If you could sum up Haunting Violet in four words, what would they be?
Creepy, ghostly, mannered, irreverent
How was it writing about ghost instead of vampires?
I actually wrote and sold Haunting Violet to Bloomsbury before I’d even written the first Drake Chronicles; before I even knew there would be such a thing as the Drake Chronicles series. I even wrote a sequel before running off to play with the vampires. I was glad to be able to come back to Violet and really flesh out her story before the book hit the shelves though.
I love both genres. I love the snarky action and darkness of vampires as well as the delicious frissons of ghost stories. I feel very lucky to be able to write in both worlds!
In the beginning, what or who spoke to your first? The story or the characters?
The idea for Haunting Violet popped into my head when I was reading about fake séances in the 1870’s. I could picture Violet reluctantly working for her mother and how confused she would be if she ever found out ghosts were actually real. Once I had that question in my mind, I just felt compelled to answer it!
But most of my stories are character driven; that is the plot unfolds organically from the choices characters make.
Was there any scene or part in Haunting Violet that was difficult to write? And if so how did you get through writing it?
I wrote Haunting Violet while I was struggling with iron deficiency/ borderline anemia. Staying awake was a struggle, and so I could rarely make it out to the computer. Instead, I curled up on the couch or at the dining room table and wrote longhand. In the end it was a lovely intimate way to write a book.
I feel that names hold meaning and importance to characters. How do you come up with or decided on the names for your characters? Do they hold meaning?
I love names! I collect them, steal them from movie credits and hoard them like chocolate. Violet’s name was fairly simple : she has violet eyes and her mother is not particularly imaginative when it comes to anything that won’t make her money. And Colin is a name I’ve loved since reading The Secret Garden.
Who was the easiest & hardest character for you to create?
Elizabeth was fairly easy to write because she’s so cheerfully naive. I’m pleasantly surprised at how sympathetic readers find her!
Did you do any unique research for Haunting Violet?
Proper historical research was mostly done through books. I used recent forays into Victorian society and séances and also the irreplaceable “Mrs. Beetons”.
We also invited a medium to have a sitting for us, which was fascinating. And a friend let me play with her set of Victorian camisoles, corset, gloves and parasol. I was able to admire tiny stitches and the thin white cotton and ribbon details. And having never been to Highgate Cemetery myself, I found YouTube videos surprisingly helpful!
Since writing Haunting Violet, what are you working on next?
I have an urban Faery YA novel coming out in May 2012 called “Stolen Away” which I’m very excited about! I think it has my yummiest and most angsty couple to date.
And, of course, “Bleeding Hearts”, #4 in the Drake Chronicles (US/NA Jan 2012, UK Oct2011)