Friday, October 1, 2010

Haunted Honeymoon Interview & Giveaway with Marta Acosta

Marta Acosta is my guest today as part of her Haunted Honeymoon Blog Tour and of course we're doing this because we wanted to. After I finished sorting my sock drawer earlier in the week, I sent her off a series stupendously easy questions to answer and when Marta was done washing her hair she read them over and exclaimed, "Easy peasy!" (Do they really say that in California?) Must be something in the wine, I guess.

Haunted Honeymoon, the new and concluding book in the Casa Dracula series was supposed to release October 5 , but luckily for readers it launched early and you can find it in stores now. Readers of the series to date will most definitely love this installment as it answers many questions and provides a very satisfying conclusion.

UPDATED CONTEST RULES:
Marta is offering a signed copy of Haunted Honeymoon or if you'd prefer, one of the earlier titles. To enter read the interview and suggest a title for a hypothetical 5th book or just leave a comment or ask Marta a question. As a bonus and because I love the series, I am offering a prize pack of the first three books. Just tell me why you deserve them rather than any other reader. I'll give a bonus entry for the best haiku about the Casa Dracula series or rhyme on the theme of 'vampires on honeymoon'. Contest guidelines are found at the end of the post.

On with the show and welcome to our illustrious author, comedian(?) and patroness of the Vampire Wire blog.

SFG: To quote a line from Vickie Pearle (Gilda Radner) in Haunted Honeymoon, “Holy baloney. Here we go again.” What prompted you to write a fourth Casa Dracula novel?

I’ll respond to your quote by a great comic with a quote from another great comic. When Bobcat Goldhwait was asked why he did “Police Academy 5” he said, “We felt that we hadn’t answered all the questions in ‘Police Academy 4.’”

I infuriated a lot of readers with the ending of The Bride of Casa Dracula, but it was really important to me that Milagro learn to live on her own before running into marriage. I saw her ability to take care of herself as a happy ending for that stage of her life. My editor asked me to tweak the end to show a possibility that she’d get married to either Oswald, the good-looking, family-oriented doctor who accidentally infected her with vampirism, or Ian, a secretive, dangerous vamp who doesn’t seem to have a job.

I was really happy to have the opportunity to write the next book, Haunted Honeymoon, where I could tie everything up with a nice bow. Now when Milagro decides to get married, it’s because she’s truly in love and ready to be married, not just acting on impulse. This book makes the series feel wonderfully complete to me.



SFG: Speaking of Casa Dracula, I have read all four books without a sign of Dracula. What’s up with that?

Were you ploughing through a case of Molson when you read my books? Because it’s all there! I carefully encrypted haikus to Count Dracula in a diagonal pattern throughout the series. Here’s an example.
Mina Harker’s blood
is as tasty as her bod
I heart her so much!
Also
My coffin is cramped
With mildewed satin lining
Must buy a Serta

SFG: Now that I’ve read Haunted Honeymoon I realize that in our last interview you let the cat out of the bag so to speak. A pivotal character is Senor Pickles. Tell us more.

My technique is to think of a funny name and then build a whole story around it to justify saying the name repeatedly. That way I don’t get bored when I’m writing. I can’t remember how I thought of the name Senor Pickles, but I immediately recognized that it was a brilliant moniker for a cat. Really, it inspired the entire book. I’m also very fond of the “Does It Itch?” Free Clinic. As Milagro says so insightfully, “Everyone knows it isn’t supposed to itch.”

SFG: Two characters initiate the mystery that forms the center of the novel, Cricket and Ford Poindexter. There has to be a joke there somewhere, what is it?

Ford Prefect
Oh, I’m a long-time admirer of silly names and when I heard the nickname Cricket, I immediately wanted to use it. Poindexter is a legitimate last name, but it sounds funny. I think I thought of the name Ford because I’m a fan of writer Ford Maddox Ford’s and then I remembered Ford Prefect from Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I realized I could incorporate the book’s “don’t panic” advice into Milagro’s story. See, that’s how my brain works. I have a mess o’ miscellaneous crap in my skull and I just toss things together.

