Today we welcome YA athor Rusty Fischer to our blog!
1. How did you come up with the concept for this book?
I was reading a lot of vampire YA and wondering why so many vampire attacks happen in American high schools. (Yes, I know it’s fiction and yes, I know since it’s YA fiction the natural choice for a setting is… American high schools, but… stick with me here!) And I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to place a few undercover vampire hunters in American schools to sniff out the vampires?” Kind of like Buffy meets 21 Jump Street. I even called it, originally, Undercover Vampires, which I kind of liked.
2. How did you come up with the names for the characters?
I always work really hard on my character names. For inspiration I go to one of those baby names sites and just randomly look at “cool baby names” that start with “G,” or “Z” or “C” or whatever. It’s funny how certain names sound like the characters they describe. “Grover” just fits Grover, I think, and “Zach” is a good hero name, even though Zach in Vamplayers isn’t the typical hero guy. I have fun with names. I think the right one makes a huge difference and the wrong one can really be a missed opportunity.
3. How much are you and the characters alike?
I think I have a little in common with every character. I don’t know how I couldn’t! Each one is fun for me to write. Like, it’s fun to be the hero or even the heroine, with superpowers and vampire strength and all that, but it’s just as fun to be the “bad” guy – or gal. Mostly, though, I’m more like the sidekicks than the heroes.
4. Do you read a lot and what are you reading now?
I read at night, when it’s “me” time and I can just sit and chill and escape. I read a lot of different things; my nightstand book stack looks like it’s from about five or six different people. I read YA, obvs, but also cozy mysteries, police procedurals, business nonfiction and I love, love, LOVE a good middle grade or young reader book. I really get a blast out of Barbara Park’s Junie B. Jones books. Just the book titles make me chuckle, and every page is a treat. I guess it’s the former teacher in me, imagining reading them aloud to a class full of gigglers…
5. What made you decide to go vampires over Zombies?
I wanted to try something new, I guess. Or, something new with the old. With zombies, there are so few rules that it’s like writing on a blank slate. But vampires have a canon, a legend, and rules all their own. I suppose I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could still create something relatively new within those strict garlic, stake, holy water guidelines.
6. How did the cover come about?
Aw, the great and might James Tampa, art director at Medallion Press, tells a great story where he bought some arrows and shoved them into a cardboard box until he got that great “V” shape. Then he added some cool teenybopper stickers and photoshopped the rest. I really love that cover!
7. So what is your next project and when is it due out?
Next up it’s back to the living dead for “I Heart Zombie,” due out from Echelon Press/Quake Books May 1st. It’s about a girl who writes a fake blog for zombies, then gets freaked out when a real zombie starts reading it and coming to her for “expert” advice. It was kind of fun to write because as a blogger I can kind of relate but, also, because in this one the main character isn’t a zombie.
8. Do you have a daytime job or are you a full time writer?
A bit of both, actually. My day job is as a full-time writer, but I’m a full-time freelance and sometimes ghostwriter, so mostly I write for, with and about other people. It’s a really great job because I learn so much about different professions, but also since most of my clients want to get published I’ve been able to work with some of the best agents and publishers in the industry and have really learned a lot from them.
9. Were you worried about peoples’ reactions to your books?
I wasn’t at first, but now I am!!! Let me explain: I think every first-time author is nervous about reviews. When the first reviews for Zombies Don’t Cry started coming in, I was on pins and needles every time. The publisher, Medallion Press, was awesome about sending out review copies so there were a LOT of reviews in the first month or two release. And everyone I was like, “Oh boy, the first few have been pretty good, when’s the other shoe gonna drop?!?!” I’ve spoken to and read blog posts by a lot of other YA authors and I think they pretty much feel the same way.
But there is a whole culture of reviewing, and commenting, now that is a little mean and petty. I don’t mean to sound like sour grapes. I know I’m not Hemingway or Twain and I don’t pretend to be. These are zombie books, and vampire books, I get it. But… I take what I do seriously and treat it as a profession, and it’s hard when instead of reading an objective, fair and constructively critical negative review you get all these totally random 1- and 2-star reviews that really go to town on how bad you are. So, yeah, I’m a little gun shy now knowing the element that is out there just waiting to tear you down.
10. One last thing do you collect anything personally?
This is a little weird, I admit, but… I totally collect Christmas albums. Seriously. I have tons of CDs and music downloaded onto my computer and listen to it all year long. Not like Bing Crosby and Judy Garland and stuff, though I like those, but mostly instrumental, like jazz or smooth jazz or new age or whatnot. It’s kind of soothing and nice to have as background music while I write…
About the author: Rusty Fischer is the author of several YA supernatural novels, including Zombies Don’t Cry, Ushers, Inc., Vamplayers, I Heart Zombie and Panty Raid @ Zombie High. Visit his blog, www.zombiesdontblog.blogspot.com, for news, reviews, cover leaks, writing and publishing advice, book excerpts and more!
Ways to learn more about Rusty and his work:
Our Review of Zombies don't cry
Our Review of Vamplayers
Enter giveaway HERE!