The Dining with Authors series is back today with young adult writer Marlene Perez. Her next novel The Comeback will be released August 1.
The book tells the story of Sophie Donnelly, who is one half of the most popular and powerful couple in school, until new girl Angie Vogel shows up and compromises everything. Angie steals Sophie's starring role in the school play, and, worse, her super-popular boyfriend. Sophie has been quickly dispatched to social Siberia, but not for long--she'll do anything it takes to make a triumphant comeback.
I fell in love with Marlene's "Dead IS" series over the past few months because of the great paranormal elements she includes in her fictional town of Nightshade where loveable Daisy Giordano lives amidst psychics, werewolves, vampires, and doppelgangers. The books are fun and romantic, without a doubt worth reading.
Marlene was born in Iowa and now lives in Orange County, California. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and her novels have been featured in Seventeen and Cosmopolitan. Her novel DEAD IS THE NEW BLACK was selected as an American Library Association Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers.
Marlene, welcome to the Girardi Diner. For this interview, imagine we are sitting across from each other, sipping tea or coffee, enjoying a slice of our favorite cake or pie (mine's cherry pie!). It's much more fun that way!
Tamara: If you could have dinner with any one of your characters, whom would you choose, and what would that character eat?
Marlene: I'd have dinner with Daisy, my main character in the DEAD IS series. She'd cook and eat. Or we'd go to Slim's Diner for a cheeseburger. I'd say Sophie Donnelly, the main character in my upcoming release THE COMEBACK, but I'd probably somehow end up with food poisoning if I dined with her.
Tamara: Yeah, you'd probably want to avoid that. What's your favorite vacation spot?
Marlene: My favorite family vacation is a quick trip to Pismo Beach, Ca, but I'm dying to go to England to do research and soak up the atmosphere.
Tamara: What was your favorite musical group/singer when you were in high school?
Marlene: I can't name just one! I love music. If I had to pick one, I'd say David Bowie or Prince, but that makes me sound much cooler than I was. I also liked Rick Springfield and the Bay City Rollers.
Tamara: What is the funniest prank played on OR by you?
Marlene: Hmm. Funny pranks? When I was in college, I lived in a house with three other girls. We had a bunch of people over, but I left to do a quick errand. When I came back, all the furniture in the house had been moved to different rooms. So the sofa was in the kitchen, etc. That was pretty funny.
Tamara: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Marlene: A writer. Or someone who got paid to read all day.
Tamara: What question do you get asked most often about your writing? How do you answer it?
Marlene: Did I read TWILIGHT before I wrote DEAD IS THE NEW BLACK? And I answer that although I enjoyed TWILIGHT, I was more inspired by Anne Rice's VAMPIRE LESTAT books and two television shows, DARK SHADOWS, a television show featuring the vampire Barnabas Collins, which my older sister used to watch while she baby sat me, and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, which I absolutely adored. I honestly think paranormal writers who are already publishing today were more influenced by some of those cultural icons than by Twilight. It's the next generation of authors who possibly will be inspired by the Twilight saga, in my opinion.
Tamara: Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?
Marlene: Yes, I believe in ghosts. I've seen some very strange things. And besides, I like to keep an open mind.
Marlene, thanks so much for stopping by to answer some questions for us! Good luck with THE COMEBACK book release August 1.
Next week, we'll be dining with Immortals author Alyson Noel. See you then!