My Q&A With Brenna Yovanoff!

September 22, 2010

1)  The Replacement is one of the most original stories that I’ve read in recent years. Sometimes it’s easy to identify an author’s influences, but I must admit, I’m drawing a blank here. What was it that sparked the idea for this book?

First, I need to put this out there: I am a huge pack-rat.  I try not to be messy about it (much), but I save everything, and everything seems interesting and fun and like it might come in handy someday.  I think my influences function in sort of the same way.  The Replacement owes a lot to Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery,” because I knew I wanted that same kind of creepy-town vibe, but it also draws a lot from punk music and Victorian culture and my abject terror of water I can’t see the bottom of.  (In light of this, it probably won’t surprise you that I like making collages.)

2)  Do you know (or have you known) any children that you secretly suspect might be changelings? (I have, but this is about YOU, not me. Haha.)

I have to say, as an inveterate babysitter, I have known some pretty weird kids.  No changelings however, although one of my cousins had me worried for a while.

3)  I love books and movies that scare the @$*& out of me. The Replacement certainly fits that bill. Do you enjoy having a good scream now and then? If so, which films or books would you recommend?

Oh, I am so obsessed with scary movies!  The last movie that really, really got to me, and I can’t even explain why, was the Spanish film The Orphanage.  Something about the  cinematography, plus the storyline, plus the setting just completely terrified me.  And I’d be remiss if I didn’t confess that to this day, Pet Sematary by Stephen King is, without a doubt, the scariest book I’ve ever read.

4)  In your novel, some very small children find themselves in terrible trouble. (I won’t say any more.) As the mother of a very small child, I found this ABSOLUTELY HORRIFYING. Do you have children?  If so, how could you imagine such things?

While I don’t have kids, I really like them and I come from a big extended family, so I’ve always spent a lot of time with them.  The idea of something bad happening to anyone defenseless, whether children or animals, scares me to no end.  Which, come to think of it, is the common thread between The Orphanage and Pet Sematary!

5)  There’s no way that a person who writes books like The Replacement can be just another average Jane. Are you as interesting in real life as I imagine you might be?

Well, that certainly depends on what you’re imagining!  I like to tell people that I have two different speeds.  One speed is leisurely.  When that’s my general setting, I like sewing, cooking, gardening, and drinking tea.  Also, babies, puppies, scrapbooks, and mittens.  The other speed is how I actually get stuff done.  It usually involves contact sports, too much eyeliner, pulling all-nighters, and climbing things I’m not supposed to be climbing.

6)  Let’s talk about The Lady. She’s one of the more unforgettable characters I’ve encountered. (Along with the Morrigan.) Out of which dark, desolate corner of your brain did you drag HER?

The Lady is interesting because when I think about her now, she seems very Dickensian, but while I was writing, I had no idea where she was coming from.  Looking back, she really owes a lot to Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities, though.  Both those books have these very vengeful, self-righteous villains, and I can definitely see that at work with in her character.

7) I have a hunch we might see more of Mackie and Tate. Am I on to something? Will there be a sequel?

I actually don’t have anything special planned for them right now.  There’s definitely potential for a sequel, but right now, I’m working on another standalone.  We don’t have a title yet, but I can say that it will feature demons, monsters, kissing, and probably something on fire.

Thanks so much for having me, Kirsten!

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3 Responses to “My Q&A With Brenna Yovanoff!”

  1. Kelia Says:

    I’m so looking forward to The Replacement! I just had to say, I too have a HUGE terror of water I can’t see the bottom of. (And I actually squealed when I read that Brenna does too because I haven’t met anyone who shares that fear.) I wonder if The Replacement is going to scare me even more then…

  2. Dana Wright Says:

    I loved this book. It is now on the teen octagon in my store. Great creepy vibe. I hope when i get my first YA finished, it is even half as good as yours.

  3. Brooke Says:

    Nice interview! I’m glad you asked about sequels, as I was wondering if this was series…


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