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Monday, December 27, 2010

Interview & Giveaway with A.M. Robinson, Author of Vampire Crush!

Today I'd like to extend a warm welcome to A.M. Robinson, author of VAMPIRE CRUSH which releases tomorrow, December 28th 2010! A.M. stopped by to talk about writing for teens, the popularity of vampire literature and she also offered up some great fantasy casting ideas for the characters in her book! See details below for your chance to win a signed copy of Vampire Crush.

A. M. Robinson

A. M. Robinson grew up in Indiana, but now lives in New York City, where she works in the publishing industry. She graduated from Indiana University with a double major in English and Chinese, but she is obviously only using the first one. Vampire Crush is her first book.
Official Website & Blog

  1. Vampire Crush is a story centering on Sophie McGee, a girl who finds herself dealing with some bloodthirsty villains. Can you tell us a little more about the book and share with us a favorite line, scene or passage?

Sure thing! At the beginning of Vampire Crush, Sophie McGee is obsessed with becoming editor-in-chief of her school newspaper, even if it means competing with her friends and hiding her annoyance when her first assignment is to interview the strange batch of new students. But in the course of asking them about their favorite hang-out spot, she starts to realize that something is a little . . . off. For one thing, they all seem to know one another. For another, they seem to be crashing at Thomas Jefferson High for a reason that’s less than academic. Meanwhile, James, Sophie’s flip-flop-stealing childhood playmate, arch-nemesis (and crush, though you would have to pinch her really hard to get her to admit it), is back and living next door. And he not only knows the weird kids, he knows what they’re up to. . .

When I started writing Vampire Crush, I wanted it to be a sort of love song to the teen vampire romance genre, one that has fun with all of its silliness but one that also works as a good teen fangfest in its own right. One of my favorite scenes is what I like to call the Vampire Luau. It’s a party being thrown by Vlad, our head-honcho vampire and all-around jerk, to help him find what he’s searching for. And it involves bikinis, kissing in the pantry, and bad, vampire-made punch. I also love the first scene where Sophie realizes that James has moved back to the neighborhood. It’s a little embarrassing on her end because she’s just been caught spying through his window and is trying to run away before the person inside sees her. But he’s a little too quick for her. . .  Here’s a little bit of that:

My side hits first, but the weight of a person on top of me rolls me to my back. I know I should have my eyes open so I can defend myself, but fear is keeping them squeezed shut, and my brain is shouting stupidstupidstupidstupidstupid. I’m flinging my fists up wildly, but they bounce off my attacker’s shoulders. It finally registers that I should be screaming, so I suck in a deep breath and start to wail. But it’s soon smothered by the hand that clamps like a vise across my mouth. 


It’s a male voice, but soft and exasperated where you think a potential murder’s would be hard and menacing. All my concentration is currently occupied with trying to jerk my knee up where he has my legs pinned, so it takes a moment to realize that he’s said my name. I open my eyes. 

His features haven’t changed, but they’re sharper somehow, and squarer. He still has the hint of a scar on his forehead from the rock I lobbed at him from over the fence, and even though it’s night out I can tell that his hair is still black. It’s shaggier than I remember, but back when I knew him his mother was always dragging him off for haircuts twice a month. 

Seeing that I recognize him, he lifts his hand away from my mouth.

“James?  James Hallowell?” I yell in my disbelief, causing him to clap his hand back over my mouth. I scream a few other things into his palm, most of it not fit for my own ears, let alone children’s. As my tirade rolls on, he starts to smile, his teeth glinting in the darkness. It only enrages me further. 

            When it comes to anything involving a ball or special shoes, I’m not very athletic, but once upon a time I attended a weekly karate class with the same fervor as a nun attending mass. It was three years before my sensei told Marcie that he was afraid I was there for the wrong reasons. I believe the word “bloodthirsty” was used. Right before the phrase “I think you should get her checked out.” 

            Now I channel all of my anger and lingering fear into one mighty upward chop to the nose. When he covers his face, I bend my knees up and use my legs to pop him off of me before rolling sideways and scrambling to my feet, my legs still shaky from the adrenaline. All the action has made me dizzy, and I bend over to catch my breath as I wait for the ringing in my ears to pass. When I look up, he’s hauling himself off the ground. Now that he’s standing, I should add about a foot and a half to my list of things that have changed. 

