Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author Camille DeAngelis to the blog to answer a few questions about her newest release, Bones & All. Bones & All is a slightly strange but intriguing tale of a teen cannibal, something I've never read about before, so I was excited to have a chance to pick Camille's brain (in a distinctly non-cannibalistic type of way, obviously). I hope you all enjoy the interview!
Maren is a highly unusual young woman given her desire to cannibalize anyone who shows her affection. If she had to describe herself to those who have yet to experience her story, what three words might she say are most fitting?
I'm sure Maren would employ the same words we'd all tend to use when journaling about ourselves at age sixteen, when the tempestuousness of our feelings magnifies every disappointment and every failure: words like trapped and hopeless and desperate. I have never eaten another person and I haven't been a teenager for a good fifteen years now, but I still recall those feelings of frustration and helplessness; and as disconcerting as it may sound, that was all I needed to write a good monster.
One of my recurring nightmares always involves getting eaten–mostly by sharks–but now thanks to this book, humans are joining the list ;-). What’s one thing you weren’t necessarily scared of before that a piece of fiction made absolutely terrifying?
I recently read Pet Sematary, which was my very first Stephen King novel—crazy, right??—and I kept putting myself in the little girl Ellie's shoes, having all these prescient nightmares in the days before my whole family falls apart. That novel made me afraid of evil, an ancient and completely unfightable kind of evil, precisely because the author nailed all the mundane domestic details. I would read a line of dialogue from one of his child characters—the breathless excitement and impatience, so perfectly captured—and think “even if I didn't already know this guy had kids, I'd know it from reading this book.” We're conditioned for stories in which good wins out in the end, so it chills you to the core to realize that the hero and his family really do not have a snowball's chance.
If you suddenly found yourself face to face with a cannibal bent on making you their next meal, what would the first words out of your mouth be to convince them otherwise?
Wouldn't you rather find someone with a bit more meat on them?
If you could choose one author, past or present, to write a retelling of Bones & All, whose version of this story would you most like to read?
Ooh, this is a great question! I'd have to say Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, the Anglo-Irish gothic writer best known for his story collection In a Glass Darkly. His vampire tale, “Carmilla,” predates Dracula by about twenty years, and I admire it partly for the lesbian undertones. It feels so ahead of its time. I like to think of Le Fanu as one of my literary godfathers (I can have more than one, right?), so it's only fitting that I should choose him. (You can read about Le Fanu's tragic real-life ghost story on my blog.)
What’s one thing about the way Maren’s story unfolds that, had a future version of you popped back in time to tell you about it once all was said and done, would have thoroughly shocked the you currently staring at a blank page?
At the Bones & All “click” moment—the everything-slotting-into-place epiphany that needs to happen pretty close to the start of a project—I was taking a shower and Maren began to talk to me, and I hurried out of the tub and started scribbling. But in that first exhilaration of a new story it did not occur to me that I wouldn't ultimately be able to provide Maren with some sort of redemption. Her curse isn't like an addiction—it can't be battled through and overcome. It is literally in her genetics.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Camille!
• • • • • • • • • • •
BONES & ALL
(available now from St. Martin's Press)
Maren Yearly doesn’t just break hearts, she devours them.
Since she was a baby, Maren has had what you might call "an issue" with affection. Anytime someone cares for her too much, she can’t seem to stop herself from eating them. Abandoned by her mother at the age of 16, Maren goes looking for the father she has never known, but finds more than she bargained for along the way.
Faced with love, fellow eaters, and enemies for the first time in her life, Maren realizes she isn’t just looking for her father, she is looking for herself. The real question is, will she like the girl she finds?
• • • • • • • • • • • •
A longtime vegetarian, she went vegan in April 2011, and in June 2013 became a certified vegan lifestyle coach and educator through Victoria Moran’s Main Street Vegan® Academy. She is also planning to receive her yoga teacher training in 2015.
Originally from New Jersey, Camille now lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.