A chat with… Beth Fantaskey



Come promesso ecco anche la versione originale dell’intervista a Beth Fantaskey! Pensiamo che a chi è anglofono a sufficienza possa far piacere leggere direttamente le parole dell’autrice.

Beth Fantaskey

Thanks to Jessica’s guide to dating on the dark side the young American Beth Fantaskey makes her debut as a writer in the young adult literary world.
Her second book is Jekel loves Hyde. She is a university professor and although in her biography we can read she is terribly afraid of flying, and of public speaking, too,
she loves travelling (perhaps not by plane). She has lived in India for some years, working on a project in favour of human rights.

Hi Beth and thanks a lot for granting us an interview.
Vampire stories have caught on recently. Did you take inspiration for Jessica’s guide to dating on the dark side because of this trend or it was a secret wish?

I actually wrote my book before the vampire craze took off, so I didn’t know it would be part of a trend. That was just fortunate, on my part.
In fact, my book started out as a story about adoption. I wanted to tell the tale of a young, adopted girl who learns that her birth parents were completely different from anything she could have imagined. I chose to make Jessica’s biological parents vampires because they are beyond the normal – but also close to believable. I wanted the truth about Jess’s background to shock her, but still ultimately seem possible. And I made her parents vampire royalty just to make the story more exciting.

And what do you think about the other vampire novels which have been published recently? Do you like them? Do you read them?
I haven’t read any of the modern novels. The last vampire novel I read was Bram Stoker’s Dracula, in high school! I’m sure there are wonderful books out there, but I don’t want to be influenced by anything or anyone when I write my own stories.

Do you think the type of vampires of your novel are different from the others or do you think the strength of Jessica’s guide to dating on the dark side is something completely different?
I think most people who really like the book respond not to the vampire aspect, but to the love story between Jess and Lucius. In particular, readers seem to respond to the way Lucius seems so arrogant at first, but is revealed as very vulnerable – if only to Jess – while she is willing to sacrifice even her life, if necessary, to prove that he’s not as corrupt as he believes.

Do you think you are a mainly fantasy writer or you are going to write other genres?
For now, I really enjoy writing fantasy novels. My fourth book, which I’m writing now, is also a romantic fantasy about a different kind of hero. I like the way writing fantasy allows me to stretch the boundaries of what’s possible.

About your way of writing. How does one of your novels take shape?
I like to know how a book starts and where it ends before I write the first word. Specifically, I need to know how the main characters are going to grow and change by the end of the story. But within that, I don’t have a lot of structure. I like to sit down most days and see how things evolve.

Did you have problems in finding a publisher for your book? Which kind of procedures does a budding author have to follow in the States to publish his first book?
I found an agent for my first book very quickly, and she was able to find an interested publisher right away. It all went very fast. I think the key, in the U.S. at least, is to have an agent promoting your work. They are the “gatekeepers” who have access to publishers.

A successful author usually tries to sell everything he writes but you decided to put The wedding online and for free, which is a wonderful present for your fans. How have you come up with this idea?
So many readers asked to see Jess and Lucius get married that I thought it would be fun to let them help plan the wedding. I did that by letting readers vote on Jess’s dress, the location, etc. on my website. Then I wrote the wedding they wanted, as a free “thank you” to everybody who’s supported the book. I am very, very grateful to everyone who has made this novel a success, and this was my way of expressing that gratitude.

Jessica’s guide to dating on the dark side is your first book. Before pushing it what did you write as a writer?
I have been a professional writer since I graduated from college. I wrote everything from political speeches to newspaper and magazine articles before trying fiction. It was all good training for a novel.

And as a reader, what have you read so far?
I am a huge fan of the classics – especially anything by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Dickens is definitely my favorite author. My favorite book, though, is The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas. It’s got everything – humor, adventure and a dark, funny, charismatic hero. I love that novel!

A question which is dear to you fans’ hearts: will there be a film about Jessica’s guide to dating on the dark side?
I’m sorry to say that there probably won’t ever be a movie. The movie studios just aren’t interested in another story about teenage vampires. But in a way, I think that’s okay. I like the idea of readers being able to picture Lucius, especially, just how they want to imagine him!

We thank and we admire Beth Fantaskey because she was very kind and willing to answer our questions so quickly!

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