How to Write a Book in 150 Days or What Have I Gone and Done???

Update: Substantive editing is when your editor comes back to say, “Great stuff, but let’s take all of this material and find a flow that reads more like a story.” To that end, the conversations I refer to below have now been embedded into a series of chapters and essays that, really, make us all shine a little brighter. I will, however, run most of the interviews in full here on the blog for your enjoyment and to tip a hat to the people who offered their time and contributions to the success of Truly, Madly, Deadly. Becca

I jest. Surely, I do. Writing Truly, Madly, Deadly: The Unofficial True Blood Companion has been a) a blast, b) a challenge, c) a test, d) one colossal and pleasant surprise.

This ol’ blog has been a sleepy place of late. (Oh, there goes a tumbleweed now. Thought I got them all.) That will change in the coming weeks when I hand in the final manuscript to my editor who will then work that voodoo that she doo doo so well. (She said “doo doo.”) I’ll become more active here, starting with a series of short bios of some of the many people I interviewed during the research for the book.

Research, you might ask. What research? Well, let me tell ya. If you hadn’t already figured it out, Alan Ball is a deeply layered fellow, as is the narrative for True Blood. There’s a lot to talk about. There will be episode analysis, which includes it’s fair share of pom poms but also the occasional, “Really?!” There will be essays on vampire lore, mythology, the politics of popular culture, vampires as metaphor for the LGBT community, and so on.

But to get back to the talking, the interviews feel more like conversations. If you’re reading this, you’re probably online a fair bit, so you completely get that vibe of back-and-forth. We do it all the time in forums, comment fields, IMs, and at a rapid-fire pace on Twitter. We are the information age, because we’ve become the primary source of information. Want to know something? Shout it out on Twitter. You’ll get a dozen replies, all with varying degrees of information and opinion. Even when it’s not useful to you personally, you’ve learned something new, and maybe gained a trusted follower.

All that’s to say that I wanted to bring those elements to the book. So, rather than asking a bunch of questions only to bury them in essays — Although, many thanks to those of you who provided the Mrs. Dash to some of them! — a chunk of my interviews will run as unique sidebars to retain the pace of the conversation and the interviewee’s original voice. Cause that’s the best kind of chit chat, isn’t it? The kind that feels like you could be in a pub or coffee shop, just two people getting more and more jazzed about their topic. Some of these “chats” include Alix Fox from Bizarre magazine; Stacey May Fowles from Shameless magazine on the BDSM elements of Sookie and Bill’s relationship (such a good piece!); Andy Swist on his INCREDIBLE True Blood paper dolls; Karen Walton, screenwriter of the cult film Ginger Snaps on her use of werewolves as metaphor; my interviews with Kristin Bauer (Pam) and Patricia Bethune (Jane Bodehouse); an author you may have heard of, Charlaine Harris; and a whack of bloggers/podcasters/fans. (You’ll get a separate post all to yourselves!)

This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. Not even the tippy-toppiest of the tip that we’re nowhere near. Like, just don’t even try to see the tip; it’s that tiny.

I’ll post again soon. I just couldn’t keep my fingers from tapping out something quick. All told, there are about 40 conversations, including one mother of an email correspondence I started with Kevin Jackson, author of Bite Me: A Vampire Handbook. Once we were done, I looked back over our emails and thought, “Two writers — one in the U.K., the other in Canada — and we’re firing away about vampires, pop culture, 90210, and moose. Someone else has to find this interesting.” Hopefully, that someone will be you.

Chat soon,


  1. Sounds fascinating. Can’t wait!

  2. Me, too! Just got done writing up a vampire terminology crib sheet. The learning curve has been kind of remarkable.

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