Wednesday, May 25, 2016

SKIN with Brenda Corey Dunne

Brenda Corey Dunne by the sea
Brenda Corey Dunne and I share a publisher, a passion for books and a love of monsters. She visited the Mansion before for her book DEPENDENT. She returns to the Blog Mansion today to visit seal cave and talk about her new book SKIN.

Johnny: Watch the steps. They’re slippery.

Brenda: I didn’t think the Blog Mansion property extended so far.

J: All the way to the sea. I found this cave after I built the place. I had the stairs cut in for tourists and such. When we get closer we’ll have to be quiet so we don’t disturb the resting seals.

B: Do you get a lot of tourists down here?

J: Not many. Mostly writers.

B: Ugh, it stinks.

J: Seals are stinky. Putrid fishy poop is the perfume of the day.

B: It’s so pungent. Really bites the nose. Bet that’s why you don’t get many tourists.

J: That and seals are dangerous.

B: And the stairs treacherous.

J: Doesn’t help. But we’re almost there. Wait until you see them. They’re majestic.

B: Can’t wait.

J: So on the subject of seals, tell me about your new book, SKIN.

B: SKIN is a paranormal with a hint of romance, set in one of my favourite places on the planet—the red-sand beaches of Prince Edward Island. Only no Anne of Green Gables...well maybe a hint. It’s set in modern day. And there are selkies.

J: Spoiler - tell us about Selkies.

B: There’s lots of myths and legends about Selkies—half-human, half-seal creatures that woo unsuspecting humans into the ocean to be their slaves…forever. The legends change from culture to culture, but my selkies are loosely based on Irish and Scottish legends.

J: Do you play Dungeons and Dragons?

B: Ha! You’re kidding, right? I have no time to brush my teeth. D & D is beyond my grasp. But my teens play League of Legends…and sometimes I watch for a second or two...does that count? Are you a D&D guy?

J: I used to be, especially during my formative years. Great story telling training and a solid introduction to mythical and magical creatures. I still draw from the monsters I met there in my writing. Where did you get your ideas?

B: SKIN started with the setting. Seriously. If you haven’t been to PEI, you need to go. But go in the summer, when it’s warm. I also really like seals. Where I live now, on Vancouver Island, I see harbour seals almost every day. So I was thinking, what would happen if a selkie washed ashore on PEI? And went from there.

PEI (Prince Edward Island) Seal.
J: This blurb makes your story sound like a horror: “She realizes that her life has been based on a lie, and that she is missing something...something she never knew existed.
Her skin.” WTH?

B: *giggles* Yeah, my agent mentioned that line was a bit creepy. But it’s good for shock factor. Selkies shed their skins to become human. Perhaps there are hundreds of humans out there that are missing their selkie skins… food for thought, no?

J: What’s the audience for the book?

B: Young adults, or people who like young adult fiction.

J: SKIN is coming from Fortunate Frog Fiction - your own imprint. You’re doing your own publishing. How’d you get into that?

B: I published my first book—TREASURE IN THE FLAME—in 2012 via Fortunate Frog. I was just learning about the publishing business and had an audience for the book at a local museum. I’m really glad that’s how I started, because it’s a great way to learn how much work goes into a traditionally published book. Having complete creative control of your final product is a real rush. As is the payback.

J: I know about DEPENDENT from when you visited the Mansion last time. I still need that brain sample by the way.

B: Still no secrets about how I got an agent, Johnny. Pure luck I think. Actually, SKIN is the reason I have an agent in the first place. The wonderful folks at Literary Counsel saw something in it, and signed me as a result. Sadly, wee seal-skinned Irish-Canadian humans are not perceived as sellable in the traditional market right now. I hope to prove that perception wrong.


B: Also a YA, also set in eastern Canada, only way back in the late 1700’s. Think Anne of Green Gables without red hair, or Laura Ingalls meets Captain Jack Sparrow. No seals. Well, not yet anyway, but I’m working on a sequel, and there may be some foreshadowing. Creative control has it’s benefits.

J: We’re close enough you can hear the seals now.

B: Sounds like barking.

J: That’s how seals communicate.

B: What do you think they’re saying?

J: Probably complaining about the smell.

B: Yeah. Now it’s loud and stinky.

J: And slimy.

B: Charming.

J: Make me wonder how could anyone love something like this. How does Sam do it in SKIN?

B: He may have his own skin problems. And I’m not talking about acne.

Prince Edward Island
J: The more I hear about Prince Edward Island the more I want to visit. What’s it like?

B: I grew up a few hours away, and have visited many times. The food is awesome, lobster dinners everywhere. My favourite part is the Twin Shores, on the eastern coast. It’s a bit less touristy with small villages and lots of red-sand beaches and dunes. Cavendish is fun—there’s even a little Avonlea village dedicated to Anne’s story. I took the opportunity to do some ‘research’ while I was writing SKIN—we stayed on Thunder Cove Beach which was amazing. *hands picture* Go ahead, admit it. You’re jealous.

J: You’ll have to show me around sometime.

Thunder Cover Beach
B: Well, I’m on the other side of the continent right now, but it would be my pleasure.

J: Okay, just around this corner is the seal cave. We’ll have to be quiet now or we’ll disturb them. Before we go in there, tell us where we can find out more about you and SKIN.

INSTAGRAM: brendacoreydunne

J: We're here! Check them out. Aren’t they majestic.

B: Who are they?

J: Seals.

B: They look like soldiers.

J: Marines actually.

B: What? The smell and the barking—

J: Shhh… we don’t want to startle them. They can be dangerous.

B: But they’re men. They’re… What are they doing?

J: Basking on the rocks. It’s what seals do.

B: With rifles, wet suits, and rubber dinghies?

J: They always have those. I told you. They’re SEALs.

1 comment:

  1. Great interview! I am looking forward to reading it. It's always great to find a fellow Canadian author!