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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Interview: Dia Reeves (Author of Bleeding Violet!)

Please welcome Dia Reeves, one of the amazing Tenners and author of BLEEDING VIOLET! Enjoy the interview below, in which Dia discusses her debut novel, Stephen King, and her next novel (which I'm fairly certain I need RIGHT now!).

A Brief Biography (From AuthorsNow):
 Dia Reeves is a librarian and lives in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. Her family, however, grew up in East Texas and has inspired her with many tales from the area.

Give a short description of or a statement about BLEEDING VIOLET that will lure in readers.
Here’s the official summary: A mentally ill sixteen-year-old girl reunites with her estranged mother in an East Texas town that is haunted with doorways to other worlds and protected by demon hunters called Mortmaine. But I always tell people BV is basically Mommie Dearest in the Twilight Zone.

Do you share any traits with Hanna, personality-wise or otherwise?
Man, I hope not. She’s impulsive and sexy and manipulative and aggressive, and I’m the opposite of all that. I’d never write a character who was just like me—I’d bore myself and everyone else to death.

Hanna was a character that I was simultaneously drawn to and afraid of, was she difficult to write, to keep that balance? Or am I just crazy and her character wasn’t necessarily supposed to read that way?
I think you read her right. She can be very charming when she wants to be, but her manic depression makes her unpredictable, even dangerous at times. Hanna wasn’t difficult to write. I let her do whatever oddball thing she wanted to do, but I made sure that the readers at least understood WHY she did strange things, even if they didn’t approve of her behavior. And the WHY, of course, is that she wants to be loved, no matter what. If you understand that, then you understand Hanna.

The monsters in BV are like none I’ve ever encountered before in a novel; had you been brainstorming them for years or did you create them easily?
I brainstormed them a bit; not for years, though. :) I just think of real animals—like leeches and scorpions-- and then punch em up a bit with, like, tentacles and the ability to turn people into glass. Easy peasy.

BV does not shy away from the topic of teen sex, or sex in general. Was it natural for you to include sex in the novel or did you debate about its inclusion?
I didn’t debate it at all. Hypersexuality is one of the symptoms of manic depression, which is why Hanna is such a sexual person. People have a problem with it of course, since she’s a teenager (at least, I’m assuming that’s why), but ignoring her sexuality would mean ignoring a huge part of who Hanna is. And just for the record, the actual sex in BV is very slight, fade-to-black kind of stuff, but the way people talk about it, you’d think there was an orgy on every page.

Did you do any research while writing BV? If yes, please explain.
I did a lot of research on manic depression. At the beginning, all I knew was that I wanted Hanna to have a mental illness that made her hallucinate. So through research, I was able to narrow it down to schizophrenia and manic depression. I choose manic depression because I saw Hanna as outgoing and vivacious, and schizophrenes find it very difficult to interact with people in a normal way. Basically, I didn’t want her to be so crazy that no one would be able to understand her. So manic depression for the win!

What was the most difficult aspect of writing BV?
The hardest part was revising it. It took me two and half years and thirty different drafts to figure out the story I wanted to tell. Earlier drafts had twice as many characters, a different villain, a different ending, an extra love interest. At one point, Hanna and some of her friends cooked an octopus; I mean page after page of these kids standing around cooking an octopus. It was just all over the place. But now that I’ve learned to outline, I don’t have that problem of writing useless crap that just ends up getting deleted.

Did you always want to be a novelist?
I have since I was twelve. I read It by Stephen King and decided I wanted to make people feel the way that book made me feel.

What jobs did you have on your way to being a writer? Did they help you in any way as a writer?
I’ve only ever been a librarian. Reading and research help me do my job as both a librarian and a writer.

When and where do you usually write?
On my couch, usually at night. I’m more creative in the dark.

Is there something that is a must have for you to be able to write?
Music. My space heater so my feet don’t get cold. Water and a snack also help—that way I don’t have to get up and go to the kitchen when I get peckish.

What author or book most influenced you as a writer or in general?
Stephen King is easily the biggest influence and the reason I write creepy stuff instead of happy novels about girls getting afterschool jobs to pay for prom and whose biggest worry is that their football hero crushes won’t like them or that their parents are heading down the road to…DIVORCE. *gasp* I’ll take blood and guts over that stuff any day.

Can you tell us anything about your next YA novel(s)?
I’ve turned in a novel to my editor called Strange Fruit, which is about the two daughters of a convicted serial killer who, like their father, are also killers, but unlike their father, only kill bad guys.