SFG: You have also brought back the outrageous character Don Pedro. Surely he is based on someone you know. Spill.

Don Pedro isn’t based on anyone I know, but I adore literary hoaxers, those authors who fake a memoir and get a huge cult following and go on Oprah. They’re easy to spot, but no one seems to care that their entire stories are obviously bogus. I imagined that Milagro would be outraged to see someone with such a flagrantly ridiculous story get critical praise while she can’t even sell her fiction. Although, her fiction is pretty crazy stuff. I like to think that Milagro’s stories will be discovered in the future and that she’ll be seen as a visionary.

SFG: Given the title of the novel and without giving any spoilers it is fairly obvious that Milagro makes a choice between bad boy Ian and perfect Oswald. Did you consider other choices?

Yes, I considered having her find someone who was more moderate, yet smitten with her. In My Fair Lady, Eliza Doolittle stays with Professor Henry Higgins. The musical was based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, but in Shaw’s original story, Eliza marries Freddie, the amiable young guy who’s infatuated with her. Shaw said that Eliza would be a fool if she went with Professor Higgins. She could have a very nice life with Freddie, however.

SFG: Of the four Casa Dracula novels do you have a personal favourite or is it just the one that makes the most money *grin*?

My favorite is Haunted Honeymoon and that’s partially because I was without an editor for much of it (my editor left Simon & Schuster/Pocket) so I wrote whatever I wanted. If left to my own devices, the novels would have been quite different…which is not to say better, but different. I love the way the story ended and people have been telling me that it makes them cry, but in the good, happy way.

SFG: Have we seen the last of Milagro or will she start a new series of adventures as a married woman?

If any publisher was interested in more stories, i.e., willing to buy them, I’d enjoy writing stories about Milagro and her sexy husband solving mysterious and going to parties. They’d be like Nick and Nora of The Thin Man movies with lots of bantering, flirting, a dog, parties, and corpses.

I actually have other projects to work on. The first is a young adult gothic, The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove, which will be published by Tor Books in 2012. I’m also working on a gritty and sordid adult gothic and another romantic comedy set in San Francisco.

But no one read Nancy’s Theory of Style, my romcom under the name Grace Coopersmith, so I may bag that new romantic comedy idea. I think Nancy’s Theory is delightful, however, and still hope people will discover it. I’m offering the manuscript as a free read at Scribd.com.

SFG: So when does the movie come out and who are your choices for playing Milagro, Ian and Oswald (or any of the other main characters).

Maybe it’s because I worked for theatre companies, but I saw lots of actors play lots of roles, so I’m more focused on an actor’s skill than if he or she looks exactly the way a character is described. Good actors can utterly transform themselves. Holland Taylor doesn’t look like Edna Grant, but she’d make a hilarious sharp-tongued, sexy, chic Edna.

Natalie Morales, who starred in the short-lived and hilarious sci-fi “The Middleman,” is all angles where Milagro is curves, but she has the right snarky, smart, flirty delivery to play the role.

Someone like Rufus Sewell, who’s too tall and handsome, could play Ian, because he’s got a great voice and charisma, and that’s important to the character. Someone like Jeffrey Donovan could play Oswald, because the character is polished and has a low-key intensity.
L-R: Holland Taylor, Natalie Morales, Rufus Sewell, Jeffrey Donovan
Doug, thanks for taking the time from your busy day organizing your sock drawer to ask me these insightful questions. It’s always good for me to come here to the enemy camp and see what you’re doing to undermine my efforts as an author, blogger, and decent human being. I will leave you with this haiku about my Casa Dracula series:
It’s no crime to laugh
At a girl amongst vampires
When “mayhem ensues”

Marta it is always a pleasure having you visit as it makes my nefarious undermining job so much easier when all I have to do is let you answer my simplistic queries. Laughter is in order.

