Hey guys! Today I'm excited to share with you my interview with Daniel Marks, author of Velveteen!
Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.
The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.
It’ll be brutal... and awesome.
But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.
InterviewWhere did you get inspiration to write about Purgatory?
I never shy away from taking on tricky, possibly controversial subjects—anytime you focus on an element of religious dogma, there’s an opportunity to offend people. I love walking that razor’s edge. And I’d like to say that was my reason for focusing so heavily on Purgatory, but I was actually more inspired by art. I went to visit my agent and editor (of my adult books) in New York and stopped by the Museum of Modern Art to kick around. MOMA was exhibiting the charcoal studies of George Seurat and I was fascinated by their grim grayscale, their somberness. A lot of the worldbuilding for VELVETEEN was born on that day.Did you find it hard to write a female POV?
Not at all. The story demands it in so many ways. The victims of serial killers are predominantly female, for one. But more than that, I was looking to explore the idea of reversals and gender traps. In many ways, Velvet takes on a quintessentially “male” role in the story as a result of her abuse, but also her upbringing, her parentification at her mother’s hands (this is a subtle issue and is seen as mostly positive, but serves to explain her strength and frustrations). Meanwhile, Nick takes on a passive much less heroic position in the story. I wanted to feature Velveteen as a girl who doesn’t need a boy’s love to feel complete, she has many avenues for that. In the end, their relationship is a choice of companionship and sexual attraction hinting at a deeper love, one that never fully reveals itself. I don’t think I could have written this book in Nick’s perspective. It just wouldn’t have gelled.Which parts of Velveteen were most fun for you to write?
The opening scene was, of course, fantastically satisfying. The story splays itself open like an autopsy in a matter of fourteen pages. I’m really proud of that chapter. I loved the shadow tentacle monsters, too and that they project horrors behind people’s eyes. But perhaps my favorite scene is the one in the bellows of the gas district, when Luisa and Velvet must pull Logan out of his drugged out haze. Love it!If they made a movie out of Velveteen who would your dream cast be?
I really loved Hailey Steinfeld in the remake of True Grit, she was so driven and bloodthirsty. I could see her easily slipping into Velvet’s shoes. For Nick, I’d go with an unknown, someone cocky, cornfed and athletic. Suggestions would be helpful in the comments! For Manny, I’d like to see someone like January Jones from Mad Men—beautiful but with madness twinkling in her eyes. If Quentin could be played by Evan Peters from American Horror Story, I’d be THRILLED. Kipper is clearly the lothario of the group, so I’d like to see someone like Ian Somerhalder from Vampire Diaries (though he’s older, as well). Which leaves Bonesaw. He is clearly an unknown. He could be anyone. Anyone.Describe Velveteen in three words. GO!
Brutal. Gruesome. Fun.Thanks so much for stopping by, Danny!
Daniel Marks writes young adult horror and fantasy, spends way too much time glued to the internets and collects books obsessively (occasionally reading them). He’s been a psychotherapist for children and adolescents, a Halloween store manager, a cafeteria janitor (gag) and has survived earthquakes, volcanoes and typhoons to get where he is today, which is to say, in his messy office surrounded by half empty coffee cups. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, Caroline, and three furry monsters with no regard for quality carpeting.