Hi readers! So I had the absolute honor of getting an interview with our lovely YA Paranormal Writer Martina McAtee author of the Dead Things Series. I have taken it upon myself to call her our Deadlings Mother due to her Facebook Page named Martina’s Deadlings. 😉 Martina has written book 1 “Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things”and Book 2, “Dark Dreams and Dead Things”. Both of which I have written reviews on. You can check them out here on my blog 🙂 At the moment she is currently working on Book 3 “Sinister Souls and Dead Things”.
This is my first interview ever so I hope you enjoy!! And also, I have provided the links to Martina’s books below so check them out today!
Hi Martina! Thank you so much for the opportunity to have an insight on your mind and learn more about your amazing novels Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things and Dark Dreams and Dead Things. They are so good and addictive. Being a Paranormal writer I see man readers enjoying your books now and in the far future as well 🙂
So tell us a little about your self.
Hmm, okay. What do you need to know about me? I have an eighteen-year-old daughter, two spoiled rotten Chihuahuas and two very shady looking cats. I have an extremely unhealthy addiction to both Starbucks Strawberry Acai Refreshers and also fan fiction. (No I’m not telling you which fandom).
Where are you from? Where do you live now and how do you like it there for your family?
I am one of like, five people actually born and raised in Florida. I grew up on a horse ranch in Davie for the first seven years of my life before we moved to a place called Jupiter Farms. I still live in Jupiter today. I like South Florida but I don’t see myself living here forever.
Other than writing, do you have any other professions? How do you manage balancing it all with your writing?
I’m a YA Writer (obviously) but I am also a registered nurse. I have a background as a psych nurse at a residential treatment facility for children (yes it comes in handy with writing) and I’ve also worked in oncology and radiology. I also occasionally teach nursing online. I don’t balance it well at all. I mainline caffeine, sleep very little and have basically resigned myself to having zero social life so that I can write. But I love writing so its a sacrifice I am willing to make.
Growing up, did you always know you wanted to be a writer? What did you imagine doing as an adult? I myself wanted to be a vet but just the thought of someone’s pet dying on my watch gave me chills. So I just stick to having a pet instead. Ha-Ha
I have always written. I joke around that my first story was written in orange crayon on one of my mom’s legal pads but it’s the truth. I was making up stories before I really consciously knew that’s what writers do. I come from a family of talented writers on both sides which is a blessing and a curse. My uncle Steve used to write and illustrate books just for me when I was little. My sister, Tammy writes fan fiction on a blog that gets well over 100,000 hits a month. My entire family inhales books. So, I always knew I could write, I just never knew if I’d ever have the nerve to try to make a living writing. Up until I released book one, I’d never even shown my writing to anybody I knew outside of my family. I just didn’t know if I could handle it if I failed, whatever that means.
Who was your biggest supporter growing up? Who is it now?
Growing up, my biggest supporter was m mother. She used to tell me all the time that I was meant to be a writer, She always said it very matter of fact, like there was no doubt in her mind that is what i was meant to do. She always supported my many other careers, in the meantime, but she never stopped telling me I was supposed to write. Since my mom passed away, my biggest supporter would provably be my best friend, Melissa. She literally thinks I’m J.K. Rowling levels of amazing (I’m not and I would fight anyone who claims otherwise). I think having supporters is vital to being a professional author.
Who is your favorite author? Do you feel they influenced the type of writing you wanted to do? If not, what book inspired you to write?
Asking me if I have a favorite author is kind of like asking me to pick my favorite child. I grew up reading James Howe’s books, The Howliday Inn and The Celery Stalks at Midnight. I then moved right in to Christopher Pike’s Weekend and Slumber Party and R.L Stine’s Fear Street Novels. They all influenced me. I chewed through L.J Smith’s The Vampire Diaries when they were first released and that majorly influenced my love of paranormal romance. But somewhere in between I fell in love with Stephen King’s The stand and Dean Koontz’s book Lightening which I still say is one of the most romantic books I’ve ever read even if it classified as a thriller. They all uninfluenced my wanting to write.
At what point did you decide “I’m ready to start my first novel?” What made you just go full force into it?
I’ve started a million novels. I started what became CSPWDT for NaNoWriMo 2014 to prove I could actually FINISH a novel. It was a way to distract me from my mom passing away and just life in general, I also wanted to prove to my daughter that sometimes you have to finish what you start even if you think its terrible. I never intended to publish it but then i showed it to a couple of people who said I really had something and I knew I had to at least attempt to put it out there. Even if it failed, even if nobody liked it, I figured there would be a lesson in that too.
After publishing your first book, did the publishing part change how your process of writing would be?
I think if I knew how complicated self-publishing could be I may have never attempted to do it, I think the only difference now is that I give myself more time for the post writing parts. I now know how much time my editors need, I know ow much time my illustrator and formatters need. I know how much advance notice to give my cover designer. I also now use a bit of an outline (even though I loathe them) because without it there would be no way to keep all of my plot lines straight.’
Speaking of cover designer. Who did it? And the other illustrations? I must say they did a wonderful job! Your cover on book one and two are so elegant yet ominous at the same time.
My cover designer is a surreal artist named Nathalia Suellen and her artwork is breathtaking. You can find her at: www.ladysymphonia.com, I highly recommend you check her out. My interior illustration work was done by a fellow author, Jo Michael’s, and she is, clearly, talented in many aspects.
Pictures are of book 1 that I personal own.
Your first novel, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is truly an incredible YA Paranormal Book. I personally read it and finished it in a couple of days because it’s so addicting I refused to let it sit there unfinished. I had to know what happened next! your character seem so realistic in the sense that you’ve created them to seem just like your real life average person, well, other than the fact they are supernatural beings.
