Dream Big 51 (Special Edition) My Exclusive Interview with Author John Rose, and The MonsterGrrls.
Forget everything you've ever read, watched, or learned from others about monsters, like Dracula, the Wolfman, Frankenstein's Monster, and or even witches for that matter. Imagine that they're no different than you or I. And imagine that they have normal everyday lives like everybody else, well normal for monsters anyway. Like humans, monsters would have jobs, families, and perhaps even pets, but how they do it may not be so different after all. Take for instance, school for monster kids should be similar to humans, with cliques, drama, and even a ton homework. Right? Well, it wasn't until the MonsterGrrls went to Clearwater High in the human world.
How did monsters enter our world? And how could anyone let them go to a human school? What about the safety of our children?
When the MonsterGrrls arrived on the first day of school they weren't greeted with open arms. They were actually feared by some, ignored by others, but then they met two other girls who were more like them then they'd realized. And together they would fight off the most popular girl clique in school, and some unforeseen evil that had crossed over into the human world. The MonsterGrrls weren't afraid of these new challenges that they must face. After all, who would a Vampire, a Werewolf, a Creature, and a Witch be afraid of? Sometimes the biggest fears we face are not our enemies, but losing our friends to them are.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first two books in The MonsterGrrls series. You will too. It's so good it's scary! And I want to thank John Rose, and his MonsterGrrls, for sharing his work with me, and allowing me the honor of an exclusive interview...
Me: John, what was it like to meet these Grrls? How did you learn to bond?
John: Well, I--
Bethany: Hmmph. Fanboy pillock.
(Frankie, Punkin and Harriet all react vocally. John shrugs and sits back.)
Bethany: (loudly) I have the floor. When we first met him, we could not believe it. He was raving on about Universal Monsters and Hammer Films, and how we were the obvious descendants of that line. Complete bloody fanboy. He thought I was related to bleeding Christopher Lee, for pity's sake.
Punkin: Well, it warn't all from them films. He knew what your Eye Of Azrael was right off. He already knew him a bunch of the lore, and not all of it came from them movies.
Frankie: Gradually, (looking sharply at Bethany) we did bond. John is definitely NOT like other adults we know, and he already knew quite a lot about us, so we got on very well. Still do. I think he's very talented.
Harriet: But it is kind of true about the fanboy thing. He's got like 5000 of those DVD thingys in his house, and half of 'em are old horror movies.
John: Harriet exaggerates. It's more like a thousand.
Me: Bethany, after all these centuries how do you reinvent yourself? Bethany: Well, it's not so much reinvention as just keeping up with the times, really. My retainer Ackerman has always taken good care of me, much better so than Father does. And in truth, in the older days people did not notice what children did so much, so it was easy to slip away or disappear when necessary. The difference now is having made friends with this lot and our Mad Doctor over there. Being in the company of friends makes a big difference in any case, no matter what you do.
Frankie: (Nods) It's like what Mad Scientists say among themselves: "A friend will help you with your scientific research, but a colleague will help you break into the morgue."
Bethany: I was a different sort of vampire. Most vampires are not curious about the world around them; they're more obsessed with the gaining of power. I won't give away too much about my personal history before my Turning, but like many of those who are Turned, I was taken by force. But I decided to take advantage of the immortality thing, and use it to learn as much as I could about everything possible. I guess that's why I'm different. It certainly has to do with why I've survived this long. (Bethany is 255 years old at the time of this writing)
Me: Frankie, when you use the "Voice" do you end up with a sore throat? Frankie: Yes, I do. I can switch back and forth pretty easily (voice deepens into a guttural growl) LIKE THIS. (Coughs briefly) But I can't do it for very long, or I'll stretch my vocal chords too much. And my Dad (Frankie's creator, the inimitable Dr. Eliot Franken) hates having to retighten them. It's a very picky form of invasive surgery. One time he missed a couple and my voice started doing double octaves for about a week.
Bethany: But our school did win the show choir competition when you filled in for soprano and contra-bass. (Frankie blushes) So it wasn't all bad.
Me: Harriet, is it rough having so many siblings in a litter?
Harriet: Nah, I love it! I'm used to it 'cause every werewolf family has a lot of kids. We like big families. And I stick up for all the new-moon pups (werewolf cubs who, because of a mutation in the bloodline, are born as either actual wolf cubs or human-like babies with heightened senses and abilities) 'cause it's good to have them. My little brother's one, and sometimes they can do stuff werewolves can't do. But werewolves aren't thatpicky about the ancestry anyway, because in our view, we're all cubs of Great Ulfric (the werewolves' version of God).
Me: Punkin, when your magic is in full power, what does the blue light feel like? Punkin: (smiles shyly) Now ain't nobody never asked me that.
Frankie: I've kind of wondered that myself, sometimes.
Punkin: It's... it ain't easy to explain. It don't hurt or nothin, but it's a bit like I'm pushin somethin out of my body, but I ain't usin my hands. Like I'm growin somethin, like an extra hand on my arm, or makin my arm longer.
Harriet: Sometimes it looks like fire. Does it burn?
Punkin: No. It feels like it's a little warm and a little cold at the same time. It don't feel strange or nothin, it's just pretty natural. It feels natural.
Me: John, do you ever have conflicts of interest with the Grrls?
Everyone: (at once) ALL THE TIME!!
