It's amazing how one little book can cause such a stir. Not only has Sue Dent's book Never Ceese managed to capture the imaginations of its readers but some very interesting readers at that. And no wonder. The book has some very interesting characters in it. Interesting enough to catch the attention of ... well other characters.
Kitty Morgan, my ditzy, boy crazy character from Time Masters Book One; The Call, was last seen by Christian Fiction Review Blogger Cathi Hassan as she spotted Kitty hopping a plane to London. Kitty has been obsessed with Sue Dent's characters Richard and Ceese from Never Ceese and seems bent on ferreting some information out of them. Let's see what she found out, shall we? Now it would be much more fitting to have another character from Time Masters interrogate Kitty. But when asked they all suddenly had something to do, so now yours truly is stuck with the job. (Those traitors!) I just had to find out what went on during Kitty's visit, not without at least a little help though. And as Kitty is now back between the pages of Time Masters where she belongs, you the reader will have to make do with the police transcript of our conversation:
TTM: Tell me Kitty, when you flew to London, what exactly was it you hoped to gain by questioning anyone? And just what the heck were you asking folks about anyway?
KM: STARES BLANKLY AT THE WALL.
TTM: Kitty, you might want to pay attention and answer the question.
KM: OH! I'm sorry! What was the question?
TTM: EXASPERATED. What were you doing chasing after people in London and why were you wanting to question them!?
KM: Oh, uh ... bats and wolves.
TTM: Bats and wolves?!
KM: Yes, bats and wolves. You see, my cat disappeared a few weeks ago, remember when I borrowed your blog to let every one know?
TTM: How can any of us forget?
KM: Anyway I had heard rumors of a bat and a wolf in the vicinity and thought one of them may have had something to do with it but I was wrong. Boy was I wrong!
TTM: How so?
KM: Well, niether the bat or the wolf had anything to do with my missing cat! And come to think of it, the bat and the wolf really aren't what they are at all. Well, sort of.
TTM: Could you be more specific?
KM: FIDGETS IN HER CHAIR ... A LOT. Well you see, I found something that explains about the bat and the wolf and thought that maybe I might find out something to help me find my cat!
KM: Well what I found will astound you!
TTM: And just what did you find?
KM: HANDS BOOK TO INTERREGATOR This!
TTM: INTERREGATOR TAKES BOOK It's a book.
KM: I know!
TTM: PAUSES AND BEGINS TO COUNT TO TEN SLOWLY Yes Kitty, I know it's a book. But just what does it have to do with anything?
KM: Read the cover, silly!
TTM: Never Ceese
TTM: SHUDDERS WHILE PINCHING BRIDGE OF NOSE Precisly what?
KM: The bat is really a vampire and the wolf is really a werewolf!
TTM: STARES BLANKLY AT KITTY
KM: Really! It's all chronicled in that book there! This woman named Sue Dent recorded the whole thing and everything is in that book!
KM: Oh yes! You see, there is a vampire named Richard, and a werewolf named Ceese and they both are striving for the same thing. Well, maybe not at first, Richard seems a little reluctant to believe Ceese when she tells him she wants to be rid of the curse put on her to be a werewolf. The same curse she could easily pass on to another person if she wanted to. Well, so can Richard for that matter but Richard you see, doesn't believe that the curses which make them what they are can be lifted at all. So he's not so hot on the idea at first. But at least both of them agree that what has happened to them is a curse. They also both seem to think that the other is awefully familiar somehow. Like they've known each other before or maybe they've run into each other but had forgotten about it or maybe it's that dejabu .... I mean dejavu thing ...
TTM: BEGINS TO RUB TEMPLES AND SAYS NOTHING
KM: ...but anyway, my question is do they remember who they really are? Could they? How painful would it be? I'm telling you it's all in the book you hold in your hand! OH and that's not all! They travel to New York to find the one person who can possibly help them and guess what?!
TTM: MOTIONS TO HER TO CONTINUE
KM: Not only can the girl they are hoping is able to help, can't as she's still looking for the same answers they are, but there's danger waiting for them! This, this, this ... oh what would you call him? Ahhh a bad person! That's it, a really bad person has plans of his own for poor Richard and Ceese! Ah, why is your eye twitching like that?
TTM: COVERS EYE WITH ONE HAND Let me see if I can translate all this. Richard and this Ceese travel to New York in search of answers to see if their curses can be lifted, but when they get there they encounter a lot more than they bargained for?
KM: Yeah! That's it! Your eye is stil twitching.
TTM: Never mind about my eye. What else happens?
KM: Well, what I wanted to ask them is why they are searching so hard? What if they don't find they are looking for? What price are they willing to pay to make sure they get to heaven?
KM: Well of course, silly! Why else would you want a curse that was put on you lifted? Wouldn't you want to be able to go to heaven and be with Jesus when you die?
TTM: STARES AT KITTY DUMBFOUNDED Indeed. And do they? And what about the bad person? What's he up to?
