Thursday, January 26, 2012

Interview with Gina Damico, author of Croak

First, a little about the upcoming YA thriller, Croak, due to hit shelves March 20, 2012.

"Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure. 

He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business. 

Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer. 

Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in?"- from Goodreads.

I had the opportunity to interview, Gina Damico, the author.

1. Gina, what  inspired you to write a fantasy novel about Grim Reapers?

To be honest, it just popped into my head one day. I like paranormal fantasy-ish stuff that's still grounded in the real world, and I thought that teenage Grims would be a fun way to do a dark comedy, which is what I like to write. Also, telling people that I wrote a book about grim reapers always gets me the oddest looks.

2. How long did it take you to go from 1st draft to publication?

About three years. A large chunk of that time was revising with my agent, Tina Wexler of ICM, pretty much tearing the whole book apart and putting it back together again. It was all worth it in the end, though, because she sold it to Julie Tibbott at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and here we are today, with all sorts of bells on.

3. Where you a part of any groups, critique, SCBWI, etc...?

During writing, not so much. (Unless you count my family, who gave me such helpful advice as, "Why are you always writing about death? Did something happen to you as a child? Be honest, Gina.") But now I belong to SCBWI and the Apocalypsies, who are a group of 2012 YA/MG debut authors who pretty much saved my life in terms of how to promote a book, how to be an author, how not to jump off a bridge, etc.

4. Are you having any sort of book launch or book blog tour? How do you plan to promote your book?

I am currently in the midst of planning both a book launch and blog tour, so I can't give any official word on that yet. But I organized and took part in the Apocalypsies YAmazing Race, a fun blog hop that introduced readers to a whole bunch of new authors and our debuts. And I'm tweeting, blogging, and engaging in general hijinkery around the internet. Maybe I'll get myself a sandwich board and take to the sidewalks.

5. What was your favorite book growing up and why?

Man, I really loved the Babysitter's Club books. I know they're not classic literature or anything, but for some reason those plucky young entrepreneurs just really did it for me. And I wasn't even a babysitter. I took a class and got certified for CPR and everything, and not once was I ever put in charge of a child. The next-door neighbors actually requested my sister instead of me. It's not like I eat babies (anymore), people!

6. Any advice for struggling writers out there?

Go to conferences and hobnob with other writers, agents, and editors. I met my agent a conference before I queried a single letter. I know that's not typical, but getting your stories out there can't hurt, and more often than not you'll get some good advice along the way. Oh, and if you're going to hand out business cards, make sure they don't look like you printed them on your home printer, like I did. Tina is still having a good laugh at that one.

Thanks Gina! For more info, check out Gina's website 


  1. This sounds like such an interesting concept, a whole town full of Grim Reapers.
    I never read the baby-sitter's club but my sister really liked them. I was more into the R.L. Stine books.
    I can't wait to read this book. I was lucky enough to get an ARC so it will be very soon.

  2. I know, I just got the ARC from net galley. I can't wait to read it.