It was my pleasure to interview Chele Cooke, author of the paranormal novella “Teeth”, a delicious, vampiric read that I recommend. For the full review click here
Below are my questions in italics and Chele’s complete, unaltered answers.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, I’m a self-published author living in London, UK. I’m a big fan of fiction, whether in books or in television shows and movies. I grew up in the countryside, so you can see a lot of that influence in my stories, as well as influences of family as I’m very close to mine. Very silly sense of humour too, I love cheese jokes! (Not cheesey jokes, but jokes about cheese.)
Oh, yeah, and I’m a dog person!
What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have a day job as well?
I work as a residence assistant for a University. It’s a lot like hotel reception except the people in the rooms are all students. You get a lot of funny stories.
When not at work and not writing, I’m still a bit of a hermit. I do a lot of crafts in knitting and cross stitching, I draw (not well,) read, and watch TV shows and movies. I love travelling, but unfortunately can’t afford it as often as I’d like. Maybe after a few more books.
Has writing always been a passion of yours or one that came over time?
I started writing as a teenager. I became obsessed with the Harry Potter series and began writing play by post role play. Fanfiction followed, and by the time I was seventeen I was writing my own stuff. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write. One of the most productive addictions I could have.
Do you usually write in the paranormal genre or do you delve into other genres as well?
Actually, Teeth is the first time I’ve written in the paranormal genre outside of role play. I usually write in Sci-Fi and fantasy, but Teeth drove its fangs into me, to pardon the pun. I couldn’t put it away. I’ve found a lot of fun in writing paranormal.
Paranormal is a natural extension to the things I usually write, especially the way I like to play with the genre. My Sci-Fi dystopian series, “Out of Orbit“, will have book three released in autumn.
In “Teeth” you stray from the traditional depiction of the vampire as far as powers. Even feeding is a learned ability. What led you to away from the usual vampire traits for your characters?
I’m a huge fan of supernatural powers. However, when looking at gifts, most of the time I’m more interested in the downsides and how they are managed than I am about the gifts themselves. One of the things that drives me absolutely nuts in paranormal fiction is when vampires, werewolves, and all sorts of creatures are given these fantastic gifts without any cost.
That was the main reason I decided to take away a lot of the usual vampire traits for Teeth. I wanted my characters to be very grounded, good people and bad people who make decisions and have to live with them just like humans. When you make it so that they can alter the minds of their prey, etc, you’re taking away the consequences of their actions. Consequences are a fantastic motivator in a plot, and I didn’t want to take away from that.
The story deals with the theme of devotion in both a voluntary and involuntary sense. Did this evolve in the book on its own or was it intentional?
It was a little bit of both, truth be told. I knew there would be a very strong sire bond, which therefore implemented the rules my vampire coven are based around. The relationship that comes from that devotion, however, evolved on its own. The more I wrote the characters, the more I realised there’s something going on here. I really think it’s added to the story and, once again, added another layer of consequences for my characters to deal with. I’m very happy with how they’ve turned out. I was completely infatuated with writing them after two or three chapters of the first draft.
“Teeth” is the first book in a series. Do you know already how many installments the series will have or is its destination as yet undetermined?
I’m planning on three instalments at the moment but knowing the way my mind works, I have no doubt that by the time I get to the end of book 2, I’ll have another few to add. I really love these characters and their stories. But, in the end, it will completely depend on how the overarching plot is going. I have a destination in mind, it will just depend on how long it takes me to get there.
Do you follow a strict writing schedule/word count per day to stay prolific? Or do you set up writing goals for the year?
I try to create a schedule but I’m admittedly bad at sticking to it. Mostly, I know when I want to publish and I just have to get there. It usually involves quite a few sleepless nights as I try to keep up.
I’m a procrastinator at heart. Awful.
From your experience with self-publishing, do you have any advice that might help other aspiring authors?
Don’t be afraid to take your time. Too many people, myself included, wade into self-publishing before they are fully ready. I wish I’d taken more time, waited until I had a couple of stories ready before I stepped in. Publishing isn’t a sprint, you’re not in this for one book. Plan for the long race, and the longer you train, the better you’ll run when you start the race.
When is the next installment of “Teeth” coming??
The second book in the series, “Meat”, is being written at the moment. The first draft is being posted weekly on Wattpad. I expect for the completed book to be published late in the year.
Thank you so much for having me.
Many thanks to Chele Cooke for taking the time to be interviewed on Amid the Imaginary!
Part time author and full time fantacist, Chele Cooke is a sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal author living in London, UK.
With a degree in Creative Writing, Chele’s first novel was published in 2013. She writes gritty, character driven stories that often merge and bend the borders between genres.
For more information about Chele and her fiction, get first looks at promotions and updates, get free exclusive content, and sign up for her mailing list, explore her website here.
Jonathan Jones said:
I haven’t read Chele Cook’s work yet, but from this interview it looks very interesting indeed. I’ve just discovered your blog and I like that it includes feature posts like this, as well as the reviews.
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Thanks for the kind praise about the blog! Definitely check out Chele’s work. She’s got a great imagination on her!