GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Interview with author Merrie Destefano + giveaway! | I Smell Sheep

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Interview with author Merrie Destefano + giveaway!

San Gabriel Mountains. Nightfall. 2 Sheep and 1 Darkling meet.

Katie: Thanks for coming back to us Merrie! How have things been since last time we talked?

Merrie: Thanks for having me back, Katie! I’m really excited to be here. How have things been—crazy, wild and fun. And I can’t believe I already have another book coming out. Eeeek!

Sharon: I wasn’t here last time you visited. So glad to talk with you.

Merrie: Sharon, I’m so glad you’re here!

Katie: Yes, Sharon has been a godsend for us. We love her to bits!

Sharon: Not literally though!!

Katie: Can you tell us a little about your new book Feast?

Merrie: Sure! The main character, Maddie MacFadden, and her nine-year-old son go on a retreat to a small village in the mountains. There she also discovers that the town of Ticonderoga Falls has a well-kept secret—every year, on Halloween, dark winged creatures from another world come to harvest human dreams. Unfortunately, the hunt gets out of control and soon everyone in town, including Maddie and her son, are in grave danger.

Sharon: Where did the idea for Darklings with an appetite for dreams come from?

Merrie: I was working on another (still unpublished) book that had REALLY bad guys. Like, these were the worst bad guys the world has ever seen and writing about them was seriously creeping me out. So, as a result, I had many sleepless nights. One night I was laying awake and, to keep myself from thinking about the truly, evil, bad guys that are REAL, I made myself come up with another creature. My parameters were this: they didn’t sleep, they weren’t evil (most of the time, anyway), they visited humans while humans were sleeping, but their intentions were good. So from that, I came up with Liash, who eventually became Lily, Ash’s wife. I took a break from writing my scary book to write a short story about these new creatures, who came to earth to harvest humans dreams.

Sharon: Some of these Darklings are still very scary! The big fight scene at the end was kind of dark and brutal (being vague here so I don’t ruin the book ;)

Merrie: LOL. I guess the bottom line is, I don’t really know how to write sweet and innocent. Even the nicest stories turn a bit wicked after I start writing. I’m glad that some of the Darklings were scary, though. That tells me that I successfully created a strong villain. =)

Katie: How different is Feast from your debut novel Afterlife?

Merrie: Quite a bit, I think. Afterlife was more sci-fi, with some urban fantasy elements. This is pure fantasy. Afterlife dealt with humans (and a dog), and the only supernatural/paranormal element was the fact that we had discovered immortality. In Feast, there are brand new creatures, who have characteristics of vampires, fairies, doppelgangers, shape shifters and Muses. Afterlife was more of a cautionary tale, while Feast is more of a dark fairy tale. Both have HEAs, although in Afterlife, the main character, Chaz, pays a high price for his HEA. All that said, I do think that people who read Afterlife will enjoy Feast.

Sharon: I have read both so I agree with this. I personally love that fantasy feel to Feast. Like I say in my review, there is nothing like it on the market today.

Merrie: Thanks, Sharon!

Sharon: Did you intend to write a dark fairy tale from the beginning?

Merrie: Yes, that was absolutely my intention and I’m so glad that you picked up on that! I grew up loving fairy tales—they were my first introduction to the world of fantasy—and I wanted to write a fairy tale for adults. But I didn’t want to rewrite an existing fairy tale or use fairies. I wanted readers to get caught up in the story and the world, just like I did when I read those stories as a child. If you read the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales, there was almost always a huge sacrifice and then a lesson to be learned. That’s my interpretation, anyway. So, I wanted to create a character who was torn apart by something that had happened in his past (Ash), and then show how his actions had affected an entire town. I also wanted to offer him a chance at redemption. To me, that’s the ultimate way to show hope in a story.

Sharon: You definitely achieved your goal then! If you go in thinking this is an Urban Fantasy or PNR you might not appreciate the story for what it is.

Merrie: You could be right. I do hope that Feast manages to get a wider audience and that people who like all the subgenres of fantasy will consider it.

Katie: How long did it take you to write this book?

Merrie: Oh, my gosh. It probably took about a year and a half, but the journey for this book seemed a LOT longer than that. I ended up having writer’s block, much like the main character in the book. As a result, at one point I threw away the first half of the book—150 pages—and completely started over from scratch. (My writer’s group was so mad at me!) Later, after the book was finally finished, I went back and reread the pages that I had thrown out. I honestly don’t know why I did that! The pages I had written were fine, I had just lost self-confidence somewhere along the way. Also, I had never read any fairy books at the time (like Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr or Tithe by Holly Black), so it seemed to me as if my characters were just too unbelievable. I ended up changing the Darklings and making them more like vampires. Then later, after I read a few modern fairy books, I realized that the original version had been fine. I vowed to never do that again. From now on, I will write a book from start to finish before I begin any major edits. Consequently the book I wrote after Feast (which is still secret, but will hopefully be sold by the end of the summer) went very smoothly and was written in about half the time. I definitely learned a painful, but important less while writing this book.

