Today I have the pleasure of introducing multi-talented writer Danielle DeVor, author of young adult books as well as horror for grown ups.
“Constructing Marcus” by Danielle DeVor is a very sweet ghost hunting book, probably written for young adults but with enough appeal for this young reader.
Our heroine Emma is a teenager with an anorexic mother and an interest in ghost hunting. When the family moves to Boston from Florida she loses all of her friends but keeps up her good spirit and engages in some research regarding the house. When she finds out that a witch was killed in the house her interest is sparked, as are her emotions when she meets the attractive Marcus, a ghostly creature made by said witch.
It is hard to describe just how lovely the main character is, melancholic but strong and full of life despite her problems. She is mature for her age but also just a girl, which makes her extremely likeable, simply a great protagonist for such a book.
The ghost hunting part of the book is also handled well. We are all inundated with ghost hunting programmes on TV and watching Emma going about it in her unassuming and gentle way is a pleasant and refreshing change from that norm. The paranormal detective story and the suspense in this book are kept at a good pace to keep the interest going but also giving enough space for the other issues of the book, particularly the parent-child relationships.
Those are also full of thought, DeVor spends a lot of time describing the parents and making interesting and varied as characters to stop falling into the trap of cliquee. I loved the mother with all her foibles and flaws and Marcus is also a fun character and one that many young female readers will enjoy reading.
I found this a low key yet hugely enjoyable read that I finished in almost one sitting. I would like my nieces to have a friend like Emma and a boyfriend like Marcus.
Interview with Danielle:
Tell us a little about yourself as writer and a person.
I guess you could say that I have always been a very imaginative person. I can remember being a kid and creating very specific scenarios for the toys I was playing with at the time. Usually, it was a combination of Barbies and Star Wars figures. I really believe that helped me create worlds and situations in my writing as I got older.
What made you decide to write for / about young adults? And why did you chose to write about ghost hunting?
I am one of those people who felt the old John Hughes films- The Breakfast Club still remains my favorite film. So, for me, it was natural to tap into that age group and create my own worlds. Ghost hunting was something I wanted to add to Constructing Marcus. You always hear the old, “Write what you know” advice. And, well, I belong to a ghost hunting organization called the West Virginia Paranormal Research Society.
Tell us a little about the history of the book. How did you have the inspiration for your story and your characters?
I have always been the kid that researches weird things, so finding odd occult information is nothing new. Several years ago, I stumbled across a book about séances and Ouija boards and there was a story about a group of spiritualists in England who essentially “created” their own ghost “constructed” from ideas, a made up personality, looks, and powers. It is said that if you visit this house, the “Construct” will still speak to you via a Ouija board. So, when I decided to write a YA Paranormal Romance, this old story popped into my head and I knew it was something I could work with.
Do you have a particular message you would like to convey?
I don’t really think of my writing as having a specific message, but I’m sure that my views on certain thoughts come out in my writing whether I mean them to or not.
How much of the stories was fixed before you started writing and how much changed during the process?
Not too much. I knew Emma’s name. Marcus went through several name changes. But, I knew I was writing about a teenage ghost hunter who moved into a spooky house in Boston. The rest kind of just came along as I wrote. I fully admit it, I’m a total punster.
Which of your characters was most enjoyable to write?
In this book, it was definitely Emma. I liked making her strong and not give into her mother’s mental problems.
Who would play them in a film?
Emma, I would like played by a young brunette. Jennifer Lawrence would be perfect.
Are you like any of the characters in the book?
I’m a little bit like Emma in terms of standing up for what I believe in, but she puts up with things a lot longer than I do. LOL.
What is your life like? What do you do for pleasure and work when you are not writing?
I currently live in West Virginia. Lots of mountains around. Right now, writing is my job. When I’m not writing or doing promo for my writing, I read, watch lots of horror films, and crochet.
Who are your literary influences? What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?
Literary influences- Anne Rice, Stephen King, Richard Matheson.
My favorite books are: Blood Thrist by LA Freed, I am Legend by Richard Matheson, Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. There are more, but that’s off the top of my head.
My favorite movies are: The Breakfast Club, The Lost Boys, The Shining ( the one with Jack Nicholson), and An American Werewolf in London.
My favorite albums are: The Rolling Stones Greatest Hits, Type O Negative Bloody Kisses, and The Soundtrack to the movie Queen of the Damned
What are your views on independent publishing?
