I managed another thousand words yesterday. I think I'm still warming up, but I'm getting more of a feel for the characters. If I'm good today, I may get to the introduction of the other main character, but I'm also getting my hair done today (I realized it had reached my waist again, which is just too much hair to deal with) and I have ballet class tonight, so there's not a lot of writing time.
Since the collective wisdom of my readers never ceases to amaze me, I thought I'd throw this out there and see if anyone has any ideas: I haven't been dancing in far too long, and I'm dying for a foxtrot. Since I'll be in New York next weekend, I figure there has to be something in the ballroom dancing arena going on. I mean, there's pretty much a little of just about everything going on in New York, right? (Or have all those TV shows, books and movies been lying to me?) Does anyone know of any possible ballroom dancing venues in the city where I might be able to show up solo and still manage to dance with someone? I've Googled and found a couple of dance studios that have social dance parties and a dance society that has public dances at a church. That's the kind of thing I'm looking for, as opposed to an actual nightclub or music venue where people are more likely to go with dates, so I thought I'd check to see if anyone knew of anything else or had something good to recommend.
Now, I've got a really fun Girlfriends Cyber Circuit book to talk about, The Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby. (Just the title cracks me up.) Tomorrow is prom, and all Mia wants to do is cast a love spell on her date Rob Ziggerman to keep him away from cheerleading goddess Samantha and save him all to herself. But somehow she ends up inflicting a zombie virus onto her whole class instead. At first Mia loves all the attention her classmates are giving her; treating her like a queen, compliments galore, and all the chocolate a girl could want. But then zombie hunter hottie Chase explains they are actually fattening her up. Why? Because in twenty-four hours, Mia will be the first course in their new diet. That’s what being the ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH means. She’s sure she and Chase can figure something out, especially when the alternative means that her classmates and teachers will be feasting on her bones. But in the meantime, she’s suggests that no one wear white to tomorrow night’s prom, because she has a feeling that things could get very messy.
I interviewed Amanda about writing and zombies (which are far more related than you might think):
Was there any particular inspiration behind this book?
To be honest the whole thing started as joke. I use to threaten my critique partners that if they weren’t careful I would write a book a called I Was a Zombie Killer Bride (and between you and me I still think the project has legs!!). Anyway, the more I said it the more the idea of doing a zombie book appealed to me. I’d never seen or heard of any other books out at the time (this was back in 2007) and so I started trying to think of some zombie ideas. Enter my husband who had been preparing himself for this very moment by spending a lifetime watching zombie movies (in fact he was the one who first insisted I watch some Hammer House of Horror movies which I ended up loving!). Anyway, instead of running a mile which is what he normally does when I’m stuck for ideas, he opened a bottle of wine, patted the couch and we started brainstorming!!!! It was too much fun!
Can you offer us a few zombie survival tips?
Rule number one is footwear. Trying to run away from zombies while you’re wearing heels just isn’t going to work. You need sneakers and socks (to stop blisters, since let’s face it, blisters leads to blood, leads to zombie saliva glands and is therefore a big no-no).
Rule number two. Don’t try and play dead because they will find you. Zombies might not have great vision but they can smell you from over a mile away (and apparently you smell a bit like really, really, really great BBQ chicken with just a hint of herbs and spices sprinkled over the top. Or, so I’ve heard…)
Rule number three. Don’t stand anywhere near a ketchup bottle. Or jug of gravy for that matter because that is just making life a little bit too easy for our undead foes.
What do you have in your personal Zombie Survival Kit?
A lighter (but you’ll have to read the book to find out why)
A cell phone charm (but you’ll have to read the book to find out why)
A detailed floor plan of Newbury High (but you’ll have to read the book to find out why)
A bottle of water (but you’ll have to read the book to find out why)
Is there a sure-fire way to tell if the cheerleading squad has been turned into zombies or if that's just normal for them?
The first sign someone is turning into a zombie is the skin around their face and jaw starts to go slack. The second sign is that suddenly have an uncontrollable desire to eat meat. Lots of it.
Unfortunately, when it comes to cheerleaders, the discovery that their diet is screwed and that their looks are going will normally cause them to rip out their own their own hair in despair. Also, it is normally accompanied by some moaning and wailing. So in my professional opinion, if I was trying to identify a potential cheerleading zombie, I would look for anyone who was holding some matted hair extensions while chewing on beef jerky and wearing a paper bag on their head. Sound familiar? If so you’d probably better give the Department of Paranormal Containment a ring. Pronto.
Is there anything else you'd like to tell us (or warn us!) about this book?
I’m fairly certain that ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH will put you off ever wanting to do a love spell in order to avoid public humiliation, since as Mia Everett discovers, there are actually worse things than getting dumped before prom.
What are you working on now?
My next young adult book out with Puffin is about a girl who goes to a prestigious slaying school. She is determined to follow in her dead mom’s footsteps and be a dragon slayer. Unfortunately she gets stuck with four inch fairies who spend more time in the mall than they do out trying to hurt people. Not exactly the stuff that high destiny is made of. Then she suddenly starts to see another kind of fairy. Of the six foot, killer variety that no one has ever heard of before. However, due to a small misunderstanding, no one believes her and she is forced to fight the killer fairies on her, while at the same time trying to discover how her dead mom fits into it all.
I’m still waiting for me revisions for that one and so in the meantime I’m hard at work on a mid grade book with a thirteen year old heroine who does something even more ridiculous than turn her school into zombies. Oh, yeah!
For more info, check out Amanda's web site. Or you can order the book from Amazon.