... Rebecca Cantrell on her debut novel, Hannah Vogel, Gospel of Blood and Joe Tesla
: I was an exchange student with the Congress Bundestag program representing the state of Alaska.
I lived in the former West Germany for a semester in a little town called Herdecke, then in Berlin for a semester. I came back for a second year in Berlin and graduated from the John F Kennedy Schule.
: Political Science and German literature.
: Yes, although I did work as a consultant again later.
: A TRACE OF SMOKE follows a crime reporter (Hannah Vogel) as she searches for her brother’s killer through the streets of 1931 Berlin.
: It was a huge honor to be nominated and I was very suprised to win against so many wonderful books.
: I queried agents at the Maui Writers Conference, signed with Kimberley Cameron and Associates and my agent, Elizabeth Evans, sent the book out to various publishers. It took Forge nine months before they said yes.
: When I lived in Berlin in the 1980s I took a trip to Dachau and saw a faded pink triangle on the wall.
I had a gay host brother and I realized that he would have been sent there if he’d lived 50 years earlier. That led to research on the topic and eventually to a book set in the gay milieu of Weimer-era Berlin.
: At first I thought of making her a policeman, but I changed her to the victim’s sister because I wanted her to be more emotionally connected to the murder victim.
: It was a fascinating time—so much light and life and energy and decadence that was soon to be destroyed.
: She’s compassionate and intelligent and does the best she can to protect those she loves. She works hard to tell the stories that others turn away from.
: That’s a tough question. I worked to give it a palpable sense of place and time, and I hope that research comes through. Also, a strong heroine living by her wits and her humor.
: After some editorial issues, there will be a new Hannah Vogel book coming out soon. I don’t have a release date, but I do know that there will be one.
: I met him at the Maui Writers Conference just after A Trace of Smoke was accepted for publication. He was teaching a class on thrillers that I attended and he kindly agreed to write a blurb for my book.
We stayed in touch after that and he contacted me when he wanted to work on a vampire book.
: An archaeologist, Dr. Erin Granger, is drawn into a mysterious quest to save the world from evil supernatural forces.
: All kinds! Rollins and I had great fun coming up with them—vampires called strigoi, animals cursed by strigoi blood, vampires able to control their bloodlust by drinking the blood of Christ, a child with angelic blood, and more!
: We outlined together, write various scenes, and edited them together. We’d meet on Mondays via Skype to go over pages—he was either in California and Nevada, I was in either Hawaii or Berlin.
: When I lived in Berlin I became fascinated by the u-bahn and the in-between spaces we travel through every day. What if my in-between world was someone else’s everyday world?
I wrote a version where Joe lives in Berlin under Potsdamer Platz that’s been translated into German. And there’s an American version where he lives in New York.
(Die Welt unter Berlin )
: He believe that he is Nikola Tesla’s great-grandnephew.
: Joe Tesla is stricken with agoraphobia and cannot go outside. He ends up living in the subway tunnels under New York city. He occupies a house built in a manmade cave under Grand Central Terminal with his psychiatric service dog. One day when they’re out walking the tunnels, they come across a man breaking into Franklin Delano’s presidential train car (which really does exist and is rusting away in a tunnel under New York) and discover a mystery that has its roots in a disease created during World War II.
: In THE STEEL SHARK, Joe Tesla has discovered that he can go underwater as well as underground and he becomes embroiled in a plot to wreak great damage with a hijacked submarine.
: A Thriller series.
: Yes. Joe and his trust dog, Edison, have more adventures ahead.
: This one is a light comedy series. Sofia Salgado is a former child star who used to play a detective on TV and now wants to be one in real life.
: I met Sean in New York when our first books came out and we stayed in touch over the years. We started kicking ideas about this crazy private investigator character back and forth and there you go.
: Sean Black.
: I’m hoping we will make it to Z! E is for Exposed came out this year and will be followed by F is for Fred in a few months. Then G is for Groovy also this year.
: Oddly enough, they are all vampire movies. The Humanitarian and A Taste for Blood are two versions of the story of a vampire who lives in Hawaii and fights to change his fate. iDrakula is based on a novel I wrote under the pen name Bekka Black.
It was the first cell phone novel in the US and is also an iPhone app. It’s a retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula using only things you can find on a phone—text messages, email, web searches, and voice mails.
The script also incorporates the moviegoers‘ phones into the viewing experience. The second in the series is iFrankenstein, where a homeschooled teenager creates a power-hungry
: It’s a horror movie festival that runs for a weekend every year in Los Angeles and a weekend in Florida that showcases independent horror movies and screenplays.
: I read a great deal and always have. I love the sense of dread that Shirley Jackson engenders. Stephen King’s horror and fear. Anne Rice’s Gothic beauty intertwined with horror. Michael Crichton’s fantastic scientific plots. Lee Child’s pacing. And the wonderful style and language of each of them.
: The sense of rhythm and the fantasical nature of it. The world of Bastian and the world of the Nichts. I loved how the chapters were printed in alternating red and green. And the lush use of language meant that I had a much better vocabulary ever week!
Rebecca Cantrell: It does. iDrakula and iFrankenstein were science fiction and the Tesla books tend toward that, too, but I’ve been working on some science fiction and fantasy short stories. I’m also working on a screenplay with a fairly well known screenwriter in Hollywood right now that’s science fiction.
: I’m working on this secret science fiction screenplay and F is for Fred with Sofia Salgado, some short stories, and getting ready to research the next Hannah Vogel mystery when I’m in Berlin this summer.
: Thank you