Thank you, and yes, you have pierced my process. When I was writing Dangerous Neighbors, my desk and my floor were overrun by maps of the city and photographs and sketches of imaginary places. I do that with every book I write, whether it is based in the truth or arising from fiction.

What books are on your nightstand (or wherever it is that you keep your 'read next!' pile) right now?

Well, at this very moment, I am reading the final pages of Proust was a Neuroscientist, which I love. Nearby is my newest grammar book. On top of that is the book that led me to my studies in the history and sociology of science,The Edge of Objectivity. Coming to me (they will be here tomorrow) are three books by or about John Gardner, the memoirs Breaking Night and Half a Light, and Room, by Emma Donoghue. I’ll probably read Room first, for the book I’ve just finished writing (three years in the making) touches on some of Donoghue’s themes. Needless to say, I was stunned when I learned that another writer had been writing toward those topics. Fortunately, it seems our two books are very different, but I must read to find out.

If you could invite literary characters to a dinner party, who would be at the table, and what would you serve?

I wish I could bring Terrence Des Pres back to life. He was a real person, an author, who died too soon. I would have liked to have known him. But if I were given the chance to bring a fictional character into my life, my room, it would be Hanna from Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient. I’ve been doing a lot of cooking of late. I’d serve my very best recipes. There’d be color, taste, light, nothing heavy (perhaps salmon with a layer of dijon mustard, and a crust of herbs, and my famous potatoes). And then, of course, dessert (a small bit of chocolate chip cheesecake).

And lastly, can you share a photo? And perhaps a caption?

A photo.... I will share a funny one, from long ago. I am the girl in the homemade white dress. Kelly was my best friend. This picture reminds me of how my friends are often people who are not very much like me, and who I love precisely because of that.


And now, the part you may or may not have been waiting for, depending on whether or not you read the blog post title carefully…a giveaway! And yes, I do write maddening sentences like the one just prior on purpose. *grin* AHEM. Back to business: I have one gently read ARC of Dangerous Neighbors to give away.

To enter:

Leave a comment on this post answering this question, “I asked Beth about ‘sisters in fiction.’ When you hear that phrase, what comes to your mind immediately?” You can earn an extra entry by commenting on my review.

Please include a method of contact. Giveaway is open internationally. Comments will close on October 3 at 11:59pm EST, and I will notify the randomly selected winners via email.

Good luck!

teaser tuesday (54)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 | | 13 comments
It's Teaser Tuesday, a bookish blog meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Here's how it works:

Grab your current read and let it fall open to a random page. Post two (or more) sentences from that page, along with the title and author. Don’t give anything vital away!

“He trembled as he stared at her, as if he didn’t quite recognize her for what she was. And then, quite suddenly, she saw sense come into his gaze, and of course, he did recognize her, and passed a hand over his pale face.”

-p. 165 of Mercedes Lackey’s Phoenix and Ashes [re-reading this for the umpteenth time]

hello monday! here, have a zombie update.

Start of the work week. The day my brain looks least desirable to the undead (due to changes in texture…all mushy on Mondays, trust me!). The day…that is right before Tuesday. And also before I’ve had sufficient coffee to function for the workday.

Let me cheat (just this once, I promise!) and post a zombie link update. Pretty please? Okay. Keep your anti-zombie weapons at the ready…

David Lubar, author of the Nathan Abercrombie: Accidental Zombie books, writes about zombieism and humor and the unintentional side effects of being undead.

Next, Harrison Geillor, the author of The Zombies of Lake Woebegotten, talks about the advantages of living in a rural community in the event of a zombie apocalypse (hint: lower population = less dead people).

Tor also gets several authors weigh in on literary works they’d like to see zombified.

It also turns out the University of Baltimore will be offering a class on zombies in their course catalogue (yes, zombies can even take on academia). And finally, Jesse Petersen, the author of hilarious Married with Zombies, blogs about how zombies can really bring a family together. If you haven’t already, I suggest that you enter the giveaway for her new release! It's pretty hilarious.

This post is part of the September Zombies event hosted by Velvet at vvb32reads.

my life is not an eighties movie. but sometimes it's pretty great.

Friday, September 17, 2010 | | 12 comments

I had an amazing night last night. My friend Greta and I went to a free screening of Easy A (thanks twitter!) in Chinatown, and then after the movie we got crepes and ate Nutella, banana and strawberry goodness while we walked back to the Metro. Seriously? YUM. Of course, the night wouldn’t have been nearly as fun if Easy A hadn’t been really great entertainment. Simply put? It rocked. And so, while I don’t usually give films the ‘review’ treatment, I’m going to be a fangirl and tell you how much I liked it. Brace yourselves.

After a little white lie about losing her virginity gets out, a clean cut high school girl sees her life paralleling Hester Prynne's in The Scarlet Letter, which she is currently studying in school - until she decides to use the rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing.

