What do you wear to face down a cadre of killer kids?
Gina Covello would rather be working on her manicure than missions for the Feds’ paranormal unit to which she’s been recruited. That changes when a group of killer kids takes out a family in the sunshine state and disappearances begin to plague the lifestylers who only play at the kind of existence our fanged fashionista leads. She and her crew are sent undercover into the vampire clubs…which turn out to be run by real vampires. While Gina’s BFF Marcy hangs with the steampunk-styled Burgess Brigade that seems to have spawned the killer kids, Gina herself is supposed to get in good with the fanged fiends behind the scenes, even to the point of playing double-agent, offering to hand over her powerful boyfriend Bobby. Her playacting threatens to become a bit too real when she discovers things about her spy handlers that make her wonder whether she’s truly on the right side of the battle between Feds and fangs.
Hello Lucienne! Thank you for visiting us again on YA Fresh. How did you come up with the idea for Fangtastic? What kind of research did you have to do to bring Gina to life on the page?
Lucienne: The good thing about writing a heroine who’s an eighteen year old girl is that I was once an eighteen year old girl. (We won’t go into how long ago that was!) That’s pretty much where our similarities end. Gina is a fanged fashionista, who only “survived” her senior prom because of a make-out session with the surprise hottie of the evening…the class chess champed who’d recently been vamped himself. I can’t claim any firsthand knowledge of such things, but I have been to a few proms in my time.
My research mostly involves locations. Fangtastic is set in Florida, where I now live, but I made a fieldtrip to a club very similar to The Tower where the vampire lifestylers meet. I also interviewed a friend of mine who is an integral part of the New England vampire community to find out a lot of what I needed to know about the philosophy, beliefs and terminology. It was really fascinating! (My husband and I met working at a haunted house, so we have many friends in unusual fields to draw on. Some have appeared on shows like Face Off and Oddities.)
At age eight, what did you want to be when you grew up? And at age eighteen? And while you’re at it, what about at age twenty-eight?
Lucienne: I’m not sure what I wanted to be at eight. Did I still want to be a cryptozoologist? Yeah, I think I did. I wanted to discover some truth behind the Loch Ness Monster, chupacabra, big foot and all those legends. I wanted them to be real, for the world to be bigger than it seemed so that there were still secrets to be revealed. I don’t think that’s changed. At eighteen, I couldn’t quite believe in Nessie any more. I wanted to be an anthropologist, learning about ancient cultures, because piecing things together through artifacts and linguistics is like gathering clues to a mystery, like solving for secrets. I also wanted to be a writer, which is why my college degree shows double majors. And twenty-eight…you mean at my (*cough*) current age? Now I write books with elements of all of the above…magic and mystery, secrets and solutions. I describe my Vamped series as Legally Blond meets Buffy. You’ve got a snarky, fanged, fashion-conscious protagonist against sometimes pretty dark things that she’s got to get to the bottom of. I love the juxtaposition of light and dark.
What is your worst writing distraction/procrastination tool?
Lucienne: My puppy! I have an adorable apricot colored cockapoo (a cocker spaniel/poodle mix) who thinks that if anything is going to be in my lap, it should be him. He’s been known to push my notebook aside to settle in or to fall asleep on my Kindle to keep my attention focused where he thinks it should be. If it isn’t that, it’s that he must go for a walk or play fetch or…. Yeah, there’s a good reason I write on that dock. It’s the only way I can get anything done!
Please describe your perfect writing day.
Lucienne: I’m in one of the Adirondack chairs at the dock early in the day, when it’s still cool. (I live in Florida.) An iced latte is by my elbow, the breeze is blowing, though not too hard, and the pen in hand is smooth and full of ink. Heaven. It doesn’t take much.
Thank you again, Lucienne! Would you like to close with what you are working on now?
Lucienne: I’ve turned in the fourth novel in the Vamped series, Fangtabulous, which will be out in January 2013. I’m now working on Crazy in the Blood, which is the sequel to Bad Blood, the first novel in my Latter-Day Olympians urban fantasy series in which Tori Karacis, a private investigator, finds out that her family tales are true and that the Greek gods do still walk the earth (Apollo as a film star, Hephaestus as a special effects artist, etc.). Her family line may even trace back to them. Unlike her gorgon ancestress, she can’t quite turn men to stone, but as for stopping them in their tracks...
Lucienne Diver is the author of the popular Vamped series of young adult novels (think Clueless meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer). School Library Journal calls the first book, “a lighthearted, action-packed, vampire romance story following in the vein of Julie Kenner’s “Good Ghouls” (Berkley), Marlene Perez’s “Dead” (Harcourt), and Rachel Caine’s “The Morganville Vampires” (Signet) series.” VOYA has suggested that the books “will attract even reluctant readers.” Her short stories have been included in the Strip-Mauled and Fangs for the Mammaries anthologies edited by Esther Friesner (Baen Books), and one of her essays appears in the anthology Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperTeen). Visit her website www.luciennediver.com.