Giveaway Guidelines
  1. To enter for a signed copy of Haunted Honeymoon suggest a title for a hypothetical 5th book in the Casa Dracula series or simply leave a comment or question for Marta. Winner will be selected randomly.
  2. To enter for the 3 book prize pack just tell me why you deserve the pack rather than any other reader. For a bonus entry write a haiku about the Casa Dracula series or a rhyme on the theme of 'vampires on honeymoon'. Remember that haiku uses a 5/7/5 syllable format (have a look at Marta's haiku's). Alternatively simply provide a rhyming stanza such as -
    Her loving groom
    they're cozy in their tomb
    .
    or
    I now pronounce you vamp and vamp-wife
    Please be true to sucking for life.
  3. Leave a way for us to contact you
  4. Contest is open to US/Canada.
  5. Contest ends October 12 at Midnight EST.
  6. Links to the interview/giveaway on your favourite social media site would be appreciated.

30 comments:

  1. Let's see.
    1 was Happy Hour at Casa Dracula
    2 was Midnight Brunch
    3 was The Bride of Casa Dracula
    4 was Haunted Honeymoon

    so 5 should be something Casa Dracula....

    The Murder at Casa Dracula?
    The Guests of Casa Dracula?

    And since I've only just heard about the series and it sounds so fun, but I have to take the car to the shop before I can buy books, I must write a haiku to try to win the box set....

    Vampire Honeymoon

    The beaches are out
    Not Hawaii or Figi
    The city of lights!

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  2. Hi, ClothDragon, thanks for your title suggestions! I hadn't even thought of a title if there were to be another book. I envy those writers who figured out a cool title that would work well in a series.

    You don't even want to see the lists of heinous titles that my editor and I discussed as possibilities.

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  3. Books 5, 6 , 7 etc...........Will have to get your own personal bookcase ;)

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  4. 80s lady, nice to see you! What I'd love to see is the Hungarian edition of my books, which have long been promised to me by my editor. A fan in Hungary hasn't been able to find them. Maybe the name was translated differently. Maybe it's Melancholy Morning at Camp Vampire or something.

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  5. They are married now so 5 could be Babby Shower at Casa Dracula

    sgiden at verizon.net

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  6. Thinking of book titles sounds fun and hard, maybe A Coffin for Two, or A Bloody Anniversary?

    luckysluna(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  7. Marta Acosta, I have to say that this series is the funniest vampire books I have read to that and my life is richer since I came across your books. I love Milagros's personality. She is hilarious and so sassy! Book 3, The Bride of Casa Dracula was extra special for me because of it dealing with Milagro giving up her U.S. citizenship. I never really though about what a big deal that would be until I read this book. I am a Panamanian American. I think you wrote her SO right!

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  8. Hi, Sandy, oh, I'd love to see Milagro as a young mother...with snarky Edna acting as a grandmother and giving her advice whether she wants it or not.

    Lucky Luna, I like Bloody Anniversary and a Coffin for Two is cute and would be great if they were also solving a double murder case. Thanks!

    Michelle, thanks for dropping by! I'm glad you mentioned that. One of the themes throughout the books is how Milagro feels that she's outside of things. The request that she pledge her loyalty to the vamps over her country hits her harder than it would a lot of people. I'm so glad you enjoy the series and I hope you'll love Haunted Honeymoon, too!

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  9. okay title for 5th book...

    9 months Later at Casa Dracula

    Marta, i love your books... big fan here :)

    I'd love to win a copy Haunted Honeymoon!
    thanks for the chance to win!

    stampitchick at yahoo dot ca

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  10. I adore Milagro. She’s sexy and smart and unapologetic, and I desperately want to go shopping with her and talk about books. I can’t wait to read Book 4, but must it be the last one? Hypothetical Book 5: A Cradle at Casa Dracula. (because I think everyone’s clever baby-related titles are great)

    My Haiku Ode to Milagro:

    It’s hard to focus
    On writing, when the world’s full
    Of fabulous men

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  11. Oh yes, and my email:
    larrieu dot aj at gmail dot com

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  12. Not entering the contest, I just wanted to say that it was a lovely interview!
    Hehe it would be fun if they could be a mystery-solving couple XD

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  13. Hi, Tina, nice to see you here! Yes, I get the feeling that Milagro would want to be a mom...she'd be a funny, affectionate one.