A clever, funny, fast-paced comedy that will reach beyond its 'target' teen audience, Easy A was an A+ in my book. Emma Stone plays Olive, the girl with the ‘A’ on her chest. I know and love Emma from Zombieland, where she pulled off scared-awesome-harda$$ very well. In this flick she’s part of a great family, but off the radar as far as boys and high school popularity go. And then things get interesting…

Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson, who play the parents of Emma Stone's character, were sparkling, witty, the parents-you-always-wanted-until-they-do-something-ridiculously-embarrassing (oh wait, those ARE my parents!), and my absolute favorite part of the film. Best scene? Tucci goes to Stone's room to check on her, and tells here that's there's no judgment (referring to her supposed gay boyfriend), that he went through a gay phase too. That everyone does. That line had the whole audience dying.

As we were walking out of the theater, Greta mentioned that the film was kind of like Mean Girls. I agree to a certain extent. It’s funny, tightly written, and there are some highly talented actors attached to the project. It also takes the form of a confession, and the protagonist goes from obscurity to popularity via the high school rumor mill. But while both films share those connections, I felt more satisfied at the end of Easy A. I think it’s because the film has a narrower vision. It’s essentially the story of one girl, not a group of girls. The focus isn’t as wide and the resolution is believable because it all plays out on a smaller stage.

Since this is a real review, I have to mention what I didn’t like about the film (answer: not much). BUT…I’ll admit that I hated the portrayal of the ‘bad guys.’ Amanda Bynes, you were SO over the top. I couldn’t take the Christians seriously as judgmental, close-minded crazies (thank goodness on that point!) because it went beyond belief. I mean, I know that there are fanatics in any group of people, but this version seemed as if [insert name of talk show host here] were inhabiting the body of a teenage girl. Movies about teens aren’t known for their subtlety, but that was one point where this story could have dialed it down a notch. Again – it didn’t take away from my essential enjoyment of the film.

So, what does this add up to? Cute, funny, not completely clichéd story + terrific performances + an amazing musical score = the best night I've had in a while. Oh, and Penn Badgley's abs in blue paint didn't hurt either.

Recommended for: teens, their parents (yikes!), anyone who felt a bit like an outsider in high school, and anyone who didn’t too. This is all around good fun for (almost) all ages. You know, PG-13 and up sort of ages. Go see it! You’ll laugh at LEAST three times. I promise.

a little honey for someone else

Thursday, September 16, 2010 | | 3 comments
It’s time to announce the winners of my giveaway for two copies of Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey (plus SIGNED bookplates!). Please join me in congratulating...

Christine of The ‘Life’

and TochiO!

If you’ll remember, I asked entrants to give me a word or phrase that reminded them milk and/or honey. Christine wrote, “whenever I think of milk, I get an image of the caramel color it makes when I pour it into my tea.” TochiO said, “I think of what a sunset would taste like if such a thing could be tasted.” Lovely images – in fact, everyone had great contributions. Thanks for letting me sample your imagination!

[photo found here]

If you didn’t win this time, please remember to check out the current giveaway for two copies of Married with Zombies, or to check back later for other opportunities. Thanks again! You = awesome.

dangerous neighbors

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 | | 14 comments

I thought I was sitting down to read a historical novel, something to do with the Philadelphia Centennial. I thought I knew what to expect. But I didn’t foresee such beauty in the language, such mastery over the written word. I didn’t know I’d want to reread paragraphs to more fully appreciate their poetry. I didn’t realize that Beth Kephart would make me shed tears over hope lost and found again.

Could any two sisters be more tightly bound together than the twins, Katherine and Anna? Yet love and fate intervene to tear them apart. Katherine's guilt and sense of betrayal leaves her longing for death, until a surprise encounter and another near catastrophe rescue her from a tragic end.

Set against the magical kaleidoscope of the Philadelphia Centennial fair of 1876, National Book Award nominee Beth Kephart's book conjures the sweep and scope of a moment in history in which the glowing future of a nation is on display to the disillusioned gaze of a girl who has determined that she no longer has a future. The tale is a pulse-by-pulse portrait of a young heroine's crisis of faith and salvation in the face of unbearable loss.

I’d heard about Beth Kephart. When I started blogging and then following other book blogs, I noticed people talking about her and her books. Still, I didn’t pick one up. I didn’t feel a sense of urgency. That has definitely changed – Ms. Kephart is going to go straight into the category of ‘read the entire backlist!’ And mind that exclamation point while you’re at it!

True confession: I’d rather avoid grief and sadness. I know that’s pretty human of me, but I take it farther. If I know ahead of time that a book or a film is going to be melancholy, I avoid it. I’m a bit of a coward. And so, although Dangerous Neighbors sat on my nightstand for over a month, I was hesitant to pick it up. After all, it says right there in the blurb that fate and unbearable loss (hello, tragedy!) are in the picture. But the cover artwork kept calling to me, and then I actually read the first couple of pages. That’s all it took – I was hooked.

