Saturday, July 9, 2011

Debut Authors of the Class of 2k11: Carrie Harris

Just reading Carrie Harris's answers to my questions made me want to meet her. She's funny and smart, and her debut novel, Bad Taste in Boys, truly sounds like it's going to rock right out of the gate. Here's Carrie!

Congratulations on the publication of your novel, BAD TASTE IN BOYS. Can you tell us a bit about the story and what inspired it?

Thanks so much! BTIB is about a girl named Kate Grable. Kate’s a super smart med geek, and she’s the student trainer for her high school football team. She figures the experience will look good on her college apps, and as an added bonus she gets to be close to her quarterback crush, Aaron. Then something disturbing happens. Kate finds out that the coach has given the team steroids. Except...the vials she finds don’t exactly contain steroids. Whatever’s in them is turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless, flesh-eating...zombies.

Unless she finds an antidote, no one is safe. Not Aaron, not Kate’s brother, not her best friend...not even Kate...

Dum dum DUM.

If you can’t tell, I’m a huge monsterphile. Zombie movies in particular always crack me up, because movie characters never seem to have any problem believing that their neighbors are turning into zombies. Um, hello? Only crazy people think things like that. So I started off thinking I might want to do a book about a completely rational person who discovers a zombie virus. And then I started mashing it together with other ideas that I had floating around in my head, kind of like a math project gone completely whack-a-ding-hoy. So BAD TASTE IN BOYS is really Frankensteinian weird science plus the undead football players from Beetlejuice divided by high school geekery.

If math books were more like that, I might have become a mathematician.

Ha - me, too! How long have you been writing for children/teens? Have you written other books or is this your first effort?

This is only my second YA. The first got me an agent, and the second got me a sale! But don’t hate me. I spent a lot of time writing in other genres. I wrote a stage play, and a screenplay, and a bunch of poetry, and about 700 role playing books. Okay, maybe that last bit is an exaggeration, but it sure felt like it!

Can you describe your path to the publication of BAD TASTE IN BOYS?

Well, the road to publication was very long for me. Like *cough* fifteen years. *cough* When The Email finally came, I ran around the house screaming and then left a voice mail for my husband that said: “OhmygodcallmecallmeCALLMERIGHTNOW!” And then I put Thriller on and did the dance, because that’s obviously the best way to celebrate selling a zombie book.

About an hour later, I realized I should probably email my agent back. I went to my computer and found another email from her asking if the shock had killed me and did she need to call an ambulance.

I'm laughing out loud here, Carrie! Back to business...Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

I could go on for days! But I think one of the biggest things is to think hard about what you want from writing. Do you want to be a professional writer, or do you write because you love it and that’s enough? Because writing as a business is a lot different than writing for fun. It’s still my dream job, but it’s a JOB. We write when we’re not in the mood; we write when we’re sick. And a lot of our time is spent on things other than writing—responding to all kinds of emails, marketing, interviews, mailing things, keeping up on what’s happening in the industry and so on. You have to put in a lot of hard work to get to the fun stuff. (Although the fun stuff is admittedly supermegafun!) If you’re not interested in all that work stuff and just want to write stories? THAT’S OKAY. The key is to figure out what you want to accomplish.

And if your motivation is fame and fortune, I suggest trying out for the NBA instead.

Another LOL moment, but really, this is wise advice. Can you tell us something about your personal life – inspirations, plans for the future, goals, etc.?

I like surrounding myself with interesting people. That way when I start spouting off about zombies and werewolves and things, they don’t look at me funny or try to have me committed. This is why I’m married to a ninja doctor. My son idolizes Billy Idol. My daughters are the only four year olds I know who are well versed in the best ways to kill a zombie. My friends are the kinds of people who think Bacon Parties are completely normal, and when my in laws go on trips, they don’t bring me t-shirts. They bring me monster bracelets.

So whenever I’m feeling a little down or struggling for good ideas, there’s always something fun and strange and marvelous going on around me. Which is quite plainly AWESOME.

Do you have any new writing ventures underway?

Yes! BAD TASTE IN BOYS will have a sequel which is currently titled BAD HAIR DAY. It’s coming out from Delacorte in 2012-ish. (Specific, aren’t I?) BAD HAIR DAY follows Kate Grable on a new adventure involving werewolves, nanotechnology, blueberry flavored astronauts, shaved bears in lab coats, and a bath mat made out of human hair. I’m super excited about it! And then I’ll have another to-be-determined book coming out in 2013. I’m thinking I might want to explore something new, but I won’t rule out the possibility of seeing Kate again. I like that her adventures each stand completely alone, so I can write as many or as few as people want to read!

Do you have a website where readers can learn more about BAD TASTE IN BOYS

ABSOLUTELY! Please come visit me at! I love to hear from readers!
Thanks so much for hosting me, Janet! It’s been a pleasure!

Trust me, the pleasure has been mine. :) 

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