    A.J., I love your haiku to Milagro! I mentioned to a fan that Mil's childhood dream was to live within the pages of a book, and now she does. If I knew her, I'd keep trying to give her advice, but I'd definitely get a kick out of her.

    Force-oblique, hi! I like the mystery solving couple because so many of these series are just forced breakups of the characters and heartbreak. I like the love and laughter part of a marriage.

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  15. For a fifth book, I would have it be something like.....

    Mischief and Mayhem at Casa Dracula


    Something like that :) And it could be about Milagro being a mother! It would just be so cute :)
    Oh and again, thank you soooo much for sending me your first book! I just loved, loved, LOVED it! Can't wait to read the second one! :) I posted my review at:

    http://cafeofanswers.blogspot.com/2010/09/review-happy-hour-at-casa-dracula.html

    email: cafe.of.answers@gmail.com

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  16. I would love to win the pack of the first three books, so I know where I am when I buy the fourth.
    I deserve to win them because I am,
    1. adorable
    2. cute
    3. sweet
    4. precious and
    5. sensational and I love your blog.

    I am going to write a rhyme about
    'vampires on honeymoon'.

    Vampires on a honeymoon,
    Eager for nightlife.
    Eating blood jello by the spoon
    Passion as sharp as a knife.

    They crave to be together,
    Their desire makes them feel,
    As light as a feather.
    But they know, what will seal the deal.

    With a kiss and a wink,
    They are off for the hunt.
    Awe, blood to drink,
    As they slurp with a grunt.

    dorcontest at gmail dot com

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  17. This is my first encounter with you and your books, now I want to run out to get all of the books!It's so crazy!

    I deserve to win these books because my brain has been freezed up with other books that were crappy and I need yours to awaken my mind, refresh my soul and add adventure into my life!

    Wow I must now write a haiku...

    Eyes piercing my soul
    Love, lust, passion, no control
    My heart beats no more

    Toast, love, wedding ring,
    Bedroom, flowers, passion, wow,
    Making love, how fun!

    What was I thinking?
    Small coffin, No Bath, No Bed!
    No man is worth this!

    Love burst, suddenly, fast,
    We breath each other deeply,
    Smell, savor, enjoy.


    lisaglidewell[at]gmail[dot]com

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  18. Hi, Tiffani, I like Murder & Mayhem at Casa Dracula! Well, you know I love mayhem in general. Thanks for your review and your link! I owe you an email and will search through my inbox. Midnight Brunch is lots of fun and involves a party going out of control, one of my favorite things.

    Dor, I love your poem and the imagery...blood jello with a spoon by moonlight sounds fabulously vampirey and romantic.

    LadyGraeye, yes, you must get my books! SciFi Guy gives me a terrible time, but he's a great fan of my writing because it is clever. I'm scared that this means that my sense of humor is sort of...Canadian. Thanks so much for your poem -- a coffin for two is too cozy for most!

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  20. hmmm...

    Book 5: The Return of Milagro
    or
    Baby Days at Casa Dracula
    (lets hope the honeymoon was productive!)



    Casa Dracula
    oh the blood does flows nicely
    there's happiness found
    (I already have the first three books, just playing along!)

    Thanks!

    Dottie :)
    gymmom_027@yahoo.com

    love word verification: in time

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  21. I hadn't heard about your books before but they sound right up my alley! I almost didn't enter because I didn't think my answers would be good enough, but what the hell. :P

    My suggestion for the next title would be 'Vamps in the Cradle'.. or maybe 'Sleepless Days at Casa Dracula' (because they're already awake at night right?)

    I deserve to win because I'm a massive paranormal fiction fan, I voraciously read any vampire books I find. I'm very willing to throw myself into your series and read all of the books, probably in a weekend. :)

    Hmm, a poem.. that's a bit harder.

    So the honeymoon's done,
    Just a start to the fun,
    The next book will maybe..
    have a bloodthirsty baby.

