And my first interviewee is the lovely and multitalented Stacey Jay! Her YA paranormal novel You Are So Undead To Me has been out since January 22nd, and it's published in the US by Razorbill Books. Here's a little bit about the book:
Megan Berry's social life is so dead. Literally. Fifteen-year-old Megan Berry is a Zombie Settler by birth, which means she's part-time shrink to a bunch of dead people. All Megan wants is to be normal--and go to homecoming. But someone in school is using black magic to turn average, angsty Undead into flesh-eating Zombies, and it's looking like homecoming will turn out to be a very different kind of party--the bloody kind.
Stacey Jay describes herself as a workaholic with three pen names, four kids, and a decidedly macabre sense of humor. She loves zombies, creepies, crawlies, blood, guts, gore, and of course, romance.
Welcome, Stacey! To kick things off, I've noticed you're one of two Debs who've chosen to write about zombies in some fashion. There seem to be an increasing number of books about zombies in the YA and adult urban fantasy markets -- why do you think this is?
I would say because zombies are a metaphor for our crumbling social infrastructure but honestly I think it's because zombies are gross and scary and cool. And hilarious. To me anyway.
What personally drew you to the idea of writing about the undead?
Like I said, they are one of the few paranormal creatures that are both terrifying and weirdly funny. Their shambling, shuffling, groaning act is really kind of silly, but when they get close enough to get a mouthful of your yummy flesh....well, I think we all stop laughing then, don't we?
What would you say makes YOU ARE SO UNDEAD TO ME different from other zombie novels?
I haven't read all the other zombie novels so I can't say for certain, but I think YASUTM has a unique blend of humor, romance, and scary stuff. I haven't read anything exactly like it and I hope that's a good thing!
As a writer, was there anything you particularly struggled with while writing this book?
My first revision was a killer. I felt like I'd had a zombie gumming on my brain by the end of it, but I'm very happy with the end result so it was worth it.
What aspect of the finished novel are you most proud of?
The blend of scary and silly. There are laughs and there are moments that make you want to lock your door--that makes me proud.
You've published books in other genres and for other markets, but this is your first YA novel. What made you interested in writing YA?
I always wanted to write YA. It is my first love, but it took longer to get published in this genre than the others. I'm glad it did, however. I feel like I've had the chance to hone my craft and now I can give my YA readers my best.
Can you tell us anything about your next YA project? Will it be a follow-up to UNDEAD or something different?
I've got "Undead Much" coming in early 2010 from Razorbill. It's the sequel to "You are So Undead to Me" and is even scarier and romancier than the first book. I'm so excited to see what readers think about it! Then, I've got an untitled stand alone book releasing with Flux, also in early 2010. That book has a zombie as a heroine. She goes to zombie school, has to eat brains in the cafeteria, solves a murder her first week at school--lots of fun stuff. It's been a blast to write.
Congratulations on your debut, Stacey, and thanks for telling us a little more about yourself and your book! The next Debs interview will be with Jenny Moss on Feb. 15, when I'll be talking to her about her MG historical novel Winnie's War.