As Swoon week continues on Novel Novice, we’re delighted to present an exclusive Q&A with author Nina Malkin about Swoon, the upcoming sequel Swear and other fun things. We hope you enjoy reading her answers as much as we did!
There are so many elements at work in Swoon: psychic abilities, a ghost story, the golem legend, 18th century colonial America, revenge, etc. How did all of these come together for you?
Hey, you left out spanking! The answer is magic. The stuff in my stories is as surprising to me as I hope it is to readers. I don’t know what’s going to go down until it does, and then I’m all, “Whoa!” That ritual Dice performs—and the terrible, wonderful, accidental result—in Part I of SWOON…who knew? Not me. Magic, of course, is just another word for your subconscious. Trust it and it’ll take you some amazing places.
Despite all of these elements, at the very root of the story is this golem legend. What made you gravitate towards this legend for Swoon?
See above—it gravitated towards me, not the other way around. That said, the subconscious has a cool partner, and that’s experience, memory. Everything you do, read, eavesdrop on and are exposed to can be fodder for your stories. So I knew of the golem legend, peripherally—it’s a Jewish thing, so maybe that’s why. Once I realized, “Holy crap! Sin’s a golem!” I started researching it. Pretty fascinating. If there’s a formula to what I do it’s magic plus experience over memory times research—yeah.
It’s no secret that girls can’t help but crush on the “bad boy.” How do you think Sin fits this idea of the “bad boy” and how does he break away from that image?
A couple of theories on bad boy love. We love the bad boy because he lets us break loose a bit, shake the proverbial booty. But mostly we’re attracted to the bad boy not because he’s bad but because we want to tap the good in him. That’s so noble in our natures—to believe there’s good. I mean, the bad boys we crush on aren’t Hannibal Lechter, right? (Unless you do crush on Hannibal Lechter; if so, I didn’t mean to insult your crush, and please don’t hurt me.) The bad boys we crush on are Sinclair Youngblood Powers, who was tragically wronged and is honorable at heart, and so confused, obsessed, misguided. Not that Sin isn’t bad; he’s very, very bad. Oh yes.
Without giving too much away, what can readers expect from Swear, the sequel to Swoon? Will we see more of Sin?
It was about 106 degrees in Brooklyn, NY, last week when I wrote the scene where Sin and Dice are reunited. The fact that I’m not in a hospital ward with third degree burns right now is remarkable. What I like about the way Swear is shaping up is that the people of Swoon have been changed by Sin’s vengeful swath through town. When we pick up with them again, they have different agendas, different dilemmas.
If you met someone in a bookstore, and they were thinking about buying your book, what would you say to convince them?
I’d invite them to read the first paragraph. “If you can put it down, go ahead!”
At Novel Novice, one of our main goals is encouraging teens to read. What would you say to reluctant teen readers to convince them to pick up a book (any book)? Why do you think reading is so important?
The novel is immortal. It must be; how else could it have flourished despite everything else jockeying for our attention—movies, video games, reality shows, apps. A good novel is more engrossing than that stuff. You become part of a novel, intimately involved; you participate in it, it’s not passive—in that way it’s like a video game, but more surprising. And when it’s over, it’s not really over—you can continue the story on your own, invent new endings and sequels in your mind endlessly. Plus, you can take it into the bathtub with you. Beat that!
What question do you always wish someone would ask you during an interview?
Would you like some free money?
Now answer that question.
Yes, thank you!
Novel Novice’s Flash Questions:
If you could trade places with one person for a single day, who would it be & why?
Today the answer is a mermaid. With the heat wave and all, if I could breathe underwater, I would.
What was the last movie you saw?
In a theater? Avatar. Otherwise I get DVDs from the library. Last night was Compulsion with Orson Welles and Dean Stockwell. The book (by Meyer Levin) was better.
Biggest TV addiction?
I’m a recent victim of True Blood.
Pleasure is never guilty. I’ve got plenty of guilt, but not about pleasure!
Fruits or veggies?
Both! Big time!
The only time I went to karaoke was at a gay bar in Japan. It was a very long time ago, my companions were pouring gin down my throat, and I’m sure I sang something but I cannot remember.
Favorite childhood toy?