Friday 28 August 2009

Featured on Friday: Beth Fantaskey

Beth Fantaskey lives in Pennsylvania and has two children. She has a degree in journalism and Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side is her first novel.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
I like to write in my home office during the day. I need to get started in the morning, right after I read the newspaper, or the whole thing gets off track!

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
As a teenager, I loved authors like Tolkien and Dickens and Austen and Melville... pretty much the same people I love today (and sometimes reference in my own fiction!) And classic humorist James Thurber was always a real favorite, too. I used Thurber's "My Life and Hard Times" when I taught basic composition at Susquehanna University, and I was laughing out loud - while my students looked at me like I was crazy. I guess you had to grow up with him to get it!

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
"A Thurber Carnival" (an anthology of James Thurber's funniest stuff), "Fierce Pajamas" (a collection of the best humor writing from the New Yorker Magazine), and Charles Dickens' "The Pickwick Papers." (Actually, I'm surprised at how easy that was... I guess I would want to laugh a lot if I was alone on an island!)

4. I loved that Jess wasn’t incredibly skinny. Did you set out to make her that way? Why?
Yes, I wanted Jess to be an average-sized heroine. I get tired of the whole "skinny = beautiful" thing. Who says those two things have to equate? As Lucius would say, why not have a presence? Really, though, Jess could have broken other stereotypes about what girls "should" be... I just chose weight because it's such a fixation. In my next book, Jekel Loves Hyde, the heroine is very shy (like me), but proves that she's still a strong person. I like people who are different from the "ideal."

5. Where did you get the idea for the warring Romanian vampire royal families?
Oh, gosh... I have no idea! I guess it's the old Romeo/Juliet thing about forbidden love and families that are torn apart. Clashing families is a classic theme, because family fights are so intense, I suppose. When you add vampires into that mix, there's great potential for chaos!

6. Would you ever write a sequel to Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side?
I am considering that right now... so many people are asking that I wouldn't rule it out. However, it's still up in the air, because I've been so focused on completing Jekel Loves Hyde. I'm just now seriously turning my attention to the possibility of a sequel.

7. Jess had a very realistic reaction to learning that vampires exist. Was this something that you saw as important?
Incredibly important! I tried to imagine how a girl would really feel in Jess's situation, and rational girl that she is, I didn't think she'd just say, "Okay, that's great!" She'd be skeptical. Heck, I'd be skeptical!

8. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
I'm still putting the very last finishing touches on Jekel Loves Hyde - seeing the cover art, that kind of thing - but beyond that, it's all top secret. Well, pretty much secret! :-)

Thank you very much, Beth! You can visit Beth at her website here and head over to her blog to help plan Jessica and Lucius’s wedding here. You can also read my review of Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side here.



  1. I can't wait to read Jessica's Guide, I've been wanting to read it for awhile, but never seem to get a copy. Great interview(:

  2. I really need to read Jessica's Guide. Great interview!

  3. Jessica's Guide is great, I can't wait for Jekel Loves Hyde

  4. Great interview! I've seen this book around, I'll have to pick it up.

  5. I love Jessica's Guide, and Beth! Both are pretty damn cool :)

    Great interview!


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