Sunday, December 23, 2012

Interview: Author Jacinta Maree (My Demonic Ghost)

Author Jacinta Maree stops by TeamNerd to chat about her debut novel, My Demonic Ghost. She also opens up about where her love for writing came from, what her favorite aspect of writing is, and what her favorite place to go to is in Japan along with some other fun tidbits. Enjoy!

Annabell: Tell us a little about yourself.

Jacinta Maree: I’m born in Melbourne Australia and I’ve lived there my entire life so far. I enjoy basketball and watching movies/ playing games (both board games and video games) with my friends. I love anything oriental and seemed to have gotten a bad habit of collecting tea sets. Favourite animal is most definitely a cat and favourite destination to travel to is Japan.

Annabell: Where did your love for writing and storytelling come from?

Jacinta Maree: Honestly I have no idea. None of my family members were writers, though my mother was a big fan of reading books. I’ve been writing for so long, I can’t even remember how it all started. Grade two I had to write a story for class and I ended up writing about a haunted house infested with bats, and from there I was writing every spare moment I had. Whenever my parents tried to punish me when I did something wrong, instead of sending me to my room I was sent to the laundry as they knew I would have a blast writing in my bedroom. 

Annabell: My Demonic Ghost centers around ghosts who have done not so great things in their lives attaching themselves to humans to keep from crossing over. Where did the inspiration come from? Why did you decide to debut your novel in the supernatural and paranormal genres?

Jacinta Maree: The idea actually came to me as I was sitting in my philosophy class at Ivanhoe Girls Grammar listening about the teachings of Descartes. He was talking about the theory of consciousness and it just started to make me question all the things we as a human race just accepted, especially about the stories of the afterlife. One question Descartes brought up was the possibility of a demon god, which then turned me towards the question of ‘how do we know that we aren’t controlled by something corrupted by power?

From there, the story mutated its self to what it is today. I had wanted to write something where good and bad are flipped around, and instead of ‘Angels’ being white coated heroes I wanted to draw attention towards the demons and the so called ‘bad spirits’. Suppose I was interested in writing a story from a different perspective where the stereotypical case of angel equals good and demon equals bad doesn’t apply here, and showing that not everything is as black and white as we had first assumed. 

As to why did I write in the genre of supernatural and paranormal, well I guess that comes from my interests in the unknown. Why write in a world with limitations?

Annabell: Rachel is the heroine of My Demonic Ghost and she’s fifteen. Why did you choose to narrate the book through the eyes of someone younger rather than older?

Jacinta Maree: I could have easily written it in a grown up version of Rachael, but I felt the message behind her struggle with Lock and spirits wouldn’t have been so powerful if they were older.  

I wanted to write from innocence and take everyone back to the heart pounding, stomach twisting, nervous sweating anxiety that comes with first time love. I also believe that having Lock and Rachael so young helps the impact of Lock’s damnation feel much more enhanced.

Annabell: Lock (Evan) is a Banished Spirit and a nice looking one at that. Why do you think readers will connect with his character?

Jacinta Maree: Mainly because he is far from perfect. I find that he feels so real to me because he makes mistakes, causes fights and says the wrong things, as would any young boy thrown into the situations as he is forced into. He’s not your prince charming that you are looking for, he isn’t even the bad boy that girls fantasies over. He is troubled and rude half the time, but his defaults make him seem so real and easier to connect with.

Annabell: Rachel and Evan start off not being able to stand each other and progress to developing a romance. But the ending leaves them in a difficult place. Will the second installment progress their relationship? Will Betrayal and Gargoyle return? What are some fun tidbits you’re willing to give away about what fans can expect?

Jacinta Maree: The ‘My Demonic Ghost’ is actually a trilogy, so the second book takes you back to find out about Lock’s past and how everything fell into place. Readers will be able to see Lock (Evan) before he became what he is, and how all the other Banished Spirits and Hunters/ Reapers got involved into his story. Rachael also makes an appearance, but the story isn’t told through her eyes but through a different character.

Betrayal and Gargoyle’s parts become bigger, and without focusing on Lock and Rachael too much, we get to see a whole new side of the roles and truths behind the spirits who are cursed. I’ve written it in a way that makes readers sit back and think, ‘oh, wow so that’s why that happened’. One thing I’m happy to give away about Book Two, is that it is told by a Reaper this time and not a human host. 

Annabell: Was there a character you connected with in My Demonic Ghost more than others?

Jacinta Maree: I really connected with Lock out of everyone, even more so than Rachael. It must be because he was the loudest and most difficult character I had to deal with. It was like I was talking to a hormonal, irrational young boy who thought of himself as more important than everyone else. I try and tell him to go do something and the next thing I know he’s done the exact opposite probably out of spite too. But at times I’m actually really surprised by how sincere and gentle he could become when he is hanging out with Rachael. You get to see the real him under his demonic mask.

