September 25, 2011

Interview: Dawn McCullough-White author of Cameo the Assassin

We have Dawn McCullough-White stopping by our blog today.Thanks Dawn for being here:

1. How did you come up with the concept for this book?
 I honestly don't know. There are so many ideas/characters/threads running through the trilogy. I first created Cameo in 1986, and I spent years writing novels about her and her growing list of friends and enemies until I finally decided, in 2005, to write and publish Cameo's story. What you really have there in that book are all the things that made an impression on me over the span of about 20 years.

2. How did you come up with the names for the characters?
I think of a character, and start mulling over the idea of who the person is. This can go on a long time. Part of the process is naming them. In a very spiritual way it's sort of like pulling someone out of the void. I will usually just write down a few names on a paper that are like the sound of who I think the character is. Another thing I do is, when I travel and see names of streets or towns that I like I make a note and keep them for future name ideas for novels. The name “Haffef”, the evil vampire in “Cameo and the Assassin”, comes directly from a time I was using an Ouija board when I was a teenager. The original spelling was more like Hafefefefefefefef until the planchette fell off the board. It was such a creepy session I kept that name in mind for the creepy character. (ps. It's not a good idea to play with Ouija boards).

3. How much are you and the characters alike?
Except for the bloodthirsty part, we're interchangeable.

4. Do you read a lot and what are you reading now?
I'm a binge reader. I won't read for months and then I'll get into a series or something and devour it. I'm currently reading “Silas” by Robert Duperre.

5. What made you decide to go vampires?
I've been into vampires since I was 6 yrs old (1976) and watching the reruns of Dark Shadows at my aunt's house. My Aunt Ruth is really to blame for my interest in vampires, she started me young. It was only natural that vampires would play some part of my novels, although it was never an intentional plan really. It grew organically. I did not sit down and think to myself, “I'm going to write a book with vampire characters”. It just happens to be the way I express myself- with vampires, antiheroes and cutthroats... that probably doesn't make me sound too good does it?

6. How did the cover come about?
 A friend, Kurt Hanss, did all the covers for my trilogy. For the first one I just said she's tall, she's blonde, she has corpse-like white eyes, and I think I mentioned something about maybe her face could be coming out of the darkness. There have been about four different covers, all basically the same. I did have the font altered a few months ago by Glendon Haddox to make it easier to read the title on the Kindle.

7. So what is your next project and when is it due out?
I have two projects coming out very soon. The third book in the Trilogy of Shadows series “Cameo and the Vampire” is going to be released on Halloween 2011. I also have a story, featuring one of the characters from the Trilogy of Shadows, coming out in an anthology in February 2012. It's called: The Gate 2: 13 Tales of Isolation and Despair.

9. How did you get into writing novels and were you worried about peoples reactions to your books?
I wrote my first novel when I was fourteen. How did I get into it? Well, a TV show I used to really enjoy, at the time, went off the air but I wanted more episodes so I started making up more ideas for the show. Essentially what I wrote was a full length fan-fiction novel, at the time I had no idea what that was though. I was just enjoying myself.

Yes, I was worried about reactions to my stories about Cameo. I wrote several other novels about Cameo before settling on the one I ultimately published. In the other novels she had no redeeming qualities which I didn't feel would work for a protagonist, but I didn't want to change who the character was, so I made her more mysterious instead. That way, you know she did some terrible things, but didn't center the story on that.

10. One last thing, do you collect anything personally?
No, I don't. When I was around 18-20 I used to collect cameos.

Thanks Dawn for stopping by and letting us get to know you a little better!
You can find Dawn here:
Dawn's Blog

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