Katie: If you could go on a date with anyone from past or present who would it be and why?

Merrie: I’d like to go on a dinner date with Frida Kahlo. She’s an artist that I greatly admire and I would have loved the opportunity to sit and chat with her.

Katie: So now I have to follow up with where would you like to go?

Sharon: Don’t forget what you would eat for dessert!

Merrie: I love eating outdoors and there’s a really fun Cuban restaurant—Habana—not far from where I live. So I would love to go there, sit beneath the trees with all the candles glowing and the stars just beginning to peek out in the heavens. We could eat chicken empanadas and beef bocaditos and crab cakes laced with cilantro, listening to the music and the laughter from the other tables. After dinner we would go somewhere else for dessert, someplace we could share a thick slice of chocolate cake topped with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. And all the while, she would be telling me what it was like to be such an influential artist, married to an equally talented artist, Diego Rivera. I’d want to hear about their parties and their fights and their travels.

Sharon: You put another German Shepard in your book. Did Jacob and Caleb harass you into doing this?

Merrie: (laughing) How did you know? Those guys just won’t leave me alone unless they get a part in my books. I tricked them though. I wrote another book (still unsold) while working on Feast, and I put a cat in that book. The dogs don’t know what I’ve done yet, but my Siamese cat is pretty excited.

Sharon: It is only fair that the cat gets a part too as long as he/she doesn’t become a Diva because of it .

Merrie: Hezzie, the cat, is so sweet. I don’t think he even knows the meaning of the word diva. He was a rescue cat and he’s just a furry bundle of love. Not a mean bone in his little body. Although he will let the dogs know if they’ve upset him. =)

Katie: Who in your eyes is the sexiest superhero?

Merrie: Hands down, no contest—Superman. I’ve been in love with him since I was about twelve. Although, a close second was a superhero that few people remember—Brainiac 5, a green-skinned, blonde-haired member of the Legion of Superheroes.

Katie: This is all in the DC Universe and while I’m NOT fan of DC I do know some of the characters…the green skinned guy from the planet Colu being one of them. *winks*

Sharon: Uh, I have no idea what you guys are talking about, but I did have a crush on Aquaman.

Merrie: Katie, yeah, you have to take the time period into account. When I was growing up DC comics were the bomb. I think I spent all my allowance on comics, but Superman was always my favorite.

Sharon: Did you use your experiences as an author to develop Maddie? Do creatures of your imagination follow you around?

Merrie: Absolutely. I struggle with writer’s block frequently, so I could really relate to what she was going through. Also, I needed a character whose imagination needed a recharge, since that is one of the side-benefits of having your dreams harvested, so Maddie’s struggle was crucial to the plot. Do my imaginary creatures follow me around? Um, yes. And when I was five I had an imaginary friend who was very real to me.

Katie: Where can fans find you in the coming months?

Merrie: Well, I’m going to be hanging out a lot online during the Feast blog tour. Details for the tour can be found here [link:]. Also, in July I’ll be speaking on a panel at Comic Con in San Diego and then in October, I’ll be at World Fantasy Con, also in San Diego.

Katie: IF the comicgods shine in our favor we will be seeing you at Comic-Con!!!

Sharon: You mean *you will be seeing her. You lucky dog! I would so love to make it to a Comic Con.

Merrie: No way! You’re going to Comic Con? That would be so cool to see you there, Katie. And Sharon, I’m sorry you won’t be able to make it. =(

Sharon: I have been asking people this lately. Finish this sentence…“people think I am weird because…”

Merrie: “…I have so many ideas.” I know that might not seem weird, but I’ve worked in publishing departments where my job was to come up with new products and the people I’ve worked with always seemed amazed by how quickly I can come up with new ideas. It causes a bit of a problem as an author because I can already see that I’ll never have to time to write all the books I have ideas for. I think I’m going to have to start writing more short stories and novellas, since those are quicker, if I ever want all of my ideas to be born.

Sharon: I was looking more for the “I let the dog lick my toes clean” type of thing , but I can see how having too many ideas could be a problem.

Merrie: Uh-oh, I gave the wrong answer. The only problem is, my dog clean everyone’s toes, so nobody thinks that is weird. LOL.

