Friday, September 3, 2010

Author Interview + Contest

[Claudia Gabel Interview + Romeo & Juliet & Vampires Contest]

After reading Romeo & Juliet & Vampires Claudia Gabel's new release, I was lucky enough to be able to interview her (and stick around for a chance to win Romeo & Juliet & Vampires after the interview) . . .

Claudia Gabel was born in Virginia and grew up in Binghampton, New York (she even has a tattoo-with two meanings-as proof). Co-editor of her high school newspaper, she studied at Binghampton University, and earned her Master's in English and American Literature from Hofstra University.

A writer since kindergarten who had written three novels in her notebooks by seventh grade, Gabel is also the author of the In & Out series. She is currently a senior editor with Katherine Tegen Books.

Claudia Gabel's Books at

My questions are the default color and her answers are blue...

How/why did you decide to make Juliet the vampire?
In many teen paranormal novels, the heroine is on the periphery of the supernatural, rather than in the thick of it. That’s why I chose Juliet to be the vampire—because I thought it would be a nice change of pace to have the female protagonist in that role. I also wanted Juliet to go through a metamorphosis, so I created some new vampire lore in the book. Children of vampires actually start out as humans and then slowly transform into hungry blood-suckers the day they turn 16. There’s an initiation rite, too, and severe consequences if that act isn’t carried out. It makes for a very interesting predicament in Romeo and Juliet’s relationship!

What is your favorite modern Shakespeare movie adaptation?
I’d have to say West Side Story. I’m a huge fan of musicals, and I absolutely love the Bernstein & Sondheim score. Every time I hear the song” Somewhere,” I get chills. And how amazing and pretty was Natalie Wood? Second place is the Baz Lurmann version of Romeo & Juliet, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes. I was 21 when I first saw it and thought it was really visionary.

Is there a scene in the book that's your favorite? (Which one?) Was there one that was the toughest to write/adapt?
I think my favorite scene in the novel is when Romeo and Juliet tie the knot. In Shakespeare’s play, the wedding is off-screen, so I had to create the event from scratch. With that said, this was also the most difficult scene to write. I had to make sure the moment was incredibly romantic, yet at the same time, rife with vampire-infused tension. Hopefully I hit the mark just right!

People usually read Romeo and Juliet in school; what other classic (ie Huck Finn, The Awakening, Macbeth, Tale of Two Cities, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, The Odyssey) would you like to see done as a mash up book with a supernatural creature?
Great question! For some reason, I think Gone with the Wind might make a good mash-up book. It’s an epic story that has been reimagined before, and there’s an unforgettable romance/love triangle to expand on. Maybe the war between the North and the South could between zombies and vampires! Just a thought. :)

What advice would you give to young (or old) aspiring authors?
One of the most important things an aspiring writer can do is join a workshop, or at the very least, show his/her work to a trusted friend who’ll be honest. Every writer needs constructive criticism and feedback in order to improve his or her skills. Writers also have to be very diligent, too. If you get stuck on one story, start on something else and see if you can make more headway with a different idea. Frustration is natural when you are first starting out, so don’t trap yourself by sticking to one particular project. Lastly, you have to remember that you still are writer, even if you don’t get published. Writing is a labor of love, and that’s all that matters.

What was your favorite YA book in high school? Are there any new YA books/authors that you love?
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with the Ramona books, so as a teen, I was very excited to read Jean and Johnny by Beverly Cleary. I totally related to Jean, this awkward girl who lacks self-confidence and is crushing on a gorgeous guy. It was such a funny and touching book about first love. Now there are so teen novels and great authors out there, it’s hard to pick just one as a favorite! My Top 5 list of grade-A teen writers is Suzanne Collins, Libba Bray, Marcus Zusak, Melissa Marr, and Neil Gaiman.

And just for fun: should mint chocolate chip ice cream be green or white?
Green, without a doubt!

Now for the contest!
Romeo & Juliet & Vampires was a super fun read that I just loved (you can see my review HERE) and now, thanks to the publisher, HarperTeen, you have the chance to win a copy.

Open only to US residents.
Runs from now until 11:59 pm EDT Sept 13

Extra entries
+1 for new blog followers
+2 for old blog followers
+1 for posting this on your blog, facebook, twitter (up to +3)
+1 if you answer (in the comments) the question about what classic/supernatural mash-up you'd like to see done

Fill out the form below:
(right click here to open the form in a new window/tab)


  1. I wanna read Scarlet O'Hara in Gone with the Vampires!!!!!

  2. Great interview. I'm interested in this book.

    I'd like to see Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn battle zombies, vampires, and witches.

  3. Bwahaha I want to see The Scarlet Letter with zombies! OMG you adulteress AHH GET IT OFF MEEEEE

  4. I think it would be neat to have a gone with the wind and some supernatural creature mix-up. A shorter version, of course heh.


  5. Hamlet with zombies!

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  6. i'd like to see a mashup of vampires and Rebecca by Daphe du Maurier


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