Cover Reveal & Author Interview: B.C. Johnson ("Deadgirl: Ghostlight")
Welcome to the cover reveal for Book 2 in the Deadgirl series!
Well, this is an unofficial cover reveal, to tell you the truth. Curiosity Quills Press has recently decided not to do official ones anymore, so its authors are left with the option of doing their own thing via trusted bloggers or not. I'm thrilled to have the chance to show you this beauty, in all its simplicity and misteriousness. And class - let's not forget class :).
Blurb:Transformed into a “phantom” by her own titanic will to live, Lucy must feed on the essence, memories, and emotions of others to keep herself solid. After defeating her Grim Reaper and learning that she could survive without hurting people, Lucy thought the madness was finally over.
Her cravings for essence under control, Lucy tries to live a normal life. Apparently you have to be alive for that to work, though, as Lucy learns that one of her friends is more than she appears. She insists that Lucy, with her ghostly abilities and tentative immortality, can join her in the fight to help those in need.
Thrust into the role of teenage savior, Lucy Day finds herself battling a pack of voyeuristic serial killers, a mysterious and deadly wraith, and the idea that she might actually have to start dating again sometime this century. (Goodreads)
Interview:Deadgirl Book 1 was originally out in 2012 and got a very positive feedback for a small press product, but shortly after that, its publisher shut up shop, and the book went out of market. It took a couple of years for it to be picked up by a new publisher, and another year for it to be reissued. Honestly, did you think your book would ever see the light of dawn again - let alone get sequels?
I honestly didn't. Don't get me wrong, I never stopped trying, but I came very close to giving up. It was a terrible blow, having your one published book go under because of circumstances outside of your control. Every article and blog I could dig up on the subject basically said "it's nearly impossible to get a book re-published," so that wasn't helping.
I even called my agent somewhere in the middle of a bleak depression and said, "Let's forget it." Full props to her, she kind of laughed me off and said, "We're not worried. We'll find something." If she'd said, "Yeah, okay, let's drop it," that probably would have been the end of it. My agent definitely saved the book from just fading away in that second. My wife was also my constant cheerleader, and she gave me the fuel to keep chugging along.
So, yeah, having a sequel coming out this year is a surreal experience. They say Stephen King threw the unfinished manuscript for Carrie in the trash, and his wife scooped it out and made him finish it. No man is an island, and writer's doubly so.
Back when I first read Deadgirl, there weren't any clues about a sequel, or a whole series for that matter. While the book leaves plenty of space for development and doesn't give us all the answers, it pretty much stands on its own. When did you start plotting further installments? And can you give us a rough idea of what's coming for Lucy and the gang?
I always sort of knew Deadgirl would be a series. It was never my goal - like you said, I wrote Deadgirl as a standalone book - but I kept the idea of a series in my mind while I wrote. I've been a comic book fan my whole life, and with Lucy Day written as a kind of horror-punk superhero, it made sense for me that she'd have multiple adventures.
I didn't know EXACTLY what the next book would be when I was writing the first one, but I had three or four plot points that I knew would happen after the first book. These original seed ideas are what make up Deadgirl 2, 3 (which I'm writing now), and eventually 4 (the last one). Even if the book ended up being a standalone, I wanted hints of a larger world, which is why the "mysterious texter" plot is in the book. It's not integral to the story, but it gives a little window into a bigger world by the end of the book.
The future of Lucy and the gang is about exploring that larger world. Lucy's situation opened up all of her friends to this supernatural lifestyle, and they're all affected by it in one way or another. In many ways, Deadgirl is the origin story for a group of heroes - it becomes more of an ensemble piece as it goes on.
I've always thought that Deadgirl was a pretty unique book, all the while effortlessly falling into the afterlife/urban fantasy/paranormal categories. What makes Lucy and her story stand out in your opinion?
The inclusion of the voodoo crocodiles who are ALSO astronauts was pretty unique, in my opinion.
Sorry, I realized I hadn't made a joke yet and I was getting itchy. I mean, without blowing too much smoke up my own tailpipe, I would say that the book is a bit different because it avoids some of the well-worn concepts. A lot of young adult books seem to be about a chosen one saving the world from the big empire, or from the dystopian status quo. Which, isn't a bad thing, don't get me wrong. I love a good epic as much as the next person. However, I think Deadgirl benefits from being a much smaller story about transformation, which I feel is what YA (and growing up) is all about.
Lucy is not special, she wasn't chosen for anything. She's not the smartest or the fastest or the prettiest. Hell, even her death (which kicks off the story) is sort of random and cliche. She's a relatively normal girl with a good sense of humor, and following her through these horrible situations makes a connection with the audience.
As for urban fantasy and afterlife stories, it's a bit off-the-beaten-path because "what Lucy becomes" isn't anything familiar. She isn't a vampire or an angel or a demon. She's something else, and the reader gets to follow Lucy on her path of discovery. Both Lucy and the reader are confused, and again it ties them together.
Who is the intended target of the Deadgirl series? Honestly, and also based on the reception the first installment has already gotten so far, who do you think should give it a chance?
Everyone, honestly. I'm a guy who likes action movies, and I wrote it for me. I'm also a guy who likes Buffy and Gilmore Girls and Glee, and I wrote it for me. The people reviewing Deadgirl span the spectrum - I see 15-year-old girls, 55-year-old women, guys in their mid-thirties.
I think if you like a action, horror, thriller, or mystery, you'll probably enjoy Deadgirl. If you dig wise-cracking characters put in terrifying situations, you might wanna check it out. I know a few people who don't like that Joss Whedon-y style of level-breaking dialogue in serious situations, so I guess I would say you might NOT like it if that isn't your cup of latte.
Lastly - I dare you to describe your series (or just the new installment) tweet-style, in 140 characters only!
Lucy lives, dies, repeats. She faces Grim Reapers, serial killers, and gut-wrenching breakups with hilarious desperation and decent hair.
Thank you Bobby for being my guest. As usual, it was a real pleasure to chat with you, and hopefully help you connect with new potential fans. And…everyone, watch out for May 16th! Lucy Day strikes again...
About B.C. Johnson:
Born in Southern California, B.C. Johnson has been writing since he realized it was one of the few socially acceptable ways to tell people a bunch of stuff you just made up off the top of your head. He attended Savanna High School in Anaheim, and an undisclosed amount of college before deciding that weird odd jobs were a far greater career path.
This lead him to such exciting professions as: aluminum recovery machinist, lighting designer, construction demo, sound mixer, receptionist, theater stage hand, wedding security, high school custodian, museum events manager, webmaster, IT guy, copywriter, and one memorable night as the bouncer at a nightclub. He is trying very hard to add “vampire hunter” and “spaceship captain” to that list.
He currently lives in Garden Grove with his supernal wife Gina, his half-corgi, half-muppet dog Luna, and his new half-grayhound, half-living-tornado-of-destruction Kaylee. He also spends time with his two brothers, his parents, and his close friends, whose primary pursuit are usually healthy debates about movie minutiea. When he’s not working or writing, he’s been to known to pursue all conceivable geeky avenues of interest including but not limited to video games, the sort of TV shows/movies Benedict Cumberbatch might star in, graphic novels, podcasts, funny gifs, the whole thing.
He’s also been known to apply his special brand of hyperbole and mania to pop-culture humor essays for various websites that can be found on his homepage, bc-johnson.com. B.C. also has a high school noirseries called Harris & Vega available on Kindle. Not to mention an urban fantasy/post-apocalyptic/supernatural story (Book 1 of the Riven series) titled The Bad Rescue of Devon Streeter (on Kindle as well).