A website dedicated to books in the Young Adult genre, featuring book reviews, author interviews contests and much more!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Interview with Bree Despain, Author of The Dark Divine & Contest!

Today I'd like to welcome author Bree Despain, who graciously agreed to stop by and discuss her debut novel, The Dark Divine, which is scheduled to be released on December 22nd 2009.

Bree rediscovered her childhood love for creating stories when she took a semester off college to write and direct plays for at-risk, inner-city teens from Philadelphia and New York. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband, two young sons, and her beloved TiVo.

The Dark Divine is a compelling young adult novel exploring the Prodigal Son parable but with a romantic paranormal twist. Why do you think the paranormal genre is so popular now with both teen and adult readers?

I think readers enjoy paranormal romance because it offers a bit of an escape, but it also offers a way for authors to explore deeper concepts in the form of a metaphor. Giving my book a paranormal twist, allowed me to tell a story about love, redemption, and family, in a way that is also an exciting and enticing read (at least that’s my hope). Besides, what’s more appealing than a forbidden, dangerous romance with a guy that has superpowers AND is devastatingly hot? *swoon*

In the Dark Divine, Grace’s first crush Daniel mysteriously disappears after a falling out with her brother Jude. When he inexplicably resurfaces three years later, Jude begs Grace to promise to stay away from him, warning her that he’s dangerous. When you were Grace’s age, was there a boy that your family disapproved of and forbid you to see? Can you also tell us about your first crush?

My parents weren’t too crazy about my first boyfriend. He was older than me, very attractive, mysterious, and was an actor and a writer—in fact, we met over a conversation about writing. My parents were concerned about our relationship, but I think they were very smart not to forbid me from seeing him. Doesn’t that just make a guy seem even more attractive? I dated him off and on until one day he asked me to wait for him after class. Well, I waited and waited but I had to leave before he got there . . . and I NEVER saw him again. No joke. He disappeared off the face of the planet.

My first crush: My brother had this best friend (we'll call him Drew). They did everything together--and I tagged along constantly. And even though Drew loved to tease me, I was totally smitten by him. His dad was my dentist, and he would always tease me about how Drew and I were going to get married. Well, then as Drew and my brother got older, they had some kind of weird falling out, and then awhile after that, Drew ran away from home and totally disappeared off the face of the planet . . .oh wait, this is starting to sound familiar . . .

Throw in one other guy-friend who completely vanished one day, and you’d have yourself a theme in my life! I guess you could say that writing The Dark Divine was a cathartic way for me to deal with these mysterious guys who disappeared from my little universe.

The first chapter of The Dark Divine has been made available for readers anxious for a sneak peek into the novel. For those of us who read chapter one, only to be left desperately wanting more, I have to ask--can you give us another small teaser now?

Unfortunately, the “suits” won’t let me share much more than the first chapter, but I think I can get away with sharing a couple of teaser lines:

“In the shadows, his eyes seemed darker than usual, and his stare didn’t just make him look hungry—he was starving. His lips were almost close enough to taste.”

How long did it take you to write the Dark Divine, and how many revisions did you have to make?

I started writing The Dark Divine in January 2005. I took me about a year to write a good working version, and then I started sending it out to agents. After a few months and a lot of rejections, I decided that the manuscript wasn’t ready yet and put it away for about 18 months and started working on other projects. Then, one day, the fire for the story hit me again and I spent the next 5 months completely rewriting about 2/3rds of the book and added about 100 pages of new content. I then did several more revisions for about 3 more months before sending it out to agents again. I did 2 rounds of revisions with my agent, and then 2 rounds of revisions with my editor. All in all, it took 4 years in calendar time, and about 2 years in writing time. I think I lost count of how many revisions I went through after about 10. I like to revise on hard-copy, so I have stacks and stacks of manuscripts in my basement.

The cover of the Dark Divine is so striking and really grabs the reader’s attention with the contrast of the girl’s pale skin against the floating purple fabric. Did you have much input in the cover art? Also, is there any special significance of that particular shade of purple being used?

Ha ha. Well, early on in the process my editor asked me if I had any “thoughts” on the cover—and what he got back was a TWO PAGE letter from me! After considering a few other designs, my publisher decided to go with a cover that fit the “feel” of the things I asked for. I didn’t choose the image (that was the brilliant Joel Tippie) but I feel extremely blessed that my publisher even considered my ideas, and chose a cover that would make me happy.

The purple was inspired by the color of Grace’s eyes. She and Jude both have “violet” eyes. The final version of the book also has more purple in the story than the ARCs.

