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Little Willow

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Interview: Mari Mancusi

Mari Mancusi, author of the fang-filled comedies Boys That Bite, Stake That!, and Girls That Growl, sank her teeth into the following questions.

What inspired Boys That Bite?

I was coming back from a huge national writer's conference and I was pretty discouraged. I'd had my first book, "A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur's Court" rejected by every editor except one. (She bought it a month later, but of course, at this point, I had run out of faith.) There had been so many very accomplished authors at the conference, so many success stories, and instead of being inspired, I was discouraged. I thought I'd never become a published author.

But I didn't want to give up. When I met with my agent at the conference, she suggested that I write a teen book, since a lot of my rejections stemmed from the fact that the book was too "young" sounding. I'd never read a teen book and didn't know where to begin.

On the plane I began to think. I had just read Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson and so I had vampires on the brain. I played "What If." What if there really were vampires? What if someone wanted to become a vampire? What if that someone had an identical twin and through a case of mistaken identity she got bitten instead? What if it was one week before prom and she'd miss out on a hot date?

The idea formed in my mind and I had to write it down - but I didn't have a pen. I asked everyone near me, but no one had anything to write with. The idea burned through my brain. I had to wait 'til our layover to run to the gift store and buy a pen. Then, during the second leg of the flight, I wrote the whole first chapter longhand - something I never do.

I called the book, "Wow, That Sucks!" Later, I changed it to "Boys that Bite" because I was afraid parents would object to their children reading books with the word "sucks" in the title.

When you started to write Boys That Bite, did you intend for to be the start of a series?

I wrote the proposal of Boys That Bite to be a stand-alone book, but since my editor bought the book off the first twenty-five pages and said she would also buy a sequel, I knew while I was writing that there would at least be one more book. Then she bought the third book while I was writing the second. That helps because you can scatter clues and build up stuff for the next book in the one you're working on, plus you can do "to be continued" endings, which I love.

How many more books are currently slated in this series?

There are three bought so far, with the option for more should they be successful. The next book, Stake That!, is narrated by Rayne. She now has not only lost her blood mate Magnus, but she's been told she's destined to be the next vampire slayer, now that Bertha has retired due to some high blood pressure issues. All her life Rayne has wanted to be a vampire. Now she's told it's her destiny to slay them. She is not a happy camper. Her first assignment is to infiltrate a "blood bar" downtown where humans get kicks out of being sucked by vamps. They believe the owner, an upstart vampire named Maverick who is unhappy with Magnus taking over the coven, is up to something.

The third book is called Girls That Growl. It's also narrated by Rayne. It is about a squad of cheerleaders that got bitten by a lycanthrope (werewolf) while at an overseas competition. Now, when it's that time of the month, they not only get grumpy — they get growly. Rayne is sent in undercover to figure out what's going on, which means our reluctant goth girl is now stuck with hot pink pom-poms and school spirit.

What is your favorite part of the movie The NeverEnding Story? Have you read the original book? I personally think very highly of the book and the first film.

I love the Luck Dragon Falcor. I totally want one of my very own. I also have a love/hate relationship with the swamp scene where Atreyu's horse dies. I cry every time.

What is your favorite John Hughes film? Mine is Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

The Breakfast Club. Some Kind of Wonderful. Definitely not Pretty in Pink because it has the wrong ending. (She should have ended up with Duckie — not the bland Andrew McCarthy.)

Now for the fun lists!

Top Ten BtVS/Angel Characters

Favorite BtVS/Angel Episodes
In no particular order . . .
Once More, with Feeling
Tabula Rasa
Something Blue
The Body
Life Serial
The Gift
Fool for Love
Normal Again

Favorite Vampire-Related Films
Most vampire films suck - pardon the pun – but here's a few I can stomach.
Dracula with Bela Lugosi
The Hunger
Lost Boys
Interview with a Vampire
From Dusk til Dawn
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Favorite Vampire-Related Books
Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton
Undead and Unwed series by MaryJanice Davidson
The Vampire Chronicles (especially The Vampire Lestat) by Anne Rice
I, Vampire by Michael Romkey
Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Dark Hunters series by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Carpathians series by Christine Feehan
Sex and the Single Vampire by Katie Macalister
. . . and Boys that Bite, of course!! ;-)

Top Ten Books of All Time
Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The Sun Also Rises by Earnest Hemmingway
1984 by George Orwell
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Lolita by Nabokov
The Stand by Stephen King
Neuromancer by William Gibson
The Fall of Atlantis by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Visit Mari's official website.
Read my review of Boys That Bite.
Read my review of Stake That!
Join the Summer Bites Street Team.
Tags: books, interviews

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