Thank you! Well, as crazy as this seems, they are real life people to me. Each of them embodies parts of people I know. I also attempted to make them as flawed as most people are. Yes, I joke that many of my characters are unnaturally beautiful but they are deeply flawed and they have the same insecurities and prejudices and problems that everyday people have. Being supernatural doesn’t help them with math, it doesn’t make their love lives easier, and it doesn’t keep them from having embarrassing situations. I tried really hard to make everything about them real so that when I introduced the supernatural it was easier for people to just…believe.
How did you come up with the names for your books? Was it your first choice?
Oh, this question…Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is the name of a 70’s cult horror film and, as you know, Kai and Quinn are obsessed with all things pop-culture and horror. I originally picked the title because it obviously suits my reapers given what they do but also because there was originally a line about the film in the book that got cut in editing. As for Book 2, I liked the idea of keeping the series name in the titles and given the subject matter of Book 2, Dark Dreams seemed appropriate. Because of the popularity of the 70’s movie (as well as an awesome Supernatural episode of the same name) it has been a bit of a headache with hash tagging as well as finding it on Amazon but, overall, I’m very happy with the titles. I hope everybody else is too.
In your opinion, what was the hardest part about writing book 1; Book 2?
Writing Book 1 was easy because I never thought anybody would ever see it. The story flowed. My rough draft was finished in two months and my edits about three months after that. I had no outline, no guide. I just felt like the characters were talking to me. Book 2 was a disaster. This is going to sound awful but I had so many people loving Book 1 that I was terrified of the sophomore slump, the dreaded “Book 1 was better” comments. So I panicked. I just sort of wrote scene by scene with no direction, dragging my feet as my deadline grew closer. In a panic, I wrote an outline (which I never do) and finally felt like I had some direction. I was writing and editing until two weeks before release. So, honestly, my own high expectations, are the hardest part of writing for me, everything else can be fixed in editing.
Who inspired your characters? Is there someone in your life that made you think to recreate them in a book?
Ember is a combination of the women in my family; she has my daughters face, my sister’s hair, my niece’s gap, my crippling insecurity. Haha. Isa was inadvertently inspired by my tiny best friend with her enormous personality. Tristin is my daughter’s girlfriend, cute but will fight you. I draw inspiration from everybody I meet. I think that’s why my characters seem ‘real’.
Now in your Novels, not only are there straight couples but gay couples as well. What inspired you to go outside the norm? Were you worried that it might have been a deal breaker for many?
My daughter is a lesbian, it’s not a secret. We often talk about a lack of representation, especially in the YA genre. That being said, my main goal at first wasn’t to write LGBT characters. Kai was (gasp) straight when I first started writing Book 1. But I just kept coming back to the tension between him and Rhys and how if Kai or Rhys was a girl they’d, without a doubt, end up a couple and I thought why aren’t they a couple? Once I made peace with the fact that Kai was gay, writing him became my favorite thing to do. His story just flowed. When I decided to publish, I was a little worried, initially, about the backlash but then I thought, that makes me no better than people who think there’s something wrong with being gay. So, instead, I decided to create a world where sexuality is fluid. I don’t consider any of my characters 100 % straight or gay or bi or pan. I just go where my stories take me relationship wise and hope people are willing to go along for the ride.
Do you feel The Dead Things Series could help with acceptance of the LGBT community, With your straight characters’ full acceptance and how down to earth they all are?
I love this question. Let me just start by saying, I am not the voice of the LGBT community by any means and I don’t position myself to be. But I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it: your race, sexuality or gender identity doesn’t dictate whether you get to be the hero in your story or anybody else’s. They may be a chapter of your story but it isn’t the whole book. If my books, in any way, make people more accepting, I’ll die a happy girl but I care way more about all people seeing themselves represented equally in books, whether that be about race, sexuality or gender. It’s vital that kids see themselves in stories so they don’t feel erased from the society they live in. So I try to write characters who are people first and their race or sexuality is a non-issue because it shouldn’t be an issue. I write about a world I wish I lived in where I don’t have to worry about somebody hurting my daughter and her girlfriend for who they love. If I manage to get some people to challenge their archaic views on homophobia, that would be amazing but in the meantime, I hope that my daughter and the LGBT community sees something of value in my books for them.
Is there anything you would change about your books? If there is, what would it be?
You should never ask a perfectionist this question. There are little things I would change here and there. Mostly grammar and spelling issues. I’m having Book 1 re-edited for the third time (live and learn) but overall I’m happy with the story I told.
Where can someone find your books at? Where are they available?
Online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A- Million and Wal-Mart as well as a few smaller independent bookstores.
For my final question, what advice would you give an aspiring writer? Is there anything you could tell them that would help them reach their full potential?
Keep writing. Finish your story. No matter how much you think it sucks. No matter how many plot holes you think you have. I cannot stress this enough. Anything can be fixed later. Anything. Just finish the book.
Martina, thank you so much for this great opportunity. It’s always an honor to learn the process of the creation of a wonderful book. On behalf of all your Deadling Children, thank you for sharing your talent with the world.
Thank you for having me.
Guys thank you so much for being a part of my blog! I really hope you enjoyed reading my interview with Martina McAtee. I know I certainly did! She for sure has a talent for writing and I can’t wait for her future work. As promised, I provided links to her two books already of The Dead Things Series! If you want more info on them check out my review on book 1 and 2. 🙂
Also, don’t forget to follow Martina McAtee on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Much love everyone and keep on reading!
Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things-Book 1
Dark Dreams and Dead Things- Book 2
Sinister Souls and Dead Things- Not yet released