Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Dead Beautiful Blog Tour: Delightful Debutantes with Yvonne Woon.

I'm today's stop on the UK tour for Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon. I had planned to have my review of this one up yesterday, but I've been ill for the past couple of days, and I haven't had any energy for blogging, so expect this one later in the week instead. In the meantime, enjoy this interview as Yvonne invites you to find out more about the mysterious world of Gottfried Academy and Dead Beautiful...

Dead Beautiful is a complex tale steeped in history, mythology, Latin and a fascination with the macabre.  What kind of research did you do for the book, and how long did the research process take? 

I did do a lot of research, but it didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would. I re-read a lot of philosophy—mostly Descartes, Plato, and some mythology about zombies, though most of it I had already read before. And I did some minor research on Latin—just enough to learn the mechanics of the language, and to make me realize that I would never be able to teach it to myself (I ended up hiring a Latinist to check my translations). But the wonderful thing about fiction is that you can make it up!

UK Cover
What were your inspirations and influences for Dead Beautiful?

I always loved horror movies growing up—really cheesy, scream-inducing thrillers—which I think I always have in the back of my mind. I also love science fiction (monsters, machines and such) and the lore that comes along with it. And then in college and grad school, I studied a lot of classical literature. So I guess Dead Beautiful happened when I mixed those three interests up. And of course, there’s always Harry Potter, which is very close to my heart.

Gottfried Academy, the setting for Dead Beautiful is a prestigious boarding school with a lot of dark secrets.  Why did you choose this setting for Dead Beautiful, and why do you think that boarding school settings with a paranormal twist are so popular in YA fiction?

Gottfried is similar to the high school I went to, which was a New England prep school. Of course, everyone I knew was fully alive, but the rules and courses were pretty similar. I think boarding schools are popular because they’re private, strict, and exclusive. They have dress codes and strange rituals that vary depending on the school’s history, and I think a paranormal twist helps explain those mysteries. It’s also interesting in that it’s one of the few situations where a bunch of kids are living in the same building for an entire year.

US Cover
What is your top tip for aspiring writers?

Write the story you feel that only you can tell, not the one you think other people will want to hear.

Can you name three other books that you think readers of your book might enjoy?

The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, In the Woods by Tana French.

What were your favourite books as a teen?

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (anything by him, really), Jane Eyre, Love Story by Erich Segal . . . There were more, but those were the ones that have really stuck with me

Can you give me any hints about your next book, Life Eternal, which is the sequel to Dead Beautiful? What lies in store for Renée and Dante?

Their story takes a couple of peculiar turns, leaving them in a slightly different setting, which involves a mysterious young woman, French, and a trek through the snow. But that’s all I can say for now!

Thanks to Yvonne for the great interview! Make sure you stop by Wondrous Reads tomorrow for the next stop on the tour where Jenny will be doing a US v UK cover comparison on Dead Beautiful! Those are always fun!

Next up on Delightful Debutantes: Amy Plum & Die for Me.


  1. Great interview. I really like hearing what infulenced the story :)

  2. I have Dead Beautiful on my shelf! I really need to get around to reading it! :) I love to see what inspired her writing...horrow, sci-fi, and classical literature/movies!

  3. Thanks so much for this interview, I was hoping there was going to be a sequel as soon as I finished reading it:) I don't think I could ever teach myself Latin either, I'm not great at languages to start with, but Latin seems to be on a whole other level:)

  4. Fantastic interview! I haven't read this one, but after reading this interview, I am definitely intrigued. I love boarding school stories, so I am convinced I have to check it out. Plus, I love that cover! Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Awesome interview!
    he Secret History by Donna Tartt, Fingersmith by Sarah Waters and In the Woods by Tana French are among my favorite books too!

  6. Can't wait to read your review of this one, I am thinking this book is gonna be right up my alley!

  7. I love this book. Great interview. Awesome tip for aspiring writers. I didn't know the sequel was called Life Eternal! I can't wait :D

  8. Great interview! I can't wait to dive into this one... It's just sitting on my shelf waiting for me to pick it up. :)


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