ABOUT SUPER FREAK:
Super Freak by Vanessa Barger
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Tantrum Books
Genre: MG, Fantasy
Thirteen-year-old Caroline is a freak. Her parents have uprooted her to a town full of Supernaturals. You’d think she’d be thrilled. But, with someone without a magical bone in her body, this daughter of tree sprites feels like even more of an outcast than she has ever before.
To make matters worse, her new home is cursed. But when Caroline takes to investigating the mysterious and strange happenings of Harridan House, her BFF goes missing. Seems someone doesn’t want Caroline sticking her non-magical nose where it most certainly does not belong. Determined to prove herself, Caroline uncovers a plot to destroy her new hometown.
Undeterred, Caroline can’t give up. But what’s a human without magical powers to do? Caroline better figure it out fast, before she loses everything she has ever loved and the whispers she’s heard all her life prove true: Caroline is a useless superfreak.
ABOUT VANESSA BARGER:
Vanessa Barger was born in West Virginia, and through several moves ended up spending the majority of her life in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is a graduate of George Mason University and Old Dominion University, and has degrees in Graphic Design, a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and a Masters in Technology Education. She has had articles published in Altered Arts Magazine, has had some artwork displayed in galleries in Ohio and online, and currently teaches engineering, practical physics, drafting and other technological things to high school students in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She is a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), the Virginia Writer’s Club, and the Hampton Roads Writers. When not writing or teaching, she’s a bookaholic, movie fanatic, and loves to travel. She is married to a fabulous man, and has one cat, who believes Vanessa lives only to open cat food cans, and can often be found baking when she should be editing.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Even in kindergarten, my favorite thing was to do bare books. My mom still has them all! But I think what really sealed it was when I won an essay contest in Kindergarten, and got to be one of 5 students (one from each grade) to eat lunch with Norman Bridwell. I thought that was the coolest thing ever.
2. How long does it take you to write a book?
It really depends on the book. (I know, everyone says that, but its true!) my YA novels take much longer than my MG novels. SUPER FREAK took three months. The last MG novel I wrote took only three weeks! Sometimes the words just flow like I’ve already written it in my head, and sometimes I struggle to get all the words down.
3. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Well, it can be chaotic. I teach full time, so I write at night when I get home and everything else is done, and during my lunches sometimes. So it’s a lot of cramming in time throughout the day to get the words in.
4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmmm… I frequently write with music from bands that specialize in movie trailer music in the background. I also have to write the blurb before I get halfway through the novel, or I totally screw it up. I do a much better job when I haven’t finished the novel because some of the details are still forming in my head, so I can’t get bogged down by them.
5. How do books get published?
With a lot of effort! Without getting too long winded, for SUPER FREAK, the process went a lot like this: Write the novel. Edit the novel. Send the novel in to lots of places. Let it sit for a long time. Give up. Get a phone call long after you think its possible, and get offered a publishing contract. Do a happy dance (or ten) and go out for celebratory Chinese food. Wait. Wait some more. Get edits. Get more edits. Review the finished copy. Bite nails and wait for the readers to get their hands on it. Do a happy dance when it comes out!
6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Everywhere! I love reading weird news articles and saving them for ideas. I also get a lot from dreams (I have really odd dreams sometimes) and just daydreaming. I’m also a big fan of writing prompts.
7. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
My first novel length book was written in the 6th or 7th grade and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, there were LOTS of flattered authors out there. Lol. It will never see the light of day, but I think it was still an achievement. It would be a long time before I wrote something that long and finished it again.
8. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I have a crafting and baking problem, so I’m usually doing those things (if not both). I’ve recently gotten into cake decorating (which the other teachers in my building love) so there’s been a lot of that lately. I also really love movies and traveling, though I don’t get to do that as much.
9. What does your family think of your writing?
They love it! My family are my biggest supporters and fans, and I love them for it. My grandmother regularly calls to make requests about what I should write next.
10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I have a pet project that I work on from time to time that’s set in WWII. I have learned a great many really interesting things from that – like I didn’t know there was a manor house where they bugged everything including the trees to get secrets out of German officers who were British POWs.
11. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written about 10. Of those, only about half are published. I think that my favorite changes frequently, but right now I’d say it’s a tie between SUPER FREAK and the one I’ve just finished, which is a space adventure.
12. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Keep writing. Its so cliché, but its true. The more you write, the better you become. The other is to find a critique partner that you can grow with and be critters with for the long term. Having someone that can help you (and that you can help) will make learning about being a better writer easier. You can give them feedback, and get theirs, and it’s a built in person who understands what you’re going through.
13. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I actually haven’t heard much, but the ones I have heard from have been awesome! They have told me their favorite parts (which I’m always curious to know. Especially in the horror novels, I always like to know what parts people find most scary.) and asked questions about my writing and the next thing coming.
14. Do you like to create books for adults?
The first book I ever published was an adult paranormal romance, and while I do enjoy it, I think I really love writing MG and YA more. I’m not saying I’ll never do it again, but right now, I’m sticking to the younger crowd.
15. What do you think makes a good story?
Something that you can get into. Where the world and the plot suck you in, and the characters make you stay. I want to care about what happens to them, and root for them. Do that, and you’ve got me.
16. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Be a writer or a teacher. I managed both!
17. What Would you like my readers to know?
Thank you! Not just for reading my books (though THANK YOU for that) but for reading books in general. Without readers, books are just pages on a shelf. So thank you!!!!