Why did you decide to become an author?
I’ve always made my living as a writer, first as a political speechwriter and then as a journalist. I think almost everybody who writes professionally thinks a novel is the ultimate career achievement, and after nearly twenty years of writing magazines articles and other non-fiction works, I also wanted to try to attain that next goal. And when I came up with a story I really wanted to tell, I went for it!
What sparked the idea to write a book about the devilishlly handsome Lucius and Jessica?
Jessica’s character came first. I wanted to tell the story of a very rational, math-oriented, adopted girl who discovers that her birth parents were completely irrational – and explore how that changes her world. That led to the creation of Lucius, who serves as the frustratingly desirable link to a family history she’d really rather just forget.
-Are you done with their story?
I’m working on a sequel now, but it’s still too soon to make any promises...
Why did you decide to post the wedding of Lucius and Jessica instead of coming out with a book about it?
There were two reasons. First, I wasn’t sure if I’d write a sequel, and so many readers asked to see Jess and Lucius get married that I wanted to give them a chance to read about the wedding, even if I never wrote another complete book. Beyond that, I wanted the wedding to be interactive, so readers could help plan the ceremony and actively take part in Jess and Lucius’s “event.” Doing everything on-line gave me the flexibility to do that. Readers could vote on Jess’s dress – and a few days later, I could let them read a scene in which the dress appears. A book takes at least a year to produce and wouldn’t have allowed for that.
Please tell the readers about your new book, Jekel Loves Hyde.
It’s the story of two teenagers who share a puzzling, possibly deadly, connection to the old novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As Jill and Tristen work to solve the riddle, they become more attracted – and more dangerous – to one another. It’s a romance with a mysterious, sometimes murderous, edge.
Why did you choose Dr. Jekel and Mr. Hyde as subjects for your next book?
I think most people have a “dark side” that emerges now and then, to different degrees. In the original Jekyll-Hyde story, Dr. Jekyll completely loses control to his evil alter ego when he drinks a chemical potion. I thought it would be really interesting to set that in the modern day and see what happened when a very shy, good girl got hold of a formula that liberated her bad side.
What's different between the two books?
Jekel Loves Hyde is much darker and more introspective than Jessica’s Guide – mainly because the main characters are so different. Jessica Packwood has lived a normal, well-adjusted, happy life, and she has a confident, often sarcastically funny, attitude. Jill Jekel has suffered a lot of tragedy in her young life, and she’s a more serious girl. Only when she drinks the chemical formula does she get wild and sometimes funny – in a biting way.
What kind of books do you think you will write in the future?
Like I noted, right now I’m working on a sequel to Jessica’s Guide... My project after that is still under wraps!
Do you think vampires or werewolves will be in your next books?
There are vampires, of course, in the Jessica’s Guide sequel. But the book I have planned after that will introduce a different kind of paranormal hero...
Who/What is your inspiration usually when it comes to writing?
I’m inspired by the classic authors whom I reference in my books, like Melville, Dickens, the Bronte sisters, and especially Dumas. I am a huge fan of The Count of Monte Cristo. I’m inspired by music, too. I’m always listening to something when I write.
What books have captured your eye recently?
Gosh, the books I read right now probably aren’t of interest to most people. I’ve been working on my doctorate for about six years now, trying to write a dissertation on female reporters of the 1920s and 1930s, so when I read, it’s usually some dusty old history of the Jazz Age!
Just like Jekel and Hyde, do you think you will do any more books that are a sort of remake like with Romiette and Julio being a spin on Romeo & Juliet?
I’m not sure... it depends on whether the right idea struck me!
You recently had a contest, what was that about?
Readers submitted video trailers for Jekel Loves Hyde – and they were amazing. I was blown away. You can check them all out on my website. There are even a few that used live actors! The winning entry is posted first – but they were all fantastic.
What kind of environment do you like when you begin to write?
I always have either a cup of coffee or a diet soda on my desk; my local college radio station, WQSU, playing in the background; and usually my lucky slipper socks on my feet (unless it’s way too hot). That’s my favorite atmosphere for working!
I saw that you like to travel, where was the best place you liked to visit?
I love China. I’ve been there three times, and there’s just something about the whole place that clicks with me. I also love India. It’s so unique and vibrant. Then again, I love Europe... It’s hard to choose!
What would you like to tell your fans and readers?
Thank you to everybody who’s been so supportive of my books and contacted me to let me know. It’s been so great “meeting” so many kind, fun, cool people. I honestly can’t say thanks enough!
You can check out Beth Fantaskey's website or her Twitter! Remeber to go out and buy her new book, Jekel Loves Hyde on May 3rd!
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