What Kills Me begins with an ancient prophecy which warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race. So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I know I’m writing about vampires and they’re not real (as far as we know). So I ground the story in realism by drawing from my life. Things that happen to my heroine, have happened to me. Well, not the falling into a well filled with blood part, but other little details.
What kind of books do you read? Are they similar to the books you write?
Because I’m a journalist, I read a lot of non-fiction books. It’s research before I interview authors who include Nobel Peace Prize winners, terrorism experts, and survivors of genocide.
Writing What Kills Me was like a wonderful escape — and I hope readers feel the same about the adventure.
How do you feel about romances being so common in YA (and to a lesser degree MG) books?
Romance is a part of life. And most great tales involve love stories. I’m just happy to see that more heroines aren’t just waiting around for some prince to rescue them.
It was really important to me that my protagonist, Zee, be a strong female figure. I wanted readers to relate to her and I wanted her relationship with the hero, Lucas, to be believable. Their bond is organic. There is no sudden swooning from the dreaminess of his eyes. They’re being hunted to death. They need to first run, fight, develop an unbreakable bond, then fight some more.
Do you have a ‘day job’? What is it?
In the day, I’m a reporter for a national newspaper. Over the years, I’ve interviewed everyone from Daniel Radcliffe and Hugh Jackman to the president of the Maldives and Duchess Sarah Ferguson. The closest I’ve come to interviewing a vampire is sitting down with True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard (he didn’t bite).
What do you take away from interviewing stars?
Sometimes it’s really jarring to meet actors after you’ve watched them on film or TV because they are nothing like their characters. They’re artists and they create this rich identity that you feel like you know. I wanted to do the same with Zee. I wanted readers to care about her as if she were a neighbor, a sister, or a friend.
In response to my readers, I’m working on the sequel to What Kills Me. And remembering to eat and sleep while obsessing over the story.
Thanks for taking the time to hang out with us Wynne!
Wynne Channing is an award-winning journalist and author of the young adult vampire novel, What Kills Me. She briefly considered calling her debut novel “Well” so then everyone would say: “Well written by Wynne Channing.”