by Helen Keeble
September 11, 2012 - Harperteen
Things That Are Destroying Jane Greene’s Undead Social Life Before It Can Even Begin:
1) A twelve-year-old brother who’s convinced she’s a zombie.
2) Parents who are begging her to turn them into vampires.
3) The pet goldfish she accidentally turns instead.
4) Weird superpowers that let her rip the heads off of every other vampire she meets.(Sounds cool, but it doesn’t win you many friends.)
5) A pyschotic vampire creator who’s using her to carry out a plan for world domination.
6) A seriously ripped vampire hunter who either wants to stake her or make out with her. Not sure which.
Being an undead, eternally pasty fifteen-year-old isn’t quite the sexy, brooding, angst-fest Jane always imagined....
Helen Keeble’s riotous debut novel combines the humor of Vladimir Tod with Ally Carter’s spot-on teen voice. With a one-of-a-kind vampire mythology and an irresistibly relatable undead heroine, this uproarious page-turner will leave readers bloodthirsty for more.
Helen Keeble is not, and never has been, a vampire. She has however been a teenager. She grew up partly in America and partly in England, which has left her with an unidentifiable accent and a fondness for peanut butter crackers washed down with a nice cup of tea. She now lives in West Sussex, England, with her husband, daughter, two cats, and a variable number of fish. To the best of her knowledge, none of the fish are undead.
Her first novel, a YA vampire comedy called FANG GIRL, is out 11th Sept 2012, from HarperTeen.
She also has another YA paranormal comedy novel (provisionally titled NO ANGEL) scheduled for Sept 2013.
Fandom, Family, and FANG GIRL
Guest Post by Helen Keeble
FANG GIRL is about two things: fandom and family.
…Okay, so it's also about a lot of other things, like undead goldfish, vampiric retail empires, and
hot boys in tight leather trousers, but mostly it's about fandom and family. Let me explain.
I started writing FANG GIRL because I was immensely irritated (I suspect irritation is the major
cause of novels, actually). It was at the height of Twilight fever, and it seemed like every day there
was a new article in the newspapers or blogosphere about it. You couldn't click a link or turn
on the radio without finding someone either dismissing all YA paranormal romance fans as
utterly stupid for liking "that trash", or alternatively getting into a moral panic that these girls
were being fundamentally damaged by reading it.
As I rather enjoy a good paranormal romance myself, this was irritating. Really irritating. So
irritating I had to spend a year writing a novel to fully express my irritation.
See, personally I think that teenagers are a lot smarter and more discriminating than adults
assume. I certainly read an awful lot of fantasy schlock as a teen, and enjoyed it immensely
without ever thinking I was actually going to fall through a portal and meet the perfect
knight-protector, so I don't believe that all teenage girls are having their relationship expectations
warped for life by Robert Patterson's hair. And in my experience, teen paranormal fans can be
hugely clever and creative -- they dissect their favorite books like ruthless surgeons, they write
their own fanfic versions, they make amazing music videos with footage from movies or tv
shows… it's a far cry from the stereotype of a wide-eyed, ditzy girl uncritically consuming
anything packaged with a black-and-red cover.
So I decided to write a paranormal romance about a girl who's a vampire fangirl, and who is
also practical, snarky, and intelligent -- so when she wakes up one night and discovers she's
now a vampire herself, she's got the knowledge and wits to deal with it.
But of course, vampires are rather ridiculous creatures -- seriously, you're angsty because
you're eternally young and beautiful? Seriously? I mean, the first thing I'd do is camp out in
New York Public Library and read every book ever -- so I also wanted to poke fun at some
paranormal romance cliches. The much older vampire hero who inexplicably falls in love with t
he heroine, eternal angst-filled passion, the inevitable brooding rival, the terribly glamorous
vampire lifestyle… in my book, the vampires are quite aware of all these tropes, and are willing
to use them to try to influence my heroine Jane. But the vampires are -- like all those columnists
and bloggers -- assuming that teenage vampire fangirls actually believe all this stuff… which
turns out to be a big mistake.
The other trend I'd noticed in paranormal romances is that usually the heroine's family are
barely present (especially not both parents). She might have endless conversations with
vampires and werewolves and bears, oh my, but parents seem to stay mostly off-page. Now,
I'm not saying that I never fought with my parents when I was a teen, but mostly we got along,
and my family were definitely a big influence in my life. And I think that's true for a lot of teens.
So I wanted my protagonist's family to be a major part of the story. And really, if you're a girl who
wakes up unexpectedly dead one night, what are you going to do? Run off alone and try to
survive on the contents of your pockets (most people don't get buried with credit cards, you know),
or go back home where there's bed, broadband, and people who love you even if you do now
seem to have fangs? No contest!
So that's FANG GIRL: one part fandom, one part family, blended together with creamy comedy
goodness and baked in the oven of righteous irritation. Can I tempt you to a bite?
Thanks so much for stopping by. Your comments are very much appreciated!!