I'm delighted to present my second author interviewed this week - Steve Feasey! Steve is author of the werewolf series Changeling. With the third book due out in February, this is a belated interview (or a really early February one, depending how you look at it), for the first book Changeling and the second Changeling: Dark Moon.
I would like to note there ARE spoilers for the second book here - you have been warned. I'm afraid it is an area I had to ask about.
1) Where did the ideas for the Changeling series come from?
The idea of writing Changeling came out of the blue – like most of my ideas. I was watching a programme on BBC about adventure stories for boys. Most of the books that they discussed were the ones I’d read and admired as a teenager, and the idea of a series of books involving a teenage boy who discovers he’s a werewolf just came to me. I started making some notes as soon as the programme had finished, and Changeling sprang into life.
2) There is no doubt that Lucien's home is sophisticated. What was the reason behind this environment?
I guess I wanted something as far away as possible from the care home that Trey was living in up to that point. I love gadgets and stuff, so I tried to imagine how I would deck out a luxury penthouse apartment if money was not an issue, and came up with Lucien’s pad. I also like the way that Trey has no time to appreciate all of these things because of everything that is happening to him when he is taken there. I’d be like a kid in a candy shop in Lucien’s apartment!
3) Although the story revolves around Trey, Alexa plays a pretty big role in it. Had you planned to have her play such a role, or did it evolve naturally?
I think that Alexa’s role in book one is quite understated, and this was pointed out to me when I did an event at a girls’ school not long after Changeling had been released. I’d planned to make Alexa a bigger, more important character in Dark Moon, but there really wasn’t the opportunity to do it in the first book.
I also wanted to explore the love interest which slowly begins to form between the two of them, so I wanted her to have a bigger role as the series went along (no, I’m not going to tell you how that all goes – you’ll just have to read the next three books).
WARNING: SPOILER UP AHEAD FOR BOOK 2. SKIP TO QUESTION 5 IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS HERE.
4) Although at the first meeting he was annoying, I grew to love Charles in Changeling: Dark Moon. How did his character come into existence? Had you planned from the start to kill him off, or did the need to eliminate him happen midway through writing the novel?
Charles was one of those characters who take on a life of their own. I’d intended to have him as this annoying thorn in Trey’s side, but I came to like him as the book went on (as does Trey). When I realised that I might have to kill him off, it became even more important that he be likeable, so I went back and rewrote sections with him in (if you are going to kill a character, you want your audience to give a damn about them).
5) Congratulations on signing a contract for two more Changeling books. How does it feel to know that Trey's adventures will continue? Also what other differences, apart from the covers and titles, are there in the US editions, compared to the UK ones? (I personally prefer the UK cover and title).
Thank you. I’d always had it in my head that Changeling was going to be a five-book series. I had a rough idea of the theme for each book, so it was good to have Macmillan sign up for the next two. The US edition doesn’t come out until Spring 2010, so I have not yet seen if they want changes to language etc. I was a bit surprised when they asked to change the title to Wereling, and I had to think long and hard about it (there is already a series of fantasy novels in the US under the Changeling banner). It’s grown on me now.
Covers are always difficult things. I think that my US publishers felt that the UK design would not work well in their market, so they changed it. I quite like it, and I can see how they think it will attract a slightly older audience.
6) The contract also includes the first in what you call your 'Secret Project'. Is there anything you can reveal about this? Is it the same genre as Changeling, or something else not involving Vampires?
I was dreading this question. I can reveal this to you: there are no vampires in The Secret Project. It will have supernatural elements to it, but it’s a different genre to horror. And that’s as much as you’re going to get out of me for now. I’m really excited about it though, but I have to stop myself from writing it at the moment because I have to finish the fourth Changeling book first.
7) What happens in a typical writing day for you?
I like to write during the day (which might seem odd for a horror writer who has to deal with dark goings on), so I get up early, drop my little boy off at school, get home, get coffee (lots of coffee) and get writing. That’s on a good day. Some days there’s a big heap of time wasting paraphernalia in between the coffee and the writing.
8) A few random questions: Can you write through any distraction (music/children/fire alarm set off by burning toast etc) or do you need silence? What is your favourite writing snack/drink?
I can only write in silence. I know a number of authors need music on to ‘find a mood’, but I find I’m too easily distracted by things anyway, and music would be another excuse not to get on with the business of writing.
Favourite snack and drink? I try not to snack too much, but I’m a sucker for malt loaf. That, and a cup of latte.