            Some people (Caroline) think that I am immune to boys. Not true. The boys of the world may ignore me, but that does not mean that I ignore the boys. I’ve had giggly crushes along with every other girl; after all, the only reason I like summer is that it makes Danny Baumann wear shorts. So James’s attractiveness is not lost on me. But I know from experience that he is a pain in the neck. 
2. What three words would you say best describe Vampire Crush?

Cute. Suspenseful. Screwball.

3. There seems to be an ever increasing demand for books centering on vampire themes in Young Adult Fiction. As a writer, why do you think this genre is so appealing to so many readers right now?

I think it’s the allure of getting to transport a character from a different time period into the test-tubes of modern times and see what happens. What do you get if you give a Victorian vampire copies of Seventeen magazine and tell her to go crazy on the quizzes? Or if you take an Edwardian vampire who’s used to acting Shakespeare and cast him in High School Musical? You get crazy hijinks! You also get Violet and Neville, two of the Vampire Crush crew.

4. If Vampire Crush was to be made into a movie, do you have certain actors you envision in the lead roles of characters like Sophie and James, or do you think unknowns would be best suited to play them?

Emma Stone as Sophie.

I fell in love with Emma Stone in Easy A, and her goofy girl-next-door charm.  She’s great at being sort of an odd duck but also remaining charming, which I think would be key to playing Sophie. Also, freckles. Freckles are important.

Ethan Peck as James

Ethan Peck

I first saw Ethan Peck as Patrick Verona in the ABC Family series 10 Things I Hate About You, and was pretty much sold on him being James. The irrationally deep voice! The curly black hair! The tallness! Also, his interactions with Lindsey Shaw (who played Kat Stratford) made me confident that he could handle all the Sophie/James banter.

Benjamin Walker as Vlad:

Benjamin Walker and company

Technically you didn’t ask, but I’ve probably spent just as much time dream-casting Vlad, the villainous villain of Vampire Crush, as I have James and Sophie. I finally settled on Benjamin Walker, who played Andrew Jackson (front and center) in the Broadway musical Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, because he looks good with blood on his shirt and could work as someone who’s trying to fake being a high schooler for eeeevilll. He also does arrogant and dumb very, very well, which is a must for Vlad. He’d need to dye his hair blonde, though, and learn some Russian endearments.

5. If you had to pick a theme song for Sophie, which one would you pick and why?

Oh man, I am horrible at picking theme songs. Since the theme from Inspector Gadget is already taken, maybe something funny and perky, like a Lily Allen or Kate Nash song, but in Sophie’s case, all those bad relationships have to do with vampires.  

6. What were you like as a teenager and did you have any books in particular that were your favorites? If your teenage self was to read Vampire Crush, what do you think she’d say?

Much like Sophie, teenage A. M. was a little goody-goody, and at times overly go-getter, although I don’t think I was ever as competitive as Sophie. I tore through paranormal romance like a fiend when I was in high school. I read L.J. Smith’s Dark Visions trilogy until the pages fell out and the face on the cover looked like it had one real eye and one thumbprint eye. But even though I loved the angst, I also wanted it to crack a joke every now and then. I think if you put Vampire Crush in her hands, she would probably giggle a little and then fall asleep, because it’s probably 3AM and she’s been sitting in front of the computer IMing people for the last five hours.

7. If you could inhabit the life of one literary character (your own included) and dive into their world for just one day, who would you choose and why?

Sophie has far too many newspaper deadlines and vampire problems, so she’s out. Katniss Everdeen has impressive archery skills, but then there’s that whole Death Arena thing to deal with. Hmm. . . . I’ve always had a soft spot for Hermione, whose confidence in her own smartness makes me envious. And I could definitely use the time turner she had in The Prisoner of Azkaban every now and then. Also, levitating people could be a very good party trick, much better than the one I have now, which is telling people where a book would be shelved if they wanted to find it in a library.

8. What would you say is the best advice you’ve been given as an author?

When you’re first starting out on a project, tell your inner editor to go sit in another room until you are ready for them. They will only offer unhelpful comments from the peanut gallery, like “This sounds like a book I read last week” and “I hear they are hiring cashiers at Wendy’s”  It’s good to have a plan, but it’s also good to feel free enough to explore possibilities that might open while you’re writing a new scene. And then, once you’ve finished your first draft, invite the editor back in and invite them to stay for a couple of months. I was surprised at how much of the best stuff in Vampire Crush (at least by my measure) came out in the rewrites. Good critique partners—people who know how to praise your good writing and gently convince you to reexamine your bad writing—are invaluable.

9. When you have a free day with no responsibilities looming overhead, and your only mission is to enjoy yourself, what do you like to do for fun?

