Thursday, September 30, 2010

Interview with Andrea Cremer Author of Nightshade

Today please welcome Andrea Cremer author of the new YA novel, Nightshade.

Q: Let’s start out by learning a little about you. What would you like to tell us about yourself?

A: I from the Northwoods of Wisconsin and a recent migrant to Minneapolis/St. Paul. I’m a Leo who loves thunderstorms, reading, writing (obviously) and I have a Ph.D. in early modern history and an irrational fear of crocodiles.

Q: Do you have a “day job” or do you write full time?

A: I’m a history professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Q:What are some of your hobbies besides writing?

A: I have two dogs: a pug and a border collie, I spend a lot of time hanging out with them. I also love music and doing yoga.

Q: What is the strangest source of inspiration you’ve had? Maybe something weird that ended up in one of your books (or will end up in an upcoming book)?

A: I decided I wanted to write steampunk after a trip to the optometrist. He put the weirdest contraption on his head. I couldn’t believe it was a real device and not some mad scientist tool. After I left that appointment all I wanted to do was create more odd devices and put them into a story.

Q: If you could offer one tidbit of information for new writers, what would it be?
A: Don’t write for anyone but yourself and write what you love.

Q: Now let’s chat about your debut book Nightshade, what can you tell us about it?

A: Calla started it all because I wanted to write a story about a female character who wasn’t being pulled into a magical world – she was already in the middle of it, a leader and a warrior. The world of Nightshade came as I tried to figure out how someone like Calla, a girl who I knew was incredibly powerful, could be afraid and angry. What was controlling her? Why would she be fighting against her own destiny? I realized that she was facing off with something even more powerful than herself.

That’s where my background as a historian came in. I teach early modern history (1500-1800) – a period of immense, violent change in human societies. This is the time of witchhunts, religious warfare, colonization, the Inquistion; all types of cataclysmic social transformation that turned the lives across the globe upside down. The more I thought about Calla I thought about the ways in which wolf warriors and witches could have intertwined lives. The mythology in Nightshade is a blend of history and lore plus new twists I imagined along the way.

Q: Did you do a lot of research on wolves or did you take what you already knew and turned the pack dynamic into something different than what we normally see in “werewolf” books?

A: When I was growing up I liked watching nature shows as much as cartoons. I learned a lot about wildlife and wolves in particular because of that. I didn’t have to do much research because I’d been unwittingly doing it all my life!

Q: You have really changed the werewolf lore in Nightshade into something completely new with the magic, did you set out to create a new look at wolves or did it develop along the way?

A: I’m a wolf girl, but a real wolf girl. I grew up so far North in Wisconsin that it’s practically Canada. Wolves roamed the forests of my homeland. I also loved National Geographic specials even more than cartoons. So by age 9 I could rattle off biological and ecological info like a pro. Wolves to me were beautiful, intelligent, social, and graceful.
Werewolves seemed to be none of these things. The werewolves I’d encountered on page and screen were hideous – half man/half beast, usually ugly, often unintelligent, driven only by rage or bloodlust.

And worst of all: they didn’t want to be wolves. Lycanthropy occurs as a curse, or a disease. The endgoal of most werewolf tales was to kill the wolf or free the affected person of the wolf curse.

I couldn’t come to grips with that idea. If someone asked me – hey wanna turn into a wolf? I’d say “heck, yeah!” Wouldn’t you rather be a wolf? From what I know of wolves, the answer is indisputably YES.

Nightshade’s Guardians are my way of coming to terms with my love of wolves and my trouble with classic werewolf tales. Calla – the alpha female who narrates Nightshade – is powerful and revels in her life as a wolf.

Her troubles arise not from her ability to shift, but from the ways in which her masters try to limit her power, to restrain her freedoms.

Wolves also inspire me because of their sociability.

Pack relationships offered a wonderful way to explore a world of friendship, servitude, loyalty, and betrayal. While Nightshade is about Calla’s journey, it’s also the story of her pack. The other wolves in the book play key roles throughout the trilogy. Wolves offered a wonderful framework around which to explore relationships, love, fear, and rivalry.

Q: List three adjectives that can best describe this book

A: Seductive, addictive, thrilling

Q: If an actor or actress was to play your heroine or hero, who would it be?

A: I would be thrilled to see the Nightshade series as a movie. What a blast! I actually have a blog post about the cast (and it has pictures).
You can check it out here:

Q: I see on your site that two more books in the Nightshade series and one companion novel are already scheduled, will the Nightshade series be a trilogy or do you plan to write additional books?

A: Nightshade is a trilogy and I’m also writing a prequel about the origins of the Witches War. The prequel will be in stores fall 2012.

Well that concludes the interview.
Thank you so much for joining us today at Fang-tastic Books.

You can visit Andrea at

And learn more about Nightshade at

Blurb for Nightshade:
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything - including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?


yllektra (force-oblique) said...

Whoohoo what was an amazing interview and squeeee!!
Two more books to come and companion!!

Katrina W said...

Great interview and insite to Andreas creating and ideas of wolves I totally got a differnt perspective !! I really enjoyed the interview and I must say Im a sucker for sequels. I love books to have a follow up or two.. Thanks for the great interview Roxanne and Andrea for answering some questions we may never have known !!! ;) Its a must read on my list !!!

Cleverly Inked said...

Fab interview. It's nice to have a author down to earth

Estella said...

Great interview! The cover of Nightshade is fabulous.

katsrus said...

Wonderful interview. I love the book cover.
Sue B