How long was your publication process?
The writing process was quick – the story just kind of came bursting out – but the publication process was l-o-o-o-ng. The manuscript sold in 2006, and the book just came out this February. I understand that’s considered a pretty long production period. But I was happy with the process. A lot of care went into making the final product. I hope it shows!
Why did you choose to write about the undead? Are you a vampire fan in general?
I was not a vampire fan – although I am now! I chose to write a vampire tale because I wanted Jess’s birth parents to be something completely extraordinary. She’s a level-headed girl, so I had to make sure the revelation about her biological parents – and by extension the boy she is promised to marry – completely rocked her rational world. Plus, let’s face it… even though I wasn’t really into vampires at the time, everybody knows that they have a certain intriguing appeal!
Where did the idea for Lucius come from? Is he based on any other vampire characters?
Lucius sprang to life the moment I started writing his first letter home. He is based on no one – not even anyone I know. I swear, it was like he walked into my office and started dictating his letters to me. Which seems like something Lucius would do – assume that he had a secretary.
Did you have any input into the cover design, and are you happy with it?
I remember asking that the cover be dark, to offset the sort of whimsical title, because the book is a mix of light and dark. Beyond that, it’s the creation of a very talented Harcourt artist. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was, and how it captured the mood of the story. I’ve had people e-mail, wishing that they could find Jess’s dress in a store. And I love the hint of Lucius’s fangs. I think it’s just perfect.
Do you have any plans to write a sequel to Jessica's Guide?
Nothing definite at this point, although I’m getting a lot of requests, which is really nice. I’m honestly not sure…
Can you tell us anything about your next book, Jekel Loves Hyde?
It’s a different kind of twist on the paranormal. Jill Jekel and Tristen Hyde are two high school students who gradually discover that they share a mysterious, possibly dangerous, connection to the old novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As they race against the clock to figure out the puzzle, they start to fall for each other – which is probably the worst thing that could happen to them… That’s probably enough!