I was lucky to get to interview debut author Christine Johnson, who's YA book Claire de Lune came out in May.
With so many werewolf novels being written now, how did you make the novel your own?
It was pretty easy, since I started drafting Claire long before the (very recent) popularity of werewolf novels! I started to build my own particular wolf mythology by researching traditional werewolf myths, and then superimposing that on my idea of an all-woman werewolf species. I looked at which pieces fit, which needed to be turned on their heads, etc. Building Claire’s world was challenging, but oh so fun.
Did you put parts of people you know in real life into your characters?
Yes and no - no character is based on any one particular person I know, but I might take the hair from a girl I knew in high school and mix it with a quirk of a boss I once had and stir in a little bit of the musical tastes of one of the teens on my block. Pretty soon, the character is so uniquely their own that they don’t resemble anyone - they’re just *themselves*. That’s when they’re ready to be part of the story.
How did you come up with the title Claire de Lune?
It’s a very nerdy play on words, as well as being (obviously) a fairly famous piece of music. In french, Claire de Lune means “moonlight,” which is appropriate for a werewolf novel, but with “Claire” as the protagonist’s name, it could also be read as “Claire of the moon.” Again - so perfect for a werewolf novel! I loved the multi-layered meanings combined with the musical reference. It was too good to resist!
Describe Claire in one word and why?
Ooh, that’s really hard. I guess I’d have to go with “dedicated.” She’s very loyal, and also stubborn, and a little bit idealistic when it comes to her own vision of how the world should be. “Dedicated” sort of covers all those traits.
Have any books/projects you're currently working on?
Yes! Nocturne, the sequel to Claire de Lune, is just getting ready to go to copyedits. It will be out next May (2011.) I’m so excited about the sequel. I can’t wait for everyone else to read it!
What's the last book you just finished reading and enjoyed?
I recently read Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves and was so intrigued by the voice of her main character. It’s a very unique story, and her imagery is quite powerful. I also recently finished Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell, and her writing is so concise and clean - she manages to say in sentences what it often takes other writers pages to get across. And by the time I finished that one, I found myself fighting off traces of a southern accent that I don’t naturally have - always a good sign that a book has gotten inside my head when I start talking like the characters!
If you could be any paranormal creature what would it be and why?
Oooh, great question. I’ve answered this once or twice before, but now it’s summer and that makes me need to say Mermaid. I *adore* the water, and while other people have recurring dreams about flying, I have recurring dreams that I can breathe underwater. I *love* those dreams. So, yeah. Gimme a fishtail. I’m going Mermaid.
Imagine being stranded on an island. What would be the first thing you'd do?
Panic. I’m not well-equipped for survivalist situations. After I finished panicking, I’d probably go see if I could find some fruit trees and water and pray that I didn’t get eaten by some undiscovered species of giant centipede. *shudder*. Of course, if I was stranded on an island with a nice hotel and fruity rum drinks, I’d change my identity and stay forever!
Anything else you'd like to say?
Thanks for having me “over” for a chat. It’s been so much fun! If anyone wants to hear more of my random ramblings, Twitter (@cjohnsonbooks) is a good place to find me doing just that.Thanks so much for the fabulous answers Christine! Readers, be sure to check out her book Claire de Lune.