Katie: Okay. So my son, Logan, has a knock knock joke for you. lol. “Knock-Knock.”

“Who's there?” (Logan says) “Please.”(I'll let you take it from here Merrie)

Merrie: “Please stop knocking unless you have chocolate cake and you want to share.”

Katie: LOL That’s a good one, I’m going to steal that line from you Merrie. His ends with “Please let me in it’s cold outside!” lol. Ahh the mind of a 5 year old. (And a big squeeze for my little guy who turns 5 the DAY this interview posts! Love you!)

Sharon: If you have chocolate cake, I am will be knocking on your door too Merrie! Happy birthday to Logan too

Merrie: Awww, Logan sounds so adorable! NOBODY would let him stand outside in the cold, so he has a pretty good answer! Tell him happy birthday for me. And Sharon, if you knocked on my door while holding chocolate cake, the door would open so fast you would think you were in a time warp. =)

Katie: And now we move on to the Rapid Fire Round. We don't have to ask the Coke vs Pepsi since you picked right last time. lol You know the drill so let's get right to it. Ready?…..Set……GO!

Merrie: Wait, was that my cue to get ready? Um, lacing up my shoes, almost ready…

Katie: Don’t worry, you got this! Go!

Merrie: Crossing fingers…

Katie: Hammer or Axe

Merrie: Oh, man. Build or destroy? I think I’ll go with hammer. At least I know I’m strong enough to pick that one up. Unless of course we’re talking about Mjölnir.

Sharon: is Thor attached to that hammer?

Merrie: LOL. I’d NEVER be able to pick up that hammer if Thor was attached!

Sharon: Shed Ender or Brush

Merrie: Brush, though to no effect. Hair is still everywhere.

Sharon: We had a Siberian Husky so I know what you mean!

Merrie: I fight a never-ending battle against the Evil World of Dog Hair.

Katie: Skipping or Jumping

Merrie: Skipping. You know, merrily. (yuk yuk)

Katie: I say we should take a skipping break just for laughs. *extends hand to Merrie* Shall we?

Sharon: (grabs hold) Don’t forget me!

Merrie: Yay! Skipping with friends. Giggling.

Sharon: Peas Porridge Hot or Peas Porridge Cold

Merrie: Hot. Definitely. Cold = shivers.

Katie: Ring or Bracelet

Merrie: Ring. Lots of them and all in silver, please.

Katie: Same here, no gold for me please.

Merrie: Yeah, it caused a bit of a conundrum since my original wedding ring was gold. I’ve since purchased a vintage wedding set in white gold to solve the problem.

Sharon: Sunshine or Moonshine (not the kind you drink )

Merrie: Sunshine.

Katie: SUCH a CA answer. *winks*

Katie: Iron Man or Captain America

Merrie: Really? I mean, Iron Man. Of course.

Katie: Stark IS sexy I’ll give you that.

Merrie: =) ‘Nuff said!

Sharon: Pencil or Pen

Merrie: Pen.

Katie: Cocktails or Shots

Merrie: Hmmm. Since I don’t drink, I’ll go with virgin cocktails.

Sharon: Cake or Pie

Merrie: I love them both—I can’t choose! This is like Sophie’s Choice. Okay, I confess: CAKE!! With lots of frosting.

Sharon: Yellow cake with chocolate frosting….dang, now I want some

Merrie: Cake. Sometimes I feel like a zombie moaning about brains. Caaaaake.

Katie: Big Red or Juicy Fruit

Merrie: Whoa. Can I pick Trident?

(buzzer sounds)

Merrie: No? Okay, Big Red.

Sharon: Mozart or Beethoven

Merrie: Beethoven, definitely. To be specific, Symphony Number Seven, Second Mvt. I listened to that over and over while writing my first book. Which was—ahem—never published.

Katie: Kirk or Picard

Merrie: Again, really? Is there a question? Kirk. Always and forever, I am Team Star Trek. Now if you’d asked, Kirk or Spock, the answer would have been Spock, for he’s my true Vulcan love. I’ve had a crush on that long-eared guy since I was a teenager.

Katie: See for me that would be Picard, I’m all about Next Gen.

Sharon: uh, again can’t relate

Merrie: Katie, I think people who grew up watching Next Gen really identified with it. Unfortunately, I was never able to sink my teeth into that series. I did like some of the other Star Trek spin offs though, like Voyager and Deep Space Nine. And I LOVED all of the movies, even those that featured Next Gen.

Katie: Fair enough. :)

Sharon: Corn Hole or Lawn Darts

Merrie: Drawing a blank. At least I know what a dart is so I’ll say Lawn Darts. And then hide when you’re choosing teams.

