I am VERY excited to give you an interview I recently did with Susan Dennard author of Something Strange and Deadly. PLUS a character interview with her novel’s main characters, The Spirit Hunters (Consisting of Joseph Boyer, Jie Chen, and Daniel Sheridan), plus Eleanor and Elijah Fitt. Plus, at the end of this post, I will be giving away a signed hardcover of Susan’s book!
My conversation with The Spirit Hunters, and the Fitts.
1) If you could do anything you wanted for 24hrs, what would you do?
Eleanor: Eat. I would eat pastries and biscuits and breads. I would eat candies and ice cream sodas (have you seen those? They were featured at the Centennial Exhibition!). I would try foods from every continent and country…and yes, I would not stop eating until my twenty-four hours were up.
Daniel: I’d finally design that mechanical hand I’ve been planning. Assuming I have unlimited supplies and all the proper texts, of course, I bet I could come up with a simple prototype in twenty-four hours…
Jie: I’d go back to China. I haven’t seen it since I was a child, and my memories of it are non-existent, yeah? I’d love to see what it looks like—and see how well I remember my Chinese words.
Joseph: I would also go home. It has been many years since I visited my parents outside of New Orleans, and I imagine they would be as happy to see me as I them.
Elijah: I’d go back to the way things were before. When Father was still alive, Mother was happy, and Eleanor was just that feisty kid-sister I could play pranks on all the time.
2) You’re stuck on a dessert island, but you’ve brought one person, one item, and an unlimited supply of one kind of food. Which would you choose?
Eleanor: I would like to have Daniel with me—
Daniel: Shucks, Empress. *flushes*
Eleanor: As well as my parasol (I’ve heard desert islands can be frightfully sunny) and an endless supply of biscuits.
Daniel: I like what she picked. *flicks Eleanor’s chin with his thumb*
Jie: Ew. They’re gross, yeah? I’ll just take Joseph here, a sturdy stick, and anything with garlic in it. I like garlic.
Joseph: I suppose that means I shall have to choose Jie—
Jie: You’d better. *bares teeth*
Joseph: And I will bring a book on the history of white magic as well as unlimited beignets. Those really are the greatest culinary creation ever.
3) What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?
Eleanor: Blazes, I embarrass myself constantly…
Daniel: One time, I tried to play cards, and some Chinese brat cheated me—and then beat me up too. *glares at Jie*
Jie: *laughs* One time, I tried to cheat Daniel at cards and wound up knocking him unconscious instead. Oh wait, that’s his most embarrassing moment. Not mine. I have none.
Joseph: What about that time you fell off the roof of that haunted mansion and got stuck by the tail of your coat—
Daniel: And I had to rescue you. *bounces eyebrows*
Jie: That never happened. And I’ll kill anyone who repeats that story, yeah?
4) For Daniel: what is the story behind your hat (which is quite attractive on you, I might add)?
Ah, you’ll find out the full story soon enough—I share my tale in the novella, A DAWN MOST WICKED. Suffice it to say, I used to work on a Mississippi steamer, and we all wore hats like that. In fact, if you look the inside the cap, you’ll see some initials—SQ—that used to be blue thread but has long since faded to dull gray.
5) For Elijah: When you were reunited with your sister, how much of the brother she knew growing up was left, versus the percentage taken by the dark magic?
There was almost none of the brother she knew in me then. Necromancy has a way of taking over everything—your feelings, your relationships, your goals… It’s a black pit from which no one—not even the people you love—can draw you out.
I…wish things had gone differently.
7) So, how did Susan come to meet you and document your story?
Eleanor: Susan dreamt that she was me.
Jie: And Joseph and I were there too.
Daniel: Don’t forget me. I was quite rogueish and charming in her dream.
Eleanor: No you were not. You were cruel and temperamental.
Daniel: *tugs at collar* Maybe a bit temperamental—I’ll give ya that. But I was handsome.
Eleanor: Yes…yes, you were most certainly handsome.
Jie: And arrogant. *rolls eyes*
6) You’re all incredibly awesome, I’d love to count all of you *cough*especiallyDaniel*cough* as friends. What do say?
Daniel: I reckon we can be friends—as long as my Empress over there doesn’t mind. *wink*
Eleanor: Of course we can all be friends. *glares at Daniel*
Jie: Can I practice punching on you, Maddie?
Joseph: She jokes, of course.
Jie: No, I’m not—I punch you guys all the time.
Eleanor: *flushes* Eherm. I really do think I speak for everyone when I welcome you into the Spirit-Hunters.
Thank you so much for talking to me, guys! Especially since I am now an honorary Spirit Hunter. 😀
And my interview with the wonderful Susan Dennard:
1) What wound you have done in Eleanor’s situation?
Goodness, I probably would have cried, cowered, and then run to the nearest bunch of people who knew what they were doing. Oh wait…I guess that’s pretty much what Eleanor did. 😉
2) Which of your characters do you relate to the most?
Daniel is by far the character most like me. He’s a lot more smooth-talkin’ and short-tempered, but I relate to his past and his goal to be better person on a very deep, visceral level.
3) Which character did you enjoy writing the most?
Oliver! I know you haven’t met him yet—book 2 will be out soon…ish—but that wily demon is just so complex and fun to write.
As for a book 1 character, I just love Jie. She’s so spunky, so feisty, and so strong—everything I wish I could be. 😉
4) If you could live in any other era, which would it be?
Hmmm…The 1920s have always been really appealing to me. Women were starting to really shift in their roles, the clothes were so swanky and glamorous, and who doesn’t want to go hang out at a speakeasy? While I love the idea of Victorian times, the fact that disease was so rampant—as was filth, sewage, and poverty—kinda scares me off from wanting to live in it. 😉
5) When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was 12. I loved reading, I had a million daydreams constantly running through my head, and it just seemed natural that I would start to write some of those stories out (usually during class when I was pretending to take notes—oops!).
6) How should teens interested in the writing industry, get involved with publishing?
I think it really depends on what you want to do in the industry. If you want to be a writer, then write! Write whenever you can, and eventually, when you feel brave enough, share your work with other writers, take courses/workshops on writing, and teach yourself the various tools in a writer’s arsenal. If you want to work on the publishing side of things, then getting an education in a publishing-related field (English stuff works well, I think) will help you get started. Then it’s all a matter of making connections, getting the right internship/job at the write place, and moving up. Just like any career!
7) If you could live in any fictional world (could be from tv show, movie, video game, comic book or novel) which would you pick?
Oh my gosh, I’m obsessed with Dinotopia. That book was one of my first real, gut-wrenching loves (and also sparked some of my first attempts at fan fiction). I just loved the idea of all the fantastical places, cultures, and creatures. Plus, I wanted a dinosaur best friend! I still do! If you don’ t know the book, I highly suggest you check it out! I still refer to it all the time for inspiration.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Ms. Dennard! It means the world to me.
About Susan Dennard:
Susan Dennard is a reader, writer, lover of animals, and eater of cookies.
She is a writer turned marine biologist turned writer again. Among the traits she shares with her heroine Eleanor are a weakness for Shakespeare quotes, a healthy appetite for baked goods, and an insatiable curiosity. Sadly, Susan does not get to wear a corset or wave a parasol on a daily basis.
She lives in Germany with her French husband and Irish setter, and you can learn more about her crazy thoughts and crippling cookie-addiction on her blog, twitter, facebook, or Goodreads. Something Strange and Deadly is her debut novel.
My review of Something Strange and Deadly is HERE.
And now for the giveaway….
Thanks for reading, guys. And good luck in the giveaway!