I was so excited when Randy Russell signed up for Students Want to Know! At the time, I was reading up on Dead Rules and thinking about how much I wanted to read it. Fortunately for me and my students, we were sent an ARC to read before the interview. It’s full of humor and gothic elements that my students and I really enjoyed. It’s definitely a refreshing addition to the paranormal genre.
Summary of Dead Rules (From Goodreads):
Jana Webster and Michael Haynes were in love. They were destined to be together forever.
But Jana’s destiny was fatally flawed. And now she’s in Dead School, where Mars Dreamcote lurks in the back of the classroom, with his beguiling blue eyes, mysterious smile, and irresistibly warm touch.
Michael and Jana were incomplete without each other. There was no room for Mars in Jana’s life—or death—story. Jana was sure Michael would rush to her side soon.
But things aren’t going according to Jana’s plan. So Jana decides to do whatever it takes to make her dreams come true—no matter what rules she has to break.
- What gave you the idea about an afterlife in school type of thing?
I was considering the fact there are still things to learn when we die. Dying while in High School has always seemed incredibly unfair to me. It stinks. I also believe it is incredibly unfair to die before we have a full understanding of what love is, what love can be, and what love isn’t. Most of us haven’t figure all that out by the time we graduate high school.
- Is Jana’s character based off of anyone you know?
Jana is based on the idea of obsessive love, Shyanne. Big fat red hot love. And, in her case, wrong love. This is too bad, really, because she is an ardent and faithful lover. She is perfectly devoted to the person she loves. But there can be a blindness to perfect love and Jana hasn’t learned that by the time she dies. It is possible to love too hard at times…. to lose yourself entirely in love. It’s suicide of the soul when that happens. Most people I know have some experience with being in a total all-consuming love of another. Their eyes dance with love whether they’re awake or asleep. Perhaps only for a few days, perhaps for decades. I’ve known more than a few people who have behaved in dramatic and outrageous ways, doing entirely crazy things, when the person they love decides to end a relationship. It happens.
- How long did this book take to write?
Not long at all. But it works like this. I wrote notes like crazy, dreamed bits and pieces, and rattled off the first six or seven chapters in a couple weeks. Then I stopped. I let things simmer. By the end of January, Shyanne, I had lived with the characters for about four months without writing a word. Just me coming to a deeper understanding of what was going on, and with what could and couldn’t happen within the structure of Dead School.
When I returned to writing, it took about two months to finish up. I promise you, though, the time I spent not writing Dead Rules was a critical part of “writing” the novel.
- Did anything inspire you to write this book?
Experiencing life in general. I know that sounds lame. But I am fascinated that the minor characters in our lives, people we barely rub elbows with, some guy and girl sitting in the car next to us at a stoplight, are complete and potentially fascinating people with hearts full of desire, with goals they hope to achieve, and with mistakes they have made they would like to undo. My curiosity of the human heart is what inspires me to write. Always. I have empathy like trees have leaves.
Shyanne, I’m fascinated by the fact that people I don’t like at all are loved by others, and most likely deservedly so. I wonder how that works. Don’t you?
- Does Jana end up with Mars at the end?
I don’t want to tell anyone how to read the book. I believe that story doesn’t happen until a book is read and that the reader’s own experiences and desires and needs and hopes and dreams and frustrations and sense of humor and sense of pain have as much to do with the story as what I put on the page. I’m counting on that, in fact. All that said, Courtney, it seems to me that Jana and Mars are just beginning. She has fallen for him. And, I hope, by the time you’ve finished Dead Rules, you know what it means when Jana falls in love. She’s going to do something about it.
Something else happens to Jana during this time, though, that I think is just as important as being in love. She has a friend. Her first friend.
- Will there be a sequel? Please? 🙂
Let’s just say that there is MUCH MORE I need to know, Courtney. I’m really dying to see how Jana and Mars work out the reverse Slider/Riser situation, if they can. The relationship between Mars and Wyatt worries me just as much. I also need to know more about the Rogues and who is in charge of the school and I really want one of the Virgins or one of the Grays to have an opportunity to talk.