Today we have a guest blogger with us, author F.J. Titchenell. I hope you enjoy getting to know more about her debut novel Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) from Jolly Fish Press . This book is a great ride!
Why zombies? I never actually made a conscious decision to write a zombie story. Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) just popped into my head one morning, the whole first chapter materialized in a few hours, and I knew I had to follow it.
I already loved zombies, as big brainless targets for silly action, and as a foundation for stories both light and dark about how characters live in a world without the structure and civilization we know.
It wasn’t until I started writing the book that I realized how much teenage girls have been left out of the fun side of zombies. The grim side has been well covered in YA, but zombie comedies tend to be more grown up guy-oriented, and I wanted to share that half of the zombie equation with new zombie geeks, especially girls.
Have you always wanted to write for a YA audience? Was there anything you felt was harder or easier once you started?Apart from a brief time in college when the novelty of adulthood led me to try adult contemporary fiction, yes, I’ve always been a YA person. Those are the books that cemented my love of books in general and helped me through some of my toughest times, so those are the kinds of books I wanted to create.
Characterization got a lot easier for me once I started getting the hang of things. That was always a big concern for me, getting a feel for who I’m writing about, and I’d call it one of my strengths now.
Outlines, on the other hand, have remained surprisingly hard for me. I’m an outline person. I like to have a plan, I like technical details, and I’m one of those annoying people always predicting how storytelling conventions will compel other people’s stories to end, yet when I sit down to lay out the outlines for my own books, I spend an embarrassing amount of time wrestling with the blank page.
What or who is the inspiration for your main character Cassie? Well, my fifteen-year-old self certainly has a lot of influence on her. She’s got my geekiness, my love of funny guys, my teenage trouble gaging who does and doesn’t want to be more than friends, and my difficulties relating to girlier girls. She’s got more confidence in who she is than I had, though, and a more upbeat attitude toward the world than I may ever have, which is part of what makes her so much fun.
If you were to create a soundtrack for your zombie novel, who would be on the list? Daughtry’s “Life After You” for Cassie and Norman’s song, and Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Follow You into the Dark” for at least one scene of the friends fighting off zombies together.
What is the best reading experience you have ever had? Harry Potter. Harry Potter was my childhood. Growing up with that series was what taught me how close my relationship with books could be, and the intensity of that connection with a fictional world and its people is what I will forever work to recreate for my own readers.
Please give us a peek into your writing life. How much time each week do you spend writing? Is your desk messy or clean? Do you have a schedule or are you sporadic? Well, the desk is messy, that answer is easy. I can’t stand wasting more time than is absolutely necessary on things like cleaning. I still have to work a day job, so I spend most of my downtime during the week writing on my phone, and then on weekends I start with the things that have to be done on the computer, things my phone isn’t up to, like setting up blog posts and sending emails with attachments, and then I put what I’ve written into the actual Word documents and keep on writing.
The trick is that all my blog and other social media writing has to fit into that time as well as my fiction writing, so back before I had a publishing deal, when all I was writing was fiction, I could easily write for maybe twenty-five hours in a week and get six or seven thousand words of a draft. Now, with the Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) tour going on, I get maybe a quarter of that. At less crazy times with just regular blog and social media stuff going on, it’s somewhere in between.
What’s up next on your project list? My husband and I have a YA Horror/Sci-Fi series called The Prospero Chronicles, the first book of which, Splinters, will be out this fall! It’s about two sixteen-year-olds, Mina Todd and Ben Pastor, working to uncover the plot of the shapeshifting, human-impersonating aliens invading their small town, and the unlikely friendship they’re forced to build in the process. We’re really excited to share this one. On my own, I’m also working on a YA Horror standalone about a teenage actress who volunteers for a medical experiment that’s supposed to be an alternative to traditional cosmetic surgery, which, as the title suggests, has some unsavory side effects that might include a taste for human flesh.
It’s your time to pitch the novel to readers. Why should we buy your book? Because it’s a sweet, funny road trip adventure about friendship, love, coming-of-age, zombies, and a heroine who can crack both jokes and skulls. What more do you need?
Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know Of) by F.J.R. Titchenell will be available where books and ebooks are sold starting May 6th, 2014! Pre-order your copy today from Amazon and B&N.
Genre: JUVENILE FICTION / HORROR & GHOST STORIES
Description: The world is Cassie Fremont’s playground. Her face is on the cover of every newspaper, she has no homework, no curfew, and no credit limit, and she spends her days traveling the country with her friends, including a boy who would flirt with death just to turn her head. Life is just about perfect—except that those newspaper headlines are about her bludgeoning her crush to death with a paintball gun; she has to fight ravenous walking corpses every time she steps outside; and one of her friends is still missing, trapped somewhere in the distant, practically impassable wreckage of Manhattan. Still, Cassie’s an optimist. More prone to hysterical laughter than hysterical tears, she’d rather fight a corpse than be one, and she won’t leave a friend stranded when she can simply take her road trip to impossible new places to find her, even if getting there means admitting to that boy that she might just love him, too. Skillfully blending effective horror with unexpected humor, this novel is a fast-paced and heartwarming read.
Author Bio: F.J.R. Titchenell is an author of Young Adult Sci-Fi and Horror fiction. She is represented by Jennifer Mishler of Literary Counsel and currently lives in San Gabriel, California with her husband and fellow author, Matt Carter, and their pet king snake, Mica.
The “F” is for Fiona, and on the rare occasions when she can be pried away from her keyboard, her Kindle, and the pages of her latest favorite book, Fi can usually be found over-analyzing the inner workings of various TV Sci-Fi universes or testing out some intriguing new recipe, usually chocolate-related.
GIVEAWAY: The opportunity to win one of several copies of a signed ARC. Good luck.