Sweet Sixteener Ellen Goodlett recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener Catherine Doyle about her YA romantic thriller, VENDETTA (February 24, 2015 from Scholastic).
About the Author:
Catherine Doyle lives in the west of Ireland. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in English from the National University of Ireland, Galway. VENDETTA is her first novel.
Blood Will Spill, Hearts Will Break: With a fierce rivalry raging between two warring families, falling in love is the deadliest thing Sophie could do. An epic debut set outside modern-day Chicago.
For Sophie, it starts as just another slow, hot summer in Cedar Hill. Then a new family moves into the long-abandoned mansion across the street: the Falcone family, with its five mysterious brothers. Unable to resist bad boy Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling for him–and into his world. But just as the dark secrets of the Falcones begin to come to light, the skeletons of her own family, the Gracewells, rise to the surface, too. And soon Sophie is torn between the desires of two warring dynasties: the one she was born into and the one she’s now in love with. But she’ll have to choose between passion and honor. And when she does, blood will spill and hearts will break. Because in this twisted underworld, loyalty can mean the difference between life and death.
Ellen: I love your premise in this book – Romeo and Juliet meets the Godfather. How did you come up with the initial idea?
Catherine: I’ve always been in interested in movies about the criminal underworld but I also have an undying love for all things Disney and romance, so I thought it might be cool to marry the two ideas. The image of five brothers popped into my head one night when I was drifting off to sleep, and I knew they were my characters. All I needed was a slightly sarcastic heroine, who materialized pretty soon after that.
Ellen: Each of the five brothers has such a distinct personality throughout the story. Even though they grew up in the same strange family, they all reacted to their situation differently. Do you have a favorite brother, and if so, what’s your favorite thing about him?
Catherine: It’s difficult to choose because I like them all (well, mostly) for different reasons. My favorite thing about Valentino is his pragmatism — how he can switch from being creative and empathetic to being shrewd and callous when it’s necessary. I like Luca’s rudeness because it’s fun to write and he spars well with Sophie. Nic is passion personified. Gino is … unusual. You never know what you’re going to get with him, and Dom is just a straight-up ladies man, and that gets him in trouble.
Ellen: What was your revision process like for VENDETTA?
Catherine: Extensive. I wrote it quickly but I didn’t really plot it well so it took a lot of re-drafting and editing.
Ellen: How did you meet your agent?
Catherine: I queried her and thankfully she wanted to take me on as a client. She’s based in London (and I’m in Ireland) so I flew over after I signed with her, and it was lovely.
Lightning Round Questions:
If you could send one person a pot of Felice’s honey, who would it be?
Hmmm… If I can include fictional people, then I think I’d have to say Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter. She’s the worst.
What’s your preferred writing implement?
My laptop! Though my friend got me a quill, which I love.
Favorite place to travel?
I love Edinburgh and Paris.
Do you have pets?
No. I’m not yet responsible enough to care for anything more complex than a cactus.
Best brain-fuel for when you’re drafting?
Coffee and chocolate!
What kind of music do you write to?
Something mellow, like Hozier or Sam Smith. Anything too loud or up-tempo distracts me.
About the interviewer:
Ellen Goodlett lives in New York City, where she writes science fiction stories and young adult novels. Her work has appeared in The Fog Horn, Boston Literary Magazine and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, among other places.