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I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Kat Kruger, author of the exhilarating debut THE NIGHT HAS TEETH, which releases September 23rd from Fierce Ink Press! I would like to thank the author as well as the lovely folks over at Fierce Ink Press for making this interview and my review of The Night Has Teeth (which will be posted tomorrow) possible! Enjoy!
1. What inspired you to write THE NIGHT HAS TEETH?
Science. I know that’s kind of a geeky answer, but it’s the truth. While I’ve always been a fan of SFF (Science Fiction/Fantasy), world-building is kind of crucial to me as a reader and a writer. Some famous author at some point said that all fiction requires a “willful suspension of disbelief” but let’s just say I can be a skeptic if things don’t line up right. When I set out to write an urban paranormal novel, I knew I needed to ground my world in science. That’s when my husband submitted his DNA to a genographic project (where genetic samples are used to map out human origins on earth). In any case, it got me thinking about how werewolves could exist from a scientific standpoint and that started a whole research process into genetics, etc. Even though I’ve always been interested in Discovery Channel and National Geographic programs, I was never strong in sciences so that presented challenges of its own!
2. If you were to describe the book in one or two sentences, what would they be?
A nerdy seventeen-year-old New Yorker gets a scholarship to study in Paris where his teen angst is magnified a million times due to falling in with an underground society of werewolves. Oh, and he’s on the wanted list of a four-hundred-year-old “bitten” mad scientist.
3. Do you have any writing quirks or habits? (Some authors have music in the background, have to write away from home or have a cup of coffee, write predominately at night or in the morning..etc.)
I pretty much always have a playlist going at all times. And the playlist changes as each draft progresses. I’m kind of fanatic about it, actually. Sometimes I swear I spend as much time building playlists as I do thinking about plot. At the same time, it usually happens when I’m stuck and need to find inspiration so it’s not like it’s taking away from my writing per se…
4. If optioned, could you see THE NIGHT HAS TEETH as more of a TV Show (live action or animated) or a Film?
I love this question. Only because I’ve already thought of the answer. Film for sure. I’m a big fan of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, especially his films Delicatessen and Amélie. Because the book takes place in Paris it would be awesome to have a French director. Who am I kidding though? It would be awesome if the book was optioned period. But Jeunet would be my dream director.
5. Is there anything else you would like readers to know?
This ain’t Twilight. There are a lot of books in this genre right now that are epic love stories between paranormal boys and mortal girls. I eat up those books along with the rest of the fangirls. That said, this is completely, totally, absolutely not that kind of book. I definitely wrote it with both genders in mind.
Kat Kruger is the winner of the 34th Atlantic Writing Competition. She is a freelance writer and social media consultant and holds a degree in public relations from Mount Saint Vincent University. She currently lives in Toronto with her husband. The Night Has Teeth is her first novel.
You can find Kat on:
YOU CAN HELP FUND THE NIGHT HAS TEETH AT INDIEGOGO BY CLICKING THE LINK BELOW!
- There seems to be such a great understanding and knowledge of the world of coding and technology, do you also dabble in these fields in your personal life? and If so, how did it help when it came to writing The Start-Up series?
I’ve lived and worked in Silicon Valley for quite some time, and those experiences and familiarity definitely worked their way into The Start-Up. I also hold two degrees from Stanford (undergrad and grad) so that helped inform Adam and Amelia’s interactions on campus. More than that, though, my time in Silicon Valley exposed me to a society that remains hidden. The rest of the country—and world—only think of geeks hammering away at keyboards. They have no idea what kind of excess and ambition, lying and cheating, goes on in the Bay Area.
- Though at the moment, The Start-Up series is exclusively in digital format, do you think you will ever release a paperback version or possibly a bind up of the first three?
There aren’t currently any plans for a print version of the series, but my publisher is planning on releasing a “box set” of the first three episodes in the coming months, in anticipation of the release of the fourth episode. Which I think is very exciting!
- What is something you hope readers take or understand from reading The Start Up?
At one level, this book is about exposing Silicon Valley–the culture, the money, the power. It’s not all about Zuckerberg and like buttons, or algorithms and free lunches at the Googleplex. There is a very real struggle between inspiration/creativity and money. Companies rise and fall, people rise and fall, and Silicon Valley is a tumultuous landscape of ego, envy and pride. At the level of the protagonist, the story is about naivete, inspiration and general good intentions. It has themes of the female entrepreneur in a male-driven world, and also the purity of creativity when most people are driven by fame and power.
- Do you have any writing quirks? (writing at a specific time, having specific windows open while writing…etc.)
Like any writer, it’s a constant struggle. I try to be consistent, but it’s a struggle. I wish I had some rituals! If you can give me a couple good ones, I’ll try them.
- How many books can you foresee in this series?
I don’t have any plans to wrap up the series any time soon. Episodes 1, 2, and 3 are out and for sale everywhere books are sold (online) and episodes 4, 5, and 6 are in the works. I’m working with my publisher, Backlit Fiction, on creating a new model for ebooks, where they are more like TV shows and follow seasons and arcs. Where one story ends another begins.
- Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A huge thank you to all my readers! I love to hear from readers about what they like and didn’t like, so I want to encourage everyone out there to find me on Twitter, Goodreads, or Facebook and let me know what they’re thinking about The Start-Up!
The Start-Up series is available in ebook form on Amazon and B&N, etc. Follow me on twitter @DigitalSadie or at www.Doreye.com to stay in contact with me and keep posted on upcoming releases!
Books in the Series (Click Cover To Learn More)
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Q1. I have to commend you for doing such great things! You have gone from being an open water lifeguard, forest firefighter, construction worker, and an advocate in the movement to end violence against women, and now adding author and screenwriter to that list. Did these astounding careers help shape and/or inspire you to write your novels?
Yes, all my life experiences and all the work I’ve done have definitely affected and influenced my novels. When I was a girl, I traveled to different worlds by reading tons of books. As soon as I was old enough I started to have adventures and exploits of my own. And those experiences have gone into my novels, which I hope will, in turn, inspire other young people to live life fully and try new and exciting things.
Q2. What was it like setting off on your own adventure at the tender age of 15?
I do think one of my first big adventures was climbing out my bedroom window and running away from home when I was 15. (I would NOT recommend that anyone else do this. Most runaways end up victims of crimes and/or in terrible trouble).
I left a note for my parents that had a quote from the John Irving novel THE HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE. It said, “Life is serious, but art is fun!” I made it all the way to South Padre Island and Matamoros, Mexico. It was very exhilarating and scary and fun! I have to say I would NEVER have dared do such a thing except for the fact I had watched two movies that summer about people on the run living life fully, THELMA & LOUISE and POINT BREAK. After watching each of them a bunch of times, I was ready to do something out-of-the-bounds of what was acceptable myself.
Q3. You’ve traveled and lived in quite a few places. Were there any out of the bunch that you loved just a little more?
When I was a forest firefighter I lived in the mountains of the Pike National Forest with my 20 person crew. That Fire Center might be my favorite place in the world. It was the home base we returned to after traveling all over the West battling wildland fires.
Q4. What is something you hope readers will take from THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE after reading?
I hope readers will be inspired to seek. I hope they will be inspired to search out both a way of life and a spiritual path that works for them. And I hope they realize they don’t have to accept the life that seems to be laid out for them.
Q5. Your other novel THE GODS OF FIRE, which has yet to be released, has been optioned for film and is currently in pre-production. From writing the novel to also penning the screenplay and having it optioned, what was that process like? Were there any difficulties that you encountered along the way?
Having my unpublished optioned for film was such an amazing Cinderella story. I found out that two producers in Hollywood had read the book and really loved it. The head producer Bill Mechanic (former CEO of 20th Century Fox) produced some of my favorite movies and some huge blockbusters. So everyday I would run to the video store and rent a movie he’d produced. The next day I would email him and tell him what I liked about the film. After awhile, he agreed to meet with me and I flew to Hollywood. After spending time with me, he told me he would option the film, but he wanted me to write the screenplay. I was thrilled, but also scared—I’d barely even read a script! But producer Suzanne Warren (who works with Mechanic at Pandemonium Productions) help me every step of the way. There’s now a director attached to the project and the script will go out to actors soon.
Q6. Do you have anything else you would like readers to know about yourself and/or your books?
I’d like readers to know that THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE, while fun and fast-paced, is also about the borders between the United States and Mexico, English and Spanish, male and female, adolescence and adulthood. It’s a fantastical adventure story with a 14 year-old protagonist who leaves behind the world she knows to find her one true friend.
The Earthquake Machine tells the story of 14 year-old Rhonda. On the outside, everything looks perfect in Rhonda’s world, but at home Rhonda has to deal with a manipulative father who keeps her mentally ill mother hooked on pharmaceuticals. The only reliable person in Rhonda’s life is her family’s Mexican yardman, Jesús. But when the INS deports Jesús back to his home state of Oaxaca, Rhonda is left alone with her increasingly painful family situation.
Determined to find her friend Jésus, Rhonda seizes an opportunity to run away during a camping trip with friends to Big Bend National Park. She swims to the Mexican side of the Rio Grande and makes her way to the border town of Milagros, Mexico. There a peyote- addled bartender convinces her she won’t be safe traveling alone into the country’s interior. So with the bartender’s help, Rhonda cuts her hair and assumes the identity of a Mexican boy named Angel. She then sets off on a burro across the desert to look for Jesús. Thus begins a wild adventure that fulfills the longing of readers eager for a brave and brazen female protagonist.
- Mary Pauline Lowry has worked as a forest firefighter, screenwriter, open water lifeguard, construction worker, and advocate in the movement to end violence against women. Due to no fault of her sweet parents, at 15 she ran away from home and made it all the way to Matamoros, Mexico. She believes girls should make art, have adventures, and read books that show them the way.
