Nice title, right? Think of all the things that can happen under a desert moon. Romance? Danger? Something paranormal?
The author must live in Phoenix you think. Or Southern California. Maybe New Mexico.
How about Ireland? Meet Emma Meade who has an imagination that knows no boundaries. Want to know more? Pull up a chair and your fave drink and stay a spell…
Hi Emma! I’m so glad you joined us today. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I wrote Under the Desert Moon (well the first version anyway) during the summer a few years ago. We had unusually warm weather for Ireland that year, and I had just moved back home after living in a different city. At the time, I was thinking of how stifling, yet oddly comforting small town life can be, and I was listening to Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway album, especially the song “Breakaway.” I pictured a teenage girl, feeling trapped in her tiny hometown, staring out a window and longing to be anywhere else. That’s when Erin was born and the town of Copperfield, Arizona came into being. I’d always loved supernatural books and TV shows, and vampires were my favourite paranormal beings. Vamps falling in love with humans was a theme I adored, so I wrote my own tale: Under the Desert Moon.
Tell us a bit about your writing process.
I wish I had a definite, reliable process, but I don’t. There are days when I simply feel inspired and will write for eight hours straight, and then there are times when every word is like trying to draw blood from a stone. I am learning however, particularly in the last year to write a first draft all the way through, and then go back and edit. Before this, I would write a chapter, pull it apart, and go back to the start. Even when it’s painful and it feels like every sentence you’re committing to the screen is utter crap, persevere. You will have time later to go back and make it wonderful. ☺
Most unique or unusual research you’ve ever done for a book?
I haven’t done unusual research for any particular book, but a lot of my work focuses on young girls growing up and having to deal with supernatural circumstances. At college, I wrote a thesis that explored L.J. Smith’s YA novels, particularly her depiction of female sexuality and development. Strong female characters are important to me. They don’t necessarily have to be physically powerful but they must have an inner strength that grows throughout the story. Erin is a strong female character.
Can you tell us a little about your journey to publication?
My first book, a collection of short stories, Night Sighs was released into the world late last year with very little thought. I didn’t know anything about ARCs or sending them out to book bloggers before the release date, so I was somewhat foolish back then. This year I found a small publisher, Soul Fire Press who liked Under the Desert Moon and took me on. In the previous years, I had dabbled with sending novels to literary agents with little feedback. Night Sighs received positive feedback from one small press but it didn’t adhere to their romance guidelines, so I decided to go ahead and self-publish it. Since then I have met many indie writers and supporters on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter. The indie community is a friendly group to be a part of.
If your book became a movie, who would star in the title roles?
What a fun question and something we all dream of, right? ☺
I’d like the cast to be made up unknowns, though I do like Will Estes from Blue Bloods. He’d be quite good as the bad boy vampire, James Linkin.
If you could have written any book, which one would it be?
Stephen King’s The Stand. This is one of my favourite books. When I was a teenager, I would read it from cover to cover at the start of every summer. The characters feel like real people, personal friends and frightening enemies. It deals with good versus evil, an apocalypse, the struggle to survive in a new world, love, danger, monsters and friendship. The Stand has a bit of everything.
Sounds interesting, right? How about a snippet:
Erin stared out her bedroom window, wishing as always that she was elsewhere. Anywhere but here, she thought wistfully.
Nothing ever happened in this rundown town, not since the last mine had closed a decade ago. Copperfield, Arizona, was dusty, quiet and old-fashioned. It took months for the latest movie to make it to The Oracle theatre where Erin worked part-time, but it was the easiest job in the world. It got Erin out of the house she shared with her brothers and angry, alcoholic father, put money in her savings account, and most importantly, Erin got to see movies free.
It was escapism. For a couple of hours she could lose herself in another world, imagining herself as the beautiful heroine. Erin was waiting for the day she would learn she wasn’t her father’s daughter. That her mother had embarked on some secret affair with a handsome, rich man, and it was only a matter of time before he discovered her existence and introduced Erin to his world.
Sighing, she rested her chin in her hand. A cool summer breeze ruffled the curtains and lifted the strands of her bangs, tickling Erin’s forehead. She hated this tomb-like town, but had to admit that at night, Copperfield was beautiful. The desert gleamed beneath a full moon, and the scent of vegetation from the garden was spicy and fragrant. Erin breathed it deeply.
A cloud at that moment obscured the moon, and the hairs on her arms lifted. The breeze died down suddenly and she straightened up. She felt distinctly peculiar. Was there a storm coming?
The door to her bedroom sprang inwards. Startled, Erin turned to shout at whichever brother had disturbed her peace. It was Nick, her twin.
“Do you mind?” Erin said.
Nick’s sea-blue eyes gleamed. They were just like Erin’s. “You’re never going to believe this, Sis, sincerely.”
Erin rolled her eyes. “Try me.”
“A crew from Hollywood is in town. Copperfield’s the location for some scary movie.”
“Are you kidding?” Erin said, jumping off her bed.
“They’re all in Casey’s right now. The whole town’s there.” Nick was practically hopping with excitement.
“Oh, my God,” Erin said. “Why Copperfield? What kind of scary movie?” Slasherorghoststory? she wondered. She preferred the latter.
Nick shrugged. “Let’s go find out.”
Erin grabbed her jacket and followed him. Finally,theremightactuallybesomelifeinthistown, she thought.
“Hey, where you kids going?” her father’s slurred voice demanded.
Erin caught a whiff of his beer breath as she passed and grimaced. Gross.
