Today we're talking with L.A. Matthies, author of Surviving Curtis Hall: The Lure of Blood.
FQ: The first thing that struck me about your book was that your main human character was a teenage boy. I thought you pulled off the teen male angst side of things quite well. Was it hard to get into the head of Tristen?
One of the things I enjoyed the most about writing this story was getting into Tristen's head. To a large degree he's the opposite of what I was as a teen, that's what made him so appealing to write. Tristen enables me to relive my youth in a more calculated way without having to focus too much on all the girly drama.
FQ: There is also a lot of teen romance (and as in the case of Sasha, Billy, and Pierce, breakups/conflicts) in the book. Did you draw on your own high school experiences for this part of the story or?
Actually, if you consider that in looking back (like most teen girls) I thought it would be exciting to have two heartthrobs competing for my attention, yes! At the time however, I did not draw from my own personal experience.
FQ: My favorite character was definitely Skye. She just seems to have it so together. In a lot of stories, the sidekick ( if I can call her that, as a sidekick to Marcella) seems to have a dark secret. Skye however, was so true and faithful and I really liked that. Had you thought about giving her a dark side?
I love that Skye was your favorite, because as intriguing as she gets she's not an obvious choice. Skye had a very different upbringing from your average teen of today, but she's always true to herself and proactive about her circumstances. These are traits that I think are great for our young people to be exposed to and emulate so I've never regretted not giving her a dark side.
FQ: I love all the symbols you created for the tunnels. What was your inspiration?
Keeping in mind that I primarily write for a younger crowd (or at least young at heart), I feel that maps and symbols tend to help unlock the imagination. Since I had the perfect opportunity to incorporate both into my story, given the location and setting of a school campus adjacent to an old mine, I was able to exercise both my research skills and creativity in one fell swoop. Symbols are something I've always found fascinating.
FQ: Marcella has a great backstory. Have you ever thought of expanding it into a book?
I've given a great deal of thought to Marcella, her character being someone with the strength and imagination to endure through the ages. It is possible that I could expand her tales to create a stand alone book, but since it was my intention for Surviving Curtis Hall to be a series it's more likely that I'll continue to pull from her past to embellish my narrative.
FQ: Marcella's brother Pietro is a nasty guy! Why did Marcella put up with him rather than destroy him?
Marcella is torn in her feelings toward Pietro. On the one hand she views him as the embodiment of evil, while she battles her conscience over bringing him to his second life. If he is never redeemed does the blame fall to him or is she in fact to blame? She did beget him in an act of vengeance which not only goes against her beliefs, it conflicts with her honorable qualities. Marcella was instructed by an incredibly virtuous Sire, this coupled with her guilt hinders her ability to condemn Pietro outright.
FQ: Will we be seeing more of Tristen and Marcella? Our readers want to know!
Tristen and Marcella's story has just begun to unfold. I'm happy to say that readers can look forward to these two characters sharing more of the center stage in the next installment. They can also anticipate more about what drives Pietro along with insight into a few more Curtis Hall residents.