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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Guest Star: Jeri Smith-Ready

My Guest Star author this week is Jeri Smith-Ready, author of the brand new novel, Shade

About SHADE:

Love ties them together.
Death can't tear them apart.

Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.

Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.

Well, sort of.

Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.

It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding--and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.

As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift.

Order SHADE from Amazon now!

And here's my interview with Jeri Smith-Ready!

1) Your main character Aura has the power to talk to ghosts. If you could have any special power, what would it be and why?

I’d love to have some sort of physical enhancement, because I’m such a weakling. I’d like to be able to defend myself. So make me the female Incredible Hulk. It would fit, because I have quite the temper!

2) As writers, we all love to procrastinate. What’s your favorite procrastination activity?

One word: TWITTER. When I joined it back in November 2009, not very many people were on it, so there wasn’t much to see. It was a quick little break now and then. Now I follow more than 600 people (and have more than 2,000 followers who engage me in conversation), so I can literally spend an hour at a time on there if I’m not careful.
It’s become such a big part of my life and such my portal to the universe, I sometimes dream about it. Pathetic, huh?

But it satisfies my need to interact with people in more or less real time. I write full-time and don’t get out much (which I like, as I’m kind of a hermit who hates to get out of her pajamas), so it helps me feel less isolated.

3) Who’s your favorite character in the book and why? Who was the most fun to write?

I can’t really pick a favorite among the three main characters (Aura, her ghost boyfriend Logan, and the “Other Guy,” Zachary), but the most fun character to write was Logan’s geeky younger brother Dylan. For some reason, he was incredibly real to me right from the first scene, so writing his dialogue and mannerisms was a breeze. He has a bigger role in the sequel, SHIFT, some of which was rather unexpected.

4) Which came first, the title or the novel?

The novel came first, and the title actually helped me take the book to a whole new level. Believe it or not, I didn’t know there would be such a thing as a “shade”—the dark, malevolent spirit a ghost becomes when it goes bad and bitter—until after I’d written the first draft, which was around the time we picked a new title for the book (originally the series was called GENERATION GHOST). Between drafts I was thinking the ghosts were too harmless and not exciting enough.

Then I remembered that “shade” was a term used in Greek mythology to describe the restless, miserable spirits in the underworld.

So then over the course of three weeks before the book was due to my editor, I completely revised the novel to incorporate the threat of these scary shades, including the possibility that Aura’s beloved dead boyfriend, Logan, would become one.

5) I love the name Aura! How do you come up with your character names?

I'm sort of embarrassed to admit this, but I named Aura after the new Saturn sports sedan. Okay, I didn't really name her AFTER the car, but when I saw a commercial for it, I said, "That's my main character's name!" I'd been pondering the story idea in the back of my mind for a couples years but hadn't started writing it. Having the name really jump-started the brainstorming process.

I feel like I should buy an Aura in gratitude. ;-p

One way I pick names that fit a character’s age—especially for minor characters—is to use the Social Security Administration’s Baby Name database. You can plug in a year and find out the top 1,000 names in order of popularity. It helps in keeping a name “generationally correct.” For instance, there are a lot of thirty-something guys named Scott, but when was the last time you knew a teenager or child with that name?

Other names just come to me and feel right instantly, like Logan.

6) What are you working on next?

I’m writing the sequel to SHADE, called SHIFT, which will be out in May 2011. I also just finished page proofs on the third book in my adult vampire series, BRING ON THE NIGHT, which comes out in August.

I can’t wait to see what fans of the series think of this installment!
After I turn in SHIFT, I’ll get back to work on the fourth vampire book, which is still deciding what it wants to be named.

Thanks for interviewing me, Jessica!

About the Author
Award-winning author Jeri Smith-Ready lives in Maryland with her husband, two cats, and the world’s goofiest greyhound.

Jeri's plans to save the earth were ruined when she realized she was more of a “problem maker” than a problem solver. To stay out of trouble, she keeps her Drama Drive strictly fictional. Her friends and family appreciate that.

When not writing, Jeri she can usually be found—well, thinking about writing, or on Twitter. Like her characters, she loves music, movies, and staying up very, very late.

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Blog Description

Jessica Brody, author of the forthcoming novel, The Fidelity Files, explores the thorny topic of infidelity in modern-day society