Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of Kimberly G. Giarratano’s blog tour for her novel, Grunge Gods and Graveyards (May 2014, Red Adept Publishing, LLC)! For my blog tour stop, I have an interview with Kimberly. First, here’s some more information about Grunge Gods and Graveyards:
Parted by death. Tethered by love.
Lainey Bloom’s high school senior year is a complete disaster. The popular clique, led by mean girl Wynter Woods, bullies her constantly. The principal threatens not to let her graduate with the class of 1997 unless she completes a major research project. And everyone blames her for the death of Wynter’s boyfriend, Danny Obregon.
Danny, a gorgeous musician, stole Lainey’s heart when he stole a kiss at a concert. But a week later, he was run down on a dangerous stretch of road. When he dies in her arms, she fears she’ll never know if he really would have broken up with Wynter to be with her.
Then his ghost shows up, begging her to solve his murder. Horrified by the dismal fate that awaits him if he never crosses over, Lainey seeks the dark truth amidst small town secrets, family strife, and divided loyalties. But every step she takes toward discovering what really happened the night Danny died pulls her further away from the beautiful boy she can never touch again.
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And now here’s the interview! Hope you guys enjoy it!
Question: Describe your book, using no more than three adjectives. Go!
Answer: Suspenseful, haunting, angsty
Question: Why the 90s? In what ways does the time period aid the story?
Answer: I picked the 90s for two main reasons: 1) I was a teenager in the 90s. Technically, I’m the same age as Lainey, my protagonist. I was in the mood to relive my youth a bit and 2) I really wanted to have my characters talk about 90s alternative music – Readiohead, Bjork, Tori Amos – when the bands were most relevant. Setting a novel in the 90s also means I can move away from modern technological conventions that, in my opinion, weaken plot. Why doesn’t the friend just text Lainey to warn her about the bad guy? That doesn’t make for much suspense.
Question: GRUNGE GODS AND GRAVEYARDS is a very unique, catchy title. Who thought of it? How accurately does it describe the plot of the book?
Answer: I’m gonna pat myself on the back because I thought up the title. I might’ve thought up the title before I created the plot. I do that sometimes. I think it describes the plot fairly accurately, although historically Grunge music was on its way out in 1996. But Alterna-Gods and Graveyards doesn’t quite sound as good. In addition, the word ‘grunge’ has a double meaning as well. It’s the nickname of the old roadhouse that’s also the scene of the crime.
Question: Did you hear a lot of ghost stories growing up? Do you have a favorite?
Answer: I did not hear a lot of ghost stories as a kid, although my dad was the first to tell me the ‘hook’ story everyone knows so well. I love ghost stories told to me by friends and acquaintances. When someone tells you they saw a ghost, it’s impossible not to believe them. It gives me chills. My favorite touristy activity is to visit old cities and go on their haunted ghost tours. I did this in Rome and Key West. In fact, my work-in-progress has a subplot where the main character works for one of those haunted tour companies. There is just something so haunting about taking a walk at night, gazing up at historic homes and hearing about the dead.
Question: What other supernatural/paranormal creatures do you love? Of those, which would you consider writing a story about?
Answer: I love witches. One of my favorite 80s movies is Teen Witch. I always wanted to have magical powers. Of course, now I just wish I could magically clean my house with the swoop of a magic wand. Piles of laundry? No more! Dirty toilets? Clean within seconds! My whole life would open up. To fully answer your question, I would totally write a story about witches. But I’d make them bad ass. Like rock chick witches. Oh, I guess like in the movie, The Craft.
Question: Would you ever consider writing other genres, such as contemporary? Or are you sticking with YA Paranormal romance/mystery?
Answer: I have two WIPs right now. One is a YA historical mystery and the other is a ghost story/mystery. If I decide to write a contemporary, a mystery will have to be its core.
Question: Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
Answer: Hmm… I googled Fantasy Fest for my Key West mystery. Lots of naked people. That ended that subplot quickly.
Question: What books would you recommend to a reader who loved yours, and wants to read something similar?
Answer: Excellent question. Since I’m also a YA librarian, I find recommending books is the next best thing to writing them. If you love Grunge Gods, I suggest you read In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. It’s a historical paranormal mystery set during the outbreak of the Spanish Influenza in 1918. It’s haunting and romantic and amazing. It has a mystery at its core too. If you want a straight up YA historical mystery, read The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni. Set in the aftermath of the Civil War, this book is an awesome who-dunnit with a little early forensic science. If you just love the 90s, then I suggest The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler.
Question: What are three must-have items when you sit down to write?
Answer: Ideally: strawberry shoestring licorice, iced coffee and monastery-like silence (meaning my kids are somewhere else)
Question: Are you working on anything new?
Answer: I am! I get so excited talking about new projects. I’m working on the first draft of a YA ghost story/mystery titled Dead and Breakfast. Set in present day Key West, it’s the story of two 17-year-olds who discover that the ghost haunting the old hotel is out for revenge against the boy she thinks murdered her 50 years ago. And my second project is a YA historical mystery set in 1955. An Argentine immigrant discovers the dead body of her soon-to-be stepfather. When everyone she loves is accused of the murder, she sets out to find the killer only to discover her stepfather was not who she thought he was.
Kimberly G. Giarratano, a forever Jersey girl, now lives in the woods of northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and small children. A former teacher and YA librarian, Kimberly adores Etsy, Jon Stewart, The Afghan Whigs, ’90s nostalgia, and (of course) everything YA. She also speaks Spanish, but is woefully out of practice.
Kimberly always dreamed of being a published author. Her other dream is to live in Key West, Florida where she can write in a small studio, just like Hemingway.
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I love these interview questions, and their answers! I could totally respond to all of them, but here’s one that sparked my interest just at this moment:
“Why doesn’t the friend just text Lainey to warn her about the bad guy?”
I wonder if there’s going to be a huge rush of historical fiction (or if we’re already in it?) for just this reason: because so many traditional plots rely on just the sort of miscommunication that texting would eliminate (like, why didn’t Juliet just text Romeo about her fake-death plan?). So either writers have to back-date their plots, choose fantastical settngs, come up with a reason why their characters don’t have phones (socioeconomics, they go to boarding schools that don’t allow them, etc)…or come up with ideas that still work even when texting *is* possible. Which seems like it would be really interesting, but also require a lot of creativity.
Completely agree! Cell phones can definitely take the fun out of some of the mystery plot twists! I’d love to see more books where they don’t have cell phones or, though less feasible, having a cell that never has service could maybe work!
Cool observation! :)
Note to self: never google Fantasy Fest! Lol! I’m really excited for D&B, it has such a great setting(and I also really want some Key Lime pie right now…) Great interview, ladies!
Bahaha! But glad you liked the interview :)