Friday, March 16, 2012

Book #11 - Second Skin (and an interview with the author!)

When I first met Judith Graves, I admit to being a little star struck. Okay, maybe a lot. 

I'd read her first book, Under my Skin, and had perused her website - a few hundred times. (Go's very cool.) 

Clearly, this Alberta author was not only a fabulous writer, she knew how to market those chops. I had to know her.

Judith writes young adult fiction to DIE for. I believed that statement after Under my Skin - and believe it even more after reading (again) Second Skin, the second in Judith's SKINNED series.

It would be easy for me to be biased. Judith and I fast became critique partners, which morphed into writing partners, and of course, friends. But frankly, she's one of the most talented, down-to-earth people I know.

And, in Second Skin, Judith writes her ass off.

Here's the official blurb:

With FIENDS like Eryn…
Monsters. Bloodsuckers. The evil. The damned. Eryn McCain knows they exist— she’s been hunting them since she was a child. At sixteen, she’s ready to take on all comers. Being a shapeshifter gives her an advantage when it comes to her unusual part-time job. The hours suck and the pay is, well, non-existent, but bonuses like inhuman strength and night vision make tracking scary beasties a dream come true. Especially in a town like Redgrave.
When an ancient demon targets Redgrave High, Eryn and her crew of hunters must face their innermost fears to prevent the Harvest Moon Dance from becoming one serious Monster Mash. Loyalties are tested and temptations abound. With questions ever brewing, can Eryn share a future with the brooding, noble, human Alec—the hunter after her heart? Or will she succumb to her enemy’s son, Wade, a seductive predator as bloodthirsty as she is?
What happens when you’re both the beauty and the beast?
I had the pleasure of enjoying this book from its draft beginnings - one of the benefits to being one of her crit partners. Here's what "other me" had to say about the book then:

“If tasked to recruit a monster-hunting army, I’d want Eryn on my side – her tongue is as sharp as the athame she brandishes. In Second Skin, the second book in Judith Graves’ thrilling SKINNED series, Eryn goes head-to-head with a chilling new paranorm, her lingering feelings for two of Redgraves’ hottest boys, and an endearing cast of family and friends. Prepare to be engrossed – Graves digs in her claws and doesn’t let go until the mesmerizing cliffhanger end.” ~ Dawn Dalton, author of Thread of the Past, SPIRITED (2011)

And here's what I have to say about it after the final edits have been added and I hold the book in all of its awesome matte-cover glory:

Wow! In Second Skin, Judith definitely ramps up the tension and the action - and has created a "big bad" guaranteed to give you sleepless nights. Her characters explode onto the page in a three-dimensional tutorial of how characters should be written, and the love triangle that began with Eryn, Alec and Wade positively smoulders. Second Skin has enough twists and turns you'll wonder how you don't get whiplash as you read the whole thing in one sitting. Because I dare you to put it down. I can hardly wait for the third book.

No, seriously.

Read it.

And now read this interview with the uber talented, Judith Graves. 

If you were to cast Eryn in the Second Skin movie, which three actresses would be your top picks for the role?

Ellen Paige, Ellen Paige, and maybe, Ellen Paige. She’s actually who I modeled Eryn after – the wit, the snark, the vulnerability. However, Eryn is practically an amazon and Ms. Paige – not so much.

Perhaps she could heighten with boots? Have implants graphed to her leg bones? Actors do that sorta stuff for roles, right?

Music is an instrumental muse in your writing. What are some of the songs on the Second Skin soundtrack?

Oh, so many wonderful tunes helped me along with this book! From Halloween classics like Monster Mash, Thriller, and Boogeyman by Rob Zombie for the lighter scenes, to offbeat and heartfelt songs like Die Alone by Ingrid Michaelson, The Battle by Missy Higgins and quirky ditties like Psycho by Imelda May for interactions between Eryn and her boys. But the driving force song for Second Skin, which embodies the crew’s creature of the week, the night mare, is Enter Sandman by Metallica.

The paranormal "big bad" in Second Skin will definitely make you want to sleep with the lights on! What inspired you to write about the beastie known as the Night Mare.

In Under My Skin I established that Eryn was plagued by nightmares regarding the fate of her parents and that, being half wolven, meant she had extraordinarily vivid dreams. She is even pulled through time via a dream.

It seemed natural to then pit Eryn against a creature that resided in the dream realm. After a bit of research regarding dreams, dream meanings, common nightmares, etc. I discovered this 1781 painting by Henry Fuseli, aptly titled the Nightmare:

I knew this would be the big bad Eryn would face in Second Skin. He’s one scary demon and he knows your every fear, every secret, every suppressed memory – because he walks through your dreams, feeding off your fear.

Nasty, but a worthy opponent for Eryn.

What's the stuff of YOUR nightmares?

I suffered from night terrors as a child, had horrific reoccurring dreams about dolls coming to life, being hunted in my own house by an unseen force, and even to this day have nightlights in our hallways that provide a comforting glow in the depths of the night.

But what truly terrifies me is the idea that there are men, women, and children out there who are unable to seek refuge in the world of reading, or to fill out employment forms, or to write down their dreams.

That’s why I was thrilled to have a story published in SPIRITED, an anthology of ghost stories published by Leap Books with proceeds going to 826 National, a literacy-based charity. SPIRITED also features authors such as the brilliant Dawn Dalton, Maria V. Snyder, Candace Havens, Shannon Delaney, Halli Dee Lilburn, Kitty Keswick and more!

Please consider purchasing a copy, because illiteracy is a scary beast.

You can visit Judith on her website, follow her on Twitter @judithgraves, or find her on Facebook.

- Dawn

The Book In My Bag Today: Divergent, Veronica Roth


  1. It would be so cool to have music as my music. But alas, it's not happened for me yet.

    Enjoyed meeting you with Jessica, Dawn!!!!

  2. I used to have this recurring nightmare as a kid where I was trapped at the bottom of a hill, between the ground and a fence, and the ground was undulating and I couldn't get up... Haven't had it in years, but it used to freak me out.

    Sounds like a great read! I'll have to pick it up. :)

    And I love Renaissance art... Great inspiration!

  3. Rob Zombie and Metallica! That would inspire me. Good interview, ladies.

  4. Okay I'm totally checking this out.

  5. Love the interview. Gotta get it!