Sharon: Corn hole is a semi-new game that southerners like to play at pig pickings or any lawn party. You throw a bean bag into a hole in a box.

Merrie: I might be able to do that! I can throw a bean bag. I think.

Katie: Ha ha Sharon said "corn hole" lmao.

Katie: Vin Diesel or Paul Walker

Merrie: Paul Walker. Those killer blue eyes.

Katie: Thanks so much for coming back and chatting again, anything you would like to add before we go?

Merrie: Thank you for having me! It was great fun.

Sharon: hugs, Merrie.

Merrie: Big hugs back, Sharon!

Katie: I’ll let you two have this moment only because I got hugs last time. lol

Sharon: Yeah, but we are having hugs *and cake so you better join in!

Merrie: Even more hugs and cake for everyone!

Prize giveaway time!!! In the comments below please make sure to list BOTH things to be automatically entered to win the Merrie Prize-pack which includes:

signed Feast and Afterlife books,

tote bag, buttons and bookmarks!

1. Your Email address

2. What you would expect to be served if you were invited to a feast?

Contest will run until July 7th at midnight. Double your chances to win by following our blog. Good luck!


  1. What would I expect to be served at a feast? Why cake of course - what is a feast without cake :) I have been watching the countdown on the wonderful cover of this book for a while and have been anxiously waiting for the tour - thank you for the wonderful interview what fun and lets not for get the thanks for the giveaway opportunity - pick me, pick me :) LOL. I simply must reiterate - I really, really need cake! I mean really need cake!


  2. Denise-we are a cake loving group here. Merrie is a pleasure to talk with :)

  3. Whew! What a fun interview! I loved it. Thanks Sharon and Merrie! Let's see what would expect to be served at a feast? No brainer. Some meat! LOL

    Happy Blogging,

  4. @Laurielu- yes, meat. But what kind of meat? ;) Yes, I went there!

  5. A feast to me would include a turkey-fully stuffed of course, a pig with the shiny red apple in it's mouth, lots of desserts, taters, corn, bread....just lots and lots and lots of different types of food. AND cake with extra frosting. Yum!
    I wish it was lunchtime here; all this food talk it killing me.


  6. 1.
    2. Big (and I mean huge) piece of double chocolate forest cake with double the icing. lol. Oh and ice cream on the side! But fat free cause I'm trying to watch my weight.
    (i know, i know, it's like those people who order a big mac with large fries and get a diet coke)


    <3's and fangs,
    Liz ^_^

  7. Hi, everyone! Katie and Sharon, thank you SO much for inviting me to your blog today! I love hearing all the responses to the question. =) I'll be here, lurking invisibly in the background (just like a Darkling) all day today, reading all of your comments and drooling!

  8. Hi Katie, Sharon & Merrie... Thank you for a wonderful interview... I have to say that I truly enjoyed Feast... Looking forward to CURSED (look Merrie, I spelled it right... Yay Me!!!)
    Ummm, if I am invited to a feast. I hope I am not on the menu, but as long as I didn't good I am good with just about anything...

    Kelly M

  9. Great interview as always!

    And when attending a feast I certainly hope they won't serve me Peas Porridge *shudders*
    I would want to be served chocolate muffins or truffles.


  10. LorettaLynn/TemerpanceJune 28, 2011 at 9:38 AM

    Loved the interview,Feast looks great cant wait to read it:)
    Hmmmm I think i would like to be served anything chocolate..Chocolate mouss would be great!!


  11. A feast for me would be roasted game hens, roasted root vegetables, homemade bread, and for desert a dark chocolate cake with ganauche and raspberries, served with vanilla bean ice cream.
    I loved the interview, I think the book sounds really good.

  12. Awesome comments everyone! Thanks again Merrie for coming back to chat with us. Keep them coming, some great prizes for one lucky commenter. :)

  13. Nice interview. Have any of you tried sliced pickles with cream cheese wrapped with ham? It's awesome! Those would be nice at a feast. I make them for every family outing and pack some extra for my grandma to take home because everyone else pigs out on them before she has the energy to get up to get some.

  14. I would hope any feast I'm invited to would include homemade bread, a big spinach salad with lots of 'stuff' and my homemade vinaigrette, curry (maybe that homemade bread should be naan), Darjeeling tea, water, milk, wine and Bombay Sapphire with tonic & a lime. Yes, I love to drink! Dessert would have to be fresh fruit and maybe some homemade ice cream.
    teawench at gmail dot com

  15. Hi, again! I'm getting hungry reading all these feast menus!! Right now, I have to say I want to go eat dinner at Debbie's house. When you said dark chocolate cake---yum. I just couldn't think about anything else. Except frosting. And ice cream. And oh, no, it's lunch time...I need to EAT!!

