Friday, July 27, 2012

Book Review/Author Interview--Wynne Channing

What Kills Me

By Wynne Channing

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Sure! Thanks Christie for taking the time to ask me these questions. In the day, I’m a feature writer at a national newspaper in Canada. In the night, I teach and perform Latin dance. In the wee hours, I write YA fiction. I’m currently working on the sequel to my debut novel, What Kills Me.

How did you come up with the title? I totally considered calling the book “Well” but mostly as a joke. (Then everyone would describe it as: “Well written by Wynne Channing.”) After my boyfriend and I had a good laugh, I made a list of potential titles. I wanted a title that reflected the tone of the book. Falling into a well filled with blood and then being hunted to death by vampires is pretty serious business. But my heroine Zee isn’t a very serious person. So What Kills Me can be taken literally or as a figure of speech.

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences or purely all imagination?A lot in the book is based on reality. Not the vampires part, but small details, some from my life, some from the news I’ve covered. For example, both Zee and I have scars on our chins and we’ve both had fat cockroaches crawl up our pants. The book is also set in Rome and Taipei, places where I have spent time roaming. And the words that are spoken when Zee is captured by the vampire empire are inspired by those spoken by a police chief after taking down a notorious serial killer.

Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do any of them clamor to be heard over the others? Zee speaks in my voice (minus the profanity and dry sarcasm). So I hear her, mostly telling me to be nicer.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? In the old days, I had a writing mentor who told me that my writing was crap. Oh, that stung. But he was right. Bill Taylor, a former feature writer at the largest newspaper in Canada, used to mark up my articles with red ink. I’m grateful because that’s how I learned. He taught me to strip my language bare before trying to decorate it. He taught me how to write with musicality.

The best compliment has been when my readers tell me that I made them laugh. I love to laugh, to the point where my belly aches or where I almost pee. So if I can share (the laughter, not the pain or the pee), that gives me great joy.

How long does it take you to write a book? I wrote What Kills Me in about six months. I didn’t sleep much.

Do you work with an outline, or just write? I plot every chapter. Personally, I feel more free knowing that I can go crazy in this playground that I’ve created, because it has a fence and I won’t get lost.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? Oh yeah. Unfortunately, when you’re covering the news, you don’t have that luxury. The story is always due, well, five minutes ago. It often comes because I put a lot of pressure on myself — as if every word that I write must be gold. I have to get over that and just speak without fear of judgment.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? You have a unique voice. And the world deserves to hear it. That being said, for people to appreciate it, you have to work on the craft of writing. Write often. Seek advice. Study. Learn from your mistakes. And if someone tells you it’s crap, don’t worry, keep writing because it won’t always be.

What Kills Me Links

Buy What Kills Me

About the book:An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race. So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive. How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?

About Wynne:Wynne Channing is a national newspaper reporter and young adult novelist. Wynne loves telling stories and as a journalist, she has interviewed everyone from Daniel Radcliffe and Hugh Jackman to the president of the Maldives and Duchess Sarah Ferguson. The closest she has come to interviewing a vampire is sitting down with True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard (he didn’t bite).

Connect with Wynne

In case you were wondering, I have read What Kills Me and LOVED it!  Here is my review:

So I'm a sucker for a beautiful cover. Sometimes you don't know what you will get when you open the pages, but I am pleased to say the inside of What Kills Me matches the beautiful shell. Sometimes I am leary to read another vampire story, but recently the genre seems to have a new face. I'm glad I didn't pass on this one especially. It's fresh and the mythology is intriguing. The action makes the story flow at a fast pace and the romance between Lucas and Zee developes in a realistic way throughout. I was actually a little frustrated with them for not figuring things out a little sooner. LOL. The ending was spectacular and leaves me wanting more.

Wynne Channing is a seasoned writer and it shows in her prose. She has sparked my interest, and I will definitely be following her writing. I can't wait for more.

Five stars from me:

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