Carrie’s debut novel Bad Taste in Boys released in July, so we waited to hold the interview until school started again. I’m a big fan of both Carrie and her book (read my review), especially after meeting her at her launch party this summer. A couple of my students, Ashley and Tristan, made it for the launch as well, so they came up with some questions for Carrie 🙂
Summary of Bad Taste in Boys (From Goodreads): Someone’s been a very bad zombie.
Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steroids are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe–not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate!
She’s got to find an antidote–before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town. . . and stay hormonally human.
- What conditions do you like to write in?
I must have a two-liter of caffeinated beverage when I write. I LIKE to write in absolute silence, late at night in front of the picture window in my living room in case the zombie hordes start attacking—I’ll be able to see them coming that way. But that never happens. I usually find myself writing with kids’ television blaring in the background in the middle of the day. But still with the caffeine and still watching for zombies, because there are lines I simply must draw.
- Do you ever write nonfiction?
This is awesome. No one’s ever asked me that, and yes! I don’t do it much these days, but I spent a long time as a freelance writer. I wrote study materials for medical students, and sales materials for textbooks, and a long series of marketing materials for car transmissions, which is pretty funny because you could write what I know about cars on a postage stamp and still have room left over. I’ve got a scientific article coming up in Neurology, and it’s not even about zombies. I think nonfiction is a great way to learn to force yourself to get to the point when you write, and I think that shows in my books.
- Did you do research for Bad Taste in Boys?
Absolutely. I already knew a lot about zombie myths, but I did sit down and read up on them in detail. And then, I had an idea of how I would structure my virus because I used to manage the national center for research in the human form of mad cow disease. But I needed to think carefully about how it would work and then how someone would go about figuring it out. Most of the research stuff got cut from the book, because the average person isn’t going to geek out about all the lab work the way that I do, but I think it was good to know those things.
- Do you and Kate share characteristics?
Oh yeah. One of my friends always says that I’m Kate Grable in disguise. I’m definitely a geek, and I do have an interest in science, but nowhere near as extreme as she does. And I get really obsessively motivated like she does. Once I get a goal in mind, the only way to stop me from chasing it (and talking about it nonstop) would be to give me a lobotomy. Which I would prefer to avoid if at all possible.
- Are all of your works of writing intertwined with humor?
Yes, although I’ve just finished my third book, which is not a Grable book, and it’s a little more serious. I love to laugh, and I find it pretty impossible to be serious EVER, but I had this really emotional story that I wanted to tell. So I tried to blend the two, and I’m waiting to hear from my agent and eventually my editor on whether or not I sucketh or rocketh.
BTW, my spell check does not like the work “rocketh.” Which sucketh.
- Why do you like zombies so much?
I love how zombies can be so ridiculously funny one minute and hecka scary the next. I prefer my monsters as campy as possible, and it doesn’t get much campier than a lurching corpse with a missing hand and a major craving for cranial matter. Unless he’s on roller skates. That would be the ultimate in camp. It’s funny, but still, I wouldn’t want him to catch me!
- Do you think you’ll ever write a realistic fiction novel?
Anything is possible. I like to play around and challenge myself with new things, like trying to write a short story that is completely serious (which for me was REALLY hard). I haven’t yet come up with an idea for a contemporary book that I’d like to write, but I love reading them. So I wouldn’t totally write off the possibility!
- What did you read when you were younger?
Late in elementary school, I was all about the romances. I had every Sweet Valley High book, and a whole series of romances about cheerleaders, and one called Couples in which every person on every cover wore neon. Even the guys. *headdesk* And then I got hooked on Tolkien and Stephen King and it all went downhill from there. If it had a monster in it or a guy with a sword and a funny, unpronounceable name, I was on it.
- Do you like science, or did you just want Kate to?
I do! I managed a lab for a few years, and a lot of the things that Kate does are things that I’ve done. I’ve been in animal labs in which you had to wear space suits because of the risk of infection and looked at brains under microscopes and seen autopsies and spun down blood into pellets and all kinds of crazy things. So I feel cool by association when the science geek saves the day. I totally admit it.
Thanks so much for the questions! This was a load of fun!