KM: Well if you knew about a real vampire and werewolf what would you do? Don't vampires and werewolves live for a really, really, really long time?
TTM: Yes, yes I suppose they do. So this bad person's greed is driving him to do some pretty despicable things?
KM: Oh you better beleive it!
TTM: Well, what happens then? What does he do? What sort of danger are Richard and Ceese in? Do they get out of it, is anyone hurt, do they finally find the answers they are looking for?
KM: FIDGETS IN CHAIR AGAIN.
TTM: Kitty ....
KM: I don't know.
TTM: What do you mean you don't know?!
KM: I couldn't finish, it's too scary for me!
TTM: But we all want to know what happens! How do Richard and Ceese meet in the first place and what do you mean they seem familiar to each other? Do they know each other from a long time ago or what? How do they know to go to New York to search for answers? Who is the person in New York that is helping them?
KM: FOLDS HER ARMS DEFIANTLY I don't want to talk about it any more.
TTM: BEGINS TO PACE THE ROOM What do you mean you don't want to talk about it anymore! You can't just leave us all hanging like this! We want to know what happens!
KM: STOMPS HER FOOT Well then read the book!
TTM: Oh ... good idea. Just where did you find this?
KM: I found it at http://cfrblog.blogspot.com/ and there are all sorts of other people talking about Richard and Ceese right now too. Maybe you can find out what happens from them! Just follow the links! I'm not saying another word! I have to go look for my cat!
End of Transcript
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
It's always good to get to know an author better. And what better way than through an interview. I interviewed author Sue Dent and picked her brain on some things! Check it out!
1. So what got you started in writing? Have you always had a hankering for the craft or did you get a taste later in life and develop an insatiable craving that had to be satisfied?
SD: I’m creative. I have to have an outlet. I initially pursued art but I let someone convince me that I could never make “a living” at this and so I went into computers. To fill the creative void, I started writing. This was in college. I suppose I thought I might like to be published one day but it was more about filling that creative void. I didn’t care if anyone else ever read my stories though I did like to share them.
2. What prompted you to write horror? Have you always enjoyed the genre?
SD: I hate the genre! LOL I’ve read a few books by Mr. Stephen King but that stuff scares me. *Barbosa slips in to add his take* Aye, but vampires and werewolves—yes that would be my weakness!
The only thing I remember actually writing when I was a child was something about vampires which I hid in the record player compartment of our large console television set. (The record player was built-in.) I only hid it because I was embarrassed about writing. I thought everyone would think I was loony. (No, they didn’t think that automatically, believe it or not.) I’m sure it had something to do with Dark Shadows as I LOVED the little snippets I’d catch of Barnabus Collins. Most of my lore comes from what I’ve seen on television and movies and not from books. I've never read Anne Rice. I never had an interest. I suppose I always knew how I wanted my vampires and werewolves to be and I’d let no one change that.
Other that that, I don’t consider my work horror and had to get confirmation. I submitted it to a few famed “horror” writers only to have them all sign off on the fact. Okay, so it qualifies. Yay me (doing my best London Tipton impression. Yes, I watch the Disney channel!)! Another market to work. I was an invited guest of Nicholas Grabowsky (author of Halloween IV) at the World Horror Convention in March 2007 and I fit right in. Maybe I do like the genre after all. Those authors were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.
3. Were you at all worried about how to balance the horror aspect with the Christian aspects of the story? Very well done by the way.
SD: Very worried because I’m a Christian but I knew it could be done. I just had to work a little harder and not get lazy. That’s where my creativeness shines through though, I think.
4. You’ve got some interesting twists and surprises in Never Ceese. Was it fun to keep us guessing through out the story?
SD: Keep up! Those twists and surprises are a pretty good example of how my mind works. And NO it wasn’t fun to keep you guessing! Blame my editor. I wanted to tell everyone a lot of the stuff at the beginning and she wouldn’t let me!! Thank God for editors. LOL
5. How long did it take you to write Never Ceese? And how did you come up with the idea for such an intriguing story?
SD: I had several other stories I’d started and not finished but when I decided I wanted to pursue getting published, I tried to think of a genre that was selling. Hey, that sort of sounds like I knew what I was doing but I didn’t do any research so the logic means nothing. LOL I then decided to just write something with elements I liked. And well, I like vampires! The werewolf part didn’t come into play until Richard got bored and thank goodness he was happy after that because I’m not quite sure how I would’ve worked a zombie into the mix!!
6. Have you thought of writing for the suspense genre?
SD: I don’t think about anything when I write except getting the dang story out of my head! All of my stories will be suspenseful I suppose. Remember, I just write to scratch my creative itch. It could be about anything.
7. Do you find it hard to market a book that can cross the lines between the CBA and ABA? Or has it been easier to concentrate on one or the other?
SD: Okay, let me step back from this question for a second to help readers, who don’t know where I came from, understand why this question is so confusing to authors outside the CBA and ECPA market.
