Waking Up Dead
by Margo Bond Collins
Margo: In my other life, I’m a college professor; I teach English courses online. I live in Texas with my husband and our daughter and a number of thoroughly silly animals. Waking Up Dead is my first published novel. My second novel, Legally Undead, is an urban fantasy forthcoming in 2014 from World Weaver Press. I got the offers to publish the two novels in the same month. That was officially the best month of my life!
In Waking Up Dead, when Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex. Now she's witnessed another murder, and she's not about to let this one go. She's determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up in Alabama?
Crystal: Where did you come up with the idea for Waking Up Dead?
Margo: I wrote Waking Up Dead when I lived in Alabama for a few years. I remember driving to work one morning and seeing just a wisp of fog move across the statue in the middle of the town square. The statue was of some Civil War figure, and I remember thinking that it looked oddly ghostly. In between teaching classes that day, I started writing Callie’s story.
Crystal: What are you currently working on?
Margo: I’m currently working on sequels to Waking Up Dead and Legally Undead. I’m also working on a paranormal romance novel—stay tuned to my blog for some exciting news about the romance!
Crystal: Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing?
Margo: I used to have an elaborate routine to get started. Now I just have to have a cup of coffee or tea and my laptop. Because I teach online, I do have some flexibility in my schedule, and that means that if I’m suddenly inspired to write, I can take a little time to do that. I also have to be incredibly self-disciplined—it’s easy to put off writing if I don’t feel like doing it! However, I try to fit in at least an hour or two of fiction writing a day.
Crystal: Did you have to do a lot of research for this book or any other? If so do you have a fascinating fact that you have learned you would like to share with us?
Margo: I didn’t have to do much research for this book, though I did have to find out when the thousand-dollar bill was discontinued—it was last printed in 1946 and totally discontinued in 1969.
I have done extensive research for other projects. I have a Ph.D. in eighteenth-century British literature and my dissertation was on depictions of violent women from 1660-1740. One interesting fact I learned from that is that in England in the eighteenth century, women who committed crimes in conjunction with their husbands were often not prosecuted; it was assumed that their husbands had made them commit the crime!
Crystal: Who are some of your favorite authors that you like to read?
Margo: I love books by Neil Gaiman, Lois McMaster Bujold, Faith Hunter, Stephen Graham Jones, Ilona Andrews, Carrie Vaughn, Richelle Mead, Rachel Vincent, Holly Black, Janny Wurts, Jennifer Estep, Rachel Caine, Patricia Briggs, Janet Evanovich . . . and those are just the ones who come to mind immediately!
Crystal: Is there a genre you haven't written that you would like to try?
Margo: I would love to write a science fiction novel. I have the beginnings of one in mind; I just need to find the time to write it!
Crystal: Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?
Margo: This is the scene in which Callie witnesses the murder of Molly McClatchey:
Author's Favorite Scene Excerpt:
She didn’t even turn around when the man walked into the kitchen. It’s what Rick would have done, after all. And she was bent over the oven, pulling out the pan that held the baked potatoes.
I saw him, though. He wasn’t Rick McClatchey. He wasn’t anyone I’d ever seen before. He had dark hair--almost black--and pale blue eyes. Tiny pits covered his cheeks, like he’d had adolescent acne. He was shorter than Rick and more muscular. He wore regular clothes--Levi jeans and a black t-shirt--but he also wore black leather gloves and those little blue booties that doctors and nurses sometimes put on over their shoes.
And he had some sort of wire in his hands, the ends twisted into his grip.
I knew what was going to happen when I saw the wire. I started screaming. “Molly, no! Watch out!” I waved my arms over my head and screamed at the top of my lungs. I closed my eyes and concentrated on forcing my hands make real contact with Molly, pushing as hard as I could with my hands and my mind, hoping to make her drop the pan and turn around.
It didn’t do much good, though.
The pan of potatoes did slip out of Molly’s hands and she danced backwards to avoid getting hit with the bouncing foil packages. But none of that stopped what was about to happen.
As Molly straightened up, the man slipped the wire over her head and twisted it around her neck. She struggled, but he pulled the garrote tighter and tighter.
I was screaming at the top of my ghostly voice, for all the good it did me. I moved up behind the man and beat at his back with closed fists--fists that slipped in and out of his back without ever making real contact. He shuddered a little--clearly he was one of the very slightly sensitive ones--but he didn’t loosen his hands.
I reached up and tried to grab the wire, tried to pull against the pressure he was exerting on the wire and it did loosen for an instant. But only for an instant. The living have more control over solid objects than the dead do. I never resented that fact more than at that moment.
But I kept trying. I kept trying as Molly’s face turned purple, then blue, then black, kept trying even as she drooped in the man’s grip.
Then he loosened the wire and it was too late. I watched that wispy, light-on-fog life force slip out of Molly and move on to wherever it is that other people go when they die. I was glad she didn’t show up next to me as a full-blown ghost. At that moment, I wouldn’t have wished my impotent half-existence on anyone.
Waking Up Dead is scheduled to be released via Amazon Kindle on October 8. The paperback will be available in February 2014.
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Connect with Margo:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin @MargoBondCollin
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins
Facebook Novel Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Waking-Up-Dead/502076076537575