Interview with Susan Dennard, Author of Something Strange and Deadly

Susan Dennard is the author of Something Strange and Deadly.  This YA historical takes place in an alternate Philadelphia, one with zombies!  This is one of my most anticipated 2012 reads, so I was thrilled when Susan agreed to stop by for a chat.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Susan Dennard] I’m a reader, writer, animal-lover, and cookie-fiend!! I was a marine biologist, but now I’m an author!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for Something Strange and Deadly?

[Susan Dennard] Okay, so…you can’t laugh at how cliche this is, but…the original idea for SS&D came from a dream! You know those dreams that haunt you all day long? I had one of those about a girl whose older brother had gone missing, but the only way she could rescue him was to get help from a group of outcasts–outcasts with special skills and even magic. I took that basic premise and started to build on it. I chose Victorian times because I thought it would add a nice dollop of conflict (so many social restrictions! Not to mention the difficulty of running in a corset!) and I thought I’d enjoy researching it. Then I fleshed out my cast of characters to fit this setting–and to fit the people I remembered from my dream. Finally, I threw in walking dead because there is nothing in the world that scares me more than a zombie!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Eleanor?

[Susan Dennard] Curious, impulsive, and brave.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Eleanor would never have in her bedroom?

[Susan Dennard] For one, Eleanor would never have a boy in her room–at least not without a chaperon of some sort. 😉 She wouldn’t have much in the way of comfort either–her bedding is threadbare, and her wardrobe is quickly getting that way too!  Her mother may pretend they have wealth by doing up the "public" rooms, but in the bedrooms, you can really see just how hard the Fitt family has it. Finally, Eleanor would never have any sort of wall adornments. She hates the Victorian fad of stuff-stuff-stuff, and so she likes to keep things simple and empty. (It’s funny because I am SO not like that! I’m all about clutter and wall ornaments!)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Susan Dennard] This is suuuuuuuch a hard question, Julie!! Yikes! I started reading very young, and I devoured books. I have a distinct memory of the original Nancy Drew getting me especially exciting about reading. So much so, that I made my mother take me to the library EVERY day. I wanted to read all 56 books in the original series over my summer break, so I literally read one (sometimes two) a day! My poor mother…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Susan Dennard] I’m actually trying really hard this year to be MORE balanced with my time. It used to be all write-write-write-work-work-work, but that’s not a very happy way to be. Plus, it wears out your muse. 😉 So nowadays, when I’m not writing, I spend time with my husband and dogs. Weekends are devoted to being outside–hiking, swimming, walking, whatever!–and evenings are for watching TV (right now, we’re obsessed with Psych!) and cooking. My husband and I make pretty elaborate meals, so it’s nice to use it as quality time together.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can learn more about Susan by visiting her website.

You can pre-order Something Strange and Deadly from your favorite book seller, or by clicking the widget below. Available in print and digital

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Waiting on Wednesday! Dualed by Elsie Chapman

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Lots of peeps are waiting on this one!  I love the sci-fi feeling, and the shadow is so creepy!  I hope Dualed by Elsie Chapman lives up to all of the hype.


Would you live through the ultimate test of survival?

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

In stores 2012

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