Today I'm pleased to welcome author Jill Cooper to the blog to talk a little bit about her novel Glistening Haven and being a writer. Also Check out our review of her book Glistening Haven here.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know you wanted to be a writer?
I was very young when it happened, probably about 6. I know it was the first grade and I had my first creative writing assignment. It was the most fun I had ever had! I pretty much never turned back after that. If anyone is curious it was a story about a lion escaping the zoo and the zoo keeper who had to find him.
What inspired Glistening Haven?
I was writing a rough draft for my YA series The Dream Slayer when I wondered what would happen if humans and vampires were forced to live together. What if vampires had been caught and they started to reform, maybe developed a conscience. I didn't want to write another vampire series so I started playing with ideas and concepts that could basically be a blood sucking feign of another kind. And that's pretty much how the concept was born.
The other side of it was I was watching alot of 1980s re-runs! Like the A-team and I really wanted to develop some sort of team that would go around and save the world. I didn't know where it was going to take me, but I knew they had to have a van.
Is there anything you found particularly challenging when you were writing Glistening Haven?
The most challenging part of the book was balancing all the threads from the different characters. And then trying to find a way for them to all merge at the end. I was lucky that what ended up printed, 85 percent of it happened on the first draft. But some parts really stumped me and I spent sometimes a few weeks just thinking about which way to get the characters out of certain situations.
The funny thing is, is once I decided just to let the characters do what they needed to, I wrote it very quickly. So mostly I just needed to get out of the way and write the story as it needed to be written.
If you could be one of your characters from any of your books, who would you chose? Why?
That's a tough question. I create a lot of bad situations for my poor characters! Probably Natalie Johnson in the Dream Slayer series because she is a heroine with a big heart, lots of compassion and always has some snippy dialogue to say. Yet she can beat up demons, stake vampires, and has a dreamy boyfriend.
The ending of the book was amazing! Please tell me there will be a sequel?
Yes! There is definitely going to be a sequel. I'm starting the beginning work on it now. I am hoping (cross fingers) to have it out by the end of 2013. Sooner if I can manage it
The idea of these glistenings living inside this dome like place or several of them around the world is incredibly unique. How long did it take to plot out a story like this and what was the most challenging part of creating this world?
I basically wanted to create a futuristic concentration camp. I didn't want to use bars and cages so was looking for a little bit of magic to keep them in. Since they can fly when their wings aren't clipped, I thought it better have a ceiling too. So a dome seemed like the best solution.
I'm not a big plotter. I come up with a basic idea and just start writing and answer questions as I go. (What is Jenna hiding? Why would Wendy run away?) This is great for discovering plots I would never think of, but sometimes it can trip you up. The biggest challenge for me was what would life be on the outside? What would the US and the global world be like after they had their apocalypse after they were able to bring society back?
It's an answer that will be more expanded upon in the sequel as more of the action will take place in the outside world.
When writing Glistening Haven, was there anyone or anything specific that inspired the character Susan Monroe? I was surprised with what happened to her in the end were those always your plans for her character?
That was not my plan for her at all and I really struggled with that decision. For months I agonized over it, but I knew it was the right thing to do. For what inspired me to write her, there wasn't really one thing. I knew I was going for the Donna Reed type of character. I wanted to show hidden strength, that she didn't even know she had, beneath her fear of society.
I wanted her to be that Momma Bear who wanted to protect her cubs. Even though she's scared to death, I wanted her to do what she needed to do to protect her family. I think everyone wants a Mom like that. Everyone wants to be that Mom.
If you had to use three words to describe Susan what would they be? Jake? Jenna?
Susan: Fearful, orderly, desperate
Jake: Gullible, naive, fierce
Jenna: Sarcastic, determined, broken
Jenna is probably one of my favorite characters! Will we see more development with her condition in the next book?
Yes we will. Jenna will be going through a lot of changes. It's hard to go into more detail without spoiling anything, but Jenna will be a main character in the story even if her priorities have changed. She's going to have to grapple with her condition, deal with the softer side of herself that is emerging, and question what is most important to her.
Can we get a two-to-three sentence spoiler on the next book in this series?
Here is an unspoiler version (at least as much as I can write!)
Jenna Morgan has a secret to keep that’s more dangerous than ever before; the origins of her adopted baby boy. But when she receives an unmarked envelope in the mail with the picture of someone that is supposed to be dead, she’s going to need to decide how far she’s willing to go to keep a promise to an old friend.
How do you like it?
(OMG we LOVE it!)
What are your three favorite novels and why?
I have so many favorites! I guess I'll go back in time and try to pick a few stellar ones. Or ones that have influenced me.
The Stand by Stephen King is my favorite of his. I liked the sweeping epic plot, with all the various characters and plot threads. Only a master could have pulled it off and it is partially why I wanted to write a book like Glistening Haven.
The Vampire Lestat by Ann Rice: I loved the romance and dastardly-ness of Lestat. I have always loved vampire fiction. And this one was perfect in many ways. Lestat is a no-apology vampire and that's how I like them. They have fangs. They drink people. They are evil.
We were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates because it will rip out your heart, stomp on it while it's on the floor, and then shove it back in your chest. Real emotion with real relationships that will just KILL you because it's so powerful and heart wrenching. In her books, Joyce Carol Oates doesn't sugar coat anything and most likely there isn't a happy ending. At most it's bitter sweet. I strive to put real characters, with real dialogue and emotions in my books so one of her books needs to be included on my list.
Which do you prefer hard copy books or e-books? Why?
I do a lot of reading on my e-reader, but I prefer hard copies. I find I can relax more with a hard copy. Unwind and get away from electronics. Even when I like what I'm reading on my e-reader, I find I never fully relax. Weird, eh?
*We'd like to thank Jill so much for stopping by! For more information on her books check out the links below!
Author of the YA Dream Slayer series, Jill loves to blend horror, comedy, the supernatural, and love, through her novels. A fan of genre blending, her work strives to cross boundries, but most of all strives to entertain.
She loves soft cuddly cats, warm blankets, and paranormal romances.
Jill resides in Massachusetts, is constantly renovating her home that she shares with her husband, young daughter, and two skittish cats.