If the Dark Divine were to be made into a movie, who do you see playing the roles of Grace, Jude and Daniel?

Daniel is the easiest to cast. A few months ago, hubby and I were watching Friday Night Lights and I saw Taylor Kisch sitting on a bench looking all brooding—and I suddenly exclaimed, “That’s him! That’s Daniel!” Now if only I could figure out how to cryogenically freeze Taylor so he’d stop aging. . .either that, or somebody needs to make a Dark Divine movie like yesterday! Also, after seeing 17 AGAIN for the first time this week, I think if you bad-boyed up Zac Effron enough, he could possibly make a good Daniel.

Jude is harder to cast. I’d need someone fresh faced, boy-next-door looking who was also very attractive. Like a younger Tom Welling, or Chase Crawford with dark hair.

I’m still struggling with casting Grace in the movie in my head. I think Leighton Meester is very pretty and fits Grace physically, but I can’t get over her mean-girl-ness enough to imagine her as Grace. Grace is definitely not a mean girl! I need someone who is innocent and sweet, but still has a tough streak--Maybe Taylor Swift with dark brown hair?

In your bio, you wrote that you took a semester off from college “to write and direct plays for inner-city teens from Philadelphia and New York.” Out of all the plays you were involved with, which one was your favorite, and why?

I love the theatre and I’ve participated in many plays over the years. However, that summer, my favorite thing was getting to write my only plays for the teens to put on for younger children. We mostly did spoofs on fairytales, like a Cinderella Murder Mystery (Clue Style), and a musical inner-city-esque version of Goldilocks And The Three Bears—complete with dancing, and a 250 pound girl with an awesome voice playing “Goldie.” We got a huge standing ovation for that one. However, the best thing about doing these plays were the people I got to work with—including my partner (who was a total British, professional soccer playing pratt) who I butted heads with all the time until our vision for “Goldie” started to come together. Working with him ended up being a ton of fun.

You’ve also said that you love archaeology and anthropology and would like to participate in a dig someday. If you could travel to one special place in the world to look for artifacts, where would you go and what would you want to dig for?

I’m mostly obsessed with Egyptology. I’d love to go on a dig there and discover some unknown tomb in the Valley of The Kings, or explore Amarna. I know there’s probably not much left to be discovered now days, but a girl can dream, right?

How do you find time to write with all the responsibilities that come with having two small children, and what’s a typical writing day like for you?

For me, finding a balance with my kids and my writing is the most challenging part of this job. Luckily, I have a mother’s helper who comes a few times a week during the summer to do crafts and other activities with my kids while I write at the library (or lock myself in my bedroom). During the rest of the year, I utilize every moment my kids are at school, napping, or playing with friends. I often trade babysitting with family and friends so my kids are having fun while I work. I do my best writing when I can get a consistent 2 hours in a row to work.

The highly anticipated The Dark Divine will be released December 22nd 2009 and you have a sequel in the works too. Can you tell us more about it?

Yes, I am working on a sequel!! It’s hard to talk about the sequel without spoiling anything in the first book. . . But, let’s just say that something one of the character’s did in the past comes back to haunt him/her.

A prodigal son

A dangerous love

A deadly secret . . .

I stood back and watched his movements. Daniel had that way about him that could shut me down in an instant. . . . I kicked the gravel a couple of times and worked up my courage again. “Tell me . . . I mean . . . why did you come back? Why now, after all this time?”

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood. But she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night really held. And when Daniel returns three years later, Grace can no longer deny her attraction to him, despite promising Jude she’ll stay away.

As Grace gets closer to Daniel, her actions stir the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind Jude and Daniel's dark secret . . . and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it—her soul.

Read an Excerpt of the Dark Divine HERE.
Purchase The Dark Divine at Amazon.com
My Review of The Dark Divine
To learn more about The Dark Divine and Bree ,Visit her Official Website & Blog


Bree Despain is offering one lucky winner the opportunity to win a
signed copy of

Just leave a comment for Bree attached to this post
Bonus entries for posting/linking about this contest on any social network.

Contest is open to all U.S. residents
Ends: 1/10/2010

Don't forget to stop by Fantastic Book Review for a little Monday Madness too!


Brooke Reviews said...

Love Swift in any role. She's a great girl :D

Great interview!

bacarleton at gmail dot com

J. Lee said...

I really can't wait to read this book :D
It sounds really good
Also, love your choice of actors (except I think the person you cast for daneil...is too old xD )


StephTheBookworm said...

