Say hi to everybody out there! Or you can sing a song, do a little dance…
Nobody wants to hear me sing – or see me dance, for that matter! I promise you that! In fact, the inability to carry a tune or keep a beat are two of my defining characteristics. Beyond that, I’m in my mid-forties, live in a small college town in Pennsylvania, and I’ve written stuff for my entire professional life. I’ve been hired to write speeches for politicians and magazine stories about everything from what it’s like to drive a Zamboni to the perils of roller skating with senior citizens.
3LB: Who or what inspired you to write? Do you have any role models, whether in writing or life in general?
I actually began writing for practical reasons. When I graduated from college, I
had no job prospects, so when a friend mentioned that a public relations office was hiring writers, I applied. When I turned in my writing sample, the man who would become my boss said, “You know you’re a writer, right?” I got hired on the spot, and that’s what I’ve done ever since – thank goodness!
That said, my writing role model is Alexandre Dumas – not that I pretend to be anywhere close to emulating him. However, I am fascinated by the way he creates characters who are flawed but noble, and how he keeps his plots moving along with twists and turns and action. I definitely keep his work in mind when I’m writing.
My sister is very rational, like Jessica Packwood in my first book, and I’m very shy, like Jill Jekel in Jekel Loves Hyde, but I wouldn’t say any of my characters are based on people I know. For example, aside from being logical, Jessica has nothing to do with my sister, and, unlike Jill Jekel, I have no aptitude for science. My characters just sort of come to life as their own people. And I’ve never written a scene from my own life, either. I think my life is too boring to be in a book!
3LB: If you were stranded in an area with lots and lots AND lots of snow, which one of your book characters would you want there with you?
I would want to be stuck with vampire prince Lucius Vladescu. He’s very witty,
and we could talk about literature for hours. I don’t see him complaining, either. He’s not a whiner and would never say he was bored. Plus, he’d be pretty nice to look at, while we were snowbound!
3LB: I feel that names hold meaning and importance to characters. You have some very interesting ones, especially Antanasia (which I originally read as “Anastasia”) and Vasile. How do you come up with or decide on the names for your characters? Do they hold meaning?
Thanks so much for noticing the names, because I really do put a lot of thought into them and research their meanings. For example, I chose “Vasile” for the villain in Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side because it reminds me of “Vaseline” – something greasy and slimy – and means “king,” which is what he longs to be. And I chose Lucius Vladescu for my vampire prince because “Lucius” means light – but is also reminiscent of Lucifer, the epitome of darkness. I thought that was perfect for a character who is struggling to reconcile his light and dark sides. And Vladescu is derivative of Vlad the Impaler, who was the inspiration for Dracula. Meanwhile, in my second book, Jekel Loves Hyde, the hero is named “Tristen” because it can mean “chaos” and “tumult,” which is what he brings to Jill’s life. One last example: The new Italian, surf-bum vampire in my next book, Jessica Rules the Dark Side, is named “Raniero,” which means “wise warrior” and is a clue to his hidden past. I really like playing around with names.
3LB: What’s next for you? What other books have you written?
I’m working on a new YA romance with a different kind of paranormal twist right now. That’s scheduled to come out in 2012. My other books are Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, Jekel Loves Hyde, and the upcoming Jessica Rules the Dark Side. That’s it so far!
The Princess Bride
3LB: If you had to live your life as an animal, what would you be?
A cat, especially if I got to roam around exploring all night, then came home to get fed and sleep in a warm house.
3LB: What three people/characters would you love to meet? (They can be fictional, dead, or real and very much alive!)
Edmond Dantes, his creator Alexandre Dumas, and Charles Dickens.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s got an epic quest in a richly imagined world, a reluctant hero who saves the world, a plot that showcases the powerful bonds of friendship – not to mention a cool prince-in-disguise. What more could we ask for in literature?
3LB: Tell us five interesting things about yourself.
- I once spent the night in an abandoned hospital in India, where I couldn’t leave my room until dawn because of the feral dogs wandering the halls.
- I collect ketchup from around the world.
- I was once called upon to deliver an impromptu lecture about American journalist Horace Greeley to about one hundred Chinese college students.
- I have a fear of fish and often dream that my basement is filled with killer whales.
- I once got food poisoning while riding my bike from the Mississippi River to the Missouri River.
3LB: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I’d just like to say thanks so much to all the readers – and bloggers like yourself – who’ve been so supportive of my work. The best part of being a novelist has been making friends around the world with people who love books and reading as much as I do. It’s an honor!
Thank you, Beth! For more information about Ms. Fantaskey and her books, visit:
Read my reviews on Beth's novels, Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (available now) and Jessica Rules the Dark Side (out January 2012)!
Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents rules; especially the one about never opening the mysterious, old box in her father's office. But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, she's tempted to peek inside, as the contents might be the key to a lucrative chemistry scholarship.
To improve her odds, Jill enlists the help of gorgeous, brooding Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen's sanity. Maybe his life. But Jill's accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and compels her to risk everything, even Tristen's love just for the thrill of being... bad.