the forest of hands and teeth

These are just a few of the questions I've been asked so far. Please feel free to ask your own and I'll add them to the list!

The Dark and Hollow Places
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Is there a sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth?

Yes, The Forest of Hands and Teeth is the first of three books. The second, The Dead-Tossed Waves came out in March 2010 and the third, The Dark and Hollow Places came out in March 2011.

Is there going to be a movie of The Forest of Hands and Teeth?

Seven Star Pictures has picked up the movie rights for The Forest of Hands and Teeth but it's still too early to tell if they'll develop it into a movie. As Publishers Weekly reports here, "Supposedly Seven Star is developing the project for an-as-yet-unnamed A-list starlet, and fast-tracking the project with a first draft of the screenplay already in the works." More information on the Seven Star Pictures website here.

How can I get an autographed copy of your books?

I've partnered with Park Road Books, my local indie, to provide personalized, autographed copies of my books or you can also send me a SASE for a bookplate. click here for my address and for more information.

Will your books be coming out in any other countries?

Right now The Forest of Hands and Teeth is published by Gollancz in Australia and New Zealand (available April, 2009) and in the United Kingdom (available July 2009) and by Verlagsgruppe Random House in Germany (available August, 2009). It will also be published in Spain and Latin America by Random House Mondadori, in France by Gallimard, in Greece by Platypus Publishing, in the Czech Republic by Mlada fronta in Portugal by Edicoes Gailivro, in Turkey by Pegasus Yayincilik and in Vietnam by Hagiang Comcul.

Are your books in any other formats?

There's an audiobook of The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Listening Library with Vane Millon as the narrator. There's also an ebook and a kindle version.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Have you ever written any other books?

Before writing The Forest of Hands and Teeth I'd finished two books and started scores of others. My first complete novel was a western historical romance that I started while in college. The second was a romantic comedy I wrote the year after. Then I concocted this odd long term plan to go to law school and move to a big city so that I could feel qualified to write chick lit. I started a few chick lit books and then on a lark started writing The Forest of Hands and Teeth when my then boyfriend suggested that I write what I love.

How did you find an agent?

The Forest of Hands and Teeth
UK, Australia, New Zealand
First, I finished the book. Then I revised it a few times. After that, when I felt ready to submit (and while I was waiting for a few beta readers to get back to me) I did a lot of research. I read many articles and blogs about the process and asked questions of friends who'd been through the process before me. I also read a lot of agent blogs to see what each was interested in and to learn their styles and personalities. I looked at books that I thought were similar to mine and found out who their agents were and kept track of the recent deals on Publisher's Lunch Weekly to see which agents were selling books like mine. I learned how to write a query letter and then I asked my beta readers to help me boil down my book into a pitch paragraph (I highly recommend asking early readers to help you see the forest for the trees). Then I sent out the queries and waited!

A few websites I'd recommend for the process: Agent Query —a database of agents, what they represent and how to query them Preditors and Editors—a listing of scam and legitimate agents Publishers Marketplace—their full services is $20 a month to search their database of sales. Or you can sign up for a weekly email of recent sales called Publishers Lunch Weekly.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Greenville, South Carolina.

Where did you go to high school?

I was a Cavalier at Christ Church Episcopal School.

Where did you go to college?

I was an English major at Williams College (go Ephs!). Our mascot was the purple cows! I was on the cycling team and our uniforms were white with purple cow spots—we were very easy to pick out of the peloton. I loved my time at Williams. I took creative writing with National Book Award nominee Jim Shepard and that's where I found my voice.

What did you do after college?

Right out of college a few friends and I started a business. It was in 2000 and everyone was joining the boom! Of course, with the crash we lost part of our funding and so I went to work as the assistant technology coordinator and resident relief at Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Virginia. It was an amazing experience on a gorgeous campus. Once I decided I wanted to go to law school I found a job as a real estate paralegal with a small firm back home in Greenville, South Carolina and worked there for a year while I applied to schools. Then I went to law school (Duke University School of Law) where I met and fell in love with my fiancé, JP! After law school I litigated for a few years before moving into trusts and estates where I worked before quitting to write fulltime.

Do you have any siblings?

I do! I have two sisters whom I adore. In fact, I started writing because as a teen I strived to emulate one of my sisters. Both my sisters are amazing role models and wonderfully supportive of me—I couldn't ask for better sisters and great friends! I also have two step-brothers who are incredibly passionate about life. One of them is an award winning soccer coach/math teacher and the other one is a fantastic chef (trust me, we eat very well when he's around).

Where do you get your inspiration?

Anything and everything. The first line of The Forest of Hands and Teeth came to me after I read an article about the possibility of overfishing tuna. The issue of collective memory came to me when I realized how my memories of my grandmother have been slipping away and how I can't remember the details of the stories she used to tell over and over again.

Are the characters similar to anyone you know?

So far, none of the characters in my books are similar to anyone I know, though one of them is named after a friend of mine.

What scene from The Forest of Hands and Teeth was hardest to write?

SPOILER: (scroll over to read answer)
There were a lot of scenes that were very hard for me to write because I felt so sorry for Mary. But I think the one that was the hardest is when she first goes to see her mother infected and her mother puts her hands in her hair. Mary says: "If I could boil my life down to its essence, it would be this: my head in my mother's lap, her hands in my hair as we sit in front of the fire and she tells me stories handed down through the women of our family about life before the Return." This reminded me so much of my own mother and all the countless hours I've laid with my head in her lap, her playing with my hair. I couldn't bear to think of my mother dying and I tried to channel that fear and pain into that scene.

What is your writing process like?

I sit down and think: "what's the worst thing that can happen?" I don't outline and the most I ever plan ahead is to lounge about in bed and daydream about what could come next. My fiancé claims this is called napping and not working but I disagree!

Where do you write?

I tend to write on the couch in our office (which would be the living room if anyone other than two writers lived there). In the winter I turn the fire on and in the summer I open the windows.

How long did it take you to write The Forest of Hands and Teeth?

It took me four months to write the first draft of The Forest of Hands and Teeth and another four to revise it many times. I started writing it during National Novel Writing Month in 2006 and sold it in October 2007.

Who is your agent?

I'm represented by Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House.

What television shows do you watch?

Yes, I admit it, I watch a lot of reality TV. My favorites are Top Chef, America's Next Top Model and Whose Wedding is it Anyway? Recently, I've become addicted to Ninja Warrier and Survivorman. I also follow Lost and Doctor Who. Dinnertime at our house would not be complete without The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.