Folks, I’ve got Heather Brewer, author of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod on my blog today. Her latest book, Twelfth Grade Kills came out on September 21, 2010 and let me tell you, this book kicked some serious butt! If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading her young adult series, I suggest you head to the nearest book store and get on it.

 JET: First of all, let me say I really enjoy your Vlad series and I’ve confiscated my son’s copy of Twelfth Grade Kills and burned through it in one day. It was supposed to be my reward for finishing my edits, but I made the mistake of taking a break and picking the book up – that’s all she wrote – at least for the rest of that night. 

 Now that I’ve gushed about the book, let me ask you about your Book Expo America surprise.  Can you explain how it felt to walk into the Expo center and see Vlad’s brand painted on the stairs?

Heather: I literally gasped aloud! Probably the first time I’ve ever done that in my life. It’s one thing when you’re sitting at home, hidden away from the world, telling yourself stories. It’s quite another when the world starts to enjoy those stories with you.

JET: What made you choose Young Adult as a genre?

Heather: Really, it chose me. The first two books that I had ever written (both awful, unpublished and hopefully rotting somewhere) were for adults. Both were learning lessons–the primary lesson being that a writer should write from the heart. It turns out that my heart is actually a teenager and thirsts for blood.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Heather: Learning to have the patience of a saint. Everything in publishing involves waiting. Waiting for literary agents, waiting for editors, waiting for cover art, waiting for reviews. It’s an endless cycle. And unfortunately, I’ve never been a very patient person. But I’m learning!

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Heather: I have new favorite moments every day. But two stand out to me: 1. the first time I spoke to my now agent, Michael Bourret, and he totally understood what I was trying to do with Vlad, and 2. Meeting a Minion named Jaymes at San Diego Comic Con. He cried and thanked me for getting him through school. Whenever I start feeling self-doubt, I think of Jaymes and how much my books meant to him. Then I sit my butt in that chair and get to work.

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

Heather: The greats: Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Edgar Allen Poe. I’ve always loved the darker stuff, and happily blame my twisted little imagination on these three.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Heather: I’ve written bad poetry, short stories and the like since I was about five. But when I turned twelve, I read Stephen King’s “Carrie”, and it changed my world forever. I closed the book after that reading and said aloud for the first time, “That’s what I want to be. I want to be a writer.” But it took me many years to actually take the plunge. I was in college when I wrote my first manuscript, and a stay at home mom for several years before giving it a serious go. Luckily, for me, the third time was the charm.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Heather: I called up a blood bank and asked them how long it takes stored blood to expire. Probably should have explained that I was a writer first.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written – which one is your favorite? Why?

Heather: That’s like asking me to choose between my children! I love them all for very different reasons. A current fave, however, is “Shadow Children”–a short story featured in an anthology edited by R.L. Stine called “Fear: 13 Stories of Suspense and Horror”. I love this story, because in it, I face a fear that I still very much deal with. The fear of What’s Lurking in Dark Places.

JET: Any advice for the novices out there?

Heather: Stick to a daily word count. Set a goal (no matter how small) and reach that writing goal every single day, no matter if you’re sick or travelling. And remember this formula for writing a book:

Butt + Chair = Writing!

JET: All right – now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with Paper or Plastic?

 Heather: It depends what we’re talking about. Bag-wise, I prefer cloth or plastic (paper rips so easily). Cups? Plastic. (Note: I am terrible for the environment)

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Heather: Steak! The more rare, the better. I’m a carnivore, through and through.

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Heather: Mountains. Hiking is a blast! Besides, I don’t do well in the sun, and I get incredibly bored at the beach. When you’re a non-swimmer, there’s really not much to do there.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Heather: Rock-n-Roll!

JET: Classics or Modern?

Heather: Everything has its place, so I’ll pick both (though I do tend to lean toward modern).

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Heather: I loves me some silent films, but I am all about cheesy horror! For instance, William Shatner once starred in “The Devil’s Rain”. It was horrendous. I loved every second of it.

JET: Zombies or Demons?

Heather: I think it’s been well-established that I am on Team Zombie, no matter who or what the opponent is. Unless someone brings up Team Vampire or Team Starbucks…then I’m in trouble.

JET: Paper or Digital?

Heather: As far as books go, it’s gotta be the real thing. Paper, without a doubt.

JET: Salty or Sweet?

Heather: Sweet. I could give up potato chips, if necessary, but don’t you touch my Godiva chocolates.

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Heather: Though I often tout my love of Starbucks, I’m actually a bigger fan of tea. Nothing like a cup of tea and a cookie to relax me at night.

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you’re working on now? What’s next?

Heather: I just turned in the first draft of “Beginning”, the first book in my new spin-off series, called “The Slayer Chronicles”. These books will take place during the summers between the school years of “The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod”. If readers enjoyed the bloodshed in my Vlad books, they’ll love what’s in store for Joss!

I’m currently working on the first book in another series, called “Bloodbound”. Monsters, sword fighting, and a kick-butt girl – what’s not to love?

“Beginning” will debut Fall 2011, and Minions can expect “Bloodbound” sometime in Spring 2012.

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Heather Brewer and her work at the following places: http://www.heatherbrewer.com/, http://twitter.com/heatherbrewer, http://www.myspace.com/heather_brewer
Next Friday, I’ll be talking about my new release Vengeance and highlighting some of my Backspace friends releases. 

Until then,

Ciao.

JET

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