Release Date: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.
The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.
It’ll be brutal... and awesome.
But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.(courtesy of Goodreads)
Daniel Marks writes young adult horror and fantasy, spends way too much time glued to the internets and collects books obsessively (occasionally reading them). He’s been a psychotherapist for children and adolescents, and survived earthquakes, volcanoes and typhoons to get where he is today, which is to say, in his messy office surrounded by half empty coffee cups. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, Caroline, and three furry monsters with no regard for quality carpeting. None.
1. Please describe Velveteen in one or two sentences.
In the midst of a purgatory-shattering uprising, a soul-retriever must juggle her responsibilities to her team, her self, and the future victims of the man who killed her—not to mention a newly deceased (and very hot) boy’s fixation.
2. Who was the most difficult character to write?
Oddly enough, Luisa, one of the twin poltergeists in the book, proved quite difficult. In the story’s first incarnation, an unpublished manuscript called THE TROUBLE WITH THE LIVING, Luisa was actually the protagonist of this world. But when I replaced her, things had to change with the girl’s personality to fit in with Velveteen and her gutsy, irreverent voice. So that was a challenge. I couldn’t have the two be so similar that I’d forget who was in charge.
3. Was Dante's Inferno part of your inspiration for the world in which Velveteen is set?
Actually no. I didn’t take any inspiration from other people’s visions of purgatory. My descriptions were influenced by art, however. In particular, an exhibit of famous pointalist George Seurat’s charcoal sketches at MOMA in NYC back in 2007. Most people know him for Le Grande Jatte, an idyllic scene of a Saturday at a riverside park, but his sketches have a grim grayscale that reminded me of ash. The whole brokedown city of Purgatory blossomed from that one idea. From there are sought out architectural examples of dilapidation and modeled things like the salvage dorms after buildings in Havana. The idea that all the supplies had to be things that wouldn’t be missed brought in the element of paper, as there is still so much waste, even in this day and age of recycling.
4. What are some of your favorite YA books? Either new or older.
Ooh. So many. I love A.S. King’s PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ, so strange and beautiful and really gut-wrenching. Dia Reeve’s BLEEDING VIOLET was a revelation in how weird YA could be and I loved it. There are so many layers in that book, I don’t think people realize. BEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray was pretty fantastic and hilarious and had some really interesting things to say about feminism and consumerism. I devoured it.
5. What is one piece of writing advice that you found really useful beyond the typical read a lot and write a lot?
Live a lot. That’s a huge piece that’s often forgotten. I know a lot of writers who spend so much time focused on their work they don’t experience new things, new relationships, the stuff that keeps us grounded to personality is the same mechanism that helps us to understand character and motivation. It’s a necessity. Experiencing life warms the words; it strips away the cold wall between the author and his or her readers.