Visit her website: HERE
Find her on Goodreads: HERE
Mark the book as to-read: HERE
Interview Conducted on: February 17th, 2012
DEREK (The Author)
What was the inspiration behind SCARY SCHOOL?
The first novel I had written was originally called SCARY SCHOOL: BOOK 1 – MY HOMEWORK ATE MY DOG! – it’s a middle-grade fantasy series very similar to Harry Potter. The only problem was, it didn’t have a whole lot to do with a “scary school”. I just thought of that title and wanted to use it before someone else did. So my editor at HarperCollins read the book, and almost acquired it, but in the end, they ended up passing on it, but gave me the recommendation to write a book series called SCARY SCHOOL that was lighter, funnier, and more school-centric. I took their advice, which became the Scary School series we know today. It was also great because for inspiration I got to use all of my favorite characters from the horror movies I loved, like Jason, and Freddy, and even the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park! I wanted to imagine what it would be like if they had all gone to school together when they were kids, and in my silly head, the reality of that would be pretty dang funny.
By the way, the original book ended up becoming RUDY AND THE BEAST: BOOK 1 – MY HOMEWORK ATE MY DOG! which is available exclusively through my website at http://www.scaryschool.com/bookstore.html – and you can get it on Kindle (just $2.99!) or paperback! For those who like dark fantasies like Harry Potter, I’ve gotten many responses that young readers enjoy it even more than Scary School!
If you had to choose a character from SCARY SCHOOL, who do you think would have been your best friend or would relate to most?
In Book One I think Petunia was my favorite character. I think I share a lot of traits with her in terms of our school experience – feeling lonely, feeling like an outcast, being lost in her own world, and carrying a sadness upon her shoulders because her classmates can’t see past her peculiarities. Her chapter was also one of my favorites to write because it was so spooky and creepy, plus it teaches an important lesson about being careful what you wish for, and it gives her a really nice arc.
If optioned, what do you feel this book would work better as: TV Show (animated or live action) or Film?
I think this would probably work better as a TV show for reasons you mentioned in the review. There’s not really a main character with a singular storyline that we’re following in Book 1. The school is actually the main character, and I use it to introduce you to the very colorful cast of students and teachers who have their own unique stories. In that sense, it’s very episodic in nature, similar to WAYSIDE SCHOOL, which became a popular cartoon on Nickelodeon, so it would definitely work well for that medium.
If you go the website – www.ScarySchool.com – you’ll see some of my ideas of how it could work. There’s a pretty cool book trailer that you can view that has some nice computer animation in it that looks like how the TV show could start. You can also play some fun games on the website and if you win, you’ll get the weirdest trophy you’ve ever seen! There’s lots more to explore there as well (including the secret last chapter of the book you can only unlock after finishing Book 1) so I urge you all to have fun and explore it.
Back to the TV/Movie question, once we start in Book 2, it does become more of a singular storyline using the established characters such as Charles Nukid, Petunia, and Penny Possum, while also introducing us to lots of funny new ones. It’s definitely more cinematic in nature. I also got to expand the “scary” world outside the walls of the school, which was very fun to explore.
What awaits in the sequel, SCARY SCHOOL: Monsters on the March? and how many books do you foresee in this series?
Scary School #2: Monsters on the March comes out June 26, 2012 online and in bookstores everywhere. After winning the Ghoul Games, Scary School gets to claim their prize of going on a field trip to meet the Monster King in Monster Kingdom. However, things do not go as planned and the students have to get very lucky to make it out of there alive. All of your favorite characters will be back for new adventures, and there will of course be lots of strange and spooky new characters and teachers. After that, Book 3 will be out June 2013 and things get CRAZY!!
So far, I’ve outlined six books total in the series, with definite potential for more depending on how they catch on, and of course, if I’m still excited about writing them.
Derek (The Ghost)
Your death was pretty unfortunate, granted Death is always unfortunate, but, is there anything in particular you miss MOST from when you were still alive?
What I miss the most is probably having mass. I used to be able to have an effect on the world, like when I would bump into a chair it would move, or when I walked into a wall it would hurt, but now I just pass through everything. You’d think it would be cool, but it gets kind of frustrating after I while. If I want to rearrange the furniture in my room in my haunted house, there’s literally nothing I can do about it! I have to ask my sister to come do it for me! Ugh! On the plus side, I since I have no mass, I’ll never have to go on a diet anytime soon!
Had you still been able to participate, what do you think you would have done for the Ghoul Games?
I’m a professional level Boggle player. I can see all those words popping out at me and I love writing super-fast.
Out of all of the students or faculty at Scary School, who do you feel is holding a dark secret or has more to them than meets the eye?
Wow. That’s a very good question. At the beginning of Book 2, (which comes out June 26) you’re going to meet a new teacher named Mr. Grump, who seems to be part Elephant, part fish, and part man. He also has some very serious memory problems, so nobody is quite sure of his origin. But you’ll have to read Book 2 so see if we ever find out how this very weird teacher came to be!
I would like to thank both Derek, and Derek (the Ghost) of Scary School for letting me conduct this interview!