I love the movie cast question. Friday Night Lights is one of my favorites, Taylor is great!

I'd love to win this book - have been hearing so much about it, so please enter me in.

stephaniet117 at yahoo dot com

Jax said...

Sign me up

This has been on tbr list for sometime.

jpetroroy said...

Great interview!

jpetroroy at gmail dot

+1 tweeted at http://twitter.com/jpetroroy/status/6677904605

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

Ooo I likes this Daniel guy already :)

Would love to enter the giveaway - I've been looking forward to reading this one!

+1 tweet:

Cecelia said...

I'm intrigued by the idea of a story based on the prodigal son story - it should be interesting! Also, that cover art? FABULOUS. Great interview!

+1 I'm linking to this on my blog sidebar

Thanks for the chance to win!


Melissa said...

I love the cover. I'm a fan of Friday Night Lights, too.


lovely1117 said...

I read the first chapter on Bree's website and am curious to see what else is in store for the Dark Divine. =]


Kelsey said...

Awesome contest! I always find it interesting to know whether authors had any input on their covers.

kelseythebookscout at gmail dot com

Ellz said...

I have wanted this book from the second I saw the cover. So glad to hear there will be more than one.

tweeted http://twitter.com/EllzReadz/status/6679583920
Elie (Ellz Readz)

Scott Romanski said...

Interesting casting choices.

lastrideusa AT yahoo DOT com

Haley said...

OOh! I already wanted to read it but after reading all this I'm wicked excited to get it!


(and Taylor Kisch is a babe!)

Raspberry said...

This was a fun interview to read - thanks. The stories about your first crushes/boyfriend was interesting.
I linked the giveaway on my sidebar at twoandahalfbooklovers.blogspot.com

Van Pham said...

Great Interview! Beautiful cover, can't wait to read it!

van p.

Euphoria13 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Euphoria13 said...


+1 I tweeted about this



Darlene said...

Hi Kim, no need to enter me. Just popping in to let you know I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Awesome interview! And, psh, if people didn't forbid certain things, where would excitement come from? Forbidden romances, ftw. :D

+1 sidebar: http://booksatmidnight.blogspot.com

(I have to admit that I've preordered a copy already, but I know some friends that would love to get their hands on a copy.)


Tales of Whimsy said...

I would love to be entered! Thank you.

Natalie said...

I have to agree with Jenn! Forbidden romances ARE exciting! This is definitely a book I've been waiting for all year!

+1 Tweeted it!


Julie@My5monkeys said...

wow..great interview and had no idea it too that long to do a book. Sounds like a book to add to my pile to read.

aprilmom00 @ gmail dot com

donnas said...

Great interview. The Dark Divine looks like its going to be great. Congrats on the upcoming release, cant wait to read it.

Linked on sidebar here: http://donnasbloghome.blogspot.com/

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Reading said...

Please count me in. I just love the "cast" you would pick!

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Julie S said...

count me in! juliecookies(at)gmail.com

Unknown said...

(I'm Canadian)
Thank you Bree for sharing here today. It was great to learn a bit more about you & your writing.
Happy Holidays,

Books In Bloom said...

Wow great interview. I really liked that things you said. We can all hope for a movie!! *smiles* Great cover and i really look forward to reading it!

I tweeted and added a FB update about this interview!



Bree Biesinger Despain said...

Thanks for the interview! Just wanted to add that I've recently found the perfect Grace for a TDD movie. Emma Roberts. Somebody send that girl a copy of the book!!

Also, the Romantic Times is now serializing the first 6 chapters on their blog for anyone who wants more of a sneak peek. (First 5 chapters are already up.)

Martha Lawson said...

Sounds like a great book! Hope I can win..

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Nikki @ Bookizzle said...

Excellent interview and very cool giveaway! I'd love to be entered. :)

(nikkinizzle (at) gmail.com)

pepsivanilla said...

Please count me in :)

For movie casting, I think Taylor Swift can pull off anything after seeing her on SNL! She's awesome.


Cranberryfries said...

Fabulous questions and answers. What a great interview!

Chelsea B. said...

I cannot WAIT to read this book! It sounds fantastic! Great interview! :-)

Cindi C said...

This book sounds great! I had not read any of Bree's other books but I fully intend to now! Thanks for offering the signed book! cindi@inbox.com

Cindi C said...

This book sounds great! I had not read any of Bree's other books but I fully intend to now! Thanks for offering the signed book! cindi@inbox.com

Virginia C said...

