The Book Pixie: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Marina Cohen: I always cringe a little at this question, because honestly, I can never think of anything really interesting to say about myself, but here we go. I’m a wife, a mother, a teacher and a children’s/YA writer. I adore fantasy and horror novels and movies. I love football and cooking—especially baking (I’m totally obsessed with gingerbread!). I’m a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. Fall is my favourite season—something about the smell, the comfort foods and the clothes make me feel like writing. (I'm with you there on the fall. I just absolutely love it best!)
TBP: Give us a brief description of your book, Ghost Ride.
MC: Ghost Ride is a paranormal thriller. To sum it up in one line: Crazy teen stunt goes ghostly wrong…
TBP: What inspired you to write Ghost Ride?
MC: I used to teach in a town called Stouffville, north-east of Toronto . Some of my students lived in a housing development called Sleepy Hollow. I’ve always loved Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow but thought it was a bit weird that anyone would want to name a new housing development of beautiful homes after the freaky tale. I began wondering what sort of modern story might take place in Sleepy Hollow today.
TBP: Did you ever find it difficult to write from a male's perspective?
MC: Ha! Not at all—in fact, I usually struggle more writing from a female POV! I think it’s because I’m still a bit of a tomboy at heart.
TBP: Would you say you have anything in common with your character, Sam? If so, what?
MC: I think deep down inside we all crave a sense of belonging—on that level, I really connected with Sam. Luckily, I’ve never wanted to “fit in” badly enough to do anything I knew in my heart was really wrong. I’ve known people who have, though—sad stories.
TBP: Ghost Ride is published by a small publishing house, Dundurn, based in Canada . What do you consider to be the advantages of being published by a smaller publishing house. The disadvantages?
MC: I’m thrilled to have two books published with Dundurn—they are a fabulous publisher and have been very supportive of my writing. One advantage is that I have gotten to know the staff on a personal level—my editor, publicist, sales representatives etc—they all seem to be working very hard to advance my career. I suppose one of the disadvantages of being with a smaller publisher is the financial reality--they just can’t provide the enormous advances or spend the same kind of money on publicity as larger houses.
TBP: You have another YA book, entitled Mind Gap, releasing next year. Could you give us a brief descritption of it?
MC: Mind Gap is another paranormal thriller. In this novel, 14 year-old Jake MacRae’s life is spinning out of control. The decisions he is making are destroying his life and he doesn’t seem to care. But what he doesn’t realize is that his decisions are also destroying the lives of those close to him. Then one night, Jake receives a mysterious text message inviting him to a flash party on a midnight subway train. As Jake leaves the platform, he has no idea he has boarded a train bound for his worst nightmare. And what’s more—he can’t get off.
TBP: Prior to writing Ghost Ride, you wrote two MG books, Shadow of the Moon and Trick of the Light. Could you tell us more about these?
MC: Ah! My first novel, Shadow of the Moon, is a MG fantasy about boy/girl twins who, armed only with a jar of fireflies, are sucked through the last light of a solar eclipse and must save the universe from darkness. It’s a story very close to my heart as it took months of writing, years re-writing, editing and submitting, dozens of rejections, before I finally received a contract for publication. Trick of the Light is the sequel. They were my first two babies and I’m very proud of them. Sadly, they were published by a very small Canadian publisher, Vanwell, who has since closed down their children’s line. I’m not giving up hope that another publisher might some day pick them up and I’ll finally write the third book to complete the trilogy.
TBP: If you could co-write a book with any YA author, who would it be and why?
MC: This is an awesome and impossible question! With all the amazing YA writers out there, how could I possibly choose one? If absolutely forced to make that most difficult decision—I would LOVE nothing more than to co-author a book with Kelly Armstrong. She is not only brilliant, but a writer after my own heart—deliciously creepy supernatural stuff! Not to mention she’s a fellow Canadian!
TBP: What are some of your personal favorite YA books?
MC: Wow. So many come to mind. Can I say the Harry Potter series? I know it begins as MG—but it is definitely top of my list. I felt such a loss at the end of that series—just wanted it to keep going on forever. Other Y/A books that have left their mark: LOTR, Catcher in the Rye, A Thief in the House of Memory, In the Garage, Speak, Shiver, The Summoning…Oh, and Coraline! I know it’s MG, but that novel scared me—and seriously, not much does.
TBP: Anything else you'd like to add?
MC: Yes! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and review my novel Ghost Ride—it really thrills me to know that people out there, such as yourself, are reading—and hopefully enjoying—my stories!
I'd like to give a huge thanks to Marina Cohen for letting me interview her! Also, thanks to all of you for stopping by. I just loved Marina's book Ghost Ride and I hope that ya'll will take a look at it and decide to read it. I'll soon be reading her two middle grade novels, which she mentioned above, and I will be reviewing those on my blog.
My Review of Ghost Ride
Noteworthy Passages of Ghost Ride
Stay tuned because tomorrow I'll be posting a contest for a copy of Ghost Ride. For those of you who comment on this interview BEFORE the contest post goes up, you will receive an extra entry which I'll add in. Thanks again for stopping by. :D