But, even after saying that, I also connected well with Rachael especially about her insecurities and the first time experience in trying to work out her feelings towards Lock. I think we’ve all been down that road at some point in our lives.

Annabell: What’s an aspect of writing that you just LOVE? What’s an aspect that’s more difficult for you?

Jacinta Maree: I love dialogue. That’s not saying that I’m the best at it, for actual fact I know it’s something that’s so important and can be disastrous to a story if it isn’t done correctly, but it’s something that I love to both read and write. When a character speaks you get to see into their thoughts and into their personalities. Something that I’ve found difficult and have tried to practice and improve on is fight scenes. Especially fast moving with lots of action scenes. Too much detail and the reader finds it difficult to put the picture together, too lack of detail and the reader doesn’t know what’s going on.

Annabell: What are some other genres you would like to write in the future and why?

Jacinta Maree: I’m trying my hand at writing Sci-Fi; reason being is because I love stories where the possibility of it becoming true isn’t as far-fetched as writing about spirits and demons. Usually when I hear Sci-Fi I get the image in my head of complicated scientific based stories where you spend half the time trying to work out the physics or reality of the authors idea, but I want to write one where you don’t really have to worry too much about the hard core facts and just indulge in an alter reality.

Annabell: Growing up, what were some of your favorite books to read or be read to by your mom? As an adult, who are some of your favorite authors now? Have either the books or writers influenced the way your approach your own work?

Jacinta Maree: Would it surprise you to hear that I never read anything during my childhood. I was too activated in my own little stories to read anything, but I started reading novels when I hit the age of 13.The first novel I actually read by my own choice was Stephen King’s Rose Madder novel.

Now my favourite writer is Brent Weeks (and of course still Stephen King) and though I would love to write like them I feel like I’ve already developed my own voice of writing, so I’m quite happy just to sit back and enjoy.

Annabell: If My Demonic Ghost were to become a movie, which actors would you choose to play the roles of the characters?

Jacinta Maree: For me, it’s more believable that My Demonic Ghost would become an animation more so than an actual movie. When it comes to selecting actors to play the roles, I’ve always imagined it would have been a bit like how Harry Potter started. I want fresh new faces that people would see them as Rachael or Lock and not a famous actor just playing the roles. Hopefully that made sense.

Random Fun Questions:

What’s your favorite kind of ice cream?

Jacinta Maree: Most definitely Rocky Road ice cream, so delicious.

How many times have you been to Japan? Where is one of your favorite places to eat there and why?

Jacinta Maree: Since my return on the 15th of July 2012, that would now be my second trip to the wonderful country of Japan. My first time was during a school trip when I was 14 years old.

I loved every bit of it. My friend and I went around blogging about the different type of cafes and different foods and attractions they had.

We especially enjoyed our stay in one particular café called Butler’s Café in Shibuya Tokyo. As my Japanese is very limited, it’s was especially nice to speak to people in English instead of the awkward smile and nod. The Butler café has been set up for Japanese women to be able to interact with foreign men in a safe environment, practice their English and get treated like Royalty. We, on the other hand, were just happy to be able to communicate with other people.

Definitely recommend it to all travelers going to Japan. Nothing wrong with spoiling yourself every now and again. Otherwise, around every corner there were curry shops and dessert cafes and other wonderful and strange sweet cakes and treats. Having a huge sweet tooth, I was in heaven.

Would you ever go ghost hunting? Where would you like to go if you did?

Jacinta Maree: Ha ha ha, ghost hunting hasn’t actually crossed my mind. I don’t know if I would enjoy having a Banished Spirit attached itself to me, especially if it is anything like how the book goes.

Easiest spot would be a grave yard I would presume. Knowing me, I would just end up imagining that ghosts were there and end up scaring myself.

Most favorite smell? Least favorite smell?

Jacinta Maree: Fresh baked cookies is my favourite smell in the entire world. Though I also enjoy Lemon Grass scent as long as it’s mild. Least favourite … dirty water smell.  Yuck!
Were you afraid of the dark as a child?

Jacinta Maree: Yep I was one of those kids who slept with the light on. I think I went through all the phases, scared of the monsters under the bed, in the closet, in the small gap between bed and wall but I grew out of that fear (eventually).

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Jacinta Maree: Serious answer – chicken feet, thanks to my lovely boyfriend for introducing that to me. Not so serious answer, I had an oyster once when I was much younger and my father convinced me it was whale snot.

Annabell: Big thank you to Jacinta Maree for chatting with me! You can find Jacinta on Deviantart and Twitter.

Buy the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

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