Bookalicio.us: I have to say you have Southern people described to the letter. Are either of you Southern or have family that lives in the South? As I was reading I was fascinated with how much your book took me home to my teen years in Saltville Virginia (The Salt Capitol of the Confederacy).
Kami: My family is originally from a small town in North Carolina, so I grew up with three generations of women (two Southern) living under one roof. I have a deep affection for the eccentricities of the South, and still go to see my mom in North Carolina every summer. Margie’s family is originally from a tiny town, though not in the South, and I think our shared stories from casserole counties are what made us want to set our story in Gatlin, SC. Even if it isn’t the Salt Capitol of the Confederacy!
Bookalicio.us: I often wondered through out the book why you chose Ethan as opposed to Lena as the main character. The more I read the more I was confused about that, but the more I read the more I loved the fact you did so. It was a breath of fresh air in the paranormal YA assortment.
Margie: You have to remember, we originally wrote this story on a dare from seven teenagers, who read our pages nightly and weekly as we wrote them. So we weren’t really thinking about anything other than what they would want to read. They were powerful, strong, individualistic teenage girls – except for our one Caster Boy! – and we wanted to give them a story where the girl was the powerful, mysterious supernatural, and the boy had to unravel her mystery, find his way to her. Also, I think we also wanted to give them something they hadn’t read before.
Bookalicio.us: The Character of Lena’s Uncle was an amazingly thought out addition to the story. I can’t go into too much detail of how you as the authors used his character for some plot twists without giving spoilers, I wanted to ask how you fleshed him out the way you did.
Kami: Lena’s Uncle Macon is one of our favorite characters, and an important counterpoint to some of the smaller-minded folks in town. He’s brilliant and sophisticated and worldly and unique, and he’s been living in Gatlin as long as the town folks who loathe him. He’s also a wonderfully loyal father figure to Lena. We love how he loves her.
Bookalicio.us:I like the different kinds of paranormal in the book and the way you handled the naming of things and persons with even a little Southern Voodoo thrown in for charm. How did you mesh so many different supernatural elements into one piece without making it over the top?
Margie: We named our Casters from day one. It was important to us to create our own unique rule set for our own magical universe. We didn’t want to be generic, and we wanted to give our readers a kind of magic that was deeply regional, and tied to the Caster County our book lives in.
Bookalicio.us: What is your favorite place to write?
Kami: In my comfy chair, in complete silence, with a Diet Coke. Extra ice.
Margie: In the library or in my own comfy chair, also with a Diet Coke and my earphones blasting my mix of the day!
Bookalicio.us: Pen and paper? Mac or PC? Why?
Kami: We’re both Mac girls, though we use more white boards with more complex color-coding that you could possibly imagine.
Bookalicio.us: Beautiful Creatures is a book that made it on my short list of favorites for 2009, it almost didn’t make it on there because I hadn’t heard about the book. Usually I get recommendations from literary blogs, and Amazon is always throwing stuff to me I devour. It is kind of hard for me to miss a young adult novel, and I am so glad I didn’t miss this one. How hard has it been marketing a YA book in a sea of others? Teens are statistically
reading more now and there is so much to choose from. Publishers expect you to be able to market yourself effectively from the beginning now as well.
Margie: Little, Brown has been incredibly supportive of our book from day one. Our editors, Jen Hunt and Julie Scheina, have always made us feel like a priority, and our publicist Jessica Kaufman is amazing. And the day Amazon picked us for their Top Ten of 2009 and their number one Teen Pick, we were thrown into a bit more of the spotlight than we had ever anticipated. The Warner Brothers movie announcement hitting the day before our book came out was another spotlight, and things just sort of kept rolling from there.
Bookalicio.us: How do you feel about book trailers? Have you ever watched one that made you want to buy a book?
Kami: We love good book trailers. Vania Stoyanova, the photographer who made one of our BC trailers, is so talented that she makes you want to buy any title she makes a trailer for. That’s why we were so happy she made one for us! You can watch her trailer on the homepage of our site, under the reviews. www.BeautifulCreaturestheBook.com
Bookalicio.us: What has been the best part of reader reaction for you?
Margie: It’s amazing to hear people talking about the characters, the town, the story – all of these things that only existed in our heads for so long. We also love love love our librarian readers, so the Morris Debut Award nomination from the YALSA was a special kind of “reader reaction” that we will never forget!
Bookalicio.us: Are you going to be a book tour? Release dates in other countries or movie deals (really it should be a movie)?
Kami: Beautiful Creatures is being published in 25 countries, which is really wonderful. We are going to be on our Southern US book tour from January 18th until the 29th, and then on a more limited northern states book tour from February 20th until the 27th. The movie is going forward in development at Warner Brothers, and we couldn’t be happier about that. For more information on all of the above, be sure to check back at www.BeautifulCreaturestheBook.com – we will be updating the site the whole time we are touring, so you can see the latest BC happenings!
The towns are so boring and you can only dream of getting out. Ethan marked his days down until she showed up in town. Long black hair, weird slightly gothic style. She completely knocked the wind out of our Ethan and in a good way. Over time we learn more about the girl. Her name is Lena, she lives with Macon Ravenwood the town shut in. Was Lena crazy too?
Seriously strange things start to happen to Ethan, he is dreaming about Lena in a way that seems so real he even awakes with dirt and grime in his bed. Songs start showing up on his iPod with varying lyrics and messages. When he learns the truth about Lena and her family he realizes he has to race against time and break every southern social rule in order to save Lena from her fate.
The character development in this book is amazing. From Ethan, to Lena, Macon to Amma, Link to Ridley. I was laughing out loud, visibly annoyed with some, and smirking at the sarcasm. This book was short listed here on Bookalicio.us as one of my favorite reads in 2009 and short listed way more important places like you know Amazon! Absolutely this volume deserves its best selling status!
A movie is in development, I cannot wait to hear more news on that.
If you haven’t read Beautiful Creatures you need to. If you have let me know what you thought or share your star rating below. If you are like me in mentality and think it has been hyped too much to possibly be good. Then you are wrong. Pick it up, read it, and if I am wrong I will give you a cookie. Not any generic cookie, the good ones. Milano’s from Pepperidge Farm.
I was also lucky enough to conduct an interview with our lovely authors. Check it out: Interview with Beautiful Creatures Authors.