  16. Well if they said feast I would be expecting a little bit of everything! Haha ;-)


  17. Great interview and what a fantastic prize.
    If I were invited to a feast I'd expect to be served several meat dishes, say roast beef and turkey, lots of vegetable and fruit dishes, some yummy desserts made of luscious chocolate, and pie, lots of pie.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  18. Woodpatterpatures in Brooks road that forces. I love you guys so much and I wake up at work so I could be a messager rindek

  19. Really enjoyed the interview, Merrie, and I love the premise of your new book. Feast food for me would be fried chicken and corn on the cob and potato salad (hey, it's a SUMMER feast).

  20. Serving a feast? well there would have to be a bucket of books to enjoy and a lot of coffee and desserts. The main course could be fajitas since the grill is on and the drinks are also cool.
    FEAST looks amazing. I love the sound of the premise.
    terilhack at gmail dot com

  21. I am so looking forward to reading Feast.
    1. WildAboutBones at gmail dot com
    2. Depends on who's at the feast. If just me and my boo, there would need to be some melted chocolate and whipped cream. Otherwise, would need to feature a yellow cake with chocolate frosting and margaritas.
    3. I am a follower of the blog.

  22. Hey Katie! I am seeing quite the cake eating trend here

  23. I'm so down with Lemon cake! nom nom nom

  24. I am REALLY loving all the FEAST menu plans. And can I just say--like a zombie says brains--



    Great fun hanging out here! It's my blog home away from home. =)

  25. aw, thanks Merrie. Our pasture is you pasture. Feel free to graze and poop anywhere you want . Was that too gross? Hey, we are all sheep here.

  26. Lobster, shrimp, salmon, prime rib, filet mignon wrapped in bacon, a mountain of desserts and fruit and veggie dishes. I think that's a start of what I would think of at a feast lol! Great interview!

    rootml1 AT hotmail DOT com

  27. Salmon, crispy chicken slice, shark fin soup, abalone, yummy desserts and grape wine.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  28. The first thing that came to mind was chilled monkey brains, like in Indiana Jones. But I don't know if I would actually eat those...

    paisleyfox at

  29. Would love to win this swag. have not read either book and would love to. thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.
    I would love to have all my favs served at this feast including, chicken-all kids, fried, baked, strips, green beans, pork chops, and most of all would love cake. maybe birthday or wedding cake is always the best, or even cheesecake.

  30. What i would expect if I was invited for a feast? Uhm... A good wine. hahahaha It's my drunk vein talking. And a good chocolate cake... Damn. i'm hungry now u_u
    Thanks for the chance of getting this book! :D


  31. Thank you so much for the giveaway!
    At a feast, I would expect to see wine, chicken, mashed potatoes, cheesecake, jolly drunken people!


  32. OMG I choked on my sweet tea when I saw you sneak Corn Hole into that interview!

    1. emmasmom AT wi DOT rr DOT com
    2.For a true feast, I would expect a buffet of decadent chocolate desserts, served on a horizontal scantily clad Hugh Jackman, and diners cannot use their hands to consume the treats!

  33. Succulent roast lamb with all the fixings at this feast thank you. Some tasty desserts to follow.


  34. i hope it's an international giveaway. Thank you for the interview and the giveaway ! I think if i were invited to a feast i would expect somme food that we don't eat every day, some cheese too (of course, i'm french !) and a big cake, if i could choose one, i would pick a "paris brest". I love this one !

    (i follow your blog)

  35. Ha Well, I don't think I'll ever be invited to a feast unless my dream comes true that prince Harry will fall madly in love with me, but I've always pictured it like with big chickens and pigs with apples in their mouths and things like that lol

    thanks for the giveaway!

  36. You gotta serve cupcakes at a feast!

  37. At a feast, I would like turkey and cornbread dressing, lasagna, green peas, lima beans, cornbread, roast, country fried steak, and vegetables. thanks for the giveaway

  38. At a feast? Lots of chocolate cakes of course :-) Thanks for the giveaway!


  39. I'd like to feast on turkey, dressing, mac&cheese, swedish meatballs, lotsa chocolate, and NO VEGGIES!


  40. Okay it's time to announce the winner of all this cool swag.....

    WildAboutBones YOU are walking away with so much cool stuff! Congrats to you. Please make sure to respond to my email before 7 days or I will have to pick a new winner.

    Thank you to everyone who left comments, you all rock! And a BIG thank you to Merrie for taking the time to chat with us. We love you! xoxoxo

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