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Monday, July 4, 2011

Interview with SM Reine, Author of Six Moon Summer

 Today I'd like to welcome SM Reine, who stopped by to discuss her new werewolf series entitled Six Moon Summer. Book 1, Seasons of the Moon released in April and I had a few questions for SM.  Let's get started!



Rylie's been bitten.

She's changing.

And now she has three months to find a cure before becoming a werewolf... forever.

Rylie Gresham hates everything about summer camp: the food, the fresh air, the dumb activities, and the other girls in her cabin. But the worst part is probably being bitten by a werewolf. Being a teenager is hard enough, but now she's craving raw flesh and struggles with uncontrollable anger. If she doesn't figure out a way to stop the transformation, then at the end of summer, her life is worse than over. She'll be a monster.


1.    In Six Moon Summer, Rylie is an outsider – always picked last and always bullied. Then she's sent away to summer camp and Rylie's life changes in ways she never could've imagined. Can you tell us a bit more about the book and perhaps share with us a favorite line, scene or passage?

On the surface, Six Moon Summer is about a young woman who is bitten by a werewolf and only has three months to find a cure before she loses herself forever.  Underneath that, however, it’s about insecurity and growing up and finding out who you are-- and being comfortable with it!  But that’s my inner English major talking.  I can’t resist the urge to talk about the themes in books!

Bullying is a major problem in schools these days, and you really have to find your inner strength to deal with it.  Rylie struggles to deal with these things in Six Moon Summer.  I’ll let this scene speak for itself:

The cabin’s lights were already on.  The sounds of laughter poured out the window.  Disappointed she wasn’t the first back, Rylie pushed the door open.
Her four roommates were clustered around a cot by the door.  “...but I hope he doesn’t ask me out,” read Patricia in a nasal voice.  “I don’t want to reject him and hurt his feelings, but I don’t want to be his girlfriend, either.”
Rylie recognized those words.  She had written them herself.
In her diary.
The contents of her backpack were spilled across a bed as her roommates pawed through them.  Patricia held out her diary so everyone could see it.  None of them had noticed Rylie yet.  “I bet she made it all up,” said Kim.  “Who would want to go out with her, huh?  She wouldn’t even show up for the date!”
“What are you doing?”
The girl with the gold anklet looked up.  Amber.  She was holding a pair of Rylie’s shorts in one hand and Byron the Destructor, her favorite stuffed cat, in the other.  “We noticed you hadn’t unpacked yet.  We were just... helping,” she said before bursting into giggles.  The other girls followed suit.
Rylie stared at them.  Her embarrassment in the mess was nothing in comparison to the numbness spreading through her now.
“Nice teddy bear,” said Kim before dissolving into snickers.
“You guys-- you-- I can’t...”  She didn’t know what to say.  Her mouth worked, but no sounds came out.  “It’s not a bear.  It’s a cat.”
She ripped the backpack off the bed, and they scattered.  They had gone through everything, even her underwear.  Rylie snatched her diary from Patricia’s hands and stuffed it into her bag.
“Way to be grateful,” laughed Amber.  “Didn’t you hear me?  We were helping!”
Eyes stinging, Rylie backed up until she hit the door.  Why were they laughing?  What was so funny?
“Of course,” she whispered hoarsely.  Helping.
Rylie flew out of the cabin and passed Louise, who was setting pokers and marshmallows on a table by the fire.
“Where are you going?” called Louise.  “Rylie?  Rylie!”
She ran without looking where she was going.  She passed a line of people heading back from the dining hall, and she knew they could all see her crying.  Everyone would know what Patricia and Amber did to her.  The teasing would only get worse.
Rylie had to stop by the office on the shore of the glistening lake.  Her chest felt constricted and she wheezed with every breath.  She fumbled for her inhaler and tried to let all the air out of her lungs, but it took a few tries before she could calm down enough to breathe at all.
She sucked down the medication.  Wheezed again.  Took another puff.  Slowly, her air passage relaxed.
“How could they do this to me?” Rylie rasped, fist clutched around her inhaler.  “I hate them.  I hate them.”

2.       Six Moon Summer has a twist on the classic man-eating werewolf story in that this time around, the heroine is actually the wolf.  What made you decide to write a story with this type of roll reversal?

You know, I never considered it as much of a role reversal at all.  When I’m plotting out a story, one of my main thoughts is that I want to write characters to whom I can relate.  I write what I like to read, and that’s usually strong but flawed women who take control of their lives.  Although I love a good romance as much as anyone else, I don’t want to imagine myself as the woman waiting for some big beastly man to sweep me off my feet-- I want to be the beast!

3.       What do you think sets Six Moon Summer apart from other werewolf books currently in the market right now?

In Six Moon Summer, werewolves are cursed beings.  They are controlled by insatiable hunger.  Even so, Rylie is still a good person at the core.  How does she deal with her new, violent urges?  There’s a depth and humanity to the book you often don’t see in classic horror, where the wolf man is purely monster, but the subject also isn’t sterile.  Werewolves are scary, and you get to really experience the horror!

4.       What is the significance of the title "Six Moon Summer"?

The werewolves in my mythology don’t immediately transform as soon as they’re bitten.  There’s a transitioning phase elapsing three full months, wherein they change on every new and full moon-- so that’s six moons from the bite to the final change.  Rylie experiences her transition during the summer, so... there you have it.  :)

5.       What three words best describe Rylie's personality?

Awkward, abrasive, and adventurous.

6.       In what ways (if any) do you relate to Rylie?

Rylie’s kind of a punk kid who doesn’t know how to handle the adult problems happening in her teenage life.  I was much the same, although I got along much better in high school than she does!  I had a great support system, but Rylie is alone.  We don’t have too much in common.

7.       If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Ooh, anywhere?  How about everywhere?  Haha!  I want to go somewhere no other human has set foot in centuries, like a river deep in a jungle canyon.  I would love to be somewhere as beautiful as the places I imagine in my head!  Of course, I’m not super athletic, so I’m probably not cut out for hiking to remote places.  I’ll just go to the Middle East.

8.       What are some young adult novels you think every teen and adult should read?

Obviously the Harry Potter books.  Anybody who hasn’t read Harry Potter is living a dull, sad life.  I forced them on my husband as soon as we married!  Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven is also amazing (and terrifying), and I think Christopher Pike’s Last Vampire books are a total must-read... although maybe not the new ones.

9.       What was the most unexpected thing you've learned so far on your publishing journey?

Nothing happens without work.  Every little bit of this has been the result of hours of sweating and stressing and hair-pulling, from the cover to the editing to the promotion.  It would be wonderful if there was a magical publishing fairy that came along and made it all happen, but no matter which route you pursue in publishing, you’re going to spend so much time bleeding your life into the book.  It sounds gruesome, but it kind of is!

10.    Can you discuss with us what we can look forward to next in this series? Any other upcoming projects in the works?

I don’t want to share too much and spoil it, but we can look forward to Rylie learning even more about herself and coming to terms with the events of the first book.  There’s going to be four books in the series, so Rylie still has a long, painful journey ahead of her before she finds some kind of catharsis.  We also get to learn a lot more about the mysterious Seth and his family.

SM Reine is an author of dark fantasy for teen and adult audiences. Her most widely known work is "Six Moon Summer," which has been hailed as "fresh and fast-paced" and "captivating." She lives in Nevada with her husband, the Helpful Baby, and too many black animals to count.

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