Sunday, April 1, 2012

Interview with Courtney Vail, Author of Kings & Queens

I am thrilled to be a part of the Kings & Queens book tour hosted by Supagurl Books! I'm actually getting to kick off author Courtney Vail's book blog tour with an interview.

Seventeen-year-old Majesty Alistair wants police to look further into her father’s fatal car wreck, hopes the baseball team she manages can reclaim the state crown, aches for Derek…or, no…maybe Alec…maybe. And she mostly wishes to retract the hateful words she said to her dad right before slamming the door in his face, only to never see him again.

All her desires get sidelined, though, when she overhears two fellow students planning a church massacre. She doubts cops will follow up on her tip since they’re sick of her coming around with notions of possible crimes-in-the-works. And it’s not like she cries wolf. Not really. They’d be freaked too, but they’re not the ones suffering from bloody dreams that hint at disaster like some crazy, street guy forecasting the Apocalypse.

So, she does what any habitual winner with zero cred would do…try to I.D. the nut jobs before they act. But, when their agenda turns out to be far bigger than she ever assumed, and even friends start looking suspect, the truth and her actions threaten to haunt her forever, especially since she’s left with blood on her hands, the blood of someone she loves.


Did you always want to be an author?
Um, I always knew I wanted to write in some way, maybe commercials. I was a Journalism Advertising major in college, but I had trouble with the journalism side of it. 

In my newswriting class, we had this book with blocks of information that you had to turn into articles, and I always wanted to write beyond the facts. The why and how have always fascinated me as much, if not more, than the who, what and where. Digging into contradictions and the ugly sides of human nature is where I see the real story. 

My passion to become on author only struck when my stories came to life and needed to be shared. Being an author was not something I really planned to do or saw myself becoming. My husband had taken this writing course, and I read his course books, and they got my mind turning. My books are not for everyone because I’m not afraid to examine the ugly in life and take readers right along with me. No matter how much I try to make my books normal, the freak in me is forever pulling them in strange directions. Not everyone likes strange and quirky, so I expect mixed reactions to my work.

Tell us a bit about Kings & Queens.

My novel is about a tomboy who overhears two fellow students planning a church massacre. When cops don’t believe her, she aims to ID the nut jobs herself before they act, but they have an agenda far bigger than she ever assumed, and she gets sucked into a ruthless game that casts even her closest friends under suspicion.

How did you come up with the idea for your novel?

So lame, but I got the idea from a dream. I had a loose love triangle in mind with Majesty and her two best friends, who play on the baseball team she manages, but I had no plot for it. One night, I dreamt the massacre thing, overhearing the massacre plot while on a run, yes, in my sleep, and as soon as I woke up, I knew I’d found my plot. I just didn’t know when I started it that it would become such a rollercoaster ride with twisty turns, dark tunnels and heart wrenching descents, but, I’m sure glad it ended up that way. I love rollercoasters. 

Majesty is very unusual name, how do you come up with names for your characters? 

All my characters’ names just came to me in the instant they blossomed in my mind. Majesty (Maj) was always Majesty, long before the dream. I considered changing her name because this weird royal thing ended up emerging, and the plot embodies the move-for-move strategy play of chess, it’s like a living match, but her weird name gave her so many things, like inner strength, nerves of steel, a quick wit and a sharp tongue. It just fit her rarity, so it remained. Alec was Alec for being a smart aleck. And Derek, I’m not sure where he got his name, but he’s a darkly minded, all-American boy on a quest for substance, so that’s the name he holds.

If you got the chance to spend a day with any character from your books, who would it be and why?

Probably Warren Niles, a gothic outcast. I’m sure he could teach me a thing or two.

What do you hope readers will obtain from your book?

A resonating experience.

Are there any books and stories that have influenced or stuck with you from your childhood or young-adulthood?

It never really influenced me, but I loved Anne of Green Gables. Something about those books, and the movies too, sucks me it every time. And The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and A Wrinkle in Time showed me that imagination in fiction was limitless.

Is Kings & Queens part of a series? If so, when can we expect more of Majesty?

Yes, the sequel to Kings & Queens, Sapphire Reign, will be coming out this summer through Little Prince Publishing. It opens 10 years later. 

Do you have any current writing projects? Can you tell us a bit about them?  

I am working on three YA novels. Startstruck, where an unknowingly dangerous, stalked movie star on the run collides with a male Irish traveller who’s on a mission to kill her in order to save the world, Genie about a female djinn who gets captured and somehow stuck to a nerdy surfer without the magical skills to grant him his deepest desires, and Dropping Like Flies, in which a girl gets cursed with a magical, never-ending hit list that has everyone on it dying in some weird way, and her crush happens to be on it. See what I mean? My books are weird.

Thanks for hosting me! Great questions.

Author Bio

COURTNEY VAIL writes totally twisted YA and adult suspense. She enjoys braiding mystery, suspense & romance with some kind of weirdness. Her addictions to crazy coffee concoctions, Funny Bones, Ben & Jerry's, and bacon keep her running and writing. She currently lives in New England with a comedian stud and a wild gang of kidlets.

Connect with Courtney:


Thanks go out to Courtney for stopping by and sharing with us a bit about herself and her debut novel Kings & Queens! Don't forget to visit the other stops on the Kings & Queens tour which can be found here.

Come back April 6th for a chance to win Kings & Queens when I will be giving away an e-book copy of Kings & Queens as part of my Easter giveaway! Or if you can't wait to win your copy, you can purchase Kings & Queens at Amazon :)


  1. Hope you have a successful tour, Courtney. By the sound of it, you have quite a few stories to tell.

  2. Loved the interview and I loved the book :}