Charles Tan interviews Genevieve Valentine

Genevieve Valentine is the author of the Shirley Jackson Awards nominee “Things to Know About Being Dead.”

Hi Genevieve! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. In “Things to Know About Being Dead,” what made you decide to tacle Chinese vampires?

I knew I wanted to write about a non-Western vampire tradition, especially as my protagonist was Chinese-American; it gave me a chance to subvert some assumptions about vampires in the European tradition.

What were the challenges in writing YA fiction?

There’s often a particular intensity in teenagers that’s easy to get across in, say, film (that time-honored archivist of the longing stare), and you want to be able to transfer that same tension to the page. Plus, rare is the teenager whose inner monologue isn’t running anxious circles around whatever’s actually happening externally, so that has to be taken into account, as well.

While I wouldn’t call it outright horror, some of your fiction has this tinge of darkness and/or tragedy to it. What’s the appeal of this element for you?

I’m not sure that’s the kind of thing someone can answer on their own behalf! I suppose I’m just an enemy of fun.

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