Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Half Dead by Kristina Andersen: Character Interview and Excerpt

YA Horror
Mandy Jacksonis 15 years old. From a poor housing estate near London, her life changes when she is awarded a scholarship to attend Eastlake School, a nearby private girls' school. There she has to deal with wealthy girls who never waste an opportunity to humiliate her.

Most elements are from Little Goblins Kit.

Mandy and her class go on a school trip to Spitsbergen, in a region that is home to many evil creatures, including the huge kraken which can swallow a ship whole, nøkken which lures people onto thin ice before killing them, and most fearsome of all, the draugr, the half dead ghost/vampire that revels in causing suffering and in killing its victims in the vilest ways. After the group becomes marooned in a desolate, barren area one night, a draugr changes things forever.

This short novel has approximately 7,100 words.

Character interview with Mandy Jackson

Hello Mandy! I'm so happy you were able to take time to stop by today. I'm looking forward to finding out a bit about you. Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

I bet you can guess that going back to Spitsbergen’s not on my bucket list of things to do! Going there once was enough. It’s not that it’s not beautiful there, I’m sure it is, but I didn’t really notice because I was so scared of the druagr and then having to deal with the people who got bitten. It was some trip alright!

What was the scariest moment of your life?

No doubt about it, it was the school trip to Spitsbergen. Most of the trip was beyond scary but I think the bits that really stood out were before we knew for sure that draugr were real - reading about them was so scary and then not knowing if every little bump in the night is normal or the sign of something evil. It sure gives you nightmares. The other really scary bit was when Simone turned into a draugr and attacked us when we were camping in the graveyard. My adrenalin took over and I was able to fight her and cut off her head as if I was on some kind of auto pilot, but even that wasn’t enough when I had to put the darning needle in her foot. That’s what you’re supposed to do to temporarily stop a draugr, but it was gruesome. When I think about it I still clench my feet up into little balls. I know I’m not supposed to say this but life without Simone is way better…

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Being a girl from the wrong side of the tracks I didn’t think I would get far in life. Nobody in my family had been to university so even though in my wildest dreams I kind of hoped that just maybe I could go there…I thought that it wouldn’t happen in reality. But then I got talking to my teacher Duncan Wilson who really inspired me to aim high. He said I could be anything I wanted to be and it felt so good to hear that someone believed in me. I mean my parents believe in me too, I’m not saying they don’t, but they’re poor and haven’t really had much education so their aspirations aren’t that big.

Morning Person? Or Night Person? How do you know?

Boy oh boy!!! If you’d asked me before the Spitsbergen trip I would have said I was an any kind of day kind of person…but…now…no way am I a night person. I’ll go out at night, if I have to, but I’m always on alert looking in the dark corners for something evil. I know that there aren’t any draugrs around here but an experience like that changes you.

Do your friends think you are an introvert or an extravert? Why?

As you know, I got a scholarship to go to a private school. Simone and Pip treated me like dirt and I wished I had never gone there because they were so horrible. I became introverted because the less I said, the less they could use as ammunition to throw back at me, but then Simone and Pip became draugrs and they aren’t at school anymore. Without them, school’s good and also the other girls heard about me fighting Simone when she was a draugr so I’m kind of a hero. So I guess now I’m not scared to talk to anyone or to just be myself. I would say that I am now an extrovert.

What songs are most played on your Ipod?

I’ve got one answer for that question: One Direction. I’ve got the Direction Infection for sure.

Well, that's all we have time for today! Thanks so much for giving us a little more insight into your adventures.

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