If you follow my Facebook page, you know that I was contemplating doing author interviews here on the blog. Susan Heyboer O'Keefe just released FRANKENSTEIN'S MONSTER this month, so I thought it was a good starting place for interviews. This is her debut adult novel, but she's no stranger to publishing. She's done tons of children's books, among them, DEATH BY EGGPLANT. (Isn't that an awesome title?)
If you recall the Mary Shelley version of Frankenstein, you know that the monster is alive at the end. So what happened to him? Susan answers that question her book. Even though this has nothing to do with Susan's writing, you have to agree that the cover for the book is phenomenal. Doesn't it just beg you to pick it up and read it?
Congrats to Susan for the publication of FRANKENSTEIN'S MONSTER, and extra congrats for getting a great cover design!
Without further ado, my interview with Susan Heyboer O'Keefe.
RW: (Restless Writer): Everyone knows Frankenstein whether they’ve read the original book or not. What drew you to the character and made you decide to write a new book about it?
SHO: I was always amazed at how the movie was so different from Mary Shelley’s book—most notoriously, in the nature of the monster. The movie monster grunts and lumbers and exists on a purely physical level. Shelley’s monster is an articulate creature, intensely aware of its isolation from humanity and why that’s so. Plus, Shelley’s monster doesn’t die at the end of her book, which naturally invites the question, “What happened next?”
RW: Were you ever apprehensive to tackle such a well-known character?
SHO: It never even occurred to me and thankfully so. Sequels are often written by other authors. If I had known that someone would say it took guts to tackle not just a classic but an iconic figure, I might never have attempted it.
RW: How long did it take you to write the book?
SHO: I started it in a previous life around the year 1700, which means it's taken about 300 years. However, it also means that I didn’t write the sequel to Frankenstein. Mary Shelley wrote the prequel to Frankenstein’s Monster.
RW: What kind of research, if any, did you do for the book?
SHO: I researched everything because I know nothing. Afterward, I put as little of it as possible in the book. Realistically we don’t mentally recount the whole history or workings of something that we pass. Usually—or at least, it’s usual for me—we note only what’s important to us at that moment. So I try to just suggest a place or an event.
RW: Do you have a new project in the works?
SHO: Always. Picture books being written and submitted (and rejected). Also two novels. One is adult historical fiction about an alcoholic daguerreotyper, who ran away from home as a boy and has finally returned to save his sister from the same horrible circumstances. The other is a contemporary middle-grade comedy that refuses to give me a full first draft. Now that Frankenstein’s Monster has been published ahead of it, and the other adult book is in full swing, and I’m up to, like, the twelfth full draft, maybe it will be jealous and eventually come around.