I wish I could say something cool like fencing, but my one and only fencing adventure ended with me poking a lot of cute guys in the crotch. Turns out I am too short for fencing. So most of my post-work, post-writing hobbies also involve a screen. I have a love/hate relationship with my TiVo, where it records everything I would ever want to watch, and so I spend a lot of time in TV Land. But I actually think watching TV can help writers get a good feel of how to pace things so they are exciting. Or so I tell myself.

10. Vampire Crush releases in December of this year. Can you give us any insider scoop on what we can look forward to next from you? Any other upcoming projects in the works?

I know that my next project is going to involve ghosts, although I’m not quite sure if it will be ghosts in early 20th-century New York or ghosts of your ex-boyfriend who need you to help him resolve all his unresolved issues with his other ex-girlfriends. Maybe it will be both! I have been switching back and forth lately. I also hope to start blogging more at www.amrobinsonbooks.com.

Vampire Crush

I swear, my life was always totally normal.

Normal house, normal family, normal school. My looks are average, I don't have any superpowers, no one's showing up to tell me I'm a princess—you get the picture. But when my junior year started, something not normal happened. There were new kids at school . . . new kids with a wardrobe straight out of a 19th-century romance novel, and an inexplicable desire to stay at school until sundown.

And on top of that, James Hallowell showed up. James, who stole my sandwiches in fourth grade and teased me mercilessly through middle school. James, who now seems to have the power to make my heart race any time he comes near.

But something weird is going on. Because James rarely goes out during the day. And he seems stronger than your typical guy. And he knows the new kids, all of whom seem to be harboring some kind of deep secret. . . .

Official Rules:
1.You must be 13 year or older to enter.
2. Open to entrants with a valid U.S. mailing address only. 
3. Entries must be received by Midnight EST on January 10th 2011. 
4. Once contacted, winners have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address.
5. To enter to win, simply fill out the form below. Good luck!  


Lexie said...

I love that she picked Emma Stone for Sophie! I LOVE Emma Stone and she sounds perfect for the part!

Khyla said...

awesome interview
and yay ur next project is going to do something about ghosts
love the immortal kind characters :)

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Great interview! I love her actor picks :)

donnas said...

Congrats on the release! Sounds like its going to be a great book.

Soultified said...

I love Ethan Peck! =) I totally agree with A.M Robinson.

linaramz said...

Awesome interview! Emma Stone sounds like a great choice! Thanks for the great giveaway! I'm sooo looking forward to reading this!

Anonymous said...

Great interview! I'm definitely entering to win this book.

LM Preston said...

Would love to read more! Sounds like a fun book. Do you have a book trailer? Congratulations on the release!

Lisa loves to read! said...

I love the sense of humor that the author has in the interview. It sounds like a book that I will definitley be reading. Thanks

Lisa Faber

Brynne said...

I can't wait to read this book! Thanks for the great interview and giveaway!

marian said...

great interview! love the actors she chose. this book sounds interesting will definitely check it out

Vivien said...

Love Emma Stone. Fabulous interview!

Aik said...

This book sounds awesome! Can't wait to read it!

Margay said...

I love the blurb for this book - it sounds great! And I do adore Ethan Peck - that voice gets me every time. He is so much like his grandfather with that voice.

mbreakfield said...

Great interview and the book sounds awesome. You made me chuckle with your fencing experience.

minhchieu said...

great interview! so excited for this books! realy hope i wi

Jessy said...

One of Lily Allen's songs would be a good choice. I just adore her music.

Veronica said...

I definitely agree what a GREAT interview, thanks!

aurora M. said...

OOOOOOOOOO This is right up my alley! count me in this great giveaway! Thanks for hosting

Raven In A Blue Room said...

great review and interview. I also like your actor choices, they seem to fit perfect

Bere said...

Fantastic interview, Kim! A.M sounds like a wonderful person! I love all her answers. Vampire Crush sounds super funny. I will totally add to my wishlist this instant. By the way, I love Emma too! She's fabulous! =D

Brenda said...

I have heard such great reviews of this book, would love to read it!

hiluhriehope said...

My friend checked this book out from the library and I picked it up last night and read the first few pages before I had to leave and I was instantly hooked.
I'm a writer and I've always wanted to write a vampire story but I'm still looking for the perfect idea. I have to say, though, that I am eternally grateful for authors like her because I just don't have comic genius in me. Thank you for keeping the funny bone alive and filling our "bloodlust" at the same time. :)