Niina : Tell us a five fun facts about yourself so we can get to know you, and the gist of your newest book?
Natasha Deen : I have an extra vertebrae (I also still have two of my baby teeth)
I have a habit of walking around with one sock on, one off
I’m so scared of insects, I once barricaded a spider in the laundry room sink, and spent eight hours (hiding in the bedroom) waiting for my husband to come home and rescue the bug (he’s not actually allowed to kill them).
I can’t sleep unless there’s the sound of a dog/cat snoring beside me
When the writing’s not going well, I mix a batch of rice krispie squares and eat the entire batch
Grime cop and teen fairy Pepper Powder lives for one thing: protecting the human species from magical zealots who seek to eradicate them with Violent Illness of Unusual Resistance and Strength (humans call them “viruses,” but their mistake is understandable. The very young often get their words wrong.). When a terrorist leader releases a necrophage bomb, it not only decimates Grime headquarters, it turns Pepper into the magical world’s first fairy amputee—but she’s not going to let a little thing like a missing leg stop her. To catch her criminal, and prevent him from unleashing a VIURS in one of the human world’s biggest shopping centers, West Edmonton Mall, she goes undercover as a human. But once Pepper's theories of humanity collide with the reality of bullies, cliques, and environmental destruction, will she still believe humanity's worth saving?
Niina : More about True Grime... Which character in your book became your favorite? And why?
Natasha : I have several:
Lou (Lieutenant) – Because he’s grouchy and no nonsense and his crusty exterior hides a marshmallow
Pepper – Because she’s the kind of take charge chick I want to be when I grow up
Harley – Because he’s dreamy and the kind of cool I’ll never be
Aponi – Because life’s dumped on her and she just keeps going
Niina : There are cliques and bullies as Pepper goes undercover in human world in the book, did you have experience with either when you were a teen?
Natasha : Oh, boy! I was bullied in grade seven and grade nine…there’s a scene with Aponi and Malcolm that’s based on something that happened to another girl who was being bullied. Junior high was just brutal. I hated group projects. When you have no friends, you’re not part of the group. I was so relieved to get into high school, and then finally get out of school, period. I think about what kids go through now (cyber-bullying, bullycide) and my inner-child just feels like screaming. I can’t believe in all the long years that I’ve been out of school, the issue has gotten worse, not better.
Niina : Were any of the characters/events based on real life characters/events?
Natasha : Certainly, when Aponi and Malcolm face off at the party, that was the girl on the bus. When the other group of girls are subtly torturing Aponi at the mall, that’s me. I have a distinct memory of a girl who used to like to tell me that I wasn’t allowed to wear the jeans I did because they were only for “cool” kids…she also decided to take a hole-puncher to my hair…did I mention how happy I am to be an adult and out of school?
Niina : If your book were made into a movie who would you cast as the leads?
Natasha : Ha! Never thought about that…that would be hard to figure out because I think it would have to be a CGI movie…wow…I’m really dismal at this…um, I’d say Rachel Luttrel for Pepper because I love her voice and the kick-ass strength she brought to the role of Teyla on Stargate Atlantis...as for Harley…eep…Harry Connick Junior because he exudes 40s cool and have that awesome whiskey sour kind of voice.
Niina : What was the greatest chapter to write? And why?
Natasha : There are two great chapters (as a writer): The first because you’re so excited at the possibility and potential of the work. And months later, it’s the last chapter because you’re exhausted and just freakin’ happy to be done.
Niina : Now bit about writing... How do you write, chapter here and another there or follow from beginning to an end?
Natasha : I plot (quick, big things—like skipping stones that will take me across the pond of the story). Then I write, beginning to end. The story goes into the drawer for a month. After that, I take it out, edit, send it to my crit partners. And then, it’s off to submissions.
What do you think makes a good story?
For me: Reader identification. If I can’t get a character and understand why he does what he does, then I’m gone. I hate characters who do stupid things for stupid reasons that wouldn’t even make sense to a piece of lettuce…y’know, like: there’s a chainsaw-wielding maniac in your house. Don’t run into the basement—and ESPECIALLY don’t do it while wearing nothing but white lace underwear! Yeesh!!
Niina : What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Natasha : Um…urk…so, this is where I admit when I’m feeling totally frustrated with the writing, I put on some kind of waltzy music, grab the nearest animal, and waltz around the study…
Niina : Lol! What’s the worst advice for writers you've gotten?
Natasha : That plotting would ruin a story. Rubbish. Plotting doesn’t only make you more efficient and make for a tighter story, it’s one of the most loving things you can do for yourself.
Niina : How many jobs did you have before you became a writer? What was your first job?
Natasha : Nine: wedding consultant, bill collector, bar maid, chamber maid, dough mixer at a frozen food factory, fast food waiter, accountant’s assistant, reception at a security firm.
My first job was when I was thirteen and babysat the children of my parents’ friends.
Niina : And before we finish here, her are some quick-fire questions:
Coffee or tea? Tea for drinking, but I love coffee chocolate.
Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Milk chocolate.
Night or day? Day
UF or PNR? Uh…what is that?
Heh, was shorterning up a bit there that’s Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance?
Bahhaahahaa.OOOOHHHHH. Urban fantasy. :D
Bad boys or good cops? Ohh, a good cop that can play a bad boy
Brunettes or Blonds? Blond
Men: Alpha-male or submissive? Definitely an Alpha (who knows how to cook)
Delivered Pizza or Restaurant? Delivery
Movies: Romantic comedies or Action/Adventure? Action-Adventure
Halloween or Midsummer? Midsummer
Times New Roman or Courier? Times, all the way!!
Crayons or markers? Markers!
Pens or pencils? Pencils (love the smell…mmm)
Kids or pets? Ha! Both
Niina : Thanks for dropping by, Natasha!
Synopsis:Grime cop and teen fairy Pepper Powder lives for one thing: protecting the human species from magical zealots who seek to eradicate them with Violent Illness of Unusual Resistance and Strength (humans call them “viruses,” but their mistake is understandable. The very young often get their words wrong.). When a terrorist leader releases a necrophage bomb, it not only decimates Grime headquarters, it turns Pepper into the magical world’s first fairy amputee—but she’s not going to let a little thing like a missing leg stop her. To catch her criminal, and prevent him from unleashing a VIURS in one of the human world’s biggest shopping centers, West Edmonton Mall, she goes undercover as a human. But once Pepper's theories of humanity collide with the reality of bullies, cliques, and environmental destruction, will she still believe humanity's worth saving?
Author Bio:When I was little, there was only one thing I wanted to be: a superhero. But there came a day when my dreams were broken, and that was the day I realized that being a klutz was not, in fact, a super power, and my super weakness for anything bright and shiny meant a magpie with self-control could easily defeat me in a battle of wills. I turned to writing as a way to sharpen my mental super-hero skills. I don’t get to orbit the earth in a space station (and thank God, because I get sick on merry go round), but I do get to say things like: “Stand aside! This is a job for Writing Girl!!”