Saturday, March 24, 2012

Girls should be killing the vampire next door, not dating him: An interview with author Janine McCaw

Today, I'm talking with Janine McCaw about her tale of family women and supernatural dangers, HELENS-OF-TROY.

1) Tell us about your book.

There's a lot of love and teenage angst in HELENS-OF-TROY, but it's not anything like Stephanie Meyer's books, because let's face it, it's NOT okay to love a vampire. When Helen senses that Ellie's supernatural powers are about to present themselves to the world, she realizes she need help dealing with it, even if it means moving back in with her own mother, Helena. The three LaRose women are about as different as you can get. Ellie's friends call her Goth-Chic, Helen is highly educated but super uptight, and Helena gives Dolly Parton a run for her money, if you get my drift. When children of Troy begin to be found murdered, the LaRoses know more than they are willing to admit about the crimes.

2) What inspired this book?

The title came to me first. I then wondered who the Helens were and what they did. I watch a lot of the paranormal shows on television, so it evolved to three kick-ass demon killers, maybe because I live in Vancouver, where all the best supernatural/sci-fi shows are filmed (Supernatural, Fringe, The Secret Circle, Sanctuary). It's in the air I breathe.

3) Why did you choose to explore the dynamics of three generations of women in this book?

Times are tough. A lot of parents are seeing their children move out and then come back home for economic reasons. In the Helens' case, the need is less about the money and more about the fact that despite their ages, they all need babysitters. They all need each other. Their paranormal gifts are genetic, passed down mother to daughter since the beginning of time. There's a lot they have to teach each other, as they struggle to live normal lives. I also wanted to write a book that could be enjoyed by different age groups. There's a little bit of the Helens in all of us, depending on our own age.

4) The book has been described as "The Gilmore Girls meets Buffy The Vampire Slayer." Both of those shows are well-known for witty dialog. Was dialog something you spent a lot of effort on developing during the writing process?

I write the dialogue first. It's easier for me than the descriptive narrative. The Helens are all very boisterous in their own way, and sometimes I had to tell them to shut-up. I work with a lot of young people, and sometimes the things they say make me laugh and shake my head. The character Ryan gets a lot of his salty speech from them. Dialgoue is about talking and listening. Helen talks but doesn't listen. Ellie listens but doesn't do what "the Helens" want all the time. Helena, who doesn't seem to be listening ever, is really the most tuned-in of all.

5) Which Helen is your favorite and why?

I love all my children equally.

6) What, to you, do vampires represent thematically?

You're supposed to love the boy next door. Not the vampire next door. I like my vampires dark and brooding and well…creepy. If I were Helen, wanting to protect Ellie, I'd lock her up. Helena, on the other hand, would be more likely to say "have you met those nice Winchester boys staying at the motel down the street?" Both ways would ultimately protect Ellie, but one would be a hell of a lot more fun than the other. Demons are to be killed, not welcomed into the family. They are never to be trusted. They are people who won't stay dead. They have issues.

7) Do you have any sequels in the works?

Well, Helena has plans for a nice Thanksgiving dinner alone with her girls. You just know that's not going to happen. Uninvited guests show up just before the turkey hits the table, and not just at Helena's. It's called "HELENS-OF-TROY: NIGHTMARE ON JACEY STREET" and it will be a lot of fun, if you don't mind a few body parts along with your gravy.


Thanks, Janine.

You can see more from Janine at her author website

HELENS-OF-TROY is available for purchase at AmazonSmashwords, and Barnes and Noble.


Writing Innovations said...

Great interview. Thanks for hosting Janine on her last tour stop today. Good luck in the future Janine :)


J.A. Beard said...

Always a pleasure.