Hi! Thanks for this great giveaway! The cover is beautiful, and the story line very intriguing! The first love is the deepest...

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Alyssa Kirk said...

I was lucky enough to read the Dark Divine and loved it. Please enter me for the chance to win a signed copy.

Great interview. Disappearing boyfriends? Glad it helped inspire this novel! The cover is wonderful!

Alyssa Kirk said...

Oh sorry, email is

Margay Leah Justice said...

Bree, I love movie casting when I read (and write), too!

I tweeted: http://twitter.com/Margay/status/6698039217

and linked on Facebook:



Lena1xoxo said...

I've been dying for this book!
- added to my blog sidebar: http://addicted2novels.blogspot.com/

Great interview!


Tina said...

The cover to this book is gorgeous!

I tweeted http://twitter.com/celestinacarmen/status/6699420823


tetewa said...

Sounds good, I'd like to be included! tWarner419@aol.com

Robyn said...

I cannot wait for this book! Please count me in!


tweeted about it here: http://twitter.com/crazybluebird

Anonymous said...

I have heard nothing but good things about The Dark Divine. I can't wait to read it and the cover's so striking.

angel28140 (AT) yahoo (DOT) com

Eleni said...

I really want to read this book! Please enter me :)

Thanks :)

Bookish in a Box said...

I think Mark Salling would make a good Daniel.

+1 Twitter: http://twitter.com/whatinabox/status/6702868124

+1 Sidebar: http://budgetinabox.blogspot.com/ (under "Book Giveaways")

whatinabox (at) gmail (dot) com

Alysa Stewart said...

i've heard a lot about this one, bree -- way to get the buzz going! if i win, get me at everead at gmail dot com.

Stacey Brucale said...

I've been wanting to read this one since I first heard about it! It looks amazing.


Anonymous said...

Completely awesome interview. For one interview, you told a lot of info and detail. That is absolutely awesome.

I so can not wait for the "Dark Divine" to come out. This book sounds so cool, especially since I am so into the paranormal.

If the book were to become a movie, I would so go to see it. I think it would be a really big hit.

But hey, keep us all up to date, with any books that you do. You sound like an awesome author. With a lot of imagination for the paranormal.

Orchid said...

Love the title of the book. :)

hauntingorchid (at) aol (dot) com

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I am very excited about this book and I loved your interview!

justpeachy36 said...


I can't wait to read this book. I think it looks wonderful.

Please enter me in the giveaway.

Sweet Vernal Zephyr said...

Your promotion techniques are outstanding.. I've seen nail polish... and heard about you tube videos... you have been all over the place and consequently I now want your book! LOL

mdwartistry at yahoo dot com

Jessy said...

Please enter me. I have been dying to get my hands on a copy.

tweeted: http://twitter.com/Emma015/statuses/6744442609

facebooked: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/profile.php?id=100000188700801&ref=nf

findjessyhere at gmail dot com

throuthehaze said...

Great interview! I can't wait to read this book.

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Bree, what an interesting interview. And The Dark Divine sounds really different too (in a good way). I can't wait to read it!

Please enter me into the contest! Thank you.

Jess (The Cozy Reader) said...

Awesome interview! I <3 Bree. She's such a cool, down to earth author.

I just loved TDD and can't wait to share it with my friends and family. I'd love to win a signed copy!

Thanks for hosting!

I linked:
Blog Sidebar (contest roundup one week before end date)

Lindsay Frost said...

I would LOVE to win this!
Thankyou!! :D:D:D



brizmus said...

I imagine it's hard to balance writing with kids. . . I don't know how you do it! I've read the first chapter, and now I am DYING to read the rest!
I put it in my sidebar under the contest list - http://brizmusblogsbooks.blogspot.com


Jess Capelle said...

really looking forward to reading this and I LOVE the cover- gorgeous!
Thanks for the giveaway!

jessicacapelle at gmail dot com

Miss Haley said...

enter me please, i've been trying to get my hands on this one forever!!


+1 posted at twitter.com/haleymathiot

debijackson said...

love to win this

Emily H. said...

Excellent interview. I love to read how people balance writing with their every day lives.


treerose @ yahoo DOT com

YA Book Queen said...

I love how she sent 2 pages of her thoughts on what the cover should be like ;)

+1 sidebar http://yabookqueen.blogspot.com


Unknown said...

I've been reading all the online buzz about this book and I want it! Please enter me :D

sidebar link

thebookvixen at gmail dot com

Kristen said...

