Saturday, October 3, 2015

Children Should't Play With Dead Things Interview

So I got this amazing opportunity to interview the lovely Martina Mcatee author of Children Should't Play With Dead Things first book in the Dead Things series. There's also a little sneak peak about her next book in the Dead Things series!!

Synopsis of Children Should't Play With Dead Things

17 year old Ember Denning has made an art of isolating herself. She prefers the dead. She spends her days skipping school in old cemeteries and her nights hiding from her alcoholic father at the funeral home where she works. When her own father dies, Ember learns her whole life is a lie. Standing in the cemetery that’s been her sanctuary, she’s threatened by the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and rescued by two people who claim to be her family. They say she’s special, that she has a supernatural gift like them…they just don’t know exactly what it is. They take her to a small Florida town, where Ember’s life takes a turn for the weird. She’s living with her reaper cousins, an orphaned werewolf pack, a faery and a human genius. Ember’s powers are growing stronger, morphing into something bigger than anything anybody anticipated. Ember has questions but nobody has answers. Nobody knows what she is. They only know her mysterious magical gift is trying to kill them and that beautiful dangerous boy from the cemetery may be the only thing standing between her and death. As Ember’s talents are revealed so are the secrets her father hid and those in power who would seek to destroy her. What’s worse, saving Ember has put her cousins in danger and turned her friend’s lives upside down. Ember must learn to embrace her magic or risk losing the family she’s pieced together.

Interview with Martina Mcatee

*What started your writing career?

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I wrote my first story with a crayon. I think I was four. My best friend and I used to write plays in spiral notebooks on the stairs of my grandmother’s house in Boston when I was eight. Writing has always been my escape. Once I became a nurse I began writing articles for and editing papers for PhD students but writing fiction has always been where my heart lies. 

*Were any of the characters in your book inspired by your friends or family?

Depends on who you ask. My family immediately said Ember was based on myself or my daughter, Tristin on my niece, Isa was based on my best friend. I didn’t consciously make that decision but I suppose it happens. There will always be some bleed through into your real life when you are attempting to write realistic characters. But I do have to say, my readers always tend to identify with one or more characters and that means a lot to me because it means they are relatable. 

*What inspired you to write Children Shouldn’t Play with Death Things?

A dream I had six years ago. I dreamed of a red haired girl walking in the snow with a group of friends but she was talking to a boy only she could see. That was it. Just that little snippet of information but it stuck with me for years. This eventually became the premise for book two but it was the idea that sparked me to delve into what eventually became Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things. 

*During your mornings, afternoons, and nights what does your normal writing routine look like?

No matter what time of day I’m writing my routine is chaotic. I do a lot of wandering around the house in my pajamas. I waste time scrolling through Tumblr while I get my bearings. I eventually meander to my drive-thru Starbucks for a vat of caffeine. To an outsider, it looks like I’m not actually doing anything but I’m having some epic conversations in my head with my characters, I swear. Once caffeine is on board and my music is on, I’ll write. Sometimes, I’ll write for five hours, sometimes five days, there is no way to know which it will be. Depends on whether the pack is talking to me that day or not. 

*How do you have your writing area decorated?

We are lucky enough to have a craft room in our house that doubles as my writing room. It’s very Alice in Wonderland with black and white checkered floors, a gold chandelier and black and white furniture. My desk is white and has a gorgeous Victorian box and candle given to me by my best friend. I have a white board with a ton of magnets from all over the world and a picture of my daughter. I have a super comfy chair that rocks. My writing room is my favorite. 

*What authors inspire you the most when writing? Would you choose one of your favorite authors to mentor you? 

Oh, that is a hard question. I read like some people breath and, in some ways, all my favorite authors have inspired me. I was reading Stephen King, Dean Koontz and John Saul in my formative years so they inspired me. I love Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine from my teen years as well as L.J. Smith’s The Vampire Diaries. But…if I had to choose an author to mentor me, it would be young adult author Jennifer Armentrout. I love her bad boy characters and her liberal use of snark. I think she and I could understand each other creatively. 

*Do you listen to music while writing? If so what kind of music do you listen to?

Yes! In fact, each of my Spotify playlists for book one and two are on my websites. Music is so important to me. I use music to get myself in a character’s headspace. The music I’m listening to for book two is Halsey’s Badlands, Melanie Martinez’ Crybaby. I also listen to a lot of Marina and the Diamonds, Zella Day, Mumford & Sons, The Civil Wars, Digital Daggers and Switchfoot. So many artists went into these books. 

