The Waking Blog Tour: Q&A with Thomas Randall!

courtneybooks, interviews

This seems very well-timed after my horror movie post! Truefax: I have never been a stop on a blog tour before. I KNOW. Why not?! I really like blog tours. I love seeing what each blogger brings to the table in terms of questions and I love seeing the participating author’s responses. They’re fun! And the organization involved is a thing to behold (truefax #2: I am not very organized and it gives me something to aspire to).

So you can imagine how very very happy I am to report that I now get to cross ‘be a stop on a blog tour’ off my internet to-do list because I! Am! A! Stop! On! A! Really! Exciting! Blog! Tour! And it’s really exciting. It’s for this book with a premise alone that will haunt your dreams and keep you up at night and has a REALLY fantastic cover and can we get a look at this cover, yes please:

Isn’t that gorgeous? But also terrifying? I have never actually had the colour yellow give me such an uneasy feeling before, but that has all changed with this cover. Doesn’t the serene look on the model’s face seem totally at odds with her surrounding area and the font? I do believe this cover is the dictionary definition of ‘ominous’ and ‘spooky’ and ‘must-read.’


The Waking: Dreams of the Dead

Kara’s afraid to go to sleep–until the nightmares come when she’s awake…

Sixteen-year-old Kara Foster is an outsider in Japan, but is doing her best to fit at the private school where her father is teaching English for the year. Fortunately she’s befriended by Sakura, a fellow outsider struggling to make sense of her sister’s unsolved murder some months ago. No one seems to care about the beautiful girl who was so brutally murdered, and the other students go on as if nothing has happened. Unfortunately, the calm doesn’t last for long. Kara begins to have nightmares, and soon other students in the school turn up dead, viciously attacked by someone… or something. Is Sakura getting back at those she thinks are responsible for her sister’s death? Or has her dead sister come back to take revenge for herself?

This first book in a frightening new trilogy will have teens glued the page and scared to go to sleep. Must. Have.

Because I had the great fortune of being a part of this blog tour, I ALSO had the great fortune of being able to interview the author of The amazing Waking trilogy, Thomas Randall! Yay! So pull up a chair (wait–you are probably already in one, so in that case, inch a little closer to the screen) and read what he had to say about what inspired this trilogy, what readers can look forward to reading in it and what his favourite scary movie is!


What inspired you to write The Waking?

I’ve always had a fascination with Japan and Japanese culture. The dichotomy–or at least what I, as an outsider, view as a dichotomy–between modern Japan and historial Japan, between brightly lit industry and deeply shadowed myth, is intriguing. Since I love folklore and mythology in general, that led me to read a lot of Japanese folktales and to an awareness of the stories of Noh theatre. Plus, I’ve always been interested in the absence of a traditional vampire in Japanese legends. There are all sorts of vampiric creatures–demons and spirits and such that drink blood–but not the vampire that you find in European and, in variations, African and even some other Asian countries. Plus, Kara’s story is so much about being a stranger in a strange land, which always offers really interesting opportunities for a writer.

It will really offer something new and exciting for readers! How long did it take you to write the novel?

I’ve written the whole trilogy now, so I don’t recall exactly, but it typically takes me three or four months to write a novel.

What kind of a protagonist can readers look forward to having in Kara?

I love Kara. She’s not fearless, but she’s also not intimidated by life. She’s struggling with the death of her mother two years earlier and she still grieves, but she loves her father and they have a great relationship. They’re starting over together, the way she knows her mother would have wanted them to, but when her father begins to have feelings for a woman he meets in Japan, Kara is startled by the complicated emotions that brings out in her. Backing up, though…she arrives at this new school in a new place…the only gaijin student at Monju-no-Chie school, and though she doesn’t know anyone, she stands up to the girls who would look down on her and manages to make friends. She’s fiercely loyal. What I put into Kara are the qualities I think we would all want in a friend.

Kara definitely sounds like she’d be an awesome friend to have. What was the editorial process for The Waking like?

Interesting question. My original editor at Bloomsbury left partway through the editorial process on the first book. My current editor, the most excellent Margaret Miller, inherited the project from her. But she seemed to really like the trilogy right off the bat and got up to speed quickly. The worry when a book is “orphaned” (when an editor leaves) is always that the new editor will treat the book as something that isn’t THEIRS, and not give it the attention she would give the projects that she acquired herself. Margaret jumped in with both feet and has been a great editor and champion for the trilogy, and been very engaged in the process of making the books the best they could be, so I was very fortunate in that case.

If The Waking was turned into a movie, who would you like to see cast in the lead roles?

Such a difficult question. I’m not sure if she can still pass for sixteen, but I love Amanda Seyfried. Some readers might come after me with torches and pitchforks, but I’d also say Miley Cyrus. I have a daughter who is seven years old so I saw the Hannah Montana movie and was pleasantly surprised how natural she seems when she’s not mugging the way they do on the TV show. I’m very curious to see how she does in the drama she’s shooting right now. Yes, Miley, come make this movie, please. :)

I am fairly certain Miley reads this blog so you’re in luck! ;) What’s your favourite scary movie?

It depends on the day, really. I have dozens. Right now I’d recommend an independent horror film called SPLINTER. It has its flaws, but is remarkably well executed for such a small-budget indie, and it has a fantastic central conceit and monster.

I have never heard of Splinter! Now it’s going on my to-watch list. What made you decide to write young adult novels and what do you enjoy most about writing young adult novels?

Teens are such a passionate audience. They love what they love more than people at any other age. That’s great motivation for someone like me, who hasn’t let go of the same kind of excitement, no matter how long it’s been since I was a teenager. People who’ve read the book have been very complimentary about the way I’ve gotten into the minds of these characters, but I’m not going to make any qualititative judgements about my own work. Readers need to decide for themselves what they like. I will say I think it’s damn creepy, and that’s something else I think teens are more enthusiastic about than older readers.

The Waking is a trilogy (yay!). When can readers look for the next two installments on the shelves?

That’s a good question. I’m not 100% sure, but I do know that they’re being released in fairly close proximity. I think the second one is as soon as February or March 2010.

What other horror novels would you recommend to those who have enjoyed Waking?

Hmm. Hard question. Stephen King, for sure. Classics like THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson. For modern YA horror, you see more urban fantasy than horror. Garth Nix’s excellent Abhorsen Trilogy (SABRIEL, LIRAEL, ABHORSEN) is fantasy, but very dark stuff. Neil Gaiman’s THE GRAVEYARD BOOK has ghosts and vampires and other monsters in it, but isn’t really horror.

Where can we find you on the web? Come by and read a preview of THE WAKING: DREAMS OF THE DEAD and let me know what you think.

Thank you so much, Thomas! The Waking sounds fantastic! Truefax #3: know what my favourite way to end a blog post featuring an exciting new release and an interview with its author is? This way:

It’s in stores NOW!

Follow The Waking Blog Tour:

September 28th: Bildungsroman
September 29th: You are here!
September 30th: readergirlz
October 1st: lectitans
October 2nd: Sarah’s Random Musings
October 2nd: Steph Su Reads
October 5th: Books By Their Cover
October 6th: Kim Baccellia
October 6th: BookChic
October 7th: Presenting Lenore
October 8th: Galleysmith
October 9th: Just Blinded Book Reviews