Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What's Fresh with Heather Brewer's The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites

Junior high really sucks for thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod. Bullies harass him, the principal is dogging him, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. Oh, and Vlad has a secret: his mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. When a substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. But then he faces a much bigger problem: he’s being hunted by a vampire killer.

Hey Heather, thanks for joing us for a chat! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Heather: Sure! I always wanted to be a writer. In fact, I can clearly remember finishing Stephen King's CARRIE for the first time when I was twelve, closing the cover and saying, "That's what I want to do. I want to be a writer." Many years, a couple terrible manuscripts, and hundreds of awful emo poems later, I got serious about it. I started not just reading, but studying my favorite books, trying to figure out what made them so good. On the same day that it clicked, I asked myself a question. "Self", I said ('cuz that's what I call me), "why is it there are so many books about human girls falling for vampire boys…but so few books about the vampires themselves, and even fewer about teenage vampire boys?" And, to make a long story short, that was the moment Vlad popped into my head. He's been there ever since, uncomfortably close to my jugular.

Vlad, of course, is the main character of EIGHTH GRADE BITES, the first book in The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series (Dutton Children's Books/Penguin Group).

I took three months to write EIGHTH GRADE BITES, another month to polish it, and after sending out nine query letters, I'd received multiple offers of representation. Fortunately, the choice was easy for me, and I thank my lucky stars I chose Michael Bourret (Dystel & Goderich Literary). Michael had some thoughts about the manuscript that only took a day for me to tweak. Once the book went on submission, I was faced with more multiple offers, and eventually sold to Dutton—a two-book deal (the second book in the series, NINTH GRADE SLAYS, debuts next Summer). The whole thing has been a dream.

Wonderful story, Heather! 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.

Heather: If I'm honest (which I am), then I have to say that my typical writing days are not terribly exciting (well, for anyone but my characters and I, I'm sure). I head downstairs to my office first thing in the morning, check my email, my MySpace page, certain blogs…you know, generally procrastinate until I'm fully awake. Then I start writing. On good days, I can get several thousand words. On bad days, I can get as few as ten. But I always write something. And even when it seems I'm just zoning out at my keyboard, I'm writing.

Please tell us about your novel, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites, and what we can expect from your characters.

Heather: You can look for The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites in stores now! (The release date is August 16th) My publisher is Dutton Children's Books of Penguin Group.

What you can expect from Vlad is a lot of humor, a little sorrow, and a healthy dose of angsty sarcasm. Really, Vlad is your typical teenage boy (except for the whole blood-drinking thing)--what's not to love? I'm often asked what genre EGB fits into. The problem is that it fits into many. It has horror, humor, action, romance, and yes, the occasional gross-out. No matter what you read, you should give Vlad a try. (And yes, I'm fully aware that I'm biased)

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

Heather: I'm currently working on two things: one, the third book in The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series (the second one is in copyedits right now), and two, a YA horror titled DEVON'S PLAYGROUND. It's about a teenage boy who gets mixed up with the wrong crowd. I can't really go into much more detail than that right now.

Thank you again for taking to time, Heather, I wish you the best with your writing career. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Heather: The old standby is that you should read a lot and write a lot, but I'll go a step further: study the texts that you love. Really dig in and figure out what makes them so good, and then take that information to your own work.

Heather Brewer is the author of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series. The first book, EIGHTH GRADE BITES (Dutton/Penguin), debuts August 16, 2007. She doesn't believe in happy endings...unless they involve blood. Check out her movie trailer for Eighth Grade Bites and her website,

5 fresh comments:

TinaFerraro said...

Fun interview, and I love the mix of humor and the promise of gore! I'm sure these books are going to fly off the shelf.

By the way, CARRIE had an life-altering effect on me, too! Stephen King has that rare talent of producing stories that are not only engrossing, but seem effortless. I think his books both encourage and empower those of us teetering on the verge of serious attempts at writing...

Best of luck!

Erin said...

Fabulous interview! I really enjoyed it.

Lisa McMann said...

Terrific interview -- I can't wait to get my copy! It's being delivered from Amazon tomorrow.

Kelly Parra said...

Tina, Heather's answers were great! :) Sounds like it's going to be a cool book.
Thanks, Erin & Lisa, Heather did awesome!

alexgirl said...

Great interview! That sounds right up my ally.