Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?
I think I’ve always had a fascination with paranormal, fantasy and horror themed stories, whether it was in movies or books. So naturally I was drawn toward those elements in my own stories.
What is it about the paranormal, in particular vampires, that fascinates you so much?
For me it’s always been magical, imaginative, ‘un-real’ aspect of it. It’s something more, something different than everyday ‘real’ life. An escape. With vampires, I’ve always liked the monster versions much more--Salem’s Lot, Dracula, 30 Days of Night, for example--where there’s a bit more darkness to the stories, rather than the Twilight’s or alpha male romance type heroes.
What inspired you to write this book?
When I first came up with the idea for Living Dead Girl, I never envisioned a series. As I wrote and got to know the characters, however, this complex story developed in my head. Reaper Madness, which is the sequel, really begins to show just how complex the journey is for Jen and Jack, and how the many different characters intertwine and relate to each other.
Please tell us about your latest release.
Reaper Madness is told from two POV’s--Jen and Jack and follows both of them through the afterlife as they search for each other, and for the answers to the many questions that crop up during their journeys.
Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?
I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about or planning character names, I just go with whatever sounds right for the character I’ve envisioned in my head. Most of the time it’s just an ordinary name. Of course it depends on the character, too. In Reaper Madness, I’ve started to weave in various world mythologies and religions, which inspired a few of the names.
Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
I try to put myself in the shoes of each character to decide what motivates them. In that sense, Merry, the villain from Living Dead Girl was a little tough to write. It was difficult to empathize with her. She’s mental, like totally psycho, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t find a way to relate to her. I hated what she did to the characters I’d grown the love.
Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
I’ve discovered that I enjoy writing many of my male characters. Sam is a sarcastic, asshole, antihero type, but he’s got some great dialogue. Jack is a fun, happy-go-lucky guy who’s a bit rebellious and a little bit of a wise-ass, but he’s also been fun to write.
Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?
No formula whatsoever. I’ll start with a basic idea of who they are, and work out scenes in my head. Mostly I let the character develop as I’m writing.
Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?
Part of this series takes places in current times, and most of that is in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. The fantasy/paranormal elements are woven in--like ghosts, etc--as though they belong there. The other parts take place in the afterlife, which is a series of interconnected worlds based upon various places found in world mythologies and religions (Purgatory, Hell, etc). With these, I’ve used my imagination as to how to weave them together. There are things that mirror real life as well as ideas based on the mythologies I’ve drawn inspiration from.
With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?
I think Reaper Madness can still be read as a standalone. While it technically continues the story after Living Dead Girl, the story itself is self-contained.
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
I climbed the staircase to my apartment, stuck my key in the lock, and flung the door open. Sam reclined on the couch, his feet resting on the coffee table and his hands laced behind his head.
“Pet,” he said, with a grin.
I narrowed my eyes. “Why do you always let yourself in?”
He shrugged. “I did knock.”
“But you knew I wouldn’t be here.” I hooked my toe under the lip of the coffee table and yanked it toward me so his feet dropped to the floor.
He tilted his head back against the couch, his coarse, sandpapery laughter filling in the silence. When I first met him, Sam looked like a drugged-out punk rocker. While some of that had been from altering his appearance to freak me out, he was still a supernatural Sid Vicious look-alike with black spiky hair, pale skin, and a horrible attitude. And now I was stuck with him.
“Who’s the one with the attitude?” He sat forward and rested his forearms on his knees.
“How was your review?”
“Fine.” Completely uneventful, boring, and none of his business. I sank into the recliner across from him.
He snorted. “Was it now?”
I met his eyes. “Yep.” We then engaged in what could best be described as a staring contest—the result of having two strong, stubborn personalities spending way too much time together. And possibly a little boredom.
“Uptight.” His lips curved up at the corners, but he still didn’t blink.
Oh, that was the game? We were name-calling now? I shouldn’t stoop to his level, but that didn’t mean I was backing down. Not uptight. More like suffocating in my own disappointment at being stuck with such a shabby reaper. So far, I was doing pretty well at not blinking back at him. I mirrored his expression. He brought out the most juvenile behavior in me.
“No, definitely uptight. Though it’s nothing a thick, long”—he paused and leaned closer to me, his smirk stretching into a devilish grin—“hard…”
And I blinked. “Motherfucker!”
He slouched back in his seat, chuckling. “Amateur.”
“I’ll beat you one of these days.”
Living Dead World
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Publisher: Etopia Press
Date of Publication: November 21, 2014
Number of pages: 223
Word Count: 71,385
This isn’t the afterlife she expected...
Jen MacLellan can’t get the hang of being a reaper. She’s been separated from Jack, the man she loves, and is stuck with an annoying telepathic link to her ill-tempered mentor, Sam. Now Death is breathing down her neck, promising to remove that annoying link if she gives him what he wants. But when reapers begin to disappear back on earth, leaving behind walking, talking dead people, Jen and Sam are thrust into a dangerous mission to recapture the souls, and a passionate physical relationship that complicates everything.
Jack Norris has no memory prior to waking up on the half-demon Nulcifer’s couch six months earlier. As he begins to investigate his past, he discovers a string of past lives tied together by a beautiful, mysterious brunette. Who is she? And why does finding her seem like a life or death proposition?
When Sam falls victim to fate during a routine visit to earth, Jen’s devastated. Desperate to get him back, she runs smack into the man she never thought she’d see again—Jack. She tries to keep her distance, but there’s no time to be awkward if they want to save Sam. When sinister plots are revealed, and betrayals threaten everything, she’s forced to make some tough choices—and learns that life is just as difficult when you’re dead.
About the Author:
Nessie is a Massachusetts native and mother of two who has dabbled in everything from abstract painting to freelance sports reporting. She also loves a good story, whether it’s reading or writing one.
Living Dead Girl and Reaper Madness, the first two novels in her urban fantasy Living Dead World series, were published by Etopia press in 2014.