Chenoa Fawn Interview http://chenoafawn.wordpress.com
1. Many of your previous books have had comedy at their heart, how do you maintain your sense of humour through the publishing process?
To be honest, the journey to publication of Kiss Kill was a shocker. The manuscript was rejected by my agent, then sat in slush piles at major publishing houses. As weeks turned into months, which turned into years, my self-esteem eroded to the point where I described myself as a writer in solitary confinement on Death Row. Nothing I tried could unlock that cell door. Frustration and despair festered. My sense of humour deserted me, to the point where I no longer liked the person I had become. Creativity was absent. If this sounds bleak, it was!
2. Your latest book, Kiss Kill, is your first foray into direct to digital publishing. Tell us about what brought you to this decision?
Firstly, the story of Kiss Kill (www.reallybluebooks.com) is about how a 16 year old boy gets into a relationship with a narcissistic girl. Over time the relationship unravels, fragments and explodes. The digital form complements this in that I could deliver the story in fragments. In a way, the medium helps to define a story. Secondly, I chose not to write this story as a prose narrative. In part this was because I wrote it organically so that fragments were written in a random order. It was only much later that I wove them into a narrative. Thirdly, I wrote the story in multiple texts to reflect the type of reading young readers are doing today. Reading flicks all over the place, from prose to monologue, blogging, poetry, critical essay, script, songs, Facebook entries, notes etc. Digital suits this perfectly. Also, I want the story to be interactive with reader’s contributions helping the story to evolve. One way of doing this was to have my character blog at http://whyidontgetgirls.wordpress.com Another way was to encourage audience involvement through performances on YouTube (How Do You define a Man?), with song recordings (Thought I Knew You) and through Twitter @kisskilldigital and Facebook .
3. Kiss Kill is about a sixteen year old boy’s relationship with a girl with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. What sort of research did you undertake for the book?
As with all my books I do extensive research. I researched teenage relationships and relationship problems. I researched relationship abuse, emotional abuse and bullying. I also read everything I could on Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I read books, research papers, articles, watched interviews, personally spoke to ‘victims’ of NPD, went to chat lines, men’s chat lines (because they wear their abuse in silence, against a community backdrop of disbelief). I used my own personal experiences, workplace experiences, experiences of family members in relationships with a person with NPD. Not only did I need to get into the mindset of NPD, I needed to understand how someone gets ‘trapped’ in a relationship and why is it so difficult to extricate yourself, even when life is so unpleasant. Also, as this is a digital story that uses multiple platforms I needed to do a huge amount of research on telling stories using transmedia. I wasn’t just on a steep learning curve, I was on a trajectory. I went to a conference on Creativity and Technology in New York and got involved with if:book, the Institute for the Future of the Book. I joined Digital Book World, went to seminars on digital storytelling and have grown from there.