Carrie Harris – monster lover and author of Bad Taste in Boys joins us today for a quick question and answer session! Please welcome her warmly and leave your stakes and silver bullets at the door!
Q: Your novel, ‘Bad Taste in Boys‘, is getting a lot of hype around the blogosphere as it approaches its release. How nervous are you about getting sucked into the swirling vortex that is Young Adult fiction?
I’m not so nervous, but now that you’ve asked me this question, I’m wondering if I should be! But really, the YA community is so welcoming—it put me immediately at ease. I know that if I’ve got a question or problem, there are oodles of people I can ask for advice. And that’s really the key for me, not feeling like I’m alone in this. There will be people who don’t like my book, and I’m okay with that so long as I’ve got someone to lean on who will feed me French fries, caffeinate me, and tell me silly jokes.
Apparently, I’m okay with swirling vortexes as long as I’ve got greasy food, fizzy beverages, and comic relief. I should remember this the next time we have a tornado warning.
Q: What’s the story behind the gorgeous cover? (Who knew salty lips could be so appealing!)
Honestly, I can’t take any credit for the cover, but isn’t it just the awesomest of awesome things? Most authors don’t get cover input at all, but I was lucky. My editor asked me to put together some covers that I loved so they could get an idea of what I was envisioning. I had a blast doing it, too, but I can tell you for a fact that none of my samples had lips on them! And when I opened the cover, I shouted. Like, literally shouted, “Holy (bleep)! WHAT IS THAT?!?!” To this day, I don’t know what made my designer hear “zombie football players” and think “sugar lips.” But I think it’s brilliant.
Q: You talk a lot about the wish to have a time machine in your FAQ. Let’s say I give you one; where (or more accurate, when) would be the first place you visit and why?
I’d go back to the 1960’s when Romero was filming the Night of the Living Dead, and I’d sneak onto the set and become one of the zombie extras, only I’d be wearing a t-shirt that said, “Carrie, please don’t try to write serious books about politics. You suck at it. You’re much better at campy monster books. Oh, and that plaid beret that you like to wear? Please, for the love of god, THROW IT OUT. – Sincerely, Future You.”
I think if I would have seen that way back in the day, it would have saved me a lot of headaches. And a few horrible fashion choices.
Q: I understand you love monsters, hence the creation of this book. When and how did this love affair begin? Is there a particular monster book or film that stands out as your favourite?
I think I was in elementary school or maybe junior high when I started mainlining Stephen King and Dean Koontz. If it was a creature story, I loved it. I liked the adventure and the excitement and the fantasy of it. I was the class geek, but in books like IT, people like me could save entire towns from killer alien clowns. It made me feel vaguely cool by association, and at that age, I needed all the cool I could get.
My monster fanaticism just developed from there. I played Dungeons and Dragons in high school and went on to horror gaming in college. I LARPed and wrote pieces of gaming books and pretty much solidified my geek cred for all time. Although at the time, I never would have imagined that I’d put all that silliness to good use as a part of my REAL JOB. How many people get paid to tell ridiculous stories about monsters? NOT MANY.
Q: Tell us about the zombies in your books. Are they the regular kind? Or the Carrie Harris kind?
There are so many different zombie myths to draw from, and that was one of the things I really enjoyed about writing BTIB—getting to look into the different myths and pick bits and pieces that I liked. I wanted my zombie concept to be as scientific and logical as zombies can get, and my husband is a doctor, so we spent a lot of dinnertimes talking about zombie viruses and puking. In retrospect, I’m thinking that it wasn’t the best choice for mealtime conversation, but we both have pretty strong stomachs for that kind of thing. And I found the science stuff so fascinating that I put way too much of it in the book and had to take a lot of it out later because most people aren’t as crazy as me.
Q: After the release of Bad Taste in Boys, what will you be working on?
I should be getting my revision letter on the sequel any day now. It’s tentatively called ‘Bad Hair Day‘, and it’s a whole new adventure for Kate involving werewolves and nanotechnology and killer coconuts and blueberry flavored astronauts. Can you tell that I had a lot of fun writing it? I’ve also just finished the first draft of my third book, which I’m really looking forward to tearing apart. It’s a first draft, so of course it’s got holes the size of the Grand Canyon, but that’s what first drafts are supposed to be like! I’m a very heavy editor too—I admire people who can write pretty first drafts and send them in right away, but I’m not one of them.
In short, I’m plenty busy! That’s one of the things I like about my job—I can be working on lots of different things at once so I never get bored. And really, between the zombies and the werewolves and the blueberry flavored astronauts, it’s anything but boring around here.