There’s a dangerous sort of beauty in Kephart’s prose. It’s complex, it’s beautiful, and it will suck you into its emotion and obsession. Dangerous Neighbors is a story of twin sisters growing up in Philadelphia. It’s the story of a city dressed up in celebration. At the same time, it is a tale of loss and grief and change. It’s tragedy on one side, and redemption (of sorts) on another. I really can’t do justice to it – only to say that it is heartbreaking and also breathtaking.

Another confession: It turns out that I'm not going to write about the plot, or even very deeply about the characters in this review. It’s not that I don’t want to, you understand. It’s just that whenever I start a paragraph, I somehow end up with sentences crowded with words like ‘literary’ and ‘atmospheric.’ I was deeply impressed by the description and the emotion in this little volume. And so I’ll leave it at that, and let you to discover the ‘doings’ on your own. I strongly suggest that you go out and get a copy NOW. If, you know, it seems like your thing. Or even if it’s not.

Recommended for: fans of literary fiction, spectacular young adult literature, history, tragedy, deliverance, and descriptions so well rendered that they seem tinged with the magical.

I received an ARC of Dangerous Neighbors for review from Winsome Media Communications.

bbaw interview exchange – meet little red reviewer

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 | | 15 comments
And now, a break from our usual programming…it’s the second day of BBAW, or Book Blogger Appreciation Week. For one week each September, book bloggers celebrate what is awesome about the book blogging community. In case you are wondering, those awesome things include giveaways. So you should totally check it out.

Today is the day dedicated to (you guessed it!) interviews. Please welcome Andrea, the Little Red Reviewer, to my blog! Andrea is a fellow foodie with a great attitude and REALLY great taste in fantasy novels. Her blog is mostly dedicated to sci-fi, fantasy, graphic novels and manga. She used to run, but has since switched directions. Go check out Little Red Reviewer for more of Andrea!

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Scott Lynch, China Meiville, Neal Gaiman, Cory Doctorow, Robin Hobb, Sheri S Tepper, Steven Brust, Stephen Lawhead, Patrick Rothfuss. I like weird, I like off kilter, I like melancholy.

Are there any genres that you refuse to read?

Refuse, no. Avoid? Yes. I tend to avoid self-help books and paranormal romance…but that doesn't mean I haven't read any enjoyed a few of them.

Do you have any hidden (or not-so-hidden) superpowers?

I always know the right thing to say. And the right moment to say it… to make you snort beer out your nose.

I don’t collect cookbooks the way I do fiction, but I do have a couple of go-to picks. Do you have a favorite cookbook?

My favorite cookbook is Claudia Roden's The Book of Jewish Food. It's split up into parts of the world where Jews ended up and adopted many of the local food customs. The chapters on India and North Africa are my favorites, and the photos of Jewish families from around the world are wonderful. I plan to take to the Sunday School class I teach just to show the kids the photos. It's gotten to the point where if I see Claudia Roden's name on a cookbook (ethnic or not), I buy it.

What’s the best book you've read in the last month?

As much as I loved Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb, I think "book of the month" needs to go to For the Win by Cory Doctorow.

If you could invite literary characters to a dinner party, who would be at the table, and what would you serve?

Oooh, I like this question! It's like planning my fantasy party! Food would be a middle eastern feast - stuffed grape leaves, kibbeh, grilled lamb, rice salads, stuffed dates, baklava, warm pita, pickles, lots of hummus. My dinner guests would include Locke Lamora, Kvothe, George Koizumi and Caroline, Ed and Alphonse Elric, Vlad Taltos, Howl (cheat: I want the movie version!) Jon Snow, FitzChivalry, and Uther Doul. Yikes, that's quite the group of melancholies! We better have a case or two of good wine! And poor Caroline, she'd just be totally freaked out the whole time, but somehow I think George and Doul would get along famously.

Also…Locke Lamora and I need to have a private dinner. Involving sushi.

If you were trapped on a desert island, which books would you not take with you?

Who Moved My Cheese would totally be staying home, along with Shardik by Richard Adams. Richard Adams, I love you, but did you really have to torture me with Shardik? Yes, I know that was the point, but really?? The Chronicles of Thomas Covenent would probably stay home too.

What does your TBR pile look like right now?

It looks much like an exploding volcano. But with less boiling magma and more books.

One of the things I love about blogging is that I can recommend books to total strangers and not feel awkward or shy about it. Have you ever recommended a book to a stranger in real life?

