What was your first introduction to YA literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?
There’s not one single book to point to… For years, I trawled the “youth” section of my local library for fantasy novels that could’ve just as easily been shelved with adult but for their teen protagonists. And later, of course, there was Twilight, which I confess I loved. But really, I’ve always read widely, and can’t think of one YA book in particular that was an a-ha moment for me. It’s been more of a gradual immersion.
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I can be extremely shy and introverted. If you meet me at a book event, I’ll be genuinely friendly and seem outgoing, but chances are, deep-down, there will be moments when I’m totally quailing.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote a book of very dire Haiku in third grade. Lots of lonely cats, rotting fruits, and birds who can’t fly. My daughter found it recently and was appalled.
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
How little we’ve changed throughout history. I actually hated history in school…until, one semester, I got a teacher who turned me on to how history isn’t just dates, it’s intrigue, romance, art, crime, music…all the juicy stuff. I ended up getting a graduate degree in it.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Reader, napper, belly-laugher. In fact, I think that’s how I describe myself on my Twitter bio, so you know it must be true.
Did you learn anything from writing Blood Fever and what was it?
I learned you can’t have enough action (or at least I can’t!). I discovered how fun it is to keep spinning out the plot, especially in this sort of series.
Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most over the course of writing The Watchers Series?
Mei-Ling! She was a surprising discovery, and I’m so not done with her.
For those who are unfamiliar with Drew, how would you introduce her?
Drew’s a smart girl who should’ve known better than to get into a car with a stranger. She’s a loyal friend and a fierce competitor who’s discovering just what she’s made of. She’s grace under pressure, funny at inappropriate moments, and always resolved. She’s someone I’d want to have on my lifeboat.
What part of Carden did you enjoy writing the most?
I adore devil-may-care heroes! It’s so fun writing the kind of man who’ll make a naughty joke, wink, and then turn around and become a fearsome warrior who’d give his life for yours.
If you could introduce Drew to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’d like her to meet Haley, my time-traveling heroine in Warrior of the Highlands. Haley was also a very bright woman who kicked ass. I think they’d get along swimmingly.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Can someone be a mentor if they don’t know you? Because I’m a huge Charlaine Harris fan, particularly her Sookie Stackhouse series and her Harper Connelly series. I’ve learned so much, studying how she develops her characters over several books, how she draws out the relationship arcs, and spins all that action and plot. Plus, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her at various book events, and she’s one of the most gracious women I’ve ever met.
How many books have you written?
I’ve been lucky in that all the books I’ve written have been published. I’m finishing my thirteenth book for Penguin now.
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Don’t take advice from strangers. ;-)
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Ha! What a great question. You know, there’s an answer to this: my height! I’m shrinking, and it’s freaking me out. Seriously. So I still say I’m 5’8” when lately it’s more like 5’7”. *shakes fists*
Who was your first boyfriend?
A lovely boy named Joe, with whom I’m still in touch on Facebook. I was in eleventh grade and he was in tenth, and we worked at the same restaurant where he worked in the kitchen and I bussed tables. We bonded over our mutual love of British mod bands.
What's the worst summer job you've ever had?
In grad school, I worked as a “Pizza Peddler” at a movie theater. They made me shout to the patrons stuff like “get your hot, fresh pizza here.” Those who know me will get just how much this is unlike me—it still makes me cringe. All the free movies in the world aren’t worth shouting at strangers about pizza.
Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
My amazing, superhero-caliber husband, Adam. He always knows just what to say. He always makes me feel better. Always.
When was the last time you cried?
Just the other night, in fact. I read Assassin’s Apprentice, by Robin Hobb, aloud to my kids. It’s the first book in one of my favorite fantasy series ever, written by one of my favorite fantasy authors. The ending makes me cry every time—my daughter and I were curled up and weeping on her bed. It was fantastic.
Where can readers stalk you?
I love chatting with readers, so yes, please stalk me on Twitter and Facebook!
Thanks again for having me, Jean!!
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME—EVEN IF HOME IS WHERE THE DEAD LIVE...
It’s the start of the fall semester, and a new crop of Acari and Trainees have descended on the Isle of Night. Watcher training has intensified, and Drew has a new roommate named Mei-Ling. But Mei-Ling harbors a dangerous secret that drove the vampires to abduct her against her will. Drew knows she shouldn’t get involved, but she can’t seem to leave her roommate to fend for herself.
Luckily, Drew has other things on her mind—like vampire Carden. A blood bond to a brawny, eighteenth-century Scottish bad boy tends to preoccupy a girl. And though she’s still figuring out what this bond means, one thing has become clear: She craves him in a major way.
But then bodies start turning up on the island. All the evidence points to the existence of a rogue vampire, and the sinister vampire Alcántara is gunning for Carden, even though Drew has proof that Carden had nothing to do with the murders. Now she has to find the true killer—without endangering Carden, Mei-Ling, or herself…
The growth of the characters in the series is believable as Drew is learning from her past to become a stronger leading character. The action is intense and downright violent at times but Drew has determination and is a natural survivor. Readers are exposed to Drew and Carden’s growing relationship even though they do not instantly fall for one another.
Veronica’s writing style is very fluid like and although chaos and pandemonium occurs in every action scene, she beautifully describes each action sequence in perfect form without confusing the reader. The plot carried enough twists and surprises to keep the intriguing factors at high levels. The third installment does not take a step back and actually improves on what the two impressive predecessors had already built. If Blood Fever made the series three times better, it is certain that the upcoming fourth installment, The Take, will make it four times better.