    Who knew they could breed?
    How scary to breastfeed,
    An infant with fangs,
    Oh, the agony, dang!

    Wow, that's so terrible it made me laugh, hopefully it will do the same for you :)

    Kate1485 at hotmail.com

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  22. Wonderful event SciFi Guy!It's loverly to see you back around the blogosphere!

    Hi Marta!

    I DESERVE to win the first 3 book sin the series...simply because I adore the written word but am simply to broke at present to buy them for myself. That's not to say, I won't grab this great series if I don't win, it's just that I'll have to wait soooo much longer!

    Cheers!
    mleger0546(@)rogers(.)com

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  23. Hi, nice to see a few visits here!

    -Dottie, it would be great to have The Return of Milagro.
    -Jasmine, I don't know why people haven't heard of my books, but I'm guessing because they're shelved in general fiction. Your poem is terrific! Thanks for the laugh. Good luck in the contest...and if you don't win here I've got some others around.
    -Hi, Kate, good luck winning the books! It's hard to afford all the books we want.

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  24. Thx Doug for the Q&A...I love Marta
    and I'm so excited about this book. I honestly hope this will not be the last of Milagro(she is an unforgettable and charming character) it would be a crime not to see more of her ((sigh)

    As for Nancy's Theory of Style (I read it & loved it) granted I did want to shake Nancy a few times lol

    As a title for the next book "fingers crossed" how about

    The Return to Casa Dracula (thum thum thum) with dramatic drum rolls lol

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  25. Is Marta joking about the Haiku? Do I have to reread them and see for myself?

    Well, #5 should obviously be Baby Fang at Casa Dracula. (I had a small black cat that I used to call Baby Fang when she was a kitten.)

    acm05atjuno.com

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  26. I am no good at witty names, so I'll just say this, I really want to read the book!!

    Lane

    moiraethefates(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  27. A fifth book could be called Hauntingly Ever After or maybe Fangs for the Memories.

    Why do I deserve the first three books? Really, Doug. It’s Marta’s series. No one really DESERVES these books. They are a gift from on high (and you in your unfailing wisdom) to the rest of life’s lesser mortals. I am a lesser mortal. Therefore, I qualify. And, I believe I’m the first to qualify with such astoundingly brown-nosed logic, so that should count for something.

    Finally, a Haunted Honeymoon haiku:
    A cruise would be great.
    But too much sunlight spoils that…
    Honeymoon in tomb!

    (Email in profile. Thanks.)

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  28. It's a little hard to come up with a title for the 5th book when haven't read the first four! But I would really like to read them, especially because everyone says they're so funny.

    If I had to pick a reason why I deserve to win, I'd say it's because these books won't just sit on my bookshelf when I'm done with them. If I like the books, I'll lend them out to all my friends. Then when the next book comes out, all the people I've gotten hooked on this series will go out and buy it! I'm all about sharing the love when it comes to books.

    drakela90[at]aol[dot]com

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  29. Hi, wow, people decided to show up! I'm thrilled because I was getting all "nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I'll just eat worms."

    Tanya, I was just packing away some of the promo stuff for Nancy! The book came and went too fast, and Nancy deserves better. I wanted readers to get to love her and I posted the complete draft of the book at Scribd.

    Anne, I used to think I wanted to be a poet (yeah, I was a brilliant teenager) until I took a poetry class in college and learned that I have no sense of meter. I write poetry because I think it's funny. It's sad when people contact me asking for advice on their poetry and then I have to confess that I'm just joking around.

    Moira, my older brother used to wake me up by flicking on and off the lights and shouting "Moira, Moira, Moira!" Don't ask.

    LSU Reader, thanks for sucking up. I really can't get enough of that. The more extravagant the better.

    Lesley, I hope you win, but I suggest that you rent them out to friends instead of loan me. We'll split the take 75:25 (hey, I did all the writing).

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  30. Well since the last two were about marriage, how about the next book has an anniversary theme: Anniversary with a Bite?

    juliecookies(at)gmail.com

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