Authors outside these two niche markets understand that ABA stands for American Booksellers Association and that this is an affiliation designed to help Independent booksellers only. Authors in the general market don’t see ABA as a market and never discuss them as such. ABA is used widely in the CBA and ECPA market to denote “secular” however. Frank Creed has an excellent article about the Christian publishing industry that explains more than I have room to in this interview.
When I wrote Never Ceese I was not aware of CBA or ECPA. My Christian publisher was not affiliated. It wasn’t until readers of this market began coming to me that I became aware. I now know that CBA and ECPA are two very large profitable markets that serve conservative evangelicals and have strict content guidelines to ensure publishers don’t offend that market.
I don’t write for a particular niche market. I write for the general Christian market and general market. If you ask me is it hard to market a book that can cross the lines between what a Christian might read and enjoy and what a non-Christian might read and enjoy, then I can answer that! Yes. It’s a little touch and go. I know that I’m not going to please everyone. I don’t necessarily concentrate on one over the other but I do in some instances. I call it responsible writing.
8. Richard and Ceese have an interesting relationship through out the story. It keeps one guessing as to where it is going! And then, surprise! Timing is so crucial with revelations given to characters and thus your readers. Do you like the natural tension such a thread woven through out the story gives? Did you have to really plot it out or did it just grow as you went? I’m trying not to reveal too much here to future readers!
SD: I’m not kidding when I told you my editor had to put her foot down. I was so excited about what was going to happen, I wanted to let everyone know. But then I so enjoyed the process of giving a little at a time that I finally understood the importance. Timing is crucial and it became natural to me very quickly. The plot really did grow as I went and does the same in Forever Richard. In fact, the last line came to me and I wrote the entire end of the book around it.
At least with my new publisher, The Writers Café Press, and new editor Cynthia (and The Finishers) I have someone to bug on a regular basis. She loved my last line so I knew it was to be!
9. Forever Richard is next! Any hints as to what we might expect? Will Richard have the same amount of tension build and suspense in it?
SD: I’m afraid so . . . or maybe that’s a good thing! LOL There is a preview chapter available but it’s upset several already. They said it just makes them mad because they know they can’t have the book yet. I guess that’s a good thing.
10. Any other projects in the works you can tell us about?
SD: Well there are the four books I wrote before but didn’t quite finish. My modern day western/rodeo is the one closest to being finished but I might get strangled if I don’t write a certain book next. Let’s just say that Always Meri; Syn No More is starting to look like a good title. And a prequel is already being worked on. Good thing since I signed a three or four book deal with TWCP! What was I thinking? :o
A very good thing! For all of us who love the books! Thanks Sue for taking the time to take time away from writing to answer my questions. Oh, and if you should see my character Kitty Morgan from Time Masters anywhere, tell her to come home! She seems to be obsessed with Richard and Ceese!
Saturday, April 5, 2008
This month the Christian Fiction Review Blog is touring Sue Dent's enthralling book, Never Ceese. I'll be posting a couple of times and that rogue character from Time Masters Book One; The Call, Kitty Morgan will probably manage something as she is STILL running around the internet ranting to anyone and everyone about her stupid missing cat and telling tales about a bat and a wolf which may or may not be Sue's, but we shall see if we can ever pin Kitty down long enough to question her on the matter.
In the mean time, let's learn a little something about Sue and her book, Never Ceese.
Sue Dent hails from Mississippi. She graduated from Mississippi College in 1983. Since graduating she’s sold computers, taught computer classes and has worked as a Technical Specialist IV for the Mississippi Department of Natural Resources.
Her first book Never Ceese was published in May of 2006. It has since been short-listed for a Bram Stoker Award in the category of Superior Achievement in a First Novel. Never Ceese was also voted book club choice for the month of April 2007 at the ACFW (American Christian Writers Association).
Last March Sue was an invited guest of Nicholas Grabowsky to the World Horror Convention in Toronto Canada. Never Ceese was also at Comic-Con 2007in San Diego and represented by Head Press Publishing.
Of her writing, which continues to successfully cross both Secular and Christian boundaries, Sue says, “Well, somebody had to do it. Might as well be me."
Her much anticipated sequel Forever Richard is due out Fall 2008 published by The Writers’ Café Press. Watch for an announcement this summer for the unveiling of the official release date and release party!
As always, watch www.NeverCeese.com and ForeverRichard.com for updates.
Never Ceese Summary:
A determined young werewolf acting on her long-held wish to free herself of her curse, teams up with a skeptical vampire who can no longer admit that having his curse removed is something he wants.
Will Cassi Felts be able to help them, as her grandmother implored her to do? or will they suffer at the hands of a radical and evil stem cell researcher?
Book Adminis-trivia: (ok, I made that up, but you get the idea)
Author Sue Dent
Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Journey Stone Creations
2006; 300 pgs; hardcover; $17.95