The Hiding Spot is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Is there a place, activity, or person that is your hiding spot?
MUSIC!!! It’s how I block out the world and disappear into my own head where all the cool ideas are. Books, as you know, are also an excellent hiding spot—one I turn to often.

Check out my review of BLEEDING VIOLET here!


  1. Great interview! I just ordered Bleeding Violet today so hopefully I get it sometime this week. I'm really looking forward to reading it.

  2. Awesome interview! Bleeding Violet is on my list for this year, although I'm thinking it may unfortunately take me a while to get to.
    I'm sure she wouldn't bore everyone else to death if she wrote about a character like herself.

  3. Awesome interview. I can't wait to read this book!

  4. Great interview. Bleeding Violet is on the top of my wishlist. I can't wait to read it.

  5. I love this interview! Dia sounds like such an interesting person and a great author!!


  6. Love this interview! It was so interesting to hear more about Hannah (who sounds like a pretty awesome character to me).

  7. great interview! I didn't know the author is from the dallas area. I will have to check out her website to see if she is having any book signings in the area!

  8. Awesome review! I like her reasons for making the protagonist bipolar and her defense of sexuality in the book. I really respect authors who stand up for realistic portrayals. Dia Reeves seems really awesome and funny. I really, really hope Strange Fruit is published because I think I would cry if it weren't.

  9. Great interview! I really want to read this book

  10. Great interview! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Those are great questions, mind if I borrow :D? I can't wait for the release of her book Strange Fruit! And EEK! Her hiding spot is almost like mine, music!
    Great interview!

  12. Great interview! Strange Fruit sounds awesome!

  13. Awesome interview!

    Different from others that i have read!

    You were more precise in your questions!

    I want to read Strange Fruit and I love how Dia wrote her main character with an illness- Manic Depression


  14. Awesome interview! I didn't know she liked Stephen King so much. o.O

  15. Great interview! I love the questions and Dia's answers are awesome. I can't say I've ever read IT because I am not to great with clowns, but I have read some other Stephen King novels and if that's who influenced Dia the most, then I NEED to read Bleeding Violet. Strange Fruit sounds just as interesting as Bleeding Violet, so I'm now looking forward to that as well.

  16. Those were some great interview answers, what with the octopus and all the revisions the book went through. It's comforting to know even published authors struggle with a storyline now and then.

  17. I love the plot to Strange Fruit!
    Thanks for the interview.

  18. Hi :)
    Thank you for the interview with Dia Reeves & thank you to Dia for sharing here. I really enjoyed learning more about her.

  19. Couple this interview with your review and I am now completely, absolutely, totally in need of getting this book soon! Great interview - I agree with her hiding spot! Music <3

  20. I really appreciate that she researched the mental illness so fully, it makes the story more real.

  21. Great interview. Nice getting to know more about Hanna.

  22. Great interview. I really want to read this one. And Strange Fruit sounds really good too.

  23. Lol, I'm sure Dia's life is more exciting than she makes it sound! Great interview, and I can't wait to read Bleeding Violet! (Need to go get it now.)

  24. Wow - such interesting questions! I really enjoyed finding out her influences. Stephen King and being a librarian are perfect for a new author. This sounds like a great debut and her next book sounds even better! Thanks for a terrific interview!

  25. I find it very interesting that the main character has a mental illness. It must have been very different as an author to write a book like this. I graduated with a degree in psych. This stuff fascinates me. I really can't wait to read this novel!

  26. Awesome interview and really great questions you came up with! Very original on some of them.

  27. I agree with Dia - Music is the best hiding spot!

    Great questions and interview! Covered a broad spectrum, I like it. :)

  28. Great interview questions. I bet researching depression was a tough job. It is a sad reality for so many people.

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. Dia's next YA novel sounds interesting too! But I HAVE to read Bleeding Violet first!

  31. Great interview. I'm looking forward to reading Strange Fruit along with Bleeding Violet.

  32. Awesome interview. I am reading this right now and your questions are ones that I would ask too. Also, I can't wait for her next book. It sounds amazing. =]

  33. What a wonderful interview! Dia seems to have a firm grasp on mental illness...sounds like she did a lot of research for this book and I like that a lot! It definitely makes a book more "believable," if you will. I can't wait to get my hands on this book, as well as any future writings!

  34. I laughed at the cooking an octopus bit! Anyway, great interview. I'm around the author's age so reading about the author's success is very inspiring.

  35. Thanks for the interview. Bleeding Violet is on my TBR list.

  36. Love that she writes on the couch! I do all of my reading/thinking on the couch. :)

  37. Awesome Interview, Hanna sounds like one of those Litarature characters that are so difficult to understand like Don Quijote, haha


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