Halloween is drawing closer, and the monsters have come out to play! I had so much fun reading John Rose’s work that I’m offering to buy an e-copy of both his books–Out From The Shadows and Full Moon Fever–to one lucky commenter. All you have to do is leave a comment below, and you’ll be entered to win!
When and why did you begin writing?
I actually started writing in high school, doing little short stories here and there. I won a couple of literary contests from the local community college, and I did go through the requisite bad teenage angst poetry thing. I think that’s almost required, because in some ways it teaches you to write. But I learned the most about writing from reading books. I think I began writing because I just liked making up stories.
What inspires you?
In a book it’s imagination and strong characters that don’t always do what you expect. But I get inspiration from many sources—films, cartoons, pictures, comics, everything. Sometimes a simple word phrase can do it. I read somewhere that Ray Bradbury kept a notebook that was nothing but story titles, in preparation for stories he would write later. I always thought that was cool.
I recently finished reading Out From the Shadows, Book One in the MonsterGrrls series. I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m a hardcore horror fan, and I don’t often read “young adult” fiction. Yet, MonsterGrrls held my attention. The characters were charming, and I wanted to know their story. What made you decide to write a book for the young adult crowd?
Thank you for that, and I’m glad you liked it! I don’t know that I wrote specifically for young adults. I didn’t exactly think about an audience when I created the Grrls; I just knew somewhere in my head and my heart that I was on to something, and I had a story I wanted to tell with the Grrls. I think we often pigeonhole books as “young adult” that are really for all ages, and that’s kind of what I was really going for. Some of the John Bellairs books have pretty scary occult things going on in them, and there is always this threat to life going on, but because the main character in those books is a kid, we call them “young adult.” I’m not sure that’s true.
There are currently two books in the series, the aforementioned Out From the Shadows and Full Moon Fever. When can we expect Book Three?
Book 3, Season Of The Witch, is in the hopper right now, and it will close out the story arc that began with Out From The Shadows and continued through Full Moon Fever. I don’t really have a date set, but it won’t be too long.
Okay, here comes the obvious question. It’s a topic you clearly deal with a lot. Your cover photo on the Facebook page even says “We are not the next Monster High. We are the first MonsterGrrls”. So what’s the deal? You created MonsterGrrls from your own gifted imagination, and then Monster High came along and stole the spotlight? When did you come up with the idea for MonsterGrrls? Does it drive you crazy to get compared to Monster High?
To be truthful, I do not get a lot of comparisons to Monster High, but I have been afraid that I would and would have to deal with people saying I ripped off Monster High (the Grrls actually were created in 2001), and so the main reason I created the Facebook graphic was for clarity. My main issue with Monster High is that I don’t believe it really understands monsters and how they work, and it bothers me that it and certain other YA books seem to concentrate so much on fashion and trends and the whole acceptance thing with teenagers. I realize that this is important to teens, but sometimes when you are a teenager, no matter what you have or what you do, you aren’t going to be accepted by teen society at large, and that’s when you discover who your real friends are. That is the heart of MonsterGrrls, and our main theme will always be that it is okay to be different—not good, not bad, but okay. And sometimes, being different can be really important to who you are.
In Book One, the reader gets to know the MonsterGrrls as they struggle to understand the human world. Judging by the cover art of Book Two, things get a lot more action-packed. Can you give us a synopsis of Full Moon Fever?
What happens in Book 2 is that our main villain comes to the fore—a legendary monster hunter named Khaine who is trying to resurrect an old cadre of hunters called the Shadow League, who were more than a bit corrupt. Harriet also discovers that she has to play her first basketball game under a full moon, when her werewolf side will be at its peak—and not really under control, either. When Khaine finds out about this, he exploits it in a way that goes very wrong, which leads to the Grrls and their friends all rallying to stop Khaine and protect Clearwater.
Are there any authors you admire?
I read Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn once a month for a year when I was in junior high, and I have always loved Madeleine L’Engle and Ray Bradbury. I love Stephen King and Terry Pratchett, and I have to say their shadows fall long over the MonsterGrrls. I also really like Joe Hill and John Conolly.
What advice would you give to a writer just starting out?
Read constantly. Read everything you can, and not just in your chosen genre, either. Think about why you like stories that you like and that speak to you, and think about how you would tell a story. But in my opinion, the reading is more important than anything. If you do not read, you will not be able to write.
Another thing I love about MonsterGrrls is that fans of the series can purchase collectibles. What is your favorite product at the Atomic Brain Industries store (where fans can buy MonsterGrrls merchandise)?
I had done that mainly to generate some interest for the books, and also because there is a good deal of artwork involved with MonsterGrrls. I do my own cover art for the books, and I often draw characters or scenes to help me figure out what the character should look like or what I’m doing, so some of that worked its way into designs for products. I think the things I like best, personally, are the Fang Club pinback buttons.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention? Any current or upcoming projects?
After I finish with this arc I get into more MonsterGrrls stories—I have a lot I want to do with this series. Book 4 will be called Parts Unknown, and it will go into the past of the monsterkind community and be sort of an origin story of the MonsterGrrls—how they met and came together as a group before coming to Clearwater. There are plans for a ghost story arc, and I also have plans for a MonsterGrrls response to Twilight called My Big Stupid Vampire Boyfriend.
Where can we find you on the web?
DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE A COMMENT FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN MONSTERGRRLS ON KINDLE!