Due to some awesome advances in technology, I was able to gather Gabriella’s Q&A for you. So, as the final day of (me participating in) Fall Fantasy Conclave is here, let’s end it with some good ol’ juicy details from Bloodline’s author, Gabriella Messina:
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Gabriella Messina… I’m the author of Bloodline, a paranormal fantasy novel, and the Kate Gardener Mysteries series, which I’ve dubbed “semi-cozy mysteries”. I’m also a writer of blog posts, articles, and other freelance writing assignments… my “day job” if you will. I’m a mom to an active five-year-old and if I’m not writing, I’m probably walking or playing with Thomas the Tank Engine. LOL
How did you get into writing?
I used to make up “movies” when I was a kid… Jotting down the titles of stories, casting them, putting music to them… but writing was never something I really thought about until after I left college. I had gone for Theater, but after a very disappointing sophomore year, in which I kept getting passed-over for parts, stuck in the back doing tech and construction work, I just got fed-up… Really, my thinking was that I couldn’t do it, that I’d been kidding myself about being able to perform, so why waste the money, you know? So I took a break and traveled. And it was while I was in Florida that I had two breakthroughs… the first with a wonderful acting teacher in a workshop who not only showed me that I could act, but that I was good (I did a monologue as Jackie Kennedy and she actually cried at my performance). The second breakthrough was when I started teaching myself to write screenplays. My mystery series featuring the character Kate Gardener was born during this time. Once I saw that I could create these great worlds and flesh them out, and that other people enjoyed them, initially in my family and then among friends and peers… Then I began to look at it as more than just a whim.
How did you come up with the idea for your story?
My first novel, Bloodline, was born as my original screenplay “The Devil Inside”, which I wrote back on 2005. Oddly enough, the origins of the story were in a reviewing of The Lost Boys and a listening to a lot of Def Leppard. I started thinking about a werewolf movie that the two Coreys might be in… Over time things changed… In its earliest incarnations, Sam Karolyi was a guy, Vincent was just “Krem” (and may have been a vampire), and the story was set in LA. Then a peer reviewer said something in a critique that sent the whole story in a new direction. He said that the script had a lot of good elements, but needed something to set it apart, and that maybe Sam should be a girl. And that set me on a new path with the story. Sam became a girl, “Krem” became Vincent, Ivan morphed from wise old friend to cantankerous grandfather, and the whole story shifted to the East Coast, to New York City.
Kate Gardener Mysteries also began their lives as screenplays, or more accurately teleplays, as it was created to be a television show. The idea sprang to life about a year after I took a trip to London. I started jotting down possibilities for characters and plots for a series… And the series went through a number of changes, too… At one time, I was going to set the “show” in London 1893! But eventually I settled into the current time and format.
Who are your favorite authors?
Anne Rice… She has essentially built an entire 30+ year career off a handful of vampires and their world, and she still is able to continue building that world, book after book, all while branching out into other genres with equal success. Plus she’s a really cool person, you know? Answers questions, talks to fans… She’s really, well REAL.
I’m also a big fan of Joss Whedon. He writes great female characters that are flawed, funny, and fierce and feminine. And his style is kind of iconic now.
If you could only recommend one book, which would it be?
Audition by Michael Shurtleff… Even if you have no interest in acting or public speaking, the stories he tells in this book and the tips that he gives for being prepared and approaching an audition can be applied in so many different ways in your life, whether you’re going for a job interview or doing a live broadcast. Sheesh!
*Bonus * What one person (living or dead) would you share a meal with? And why?
My late grandfather… Just to have the chance to sit and eat spaghetti and meatballs with him one more time.
Thanks for sharing, Gabriella! And for joining me here for the first (hopefully annual) Fall Fantasy Conclave.
And to all my authors: Chrishaun Keller-Hanna, J.L.Hendricks, and Gabriella Messina– it was a pleasure hosting you! Good luck in all your endeavors and may your sales hit a record high!