Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Interview with Nuayma Jeggels, Author of Raven

I was so pleased to have the opportunity to interview Nuayma Jeggels, debut author of the YA Zombie novel Raven

GoodReads Blurb:

When Shardaie wakes up, she doesn’t know who she is, why she can’t understand emotions, why she has been unconscious for nearly nine of her thirteen years, or why the dead just won’t stay dead. The only clue to her past is a locket, but the Plague, which finally stretches its unnatural hand to her village, forces her to leave and to learn to protect herself. But everything has a cost: the protection against the undead reveals a secret that Shardaie and her classmates just don’t want to accept, and at the end, Shardaie realises that some secrets shouldn’t be revealed. Secrets have the power to destroy, and the power to change her view on humanity for ever. 

GoodReads Author Bio:

Nuayma Jeggels lives in South Africa with her imaginary cat named Pookie. When she isn’t writing or reading, she is battling mathematics and gravity. Her favourite colour is violet. Her favourite meal is lasagna.

Did you always want to be an author?
To tell you the truth I didn’t know what I wanted. Some know what they want at a young age -- a doctor, a firefighter, a superhero -- but not me. I wanted to be a receptionist, then I wanted to be a tour guide or work in a hotel, but they were all ideas and not ‘dreams’. But I finally discovered my passion, my dream, at age thirteen when I watched the Fellowship of the Ring, staring wide-eyed up at the theatre screen. Then I knew: I wanted to write something like that. So I began writing, and I haven’t stopped.
Tell us a bit about your novel
Raven is about a thirteen year old girl who wakes up and realises that she doesn’t know who she is and that she can’t understand what she is feeling. She hears that the dead are walking among the living, and when the first signs of the zombie Plague finally appears in her home, she is sent away to learn to protect herself. Raven, the first book in the Violet Jewel series, is about secrets and how they can change people.
How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
I started writing Raven when I was fifteen, and back then I only knew that my main character would have violet eyes. That’s it. There wasn’t an event or a dream that suddenly pulled out an idea. I started to write and slowly the story grew; the plot changed, the world changed, the characters evolved. Seven years later I had finally completed the first book in the Violet Jewel series.
What drew you to Zombies and the YA genre?
Desperation. Will I be next? Anxiety. Fear. What people might do in such situations. The moral decay. The emotions and the actions that appear in a zombie novel. Why? Why? Why? A good zombie novel takes control of your emotions, and when you sit back and imagine how a zombie outbreak could be like -- well, what would you do? And what if there was something more to this zombie outbreak, this virus? Lies and secrets? What would you do?
Some people say that writing YA is the chance to rewrite being a teenager. Change high school experiences? Live in a mansion? Have superpowers? A good-looking love interest. Mysterious? Hot? Who cares, anything is possible! But others like that it’s ‘clean’ or safe and not safe. That we meet the character in his or her defining years. Between the children and adult section. But that -- between the children and adult section -- felt perfect for my series, so I decided, alright! Young Adult! Safe and not safe.
Would you define your book as traditional zombie horror or more of a humorous telling?
Raven is not a humorous telling and, seeing that we’re in the beginning of the series, the before-the-world-falls-apart (Raven takes place in the ‘early’ stages of the zombie Plague), it isn’t the traditional zombie horror. Yet. But will there be guts and blood? Yes.
If you got the chance to spend a day with any character from your books, who would it be and why?
If I could spend the day with one of my characters it would mean that I would be able to explore their world, so really any one of them would be perfect. But it’s difficult to answer your question because if I could take Nathaniel I would be able to look into his world of the rich and privileged nobles. Kaylou? Explore his underground city which used to belong to the sector’s slaves. Lord Shiro, a ruler and protector; ask him for his history books and attempt to dig into his head, pull out his secrets. But then there’s Shardaie, my main character. Poor confused little girl who doesn’t understand what she’s feeling. So I would definitely want to be with all of them.
What do you hope readers will obtain from your book?
One. It isn’t good to keep secrets, even if it’s supposed to be protect the person you love. The truth may hurt in the beginning, but the pain will eventually fade. Two. Pray that we will never experience a zombie outbreak! Hold on to your knickers.
Where do you like to do your writing?
What are some of your favorite YA books or authors? Non-YA?
YA: Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld. Tamora Pierce. Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman. Tomorrow series by John Marsden. Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery
Non-YA: A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. Shogun by James Clavell. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.
Are there any books and stories that have influenced or stuck with you from your childhood or young-adulthood?
The Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire. Period.

Raven is now available in Kindle format at Amazon.

You can find Ms. Jeggels at:



Thank you, Ms. Jeggels, for stopping by and good luck with Raven!

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