Sunday, July 20, 2008

Interview with Author, Claudia Mair Burney

Today I welcome author extraordinaire, Claudia Mair Burney. Claudia is one my favorite authors and just a great person to talk to. She, like several of the authors I've featured this month has followed the call of God to write for our young adults. I had the pleasure of receiving an advance review copy of Claudia YA novel, The Exorsistah and while I don't do book reviews, I must say, this was the best book I've read in years. I handed my copy off to a reviewer friend who also enjoyed it immensely. I'll post her review later this week. In the meantime. Let's meet Claudia.

Welcome Claudia, tell us about your exciting new Young Adult novel, The Exorsistah?
It's about a homeless teen who has an extraordinary gift of discernment of spirits. She can actually see in the spirit realm, and not just demons. She's run away from the foster care system and is living with a super morbidly obese mystic named Kiki. Kiki protects her, but when that situation goes bad, she's on her own again. Fortunately, she meets a hottie, and he makes her an offer she no can’t refuse. She gets a home. She only has to fight the devil to keep it.

You've been writing mysteries and women's fiction. Tell us why you decided to write a young adult novel?
It's really funny Rhonda, the idea was a joke. I was jealous of my friend Gina Holmes because she'd written this kick-butt novel, The Demon Chaser. I said, "I wanna write a kick-butt book." I'd make my demon chaser a teenager, and I'd call it, and like a gift the title dropped out of heaven into my head. "The Exorsistah." Then I laughed like a loon, because that was the funniest thing to me.

Tell us about your schedule? How do you keep up with writing deadlines and marketing for two genres?
I really do what I have to do. It's simply that. I write more or less, depending on what I'm doing, when it's due, and how this fibromyalgia broken body is cooperating.

How do you establish voice and authenticity for YA fiction?
I listen to kids. Or I try to. I remember that I actually was a kid once upon a time. The Exorsistah was my first ghetto girl protagonist, so it was really hard to balance the Emme I could hear speaking very naturally, and putting that hood speak on the page. I struggled and struggled. Sometimes I failed.

Who were your favorite authors as a teenager and why?
I really loved the classics, especially African American classics like Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. I was crazy about poets, Langston Hughes and Sonia Sanchez being perpetual favorites. And lemme tell ya, I read The Catcher in the Rye sooooo many times. And it's the favorite novel of sociopaths. That's hilarious to me.

Did you learn anything about yourself while writing this book?
I always learn about myself. And of course, the same old things crop up. I usually have to tone down the sexy, and the books tend to always end up being funnier than I intended them to be. I really missed being 17 when I wrote The Exorsistah. It conjured all those feelings. And wow! When did I get so old!?

Did this book require research? Any particular resources you want to share?
Sure. I really had to look into some creepy things. I read many books about exorcisms and demons, and some of the things were wild! I read a lot of Malachi Martin, but I wanted to have a firm grasps of demonology from both Protest and Catholic perspectives. It was a real education. And I must say, demons don't like their antics to be revealed. They fight back, and fight dirty. These are the hardest books I write, bar none.

What do you hope young readers will take away after finishing one of your books?
That we are empowered in Christ, but demon warfare is no joke. I started it all in jest, but it's a very serious matter. There are times I regretted choosing such an awful subject matter. I also want kids to enjoy the romance. What's a Claudia Mair Burney book without a love story?

Claudia Mair Burney--you can call her Mair--is a writer, artist's wife, and mother, not particularly in that order. She lives in Inkster, MI with her husband, five of their seven kids, and a crazy dwarf rabbit.

Thanks so much for stopping buy and all the best with The Exorsistah!

Exorsistah can be purchased on Amazon.com on the link below or where ever books are sold on July 22nd!


You can also learn more about Claudia and her other novels at the following site:
http://claudiamairburneybooks.blogspot.com/

2 comments:

Ty said...

Great interview with Claudia. I have her book "Wounded" next on my stack. I might have to check out her YA books too!

upwords said...

Rhonda,

Thank you for showcasing Mair. This is a wonderful book for all ages.

much love,
marilynn