One of the books that has made me tremendously happy this year is the delightful Team Human by Justine Larbalesetier and Sarah Rees Brennan. Like a Buffy and Willow, or Spike and Angel, these two authors have combined their talents to create a hilarious novel for everyone who loves or loathes vampires.
We're very excited to welcome Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan to the blog!
Indigo Teen Blog (ITB): Who is your favourite vampire OR who is your favourite human?
Justine Larbalestier (JL): I can't name my favourite living human because, honestly, there are so many wonderful people in the world. Hmmm, though the same is true of fictional people. Er, can I just say who my favourite is today? How about Rory Deveaux from Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star? She's smart, funny and very very determined.
Sarah Rees Brennan (SRB): My favourite vampire in all the world? At different times in my life, I'd have said Lestat de Lioncourt (blond naughty rock star vampire, what's not to like?), Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (blond naughty... it's possible I have a type), Eric from True Blood season two (blond na... you know the drill) and Damon Salvatore and Caroline Forbes of The Vampire Diaries. (He's a brunette, but in the immortal words of Some Like It Hot, nobody's perfect.)
Favourite human... Jane Austen! I love her, she's so funny, and she is a genius: every social situation is so skilfully set up, and her world seems so real even today: they are really the only comedy of manners that... Dear God, what am I saying. I mean, my mother. Totally my mother. Love you, Mum! Don't change the locks when I come home to visit!
To follow in Justine's footsteps and pick a favourite fictional human, oh good lord, the choices are overwhelming. I can't pick a favourite for today, or for the last five minutes. Elizabeth Bennet, because she is the most delightful creature ever to appear in print. Cassandra Clare's Tessa, the heroine of The Infernal Devices, because she is the most convincing fictional reader I've ever come across. Fire from Kristin Cashore's Fire, the most beautiful woman in the world who finds it a real pain. Min from Jenny Crusie's Bet Me, because she's smart, hilarious and we have the same taste in shoes. Somebody take this keyboard away from me.
... As you can see, I have a real problem making choices.
ITB: Why do you think people love monsters (in books)?
JL: Because monsters are SO cool!
SRB: Monsters are often supernaturally chiseled, and that is a real plus. But there is more to it than that--we've all felt like we shouldn't want what we want, or that our bodies are betraying us by transforming. One reason we love monsters because we all feel monstrous, I think, and seeing that expressed through fantasy is fascinating.
ITB: Sarah, you started livetweeting The Vampire Diaries and you’re now livetweeting Teen Wolf. Can you tell us more about why you did this and how people have responded?
JL: I know this question is directed at Sarah but Scott Westerfeld and I livetweeted as we watched the first few seasons of TVD (over a weekend) and it was a wonderful experience. It's such a big fanbase and they're so loyal yet they also have a wonderful sense of humour about the show. I became a fan of the show, of the fans, and of the show's producers over that weekend. I always follow Sarah's TVD tweets because they're hilarious.
SRB: I am that awful person talking in your movie theatre. I get very engaged with fiction, which is I suppose natural in a writer, and I'm very chatty. Somehow this always translates to me yelling at the screen--'Don't go in there' and 'Kiss her. KISS HER!' and 'Loki, you poor genocidal sweetheart.'
I love The Vampire Diaries, because funny, fast-paced vampire show, what's not to love? and I started tweeting it on a whim when I sat a bunch of my friends down to watch the first season, and those on twitter seemed to like it! So I kept going, because... like I said, chatty. If I can talk about something fictional I love to someone, that person is my friend. This is just my way of befriending all of twitter.
I blush at Justine's kind words. I mostly just crack terrible jokes, as follows:
sarahreesbrennaMRS ARGENT: PS Allison, if you go to prom with a werewolf, Carrie will be looking at your night and going 'That was ROUGH.' #teenwolf
sarahreesbrennaSHERIFF: If you love something set it free. Give it cash & tell it to leave town with its werewolf lover. #vampirediaries
sarahreesbrenna ELENA: I'm so alone! STEFAN: That's silly. You have TWO vampire boyfriends. Way more vampire boyfriends than most people. #vampirediaries
sarahreesbrenna ALARIC: What's the plan, Brain? DAMON: The same plan it is every night, Pinky. Kill everybody and have a drink. #vampirediaries
ITB: If you were to write a sequel, would it have werewolves? Or would this be too familiar for you, Justine, after writing the brilliant Liar?JL: I'm confused by the question. There are no werewolves in Liar.