I like going to garage sales and estate sales, and one moment you're digging through boxes and boxes of old books with a complete stranger, then next thing you're talking books and making recommendations…she said she liked Stephen King but was looking for something a little weirder, so I recommended Neil Gaiman, and then she asked if I'd read any Catholic Lesbian fiction (nothing against that genre, it just caught me completely off guard), and I quickly said umm no I'm Jewish. I still talk to complete strangers at estate sales while we're digging through the book boxes.

If you had to own a cow, what color would you choose?

Chocolate milk comes from brown cows, right? So yeah, brown.

Alright, last question, so be sure to press all your favorite things on me. Give me one book I absolutely have to read, one book blog I have to visit, and one fashion trend I have to avoid at all costs.

China Mieville's The Scar, Elitist Book Reviews, and skinny jeans *shudder*.

[photo found here]

Thanks for having me, and thanks for the great questions…especially the dinner party one!

Thank YOU, Andrea! Did you see how cool she is? She likes Neil Gaiman! And China Mieville! And FOOD! So obviously we were meant to be friends. Yay! If you want to check out Andrea's interview of ME, go HERE. You know you want to...

interview with a zombie. err...zombie author! (+ giveaway)

Monday, September 13, 2010 | | 25 comments

Jesse Petersen, the author of hilarious new release Married with Zombies (my review HERE) is with us today for a zombie-licious interview.

What made you want to write about zombies? Have you had any personal experience with them?

No personal experience… yet. Though I think I’d do pretty damn well with a zombie apocalypse if I do say so myself. As far as what made me want to write them, I just got an idea I thought was funny after we saw "Zombieland". It was strictly to entertain myself and then suddenly it was sold! Which is awesome.

Ever meet someone whom you thought (secretly, of course) could be a zombie? Maybe a reclusive neighbor? A distant relative? An old fourth-grade teacher?

My second grade teacher was kind of mean, but not zombie mean. More Stephan King mean. We used to have hookers and druggies who hung out in the alley behind our shitty apartment in Seattle. Any one of them could have been a zombie and I never would have known the difference. Gross.

I know that most people browsing around a bookstore are drawn to the title or the cover artwork. Who do you think will pick up your book?

I hope anyone who likes the funny and the zombies, which I think are both reflected in the cover art (done by the fabu Lauren Panepinto at Orbit) and the title (which was put together by my editor Devi Pillai and her team). Doesn’t that cover just POP! I love it.

How hard is it to write funny books? Imbuing your words with the meaning you want them to have isn't easy, so how do you manage to make people laugh out loud? (Or, how long does it take you to come up with jokes?)

Like I said, I wrote the first book in this series mainly to entertain myself, so I think I had the cheaters route. If it made me laugh, I wrote it down and kept it in. Luckily Devi and my agent both shared my twisted sense of humor and so have most of the readers I’ve encountered who have read it so far. The second and third books were harder. I was thinking more about the “big picture” audience at that point. Don’t want to repeat jokes, that sort of thing. But still… if it makes ME laugh, it tends to stay.

Do you read zombie books on a regular basis? Are there any you'd recommend?

I’ve been very zombie-centric lately. I loved WORLD WAR Z, FEED (by Mira Grant) and I just started THE WALKING DEAD graphic novel series. Honestly… zombie almost always equals awesome. They’re like pizza. Even when they’re bad, they’re good.

What about romances or chick lit - any recent favorites?

I still love my historical romances. Love Lisa Kleypas, Kathryn Smith, just read SOULLESS, which isn’t shelved as romance, but has a strong romantic element.

A good portion of your novel takes place in Seattle, my hometown. What made you pick such an obviously awesome place?

I lived there for almost six years, so it was a city I felt comfortable writing from a technical standpoint. Plus, it’s Seattle! Homebase of cool!!

If you had to own a cow (in a naturally-occurring cow color), what color cow would you own?

Oh, good question. I’d probably go with a how-now-brown cow in a natural color (because I’d get to say that every time I saw it). In an unnatural color, I’d say purple.

What is going to cause the Apocalypse?

Zombieism. I’m voting for zombies. Probably caused by a government leak.

I’ve been hearing about a Zombies vs. Unicorns war that is brewing in the YA book sphere. Who do you pick for the win?

See, now Unicorns have horns, but the problem becomes that the second they are bitten then they are zombie unicorns with horns. So I’d say zombies in the long term. With a lot of carnage caused by unicorns first.

Thank you, Jesse! And just for the record, I agree with you completely re: Zombie Unicorns. Double awesome.

Would you like to win a copy of Married with Zombies? I’m giving away two. Just see the info below!


To enter:

Leave a comment on this post answering this question, “Of the people you see everyday, who would be the first to succumb to the zombie plague?” You can earn an extra entry by commenting on my review.

Please include a method of contact. Giveaway is open internationally. Comments will close on September 30 at 11:59pm EST, and I will notify the randomly selected winners via email.

Good luck!

This post is part of the September Zombies event. Author photo credit info here.

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