Merrie Destefano

Read more about Merrie Destefano.

Interview By: Tamazon

Date: September 29, 2010

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Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles | Eos/HarperCollins Publishers | Urban Fantasy | Release date: Sept. 28, 2010

Please tell us your latest news!

My first novel, Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles releases on Sept. 28, 2010. Here's a short blurb and link where you can read an excerpt:

Chaz Domingue works as a professional Babysitter in New Orleans. His job is to integrate and protect the recently deceased into their new and improved lives-a position he reluctantly accepted after his father was murdered. Though Fresh Start has always been the only game in town, resurrection isn't what it's cracked up to be. Nine lives are all a person can get-and a powerful group of desperate, high-level Nine-Timers will stop at nothing to possess the keys to true immortality. Unfortunately, this places Chaz at the lethal center of a maelstrom

Now the only hope for Chaz and his family-and the ultimate fate of the human race-is secretly locked away in the mind of Angelique, the beautiful, mysterious Newbie who's been entrusted to Chaz's care.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

The only thing I would do differently is that I would have written a sequel as soon as I finished Afterlife. It's so much easier to do when all the characters and story lines are fresh in your mind.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I have so many favorite authors, I don't know where to start. Here are some that I love: Diana Abu-Jaber, Michael Connelly, Sue Monk Kidd, Philip K. Dick, Robert Jackson Bennett, Carrie Ryan, Daniel Woodrell and Harlan Coben. I love writers with a strong, unique voice, people who have taken their natural story-telling gifts and polished them until they sparkle.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I'm not sure if it's a style or not, but I love dark stories with a message of hope at the end. I think the best novels contain elements of romance, mystery, danger and the supernatural, so I try to incorporate those in my work.

Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely! It's something I've wanted for more than twenty years, so now that I'm here, I'm focusing all my energy on writing novels. I had a little free time over the summer and wrote a third of a YA novel, plus the first chapters of what could be another series. So, writing is my life. Leave me alone in a room too long and I'll come up with a story.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I've loved writing for as long as I can remember. But I definitely remember the first time someone noticed my writing. It was when I was in eighth grade. My English teacher pulled me out of the rest of the class and let me write stories for an entire semester. I'll never forget that-wherever you are, Mr. Hoffman, God bless you!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yes! I love the company of other writers and I strive to mentor and support them as much as possible. My advice:

First: study the craft. Writing isn't merely a gift or a calling, it's an art form and as such, it needs to be practiced and perfected. Read as much as you can, not just in your genre. Read the best quality material you can find. Study what it was about that book/author that captivated you. Attend classes, seminars, workshops, conferences; join a writer's group; and write at least three times a week.

Second: Embrace the journey. There is no "I've arrived" moment in publishing. It may seem like it, but there will be always another challenge or deadline waiting. You can always improve your writing, you can always push your boundaries. Remember why you started off on this journey in the first place, and hopefully it was because you loved writing. If you can make writing-in and of itself-the goal, then you will find joy in the process.

Third: Never give up. Ever. I don't care what stage of the journey you're on, or what battle you're fighting. There will be rejection letters and harsh critiques and bad reviews along the way, but believe it or not, all of this can actually make you more determined. It can make you focus more on your craft and it can make you interact more with the community of writers. The only way you will ever lose as a writer is if you give up. So please, don't. You might be my next favorite author!

How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?

I think they're excited for me. And yes, so far they are reading my books. I never expected that, but they are being incredibly supportive.

What did you do before you became a writer? Do you write full time?

Do you mean, what was my dastardly path to publication? [grin] Before I became a published author, I was the editor of Victorian Homes magazine, the founding editor of Cottages & Bungalows magazine, and a contributing editor for Romantic Homes magazine. I've worked in publishing for more than 20 years, but most of that time I was a graphic artist and illustrator. And right now, I still edit part-time as a freelancer.

What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?

I do a combination of both. To me, writing is like sewing. You start with a pattern, start to sew, then rip it apart and cut it up, and start to sew again, over and over. I never know if a story is done until it's done, if that makes sense. With every book, there's a point, somewhere along the way, where I'm completely lost, like I've taken a rowboat out onto the Atlantic Ocean. I feel stuck in the middle, buffeted by waves, with no landmarks to guide me.

Do you have a favorite object that is pertinent to your writing? If so what is it and please describe it. (Pen, Coffee Cup, Pet, Blanket, Chair)

If I can only one object, then it has to be a blanket. I always get cold when I write.

Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example..get coffee, blanket, paper, pen and a comfy place

When it comes to writing, my OCD tendencies come out. I need: incense, a cup of tea, Jojoba Oil lip balm and hand cream, a blanket and iTunes. If I'm trying to write something new and I feel stuck, then I need a new soundtrack too.

What main genre do you write in?

Paranormal / Urban Fantasy