*How long did it take you to write Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things?

The first draft was written for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) last November. I completed it on New Year’s Day. The subsequent six re-writes took me another four months. 

*What character in your book do you feel the most connected to?

That’s like asking me which child I love the most. That’s so hard. I feel so connected to all of them. Each of them holds a piece of my soul. If I had to choose just one, I would say Mace is the character I’m most excited to write because he is just so snarky, though Tristin is a close second because she’s just so…bitter. 

*If you could have a supernatural power what would you choose?

Maybe I already have a superpower? Just kidding. Telekinesis. That is the superpower I’d go for. The ability to control or manipulate things with your mind. It’s too delicious an idea to pass up. 

*What was the most difficult part of writing the first book in the Dead Things series?

The hardest part I think is waiting for the answers to come. I’m not a plotter. I wing it. I’ve tried to outline. I really have. But I can’t. I tend to just write as my characters talk which makes having a cohesive plot, especially with my cast of characters, a difficult task. The hardest part was going back in again and again and layering in all the foreshadowing and subtext, making sure all my threads are tied by the end of the book. I wanted the characters and the story to resonate even if it was a book about supernatural teens. 

*How many books do you plan to write in the Dead Things series? Would you ever write any standalones?

I think there will probably be four books total in the Dead Things series with a few novella’s in between but no promises. I love these characters. I’m already working on the idea for a spinoff series or possible standalone book based off a character you are likely to meet soon. There will probably come a time when I write a book without a series but when I fall in love with characters it’s very hard for me to break up with them. If I feel like they have stories to tell I might just write their stories forever. 

*Could you see Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things turned into a movie?

Maybe. If I thought they could do it and be careful with my characters. People have told me they could see it as a book or movie.  I mean, when I write I watch these scenes play out in my head, so it’s always sort of been my own private television show. I think all authors would love to have the opportunity to see their book played out live but since I can’t even hear people read my dialogue out loud without blushing I’d probably have to watch it from under the movie theatre chair and that would be gross. Have you seen what it looks like under there? 

*Do you have any plans for having book events/signings?

My virtual book tour starts October 5th so you will see me guest blogging on quite a few sites but as for book events or signings, I’m hoping to be at the Romantic Times convention and maybe the RWA conference next year. I don’t know if I’ll be signing but I’ll definitely be in attendance. I am eager to take the workshops. You can never learn enough about writing. 

Here’s also a couple of questions about your next book in the Dead Things series Dark Souls and Dead Things

*Do you have a goal month in 2016 to release your second book in the Dead Things series Dark Souls and Dead Things?

I’m really shooting to have it published on April 1st of 2016 but you know what they say about good intentions. I won’t put out a book until I feel like the storyline is as close to perfect as it’s going to get. Maybe it’s my Virgo nature but any kind of error or plot hole will eat at me. I can’t even re-read the first book without noticing the tiniest little thing. 

*Who will be your main character in your second book Dark Souls and Dead Things?

Really, I always consider my core four of Ember, Mace, Tristin and Kai my main characters but we will delve into Mace’s history a great deal and we will see all of the Lonergan’s powers advancing. There is a lot happening in this book and there will be quite a few new faces popping up in Belle Haven as well as the possible reappearance of some minor character’s from book one. 

*Do you have an idea of what the front cover of Dark Souls and Dead Things is going to look like? 

My amazing book designer, Nathalia Suellen and I have a concept we will be sticking with, keeping the world inverted on the covers like in CSPWDT. We haven’t discussed the specific design for book two yet but I am sure she will knock it out of the park just like she did last time. She’s a genius.  

*Also what’s one last thing you’d like to say to your readers?

I want to say thank you for taking this ride with me and I really hope you love these characters like I do. Also, please feel free to contact me on my website or hit me up on my social media pages. I love to hear from you guys.  
Please click here to visit her webpage.

Thank you so much Martina for letting me interview you! Also go check out her book Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things! If you like supernatural YA filled with magic that has a big twist on it then your going to love this book!
Please check out her website, I provided the link above!

Thank you all, I hope all you book lovers enjoy her book as much as I did!

Best Wishes - Jade Crow


  1. What a great interview! Keep doing what you love! Best of luck!

    1. Why thank you!! It's so nice to hear that! You just made my day!