Interview with Martina McAtee, author of 'Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things'

 We're thrilled to be hosting Martina McAtee, author of CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS, on her virtual book tour today!

Martina McAtee lives in Jupiter, Florida with her teenage daughter, her best friend, two attack Chihuahua’s and two shady looking cats. By day she is a registered nurse but by night she writes young adult books about reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. When she isn’t working, teaching or writing she's reading or watching shows that involve reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. Her debut novel Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things is set to release on August 31st, 2015. She is currently working on the second book in the series, Your Soul to Take, due to release in 2016.

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About the Book:

Title: Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things
Author: Martina McAtee
Publisher: Martina McAtee
Pages: 450
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

17 year old Ember Denning has made an art of isolating herself. She prefers the dead. She spends her days skipping school in old cemeteries and her nights hiding from her alcoholic father at the funeral home where she works. When her own father dies, Ember learns her whole life is a lie. Standing in the cemetery that’s been her sanctuary, she’s threatened by the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and rescued by two people who claim to be her family. They say she’s special, that she has a supernatural gift like them…they just don’t know exactly what it is. 

They take her to a small
Florida town, where Ember’s life takes a turn for the weird. She’s living with her reaper cousins, an orphaned werewolf pack, a faery and a human genius. Ember’s powers are growing stronger, morphing into something bigger than anything anybody anticipated. Ember has questions but nobody has answers. Nobody knows what she is. They only know her mysterious magical gift is trying to kill them and that beautiful dangerous boy from the cemetery may be the only thing standing between her and death. 

As Ember’s talents are revealed so are the secrets her father hid and those in power who would seek to destroy her. What’s worse, saving Ember has put her cousins in danger and turned her friend’s lives upside down. Ember must learn to embrace her magic or risk losing the family she’s pieced together.

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  • Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

    Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

    No matter how many times I tell this story, it never sounds less cliché but it really did start with a dream I had five or so years ago. A girl was walking in the snow with a group of her friends and she was talking to a boy only she could see. That was it. That was the sum total of the dream. It wasn’t really special but I woke up and wrote it down anyway, then tried to forget about it because I had a teenager to raise and a mother with cancer to take care of; but I just kept going back to it. I attempted to write the story about three years ago but my laptop was stolen and the story went with it. I realize now that was probably for the best. Then last year, I committed to doing National Novel Writing Month and decided I’d try again. This time I went back further. My dream became the premise for book two and Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things was born out of a need to explain how my main character, Ember, can do the things she can do.

    Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

    Writing a book isn’t difficult. Finishing a book is difficult. Editing a book is difficult. My advice would be to keep writing, no matter how bad you think your first draft is. Finish it and then edit, edit, edit and edit again. Also, have a plan and a time line for how you are going to publish and market your book. I really wish I had paid more attention to the amount of time it takes to accomplish even the smallest task.

    Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

    I chose to self-publish. It wasn’t a snap decision. I did my research. There were so many horror stories of authors who never made a dime over their advances who were forced to do much of their own marketing and promotion.  They said they had little say in the details such as cover design and book jacket copy. It seemed like if you weren’t J.K. Rowling, you were on your own. I naively thought if I had to do the majority of the work anyway, I might as well self-publish and keep all the control and profit. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

    Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

    Everything, really. There were so many little things I didn’t think of that came back to haunt me. I had no idea how long it takes to convert an e-book, I had no idea how expensive building an author website could be. I didn’t know anything about marketing, book tours, launch parties or self-promotion. There were days when I thought I would never see this book published and even now I can’t read it in print for fear I’ll find something wrong. It all matters and if you don’t have a plan things go sideways very quickly. I could have saved myself a lot of tears had I given myself a bit more time to make sure things were handled properly.

    Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

    I’m currently working on book two in the Dead Things series. The book will pick up about four months after the last one ended and we will see the pack dealing with the rather catastrophic consequences of their actions at the end of book one. I am tentatively hoping to have the book released by spring of 2016.

    Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

    I’m a Tumblr junkie. It is by far my favorite time sucking activity. I would like to say I’m a social justice warrior fighting for great causes but I’m just as likely to be re-blogging Supernatural or Glee fanfiction as I am to be re-blogging posts about Syrian refugees or feminism. It really truly depends on the day; usually it is a combination of both. I have two Tumblr accounts, my public one with my name on it and then my super-secret account where I hide my shameful shipping and fangirling.

    Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

    Well, first and foremost, I really hope people just enjoy the book at face value. My goal when I wrote this book wasn’t to change the world but just to entertain people. That being said, I hope the people who read this book can identify in some way with each character. I tried to make them as diverse as any normal group of friends would be. So, I guess, I hope the message readers take away from this book is that your race, gender or sexual orientation don’t dictate your status as a hero. Your identity isn’t your destiny and your sexuality isn’t your entire identity. I hope everybody finds something about this book that speaks to them.
    Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

    Yes. Thank you so much for this opportunity and I love to hear from my readers. You can always check out my website and email me or connect with me on social media. Your support has been amazing and I look forward to getting to know more of you as I move forward in my career. 


    Martina will be giving away a sugar skull coffee mug with Day of the Dead tea and sugar skull shaped sugar cubes!

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