Welcome to Author Interview Thursday hosted by the Never Too Old for YA and NA Books group on Goodreads.
Today we welcome Christine Vestraete!
Life can suck when you're sixteen. It can suck even worse when you're not- quite- dead.
Sixteen-year-old Rebecca Herrera Hayes faces every teenager's biggest nightmares: bad skin, bad hair, and worse . . . turning into one of the living dead.
Becca's life changes forever when her cousin Spence comes back to their small Wisconsin town carrying a deadly secret—he's becoming a zombie, a fate he shares with her through an accidental scratch.
The Z infection, however, has mutated, affecting younger persons like her, or those treated early enough, differently. Now she must cope with weird physical changes and habits no girl wants to be noticed for. Then she meets Gabe, a good-looking part-Z like her, and fears falling for him. After all, how can he, who shows hardly any Z symptoms, be interested in someone like her?
But time is running out... Becca needs his help as she and her cousin Carm search for their missing mothers and fight off hungry Zs.
Most of all, she needs to find something, anything, to stop this deadly transformation before it is forever too late.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
I wanted to be an Egyptologist or archaeologist at one point growing up. I read all the Egyptian books. But I was always a big reader and was always interested in writing, too, so that won out.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
I can't say for sure as some I start and then stop for a while, then do another project before I get back to it. Maybe a year, at the least? But I'm trying to speed it up.
How do you come up with themes for your stories?
I let my imagination do the picking or I may read something and find it interesting. Sometimes an idea comes from a news story or history article I've read.
Do you have a schedule of when you write?
I write daily. As a newspaper writer, I got into the habit of always writing. So there are only a couple days here and there when I'm not working on something or decide to take a short break. I also blog several times weekly at GirlZombieAuthors.
How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
See above. ha! Well, you have to turn the computer off at some point.
What elements do you think make a great story line?
I've always been drawn to paranormal and horror. I like spooky stories and think animals add something to a story, too.
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
Sticking to it. Writing through the self-doubt. Finishing it!
How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
I also wrote a kid's mystery and a book on dollhouse miniatures, along with a couple short story ebooks. I also like to write short stories and flash fiction. Do I have to pick one? It's like picking one pet or child over another. J
Do you have a favorite character?
I am partial to Becca, my part-Z girl in GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie. I like how she keeps going and tries to cope with her new life, even in the most awful moments.
Where do you write?
Most times at the kitchen table.
When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took?
I decided to go with an independent, royalty paying press to get more exposure. I like to try different outlets.
Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
Half don't really read. (Gasp!) Others say they've liked my latest so far. But they have to say that, right? J Or at least they should.
What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
I work on building and decorating dollhouses and miniature projects, spend time with my dog, and enjoy fish and seahorses.
What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
Just do it! I'd say taking a journalism class doesn't hurt, either. It teaches you discipline, writing on deadline, and writing tighter and to a word limit. Good skills to have.
What is your favorite book? Favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write?
… I have a lot of favorites. Some books I favor and will re-read like Dracula or Stephen King's The Stand or Salem's Lot. I also like Debbie Macomber's recent series and Jonathan Maberry's Dead of Night. I'd love to be as prolific (and successful!) as them!
Do you have any go-to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
I do belong to a small writer's group and it does help to read a story or parts of it to them.
Are you working on anything now?
I’m always working on something. I've been working on a short story about Becca's cousin, who infected her with the Z virus. I'm also working on a horror -paranormal story with a historical person.
Thanks for stopping by today, Christine! It's been great having you here!