Friday, December 01, 2006

What's Fresh with Mari Mancusi's Stake That!

All I want is to be a vampire. But nooo-I have to be Rayne MacDonald, Vampire Slayer...

Sisters. They'll swipe your clothes, your boyfriends, your destiny. But it wasn't exactly my twin Sunny's fault. Magnus, vampire hottie and coven leader, mistook her for me last month and bit her instead. Now they're doing the inter-species dating thing.

But back to me. Turns out that for every generation, there's a Vampire Slayer-and this time around, it just happens to be yours truly. My first mission: infiltrate a seedy vamp bar downtown and expose its vampire owner for purposely spreading a blood disease he created himself. A task almost harder than passing trig.

After going it alone once, I realize I need help. So Magnus sends his hot homey Jareth to go undercover with me. And let me just say I wouldn't mind going under the covers with him. Maybe fate doesn't bite after all...

Hello, Mari, thanks so much for taking the time to chat. Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you came to sell your first novel, A CONNECTICUT FASHIONISTA IN KING AUTHOR'S COURT to Dorchester?

Mari: I always wanted to be a writer, even when I was a little kid. My mother was very encouraging and would type the stories I dictated her. (I'd draw the pictures, too!) When I got older I realized I could entertain my friends in class by writing stories about them and the rocks stars who (amazingly enough) loved them. (Either that or snarky stories about various teachers.)

But it wasn't till I was in my mid twenties that I realized if I wanted to get published I'd have to finish a book. So I sat down and wrote a completely unpublishable novel and sent it out to agents. (Shockingly enough I had no luck scoring one!) Then I joined RWA and got a critique group and really learned the craft of writing and rewriting. In summer 2003 I wrote A CONNECTICUT FASHIONISTA IN KING AUTHOR'S COURT - a time travel chick lit tale about a 21st century fashion editor that relives the Arthurian legend. I sold the book to Dorchester in 2004. My editor, after buying the manuscript, decided that I had a "young voice" and asked that I write up a couple of teen book ideas. I'd never written a teen novel before, but figured what the heck. So I wrote up a few ideas and ended up selling four teen books to two different publishers in November. I realized I'd found my calling.

Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Mari: I work a full time job as a tv news producer for the Boston NBC station. So I have to squeeze writing in when I can. I wake up early and write for an hour before work and then sometimes (if I'm under deadline) I come home from work, brew a pot of coffee and continue writing then. It can be hard to balance the two jobs, but I like them both so I manage.

I usually write from home, though I've been known to go to a coffee house to edit. If I can, I love writing on the train - especially the one from Boston to New York City. It allows me a solid four hours of writing time without internet access and I'm stuck in my seat with nothing else to do! Also they serve food and drinks. If it wasn't so expensive I'd go back and forth every weekend, just to get some non-distracted writing time.

Please tell us about STAKE THAT! and what we can expect from your characters.

Mari: STAKE THAT! is book two in the Boys that Bite vampire series. It's narrated in blog format by Rayne, Sunny's sister. (Sunny was the main character in the first book.) Rayne's not having a good week. First, through a case of mistaken identity Sunny, not Rayne, gets transformed into a vampire, sending Rayne to the back of the waiting list. And to make matters worse, now Rayne is told that she's destined to become the next vampire slayer, even though she wants nothing more in life than to become a vampire herself. Now she must team up with Jareth, a hot vampire general, to infiltrate a blood bar and stop the evil owner Maverick from poisoning the entire vampire race.

It's published by Berkley JAM and is a December release.

Sounds like a fresh read! What's up next, Mari? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Mari: Lots of stuff coming up in the next year both in my teen and adult writing worlds. In February, the sequel to CT Fashionista A HOBOKEN HIPSTER IN SHERWOOD FOREST will be out. It's a time travel to Robin Hood days. In August, I'm one of the launch books for Dorchester's new SHOMI line - speculative fiction romances. My book is sort of a post apocalyptic Alice in Wonderland called MOONGAZER. Really excited about that! And in October book 3 of the Boys that Bite series, GIRLS THAT GROWL, will be released.

A wonderful busy time for you, Mari. Thanks so much for taking the time with me. I wish you the best with your writing career! Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Mari: Work hard and don't give up. The only secret to publication is perseverence. Make lots of writer friends and don't be jealous of other peoples' successes. In the writing biz there's always going to be someone who's more and less successful than you. Just put blinders on and plug away. It's worth it.

When not exposing scams and righting wrongs, Emmy award-winning television news producer Marianne Mancusi writes paranormal romantic comedies and a vampire series and other books for the YA market. She is a graduate of Boston University's College of Communications and has worked for TV stations in Orlando, San Diego and Boston. In her spare time she enjoys shopping, bar hopping, snowboarding, and her favorite guilty pleasure--videogames. She lives in Boston's historic North End. Check out her website,

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