Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Meet Monster-Hunting Author: Judith Graves

Calling all scary story lovers... Killer's Instinct by Dawn Dalton and Judith Gravess is releasing this month. If you love monsters, monster hunters, and non-stop action, you'll love this novel about Hope, who's hunting her Mommy-dearest, now turned into a zombie.

Today we're talking to one of the authors, Judith Graves. Find out more about her, how she writes her compelling novels, and connect with her online to learn more about her other forthcoming books.
When did you start writing?

I began writing in a lock-and-key diary my parents gave me while I was in elementary school. After the first few pages of diligently tracking daily events: what I’d had to eat, who ticked me off at school, or what exam I was dreading – I abandoned the diary format and began filling pages with: doodles, cools phrases or bits of conversations I’d overheard, bits of poetry, lines from movies, random descriptions of things that caught my eye. I progressed to buying notebooks instead of diaries, and my jotted notes took on lives of their own. Bits of poetry became song lyrics (I played piano and guitar), then short stories…and finally each notebook became a rough draft of a novel.

In school what were your best and worst moments?

Best moments: music, art, drama, and English classes – without them, I probably would have dropped out of school. I got by in other core subjects, but the arts were my focus.

Worst moments: I refused to memorize my schedule and didn’t believe in having a copy around to double check. I was always showing up late, or at the wrong class, or thinking I had a spare when I didn’t. Of course, I NEVER missed a music, art, drama, or English class. Go figure.

What advice do you wish you could give to your younger self?

Look, I know it’s the 80s, but avoid acid-wash jeans and those crazy banana hair clip thingies. And two years of braces will be so worth it. ;)

What hobbies and interests do you have?

I love all things artsy-fartsy. Music, film, photography, drawing, writing. I’m also drawn to things that challenge the more logical side of society, such as, superstitions, folklore, fear, and the unexplained.

What made you write Hope’s story?

Hope was a fun character to develop with Dawn Dalton, co-writer of KILLER’S INSTINCT. I think we both wanted a lead female character who could be kickass, but also demonstrated her vulnerability. Hope is “hopefully” someone readers can relate to. She’s driven to get to the heart of the mystery surround her mother’s death, but she also fears knowing the truth.

Do the characters in the book have any connection with your real life?
Maybe not the supernatural elements to them. There are no zombies, mermaids, werewolves, or cryptids lurking around my family tree – well, not that I know of – but the four members of Unit Wild: Hope, Caddoc, Hyde, and Kain all have their own demons to face. And when these are narrowed down to themes like self-doubt, duality, wanting to belong, finding your place in the world – I can easily find many connections to their individual challenges.

What is one thing you hope readers will take away from your book?

That no matter what the battle, or monster you face – there’s always HOPE on your side.

Can you give us an idea of your writing process?

I’m a very regimented writer. I treat it like a job, writing at least 5 days a week (usually more). I find that between 5 am to 2 pm is when I get the best work done. I do extensive plotting and character development before starting a project, but still take completed first drafts through many revisions. My beta readers and critique partners are more precious than gold. I KNOW my writing wouldn’t be up to snuff without them.

What was it like collaborating with Dawn Dalton?

Dawn and I live about 3.5 hours away from each other. However, with the Internet, Skype, and Google Docs, distance wasn’t much of a factor. We were both keen to tell this story and made the commitment to getting the project done. Our voices fit quite naturally in this project, and once the story was plotted, we were able to each claim scenes we wanted to tackle and write. Then we’d share what we’d written and take passes at tweaking each other’s scenes, fleshing spots out, adding description, tweaking dialogue, or finding little plot holes to fix. With beta readers or critique partners, I'd polish a piece, send it out, and wait on tenterhooks for their comments. But Dawn and I wrote via Google Docs and were able to work in the same document, in real time, so the feedback was almost instantaneous. It was like sharing a brain…lol…a fun process that made writing KILLER’S INSTINCT a real treat.

If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?

1.    A world without monsters – the very real, human kind.
2.    The ability to not burn stuff in the kitchen.
3.    More chocolate.

What is something most people don't know about you?

I’m terrified of bees and wasps. I will make an absolute ass of myself running from them. Very not cool.

What super power do you wish you had?

The power of flight. I have flying dreams and adore the weightless feeling, the power of surging up into the air, and the serenity of watching the world below.

Where did you go on your last vacation?

I would call it more of a working vacation. My husband is a high school social studies teacher, and every few years he takes students on a trip to Europe. Of course, I pay my way and tag along! It’s a great opportunity to be immersed in other cultures as well as to be surround by my target reading audience. This summer, along with 28 grade 10-12 students, and several teacher supervisors, we toured Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Austria. Berlin, Munich, Krakow, Prague, Nuremberg, Salzburg – the history of these grand cities and castles, the horror of Auschwitz, and beauty of the Austrian Alps. It really was the trip of a lifetime.

Where can readers find out more about you?

I’m all over the place and love connecting with readers, authors, and reviewers. You can find me here:


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