I’m so excited to present to you one of my most dear and supportive friends, the fabulous Tina Ferraro! Tina is a RITA-nominated YA author whose teen heroines are courageous, have a strong moral compass, but have a tendency to get into a few scrapes. 🙂 And her heroes are totally endearing too. Today I’m celebrating the release of Tina’s latest novella, HALF-LIFE, which is out now from Leap Books‘s new line, Shine!
Congratulations on the release of HALF-LIFE, Tina! What was the inspiration behind the story?
The novella opens with a Halloween game, an old legend that if you look into a mirror at the stroke of midnight, you’ll see your future husband’s face. I’d heard girls playing it when I was 12 or 13, but not me—I found the supernatural aspect terrifying. As I matured both in age and in writer’s brain, the game took on an intriguing edge. Especially how playing it could go so very, very wrong. So while I never actually played it, the game became the genesis for this story.
Are you very superstitious? Which superstitions do you swear by?
I actually don’t know many superstitions, except that it’s bad luck when a black cat crosses your path. But being a cat lover, I think the crossing of any cats in my path is good fortune! But I do get a little nervous when my ears are itchy because isn’t that the one where people are talking about you? Yikes. I wonder if there’s a physical reaction when people are reading your stories…
Plots involving twins immediately draw my interest. What’s your theory on why these stories are popular?
I wonder if it’s the idea of a person being only half of a whole entity. Again, back to my younger days, I read an article about a set of teenaged twins, one an honor student, the other mentally challenged. One day the at-school twin was overcome with grief that something had happened to her sister, and managed to get to a phone, only to find out her sister was indeed terrified and needed her. I was mesmerized by the idea of twin telepathy and innate connection, that neither was complete on her own.
What are your favourite books and movies that feature twins (aside from HALF-LIFE)?
Definitely “The Parent Trap,” both the original Hayley Mills version (which I loved as a kid) and the remake with Lindsay Lohan (with a shout-out to Dennis Quaid for being so hot as the dad). I also liked “Twins” and “Overboard.” As for books, I fondly remember The Bobbsey Twins, and recently enjoyed The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen.
On the craft side of things, what are the challenges and benefits of writing a novella?
I’ve spent most of my writing career either writing ~ 5,000 word short stories or 50,000 word novels, so to type “The End” at 25,000 words is a whole new experience. Basically what I do is establish the story the same way I would a full-length, knowing it’s easier to streamline after-the-fact than add. And I control myself from veering too far into the lives of secondary and tertiary characters…gotta save the limelight for the principals! Mostly, what I like about writing novellas is that I can convince myself I’m making lots of progress and to keep with it, even on those days when I delete more than I add!
Talk us through your typical writing day.
I usually get to writing after internet/e-mail checks, and go on and off until early afternoon. (I admit to losing myself in Facebook and Twitter far too often!) If the writing is really working, I’ll write up until the evening, but then it’s reading or family time.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on two projects: a humorous YA short story, and another YA novella for Leap Books. The novella leans a little darker and more serious than my usual fare, involving a mystery. I get to trade off between projects, depending on—to use an old American saying—which side of the bed I got up on that day.
You are famous for being a friend to all felines, and you have two cats of your own. What are your cats doing right now? (Please include a photograph or two or three!)
Both my cats are rescue cats. Rascal is 8 years old, a tender hearted (although quite large) Balinese-mix. Ruby, who I found living in a patch of ivy as a tiny kitten, is now 5 years old. As you can see from a picture taken when she was about 4 months old, Rascal stepped up to help raise her! He still grooms her, which she rewards with a low rumble purr. Also included is a photo of Ruby snuggling in blankets on a winter’s day, and a not-so-clean Rascal, after he’s come inside from rolling around in the yard.
Tina, thank you so much for being with me today. I adore HALF-LIFE and I wish you every success with it!
Now, readers, for your chance to win an e-copy of HALF-LIFE plus a $10 Amazon e-gift card, click here to enter my Rafflecopter draw!
Be sure to leave a comment below. Who’s your favourite set of literary or movie twins? Do you know any spooky Halloween games?