John: It can be difficult to write multiple characters sometimes, and sometimes you want the story to go one way and it starts going in some other direction from what you originally planned. But it helps that I can often add subplots and tie them in to the main story. I wanted to show the Grrls growing and changing as the ongoing story went on anyway. Someone once mentioned that I could do stories about cursed objects or something, but I didn't want to do that because each story would rely too much on a MacGuffin (an object or device in a book that serves mainly as a trigger for the plot), and to me, that makes for a lesser story. The story is about the Grrls anyway, so I try to stick to that.
Me: This question is for all the Grrls, where do you all get those awesome outfits?
(All the Grrls look at each other)
Frankie: Well, I'm not sure how to answer that. For me, mostly, it's whatever fits because I'm so tall (Frankie is 7'5" with her boots on, and 7' with them off). We get a lot of our clothes in Morlock Heights, but my Dad bought me this leather jacket that I wear. Once in a while before we all went to Clearwater High, we used to slip into Clearwater late at night and look around, and I saw this in the window of a store and thought it was really cool. When we were told by the Council Of Monsterkind that we were going to attend Clearwater, he got it for me.
Punkin: (Indicating her stockings, boots and hat) Us witches all wear this, cause it's kind of like how folks tell a witch. Like a uniform or somethin. My hat was tailor-made for me, and we got it down to Balrog And Soggoth's in Morlock Heights. I know my boots is a trifle fancy, but my Mama got them cause she said fancy boots don't hurt a girl none. And they's tough, cause boots made for witches got to last.
Bethany: Most of my clothes were tailor-made too, by various tailors through the centuries. They have been carefully preserved, and I suppose now they'd be considered costumes even though they're real. What I wear now is a bit more modern take on what humans call the traditional vampire. Changing times and all that. Suppose you'd call it Goth, even though few actual Visigoths dressed like those people who stay inside all the time and have all that black eyeliner.
Frankie: Well, the Visigoths did wear leather, and your skirt is leather.
Bethany: True. This blouse I wear (indicating her blouse) was based on a pattern from a little shop I found in France, just before the Revolution hit.
Harriet: I don't pay a lot of attention to clothes much. I'm pretty active and running around a lot, so I guess you'd say I dress in athletic stuff. But I like these a lot (holds out her feet, clad in red Converse All-Stars, for inspection).
John: I tend to wear taffeta as chenille does nothing for my complexion. Next question.
(All the Grrls laugh)
Me: This question is for the Grrls, what are your plans, Grrls, after high school? What are your dreams?
Harriet: I dunno. We were all at Emily's house once and we saw this cartoon with these bears called Yogi and Boo Boo, and there was a forest ranger in it. I think maybe I'd like to do something like that, you know. Taking care of animals and forests. I'd get those bears in line! No picnic baskets lost on my watch!
Frankie: Gosh, I don't have any idea. We haven't even finished high school yet. I know I'd like to do something in science, but I know the human world isn't ready to handle the reanimation of dead tissue yet. People are still arguing about stem cell research.
Punkin: I think I'd like to help folks. Bein a healer or a doctor or somethin. (To Frankie) Not a mad doctor, though. (Frankie nods) I am kind of interested in them computers, though.
Bethany: I suppose after high school, we will all see what college is like. (Smiles) Can't you just see all of us at a college?
(John gets a faraway look on his face. The Grrls react.)
Bethany: No! NO!
Frankie: Don't start! You're not even finished with our next book yet!
Me: John, when can the fans out there expect to see the third book of The MonsterGrrls series?
(All the Grrls give John a look.)
John: I admit that it's taking a while. I'm doing this all my myself, since I write and publish the books myself; Frankengeek Press is basically me. But I'm working, even though I have been sidetracked by life. I didn't come into this with the idea that I was going to set the world on fire with my writing; I just had a story I wanted to tell and to share, so I accepted the responsibility of doing the best job I could and learning whatever I needed to know. The only real thing I've wanted was to know who was reading them, so I guess if I had a wish, it would be that more people wrote reviews on Amazon.
Bethany: You have been sidetracked a bit. John works a day job as a teacher, so that doesn't always give him a lot of time to work. And there was also that girl.
(Everyone grimaces, and Frankie actually growls)
John: That part is true. I met someone that I thought was "the one," and, well, she was not. And it did not work out well at all. But I worked through it, and I've gotten on with things instead. We're still working.
Me: This question is for everyone, what advice would you give others who are chasing their dreams?
Frankie: Don't give up, and don't be too proud to ask for help from somebody if you really need it. That's what friends are for.
Punkin: Don't let nobody talk you out of nothin you really want to do.
Bethany: Don't be afraid. You will make mistakes, but you can fix them. Nothing is graven in stone. Unless, of course, you're engraving on actual stone, in which case you might have to start over, but that's all right.
Harriet: Don't be scared of the hard work. Work is how stuff gets done. And don't be scared to be yourself, because you're better at being yourself than you are at being somebody else.
(Everyone looks at each other, and then says together) Never be cruel. Never be cowardly. Never give up. Build something weird.
John: I guess I forgot to mention that all of us like Doctor Who.
I want to thank John Rose, and the Grrls for letting me into your world. I hope that everyone out there picks up a copy of The MonsterGrrls, and enjoys reading it as much as I did. You can find both books, one and two on Amazon.
We may all be different, how we look, how we dress, or even be monsters, but in the end we all want the same things in life, to achieve our goals. No matter the challenges we face, or those that don't believe we exist, always Dream Big.