I think it is a great option for authors if they can afford to do it right. Hiring a good editor and a good cover artist are expensive parts of the process.
Can you recommend any indie books/ authors?
Travis Luedke’s The Shepherd, Maer Wilson’s Relics (her later books in the series will all be Self Pubbed), and Simon Okill’s Bigfoot series
What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?
My best quality would probably be my loyalty to my friends. But, the oddest, would probably be that even though I’m an extreme horror film fanatic, I am afraid of the dark.
What are your favourite animal?
My favorite animal is the bat. I’ve even gone out with the DNR and helped tag bats for a study before.
What would you take to a remote island?
My favorite books. My harp. Tools to be able to make myself shelter and enable me to hunt for food.
Who would you like to invited for dinner and why?
I would like to be invited for dinner by Hannibal Lecter if he was eating a normal meal. There is something about the character and intelligence he has that fascinates me. Of course, it would be like throwing treats to a shark, but it definitely wouldn’t be a boring evening.
What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects?
I am currently working on the sequel to my vampire book, Tail of the Devil. I hope to have it finished by the first of December. You can find out about my already published books and future books at my blog/website
What else would you like us to know about you and your books?
I love hearing from readers, so feel free to contact me via social media.
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Book Buy links:
Tail of the Devil
Danielle DeVor spent her early years fantasizing about vampires and watching “Salem’s Lot” way too many times. After living briefly in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she moved back to her hometown to write. When not writing and reading about weird things, you will find her hanging out at the nearest coffee shop, enjoying a mocha frappuccino. Visit her at danielledevor.wordpress.com
I have since had the opportunity to read Danielle’s other work and here are my reviews for them:
“Tail of the Devil” by Danielle DeVor is a well written Vampire Story about a 15 year old boy. Mathias Drvar has run away from his evil aunt who became his guardian after his parents dies in an accident.
Living on the streets of New York he occasionally earns money by doing odd job for a mysterious man named Nic. On one of those missions Mathias gets injured and awakes in the hands of Vlad Dracula.
This is where the fun begins, as Dracula hates being called by that name and the mighty Nosferatu prefers to be called Nossy. It turns out that Mathias is a distant relative and belongs to the Vampire lineage and will be taught how to be a Vampire and how to fight his enemies.
DeVor has created a very entertaining set of characters in this coming of age of a vampire tale. Mathias is a great if somewhat unlikely and often reluctant adolescent hero and his allies are equally colourful. With Mathias we learn more about the world of Vampires, Lilith the evil Queen and Mathias’ s special role.The use of language might keep it slightly out of bounds for the youngest of the younger audiences but although the tone is dark at times it always remains slightly light hearted.
Written with much love for the genre and attention to descriptive detail this is a wonderful Vampire story that has a great warm feel to it at times and then takes you into captivating scenes of action. For fans of the paranormal and supernatural this must be a feast with its own take on the Vampire myth.
Now that Mathias is established I hope this will become a series of books that will let us follow our young hero on further adventures.
Very well done
“Sorrow’s Point” by Danielle DeVor reads like a classic horror novel. Beginning with an ominous and horrifying scene at a house in Sorrow’s Point in 1950 the tone is set for a dark and sinister tale.
In the present now an ‘almost’ priest and a witch are called to help a family that lives in the house now to exorcise a demon that possesses a 6 year girl and put up with the dreams, the noises and lots of other creepy scary stuff going on in there.
Told in separate narratives and with flashes back to 1950 we gradually unravel the secrets of the house.
The horror in this novel is subtle and it is everywhere, there is a continuous sense of impending doom and a sense of foreboding that permeates even the parts that do not deal with the exorcism.
When a policeman arrives at the house in 1950 his reaction and shock are almost more unsettling than what actually will be shown to the reader. Likewise, when Jimmy, the man who would have been a priest, thinks about his life and whether or not he might be suitable as an exorcist, there is again a sense of anxiety and an acknowledgement of the magnitude of the task ahead. Tabby, the ‘witch’ brings her own brand of darkness to the table.
Nothing is as scary than a little innocent child behaving convincingly like a demon possessed monster and that is exactly what we eventually get. The scenes with her and the spirits were very scary to me.
The team is made up of great characters, each bringing a different angle to the story and with the uncovering of the past there is a mystery aspect to the story, adding to the richness of the reading experience.
This is a must read for fans of exorcism and horror.