Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Interview + Giveaway: Claudia Gabel

Today Claudia Gabel is here to answer some questions about her newest novel, Romeo & Juliet & Vampires

Be sure to also check out the giveaway at the end of the post for a chance win a copy of the book

Quick! Describe ROMEO & JULIET & VAMPIRES in 7 words or less!
Hmm…what about – “Classic Shakespearean drama with supernatural bite.”
Okay, how about a bit more description?
Set in Transylvania in 1462, ROMEO & JULIET & VAMPIRES is a mash-up novel based on Shakespeare's play, featuring a new version of the love story between Juliet Capulet, the daughter of two notorious vampires, and Romeo Montague, who was born into a family of vampire slayers. Most of the book stays true to the tragic romance we’ve all grown up with, but there are definitely a few surprises in store for readers.
What inspired you to re-write ROMEO & JULIET with vampires?
Honestly, I had a lot of difficulty reading Shakespeare when I was first introduced to his writing in high school. I loved to read, and not being able to understand his plays really broke my heart. I must confess: I relied on lots of SparkNotes back then. But when the mash-up trend started getting popular, I found myself thinking of how much it would have helped me to have some fun, interesting takes on the classics to read along with the originals. Hopefully teens who dip into this book at home won’t be as intimidated by Shakespeare’s work when they are reading it in the classroom.
What was the hardest/easiest part?
The hardest part was crafting the prose so that it was modern yet antiquated yet accessible enough for a young readership.  Sorry, I didn’t even bother trying iambic pentameter—Shakespeare is the master and I’d be a fool to go up against him! While I’m a fan of all-things vampire, this was my first time writing paranormal historical fiction, so the learning curve was pretty huge. I also had to invent some of my own vampire lore, which was fun, but kind of tricky, since the rules of the world all had to line up and make sense. The easiest part was writing Romeo’s character. Juliet was tougher because, as a budding vampire, she was a much more complex character. Romeo, however, is more of a lover than a fighter (at least at first) and honestly, I could relate to him a lot. He has so much love in his heart and it’s totally unconditional and knows no boundaries.
If you could spend a day as any character in any story, which character/story would you choose?
I think I’d want to spend a day as Meg from A Wrinkle in Time. She went on such wild adventures and grew so much as a character throughout the book. My second grade teacher read the novel aloud to my class, and ever since then, I have been addicted to reading and writing. Thanks, Sister Regis!
Anything else you'd like to add?
Actually yes! I know there are some book-lovers out there who are pretty skeptical about mash-up novels, and I can totally understand their reasoning—messing with the classics can seem really sacrilege. However, writers have been doing this long before Quirk Books published Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. Mark Twain took on the story of creation in Bible with his book The Diaries of Adam and Eve, and that was way back in 1905. Of course, I’m in no way comparing myself to Mark Twain—that would be ludicrous—but I am saying that part of an author’s job is to reinterpret revered stories, in either bold or subtle ways. And that more often than not, re-imaginations are homages meant to entertain the masses, not disrespect the original author.

Thanks for the incredible interview Claudia!
Onto the giveaway, I have one copy of Romeo & Juliet & Vampires courtesy of HarperTeen 

US Only, Ends on September 16th at midnight. Comment on my review HERE for an extra couple entries. 
Enter the form below! 


  1. Great interview! It was interesting to learn how mash-up novels are more of a recycled trend than a brand new one. :)

  2. This was such a great interview...I'm usually wary of mashups, but this sounds good!

  3. Meg from a Wrinkle in Time? What a cool answer :)

  4. I've always loved the story of romeo and juliet, and i've also enjoyed the many re-interpretations of the story. this one looks like a new and original twist!! thanks for the contest!

  5. I loved the original Romeo and Juliet, so it will be interesting to see how this book is written.(:

  6. great interview! I love her reason for writing the mash-up!

  7. Nice interview, I can relate. I have a couple old copies of Sparknotes of different classics that I had to read in highschool.

  8. Haven't read a mash up yet but think they're interesting. Anything that makes the classics easier to read has my vote. Spending time with Meg would be awesome! Great choice!

    Teens Read and Write

  9. Great interview. Thanks for sharing!!