“Out,” she said, and slammed the door hard.
Casey’s diner was busier than Erin had ever seen it. Several waitresses were scooting across the shiny tiles in red and white roller skates that matched their uniforms. Every booth in the place was taken. Customers were eating their hamburgers and fries standing at the counter.
Erin’s eyes scanned the restaurant quickly as she crossed the threshold with Nick at her heels. A gust of air at the entrance lifted her long, chocolate brown hair off her neck, and raised goosebumps on her tanned arms. Strange. It wasn’t even cold that evening.
She paused inside, inhaling sharply. Her eyes were drawn immediately to the young man sitting at the biggest booth, furthest in the back. His presence radiated charm, charisma and self-assurance. Erin couldn’t help but notice the dusky brown of his eyes tinged with flecks of green, and the easy curve of his lips. He looked so familiar, but she couldn’t place him.
“Hey,” she poked Nick. “You know his name?” She watched him laugh heartily with his companions and lean back against the leather seat in complete ease.
Nick shook his head. “Don’t recognize him.”
“I’ve seen him in some TV show before. I think,” Erin added uncertainly. This was going to bug her.
“He’s the lead actor,” Nick said. “I heard people talking about him when he got off the bus earlier.”
Erin approached the counter. “Hey, Mrs. Casey,” she called over the middle-aged owner. Mrs. Casey was a kind woman. Her husband had died from cancer three years previously, and she was running the joint single-handedly. She also seemed to know everything in town before everyone else. “You know anything about this movie?”
“Sure. The crew’s just been here for hours, sugar. It’s one of those scary movies. Copperfield’s a real cheap place to shoot, I guess. That gorgeous boy over there,” she nodded in the direction of the young man Erin had been drawn to. “Name is James Linkin. He’s going to play the bad boy.”
Erin chanced another glance his way, not wanting to be caught staring. It didn’t matter. All eyes were on his table, particularly all female gazes.
“He ordered a hot dog from me just before you got here,” Mrs. Casey said. She chuckled. “He’s a little charmer from what I’ve seen so far.”
“What kind of bad boy?” Erin asked. Her stomach was fluttering. It hadn’t done that since she’d watched Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall last summer in The Oracle. She’d been forced to throw a Brad weekend there for one of the most popular girls at school, Lyndsey Mason, her older brother’s girlfriend.
Now looking at James, she believed him to be even more handsome. Erin marveled at her racing hormones. She usually wasn’t as silly as the other girls in school, or so she liked to think. She risked another look at him. Dark hair with sunny tints when the light caught it right, pale skin, strong jaw, slender build…
“Vampire, I think,” Mrs. Casey’s voice broke Erin’s train of thought. “It’s going to be some kind of horror romance.”
No interview is complete without learning a little about the author themselves, wouldn’t you agree? Emma and I have a few things in common here, like dogs, chocolate, and tea.
Vanilla or chocolate?
Chocolate. Give me a Cadbury Creme Egg and I’ll be your best friend.
Probably Robert Frost’s “It goes on,” when he’s talking about life.
Cats or dogs?
I prefer dogs but I have two stray cats.
Coffee or tea?
Barry’s tea, a delicious, Irish brand. The only time I drink coffee is when I have a Bailey’s coffee for dessert after going out for dinner.
Early riser or dirty stay-up-all-nighter?
I am not a morning person. I like to keep vampire hours.
Not so secret fetish?
Biscuits, cakes, pastries dunked into hot tea. Not really a fetish, is it? I’ll need to work on finding something kinkier.
Food you like the most? The least?
Chicken curry and rice – yum. Fish – gross!
The Goonies, Reality Bites, The Last of the Mohicans, Dirty Dancing, Twilight, The Lost Boys, Stand by Me, Now and Then, ET. Way too many to just pick one.
Tegan’s Blood by L.H. Cosway. This is the most enjoyable book I’ve read this year. It sucked me in completely from the first page. Tegan’s voice was fresh, witty and down-to-earth, and I sped through the novel.
Favorite television show?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, always.
Word from the dictionary that gives you the giggles?
Organism. I still remember being in biology class and some of us misread it aloud as “orgasm”. It still makes me laugh. Yes, I’m aware than I’m a grown up.
Strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Garlic snails, or Escargot when I was in Paris last summer.
Most bizarre thing you’ve ever worn? Are there photos?
A tea-towel on my head when I played Joseph in the school Christmas play when I was five or six years old. It was an all girls school. I must not have looked angelic enough to play Mary. My parents don’t have photos, but I bet there are some out there somewhere!
The thing that scares you the most?
Dying and my loved ones dying, so I try not to think about it too much.
What weapon would you choose in the zombie apocalypse?
Crossbow. I like how Daryl on The Walking Dead takes care of those zombies.
If you were a cartoon character, who would you be and why?
Rainbow Brite. My sister and I watched her all the time when we were kids. I still have my teddy bears and cuddly toys of the characters.
What spell should have been invented at Hogwarts? (create your own spell)
The Sliders spell where you can magic yourself into an alternate universe.
What scares you?
Heights, fire, dying alone. Oops, there’s the dying again. I guess most of all it’s wasting time, spending your life in fear of what other people think and how they view you. And on that happy note…. ☺
I’d like to say a big thank you, Michelle, for generously allowing me to spend time on you blog. The questions were really well thought out, so cheers!
Aw! Thanks, Emma! It’s been a pleasure.
Where to find Emma and Desert Moon?
Publisher: Soul Fire Press
Barnes and Noble