As for the first half of your question, I feel strongly that if you want werewolves or leprechauns or bunyips in your book series then you have to establish a world in the first book where a variety of creatures is possible. Otherwise you're cheating. We did not do this with Team Human. Ours is a world in which vampires (and zombies) are the only supernatural creatures.
SRB: As Justine says, a Team Human sequel would've been werewolf-free. ;) But this does not mean I have anything against werewolves. I love a werewolf, and one day I'd like to write a book about them: the idea of having your body utterly transform and animal urges take over is a very interesting one, especially for ladies, I think.
I was chatting to Anne Hoppe, the wonderful editor of Team Human, about this and that, and I mentioned that I love werewolves. She said 'Oh, I don't like werewolves' and I was just baffled. 'As Plato said,' I informed her sternly, 'she who is tired of werewolves is tired of life.'
So both our editor and Justine would have stopped me if I'd tried to sneak in any werewolves. Rats! (Wererats?)
ITB: Will either of you make the jump to writing for adults like Stephenie Meyer and JK Rowling have done?
JL: All those categories are really about marketing. My books are read by people as young as 8 (that's the youngest fan I've had a letter from) and as old as 90 (again I have the fan letter to prove it). I write the books I write and they're marketed as YA so that's where I feel comfortable and happy. If at some point I write a book that can't be happily marketed as YA then (I hope) my agent will find another marketing category for it. Outside those kind of considerations I really like the YA community. The adult fiction world seems much meaner. I don't think I'd be happy there. I say that even though some of my best friends write for adults. Other than that they're really nice people.
SRB: Oh, I think I might! I love young adult with all my heart (such a high octane time in your life emotionally! Such a fantastic, fun and exciting lot of books in the genre!) but there are other genres that I love. I love romance novels, and middle grade. And of course if the opportunity to cowrite with zombie Jane Austen ever comes up, I'm going to take it. (Even if we end up writing 'Sense and Sensibraaaaaains.') If I think of a story that's another genre, I would definitely write it, and then I would bring it to my agent and look at her with happy expectation, like a cat bringing its owner a mouse. 'Argh! Ewwww. Oh Fluffy, why...? Um, I mean, it's lovely.'
ITB: If the Mayans are correct about the end of the world happening this year, any survival tips for us regarding the upcoming unicorn/zombiepocalyse?
JL: Hole up somewhere with good food and wine and books and your closest friends and await the inevitable.
SRB: I've got a genius plan for that! Find a zombie who obeys the ways of Edward Cullen--he loves you so much, and your brains smell so delicious, but he won't eat them because he loves you! And he'll protect you from the other zombies. I have seen a zombie boyfriend movie (with the most excellent title Boy Eats Girl) and it actually all worked out pretty well in the end! Yeah, zombie boyfriend. That's my plan. Dating. Feel free to implement my plan... but don't mack on my zombie man. That would not be cool. Living sisters before zombie misters.
I guess my answer is the same for the unicornpocalypse, but the logistics of having a unicorn boyfriend are going to be REALLY tricky.
ITB: If the Mayans are wrong, what can we look forward to reading from you next?
JL: I'm hoping to finish my next book, Sekrit Project, by the end of this year, which means the earliest it could be published would be 2014. Sorry about that. But in the meantime Sarah has a wonderful new book, Unspoken, that comes out in September. A kind of Gothic Nancy Drew. It's her best to date. You'll all love it.
SRB: I blush again! Justine's Sekrit Project will be worth waiting for. I am always working on new things: right now I am tinkering with Retelling a Classic. (A prize for anyone who guesses which one. :) An... invisible internet prize.)
But the very next thing up is, yes, Unspoken, a Gothic romance about a schoolgirl reporter who finds out her imaginary friend is a real guy... and one of the very strange family who live in the manor up on the hill.
Thank you again to Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan for answering our questions and HarperCollins Canada for facilitating it. Team Human is available now.