Would love to have a nice, signed HC of this beautiful book. :)

dragonzgoil at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I love the interview, and i can't wait to read this book...
unfortunately, i live in brazil, and it will take too longue for me to read...
i wish i could be able to participate the contest...

anyway, i love your blog!

Brittany said...

This sounds really good! And the cover art is gorgeous.

beautifulxdisaster (@) gmail (dot) com.

Unknown said...

I absolutely cannot wait to read this one... I have had my eye on it for a while and reading this makes me even more ready!

Good luck to all!


www.randomchalktalk.com (linked on my blog too)

Linda Henderson said...

I would love to read this book.

seriousreader at live dot com

Jessica B said...

Thanks for the awesome interview. I read an ARC of TDD and would LOVE to have my own hardcover copy-signed!

shutupjessicasreading @ gmaildotcom

Dahlia (TheBookShopaholic) said...

It was fun reading about your first crush, Bree.

For extra entries:

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/bookshopaholic/status/7146802853


Erin said...

I read an ARC of this book and I absolutely loved it. I am soooo in love with Daniel now... I planned on buying a hardcopy of this book soon to keep so I would love having a signed copy. :)



Teresa (Chrissy) said...

Ah Egyptology, *swoon*

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/eireannoir/status/7174989535

widowers.corpse {at} gmail.com

Michelle said...

Oh whoo, please enter me for this one. I am dying over the cover and couldn't be more excited to read it!!


mmillet at gmail dot com

Megan said...

Great interview! I'm excited to read this book, it looks so interesting.


Maddy said...

Awesome cover!


Allison said...

I was caught by the cover of this book. It is beautiful. The story seems interesting, and I can't wait to read it!
I'm going to email my friend the link ;)
About the casting, Emma Roberts is a good actress, and very pretty...
Please enter me in the contest. It would completely make my day to win this book!
and no i dont live in europe, but a girl can dream right?!

Anonymous said...

This would be a fun read...

introublewithmyhusband at gmail

Anonymous said...

Awesome interview! My name is Anela, I am from Hawaii and I read a preview of you book online and I really want to get past the first chapter! lol! consider me for the contest, please, Bree!


Raven M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Raven M said...

Count me in! I read the first four chapters of this book and it's amazing!

I tweeted about it:



Donna said...

I'm intrigued by The Dark Divine and the fact that it's all over the book blogs. I would love a chance to win a copy to read.

Thank for you for the interview.

fantasydreamersramblings @ gmail.com

I posted about this contest here

Sarah said...

I read that sneak peak. It was AMAZING!! I really want to get this book. Thanks for the contest!

two_of_hearts_101 at yahoo dot com

Ladytink_534 said...

I've heard nothing but great things about this. I'd love a chance to try it!


Anonymous said...

I've heard a lot of great things about this book and really want to read it. The cover is really cool too.


Lindsay said...

I have been dying to read this book I have heard how good it is. I really want to read it and learn about Grace. Count me in for the contest!


Emily said...

Loved the interview! I love this cover. Bree, do you have any control over your cover art?

emily DOT wittenberg @ gmail DOT com

Amelia said...

I want to read this so bad.

x_goodie_x AT hotmail dot com

Etheline said...

I cannot wait to read this book!!Please enter me in the contest.


Kirthi said...

Great contest, there's been so much buzz about this book! I've got to read this!

I linked this contest on my blog:

misskallie2000 said...

Loved your review and I read another review about this book and it does sound like a good read. Pls enter me in the giveaway.

misskalllie2000 at yahoo dot com

Aimee said...

I love this cover. Can't wait to read the book. Thanks for the chance!


ParaJunkee said...

I would like to enter please.

parajunkee at gmail dot com

CherylS22 said...

Looks like a great read - please count me in!

Jamie said...

This is why I love blogger, because you are always able to enjoy lots of interviews and learn about new books, you've never heard of. Looking forward to reading your book.

ossmcalc said...

I really enjoyed reading your interview and about who you are thinking about casting to play your characters. I look forward to reading this book. Hopefully it is after my name is selected for this giveaway.

Thank you,


ossmcalc said...

I tweeted about this giveaway http://twitter.com/ossmcalc/status/7583684890

thank you,


Mindy said...

I've been dying to read this book.
It was real nice to be able to get to know the author a little beforehand!


jocelyn said...

This book looks great! I love the cover, too, it's gorgeous.


Karen said...

Looks intriguing. I'd love to get the chance to read it. :D