Tina Ferraro – HALF-LIFE novella release!

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! 

Tina’s website | Twitter | Facebook

Find HALF-LIFE at Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iTunes

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?


47 thoughts on “Tina Ferraro – HALF-LIFE novella release!

  1. Hi Tina, hi Vanessa! Great to read about your latest and about your writing routine – something I find endlessly fascinating.

    I’m with you – I loved ‘The Parent Trap’ and have seen it so many times (and yes, both versions). Lots of fun. Twins are fascinating, aren’t they? I saw a program some time ago about various twins who ended up having amazing similarities in their lives, including the sort of men they married, even though they lived half a world apart. There was definitely enough there to make you think there’s more linking twins than meets the eye.

    Good luck with your latest story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Annie, I love getting a glimpse of other writers’ routines too because I’m always trying to find ways to be more productive!

      Now, how amazing are those twin links? I read about a pair of identical male twins who were separated at birth. When they found each other later in life, they discovered they had the same kind of job, wives with the same name, broke the same arm… Just a long list of uncanny similarities. As you said, endlessly fascinating!

      Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you get a chance to read Tina’s HALF-LIFE, which I can assure you is a whole lot of fun.


    2. Thanks so much, Annie! That’s fascinating info about twins…I agree, there’s so much more than meets the eye. You know, as a child, I used to secretly long for an identical twin! It would have been interesting now to look back and see if she spent half her childhood reading and creating stories, as well, huh?


  2. Hi Tina and Vanessa! Wow, two of my fave people here in one place. How cool is that? Tina, huge congratulations on the release of Half-Life. It sounds fab. I told my niece who as you know is your biggest fan (without the creepy connotations of that particular phrase, of course!). She’s already bought it! Loved the pictures of the kitties.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I tried to “LIKE” this, Vanessa (especially your first line to Anna about her being one of our favorite people) but for some reason, my program will not cooperate. But it can’t entirely stop me: LIKE. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Anna, thank you so much. Well, fan-dom clearly runs in our families both ways because as you know, I am one of your biggest! And thanks again for introducing your niece to my stories! Hope she enjoys it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oops… Was reading the post as I headed into school to deal with middle school kids who have their mind on one thing… Spring break… Called Tina, Anna… So sorry, ladies. Maybe I should call a substitute and take the day off . 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What an awesome sounding story! I was always a little too spooked to play games like that as a kid, but I was also boy-crazy, so I *might* have played that one (had I known about it). It’s a great story spark for sure. Congratulations on your new release Tina! Best of luck with it. And great job with the interview Vanessa- really fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amy, sounds like you and I would have been thick as thieves had we met as teens. Too spooked for those games, boy-crazy, and already probably pre-writing fun, contemporary stories in our heads, huh? Thanks for joining the party here!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Pintip! Yes, it’s a little scary, but my tone tends to lean more towards humor, so it’s a little more nuthouse crazy I think at points than spooky! Thanks so much for your interest!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Pintip, Half-Life is a fab, quick read and not too scary at all. In fact, it’ll really get you thinking about life’s “What if’s?” Plus, it’s got Tina’s trademark humour to balance out the fear factor. Thanks so much for commenting!


    1. Thanks so much, Steph! I had fun with the interview–although I admit I cringed when I saw that one photo of my cat, Rascal, with my sneakers thrown casually on the floor beyond his head. Oh, well, the secret’s out: I’d rather be reading or writing than picking up!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This might be a weird set of twins, but the twins in Constantine, the movie with Keanu Reeves? The girls, played by Rachel Weiss. The one sister dies, in an apparent suicide, but the other twin knows her sister wouldn’t have done that. That’s what I love about it. That connection, between sisters. 🙂

    Great interview, Vanessa!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Tina, this is slightly off-topic, but I recently watched (and loved) an old Dennis Quaid movie in which he plays a writer: The Words. It stars Bradley Cooper too. I’ve got a thing for him, but who doesn’t? 😉


  6. I used to play the mirror game as a kid quite often, leading the others to think something was there. And loved freaking my friends out. That’s not to say I didn’t have many actual supernatural encounters. I got my copy and can’t wait to read it! PS. My current WIP has twins, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Karen, you’ve actually PLAYED that mirror game? Okay, I’m guessing you didn’t see your future husband in the mirror (or definitely, what my heroine Trisha saw), but nonetheless, I’m so impressed that you gave it a whirl. I was too chicken!

      Thanks so much for supporting HALF-LIFE and hope you enjoy it! And can’t wait to read your WIP down the road, too.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Tina,
    I remember years ago people trying to drag you to the dark side. Looks like you made it. Lol. I love the sound of this book. I researched the heck out of this legend four years ago while I was doing some research for a book I was writing about the Legend of Bloody Mary (very similar). I started the book just because my kids (all five of them plus all the neighborhood kids were completely freaked out about all these legends involving mirrors.) Don’t even get me started on the Bunny Man Bridge. Ugh. Which happens to be very close to us.
    I can’t wait to read Half-Life. Although I’ve always read your not-going-to-the-dark-side books, I’m sure I’m going to love this one! I, too, have always been intrigued with twins. I was just reading an article that always pops up on my computer about interesting sets of twins. I’m always especially interested in the ones who were separated at birth but have so many freaky coincidences in their lives. Same type of job. Wives who are similar–even with the same names. Play the same instrument…it’s so crazy.
    Love the pics of your cats, too! The one looks exactly like a cat I had growing up, but it was a Siamese. She was the most vocal cat you’d ever heard. She and my mom had their own language, I swear! Simon would repeat every sound my mom made. 🙂 She died when I was in eleventh grade, and I thought my heart would break. I’d had her since I was a baby. 😦
    Good luck with the book! Are you coming to Nationals in NYC?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Golden Girl Kim! You would *love* Tina’s Half-Life.

      Siamese are known for their vocal abilities! Speaking of cat languages, a little known fact about Tina is that she started speaking to her cats in the LOLCAT “dialect” long before the I Can Has Cheezburger site came along. It’s a real skill!


  8. Hey, Kim, thanks so much for your support and this note! It’s debatable whether or not I went over to the dark side…kind of a darkish humor side, I think. And I have to tell you, I did almost no research on that legend, just wrote it the way I remembered it, and embellished it to fit my needs! (Aha, the truth comes out!)

    And yes, the identical twin concept is fascinating to so many of us…especially the telepathy and how those separated choose similar paths. Not to mention, those who create their own languages!

    Speaking of their own languages…your mother and cat, huh? 🙂 Yeah, Rascal is just half-Balinese and barely makes peeps or purrs. A very quiet guy…but he makes up for his silence with size. 19 pounds is a big cat!

    No plans for National this year…but maybe next year! Best of luck with the Golden Heart!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m late, late, late to pop in to say hello, Vanessa and Tina, but I enjoy your post!

    Tina, Half Life sounds like a great read and the combination of that Halloween superstition and twins is intriguing.

    I haven’t heard any Halloween superstitions but I do have a twin story. I once worked with someone who’d always felt, when she was growing up, there was a part of her that was incomplete. When she was in her 30s she learned almost by chance that she’d had a stillborn twin brother. Her parents had never told her. When she told me it was sort of sad and spooky at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Vanessa and a big “Hi” to Tina – so lovely to see you here. I’m sorry to be late visiting. I love the sound of your new story – what a clever concept. I’ve certainly enjoyed your previous stories. And I love the photos of Rascal and Ruby. I hope we might be sharing dinner in Sydney again before too much time passes! Good luck with the launch. xx

    Liked by 1 person

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