**THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU TO THE WINNER JB, (FROM OUR SISTER SITE) WHO CHOSE THE PINING OF KEVIN HARDING.**
Today we have Devon McCormack talking his about his latest two YA/NA books, The Pining of Kevin Harding and When Ryan Came Back. To celebrate the release of The Pining of Kevin Harding, and When Ryan Came Back from Harmony Ink/DSP – and to help us in our 2 year blog-versary celebrations – there is a giveaway of an e-book of the winners choice of one of these two titles.
Kazza: Welcome back Devon, and congrats on the latest two books.
Devon: Thanks! I appreciate y’all having me on the blog today!
Kazza: Both of these books have paranormal/supernatural about them, The Pining of Kevin Harding is about an eighteen year old who has literally months ago been turned into vampire and When Ryan Came Back is about a Ghost who can only be seen by one person, Steven. Why the paranormal/supernatural twist to the books?
Devon: Vampire stories have always fascinated me, as they clearly have fascinated a lot of people (see the little known stories by Stephanie Meyer for more info). I always thought the idea of vampires becoming their master’s compliant drones was interesting. I thought, “What would happen if this change happened gradually and you had to watch yourself, not only losing your ability to think for yourself, but wanting to be your master’s slave?” That was where the premise for The Pining of Kevin Harding came from. With When Ryan Came Back, I wanted to explore ghosts as someone would if they discovered they could suddenly see someone they knew who’d died. So many movies I’ve seen books I’ve read have characters making assumptions that I just wouldn’t make if I was confronted with a ghost. I wanted a main character who saw all these strange things happening to their friend, but who didn’t just chock it up to “Well, this is how ghosts are.” So my main character spends a lot of time speculating on the nature of ghosts, why Ryan’s body interacts with the world as it does, why he’s there, and why he’s the only person who can see him.
Kazza: Paranormal/supernatural seems to be a recurring theme with your books – from Clipped to Hideous, to The Pining of Kevin Harding and When Ryan Came Back. What draws you to this world? And why?
Devon: I’ve always loved the supernatural. Even before I could read, my dad told me ghost stories. One was actually really scary. It was about this monster that attacked campers at a park in Tennessee. I don’t know why Mom let him tell me this story, but after the first time, I requested it over and over again. When I got a little older, I remember watching this horror movie, Silver Bullet, and I was scared out of my mind. But horror was just too compelling for me to resist. Even if it would keep me up all night, I had to experience it. I was obsessed with shows like Are You Afraid of the Dark? and I read so many of the books from the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. By the time I was in middle school, I started delving into Stephen King novels.
Gradually, my obsession with horror became less about scares and more about mystical creatures. A lot of times, people take for granted that there are tons of people out there who really believe that these beings exist. And that raises a lot of questions for me. Why do people believe in them? If they did exist, why would they be here? Why would they want to hurt people? Why would they want to help people? These are the sorts of questions that usually lead me to writing books. With Clipped, it was a look at a different interpretation of the Bible. Hideous was about understanding demons as ethereal parasites, rather than malicious slaves of Satan. The Pining of Kevin Harding is a glimpse into the psyche of a vampire that’s struggling against a mind-altering virus, rather than a mystical power that made him a vamp. And When Ryan Came Back is looking at how a kid who doesn’t have religious assumptions about how to deal with a ghost would handle it when confronted with one.
Kazza: If you were to tell the readers what the fundamental differences are between The Pining of Kevin Harding and When Ryan Came Back, what would they be?
Devon: They’re night and day. The Pining of Kevin Harding is, more than anything, an adventure. Hop on board, enjoy the ride (and my character Ride), and don’t take anything too seriously. Certainly, there are some topics that are serious, but overall, I wanted this one to be fun. I wrote it after a very serious, emotionally draining book, and I needed something that would be fun and daring, but not gut-wrenching. When Ryan Came Back isn’t as frivolous. Don’t get me wrong. It’s fun and there’s adventure, but I tackle some topics I think a lot of people grapple with in their teenage years. When I started writing the book, I said, “This is going to be a novel about lying.” When you reach a certain age (around college, sometimes after), you start to realize that so much of what you were told by society and parents is a lie—a fabrication some would argue to “protect you.” As you start to navigate through the world and realize how things really are, it’s disturbing, and it feels like you just find one lie after another. You also don’t see how it benefited you in any way for people to keep these things from you. You’ve been duped by anyone and everyone, and you feel guarded, protective, and you don’t know who to trust. Because you were betrayed. This is what Steven faces when he starts uncovering the secret behind Ryan’s death. The reason the story revolves around a mystery is because when you go looking for lies and fabrications, you will, without a doubt, find them. And once you do, you have to figure out what you’re going to do now that you know the truth.
Kazza: What books should the readers be on the look-out for from Devon McCormack over the coming months or year?
Devon: I have a New Adult book Metal Made Flesh about a robot who’s given a human body. He spends a lot of the book being told that he’s not human and that he can’t understand the world as humans do, but the more he experiences it, the more he realizes he isn’t all that different from humans. I also have two other projects in the works, but all I’ll say is one is YA and the other is contemporary fiction.
Thank you to Devon McCormack for the interview and joining in our 2nd year blog anniversary. Also for the choice of either The Pining of Kevin Harding or When Ryan Came Back. Simply leave a comment below before midnight October 16th, US Eastern Standard time to be in the running to win an e-copy of your choice of books.