Interview: Laurel Gale
Current Mood: calm
Current Song: The Daylight by Andrew Belle
Happy Monday! Today, I'm interviewing Laurel Gale, whose debut novel Dead Boy was recently released. "I wondered what it would be like for a 'live' dead boy to try to make friends," she said. "I had no idea what would happen next, so I kept writing to find out."
Congratulations on the release of Dead Boy! Where did your main character, Crow Darlingson, get his name?
Thanks! While writing Dead Boy, I sometimes worried that the main character’s name was a little too on the nose, but I loved it too much to change it. His first name is Crow because crows are often associated with death, and he is dead. Of course, he wasn’t dead when he was named, so from his point of view, it’s a rather lucky (unlucky?) coincidence. I also happen to like birds, and I think Crow is a very cool name for a boy. His last name is a variation on the surname Darlington. Crow is his parents’ darling son.
The story of Dead Boy takes place around Halloween. Do you like dressing up and/or passing out candy on Halloween?
Halloween is the best! I always dress up. This year, I actually had three different costumes, one for Halloween itself and two other events. I was a pirate, a ferret, and a steampunk skeleton.
When I was a kid, my friends and I once went trick-or-treating in the middle of the summer. We were bored, so we dressed up. Then we decided that we should do something with our costumes, so we started going door to door. The neighbors laughed and searched their cupboards for candy for us. I don’t think we could have gotten away with it a second time, though.
What inspires you to write for young readers?
Children’s literature can get pretty dark and serious at times, but it’s always exciting and optimistic, and this makes it a lot of fun to read and to write. I enjoy books for young readers, so it’s natural for me to write them. But I think these books are important, too. Children are developing their lifelong reading habits, but they’re also developing so much more than that: their identities, their morals, their goals. The right book can have a huge influence, and I’d like to be a positive part of that.
Was Dead Boy your first completed manuscript?
I have several earlier manuscripts stored on flash drives sitting in drawers, where most of them will remain forever. I should probably just delete them, but I don’t think I could actually bring myself to do that.
I don’t think new writers should expect the first thing they write to be publishable. Writing is a skill that takes time to develop, so most people will need to complete a practice novel or two (or ten) before producing anything that others will enjoy reading. My advice to aspiring writers is to commit to the long haul and not expect instant success.
Can you divulge anything about your next project?
I’m working on another middle grade fantasy. I’ll put more details up on my website when I can.
Do you often find yourself working on multiple projects at once, or do you prefer to focus on one story at a time?
I prefer to focus on one story at a time, but reality sometimes interferes. Manuscripts go through multiple rounds of editing before being published. The process takes months, and between edits, I want to keep writing. As a result, I find myself bouncing between projects. I still like to focus on and immerse myself in a project as much as possible, though.
What kind of music, art, and films inspire you? Have you read/seen/heard anything good lately?
Books inspire me, of course, but so do a lot of movies and television shows. I devour Doctor Who, Supernatural, and anything by Joss Whedon. My musical tastes are pretty varied, but right now I’m really into Of Monsters and Men, especially the songs Dirty Paws and Little Talks.
Tell me ten of your all-time favorite books.
I’m so glad I get to pick ten instead of one! In no particular order, some of my favorite books are Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Among Others by Jo Walton, Hogfather by Terry Pratchett, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett, The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, and the Harry Potter box set by J. K. Rowling. A box set counts as a single choice, right?
Cocoa or egg nog? Egg nog.
Sunrise or sunset? Sunset.
Hardcover or paperback? Hardcover.
Homecooked meal or takeout? Homecooked.
And now for the most important question of this interview... Who is your favorite doctor on Doctor Who, and why? (Mine is the Tenth Doctor, brilliantly portrayed by David Tennant!)
David Tennant’s doctor is brilliant, but my favorite doctor is the eleventh doctor, played by Matt Smith.
Like Crow, Gale resides in the Nevada desert. She lives with her husband and a band of furry monsters that might actually be ferrets, her favorite animal (even though they don't make an appearance in Dead Boy). Learn more about Laurel and her books at her website: http://www.laurelgale.com