FOREVER IN VEIN:
MICHAEL McCARTY INTERVIEWS JODY R. LaGRECA:
(Jody LaGreca & Michael McCarty)
Former fashion designer of couture evening wear and accessories, Jody R. LaGreca is now the author of ten novels. LaGreca’s repertoire is vast including; Historical and Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Vampire Sagas, and Gothic Horror. Her novels appeal to both men and women and have unexpected twists and turns. Jody LaGreca has a BA in Writing/English from Queens College University of New York. She also graduated Phi Theta Kappa Magna Cum Laude in Fashion Apparel Design from NCC, State University of New York. Her poetry is internationally published in magazines and anthologies, including Midstream. She has been a featured author at the International Women’s Writing Guild, Big Apple Conference in New York City. Jody LaGreca was born in Sea Gate, Brooklyn, New York and has been writing since the age of seven. For more information, visit http://jodylagreca.wix.com/suspense.
(Bloodless ebook cover)
MICHAEL McCARTY: Bloodless was the first horror novel you’ve written. What was the experience like for you, coming from a background of writing romantic suspense and contemporary fiction?
JODY. R. LAGRECA: I have always been a fan of scary themes so writing horror came very naturally. In fact my books Suburban Weird and Seduction have spooky undertones intermingled in the elements of Romantic Suspense. Bloodless follows suit with this dual genre. However writing about vampires in Bloodless was an entirely new experience for me, and once I began collaborating with Michael McCarty I became totally entranced in this new realm. I was surprised I had an instinct for vampire lure since prior to writing Bloodless the only vampire book I ever read was Twilight. So I was influenced mostly by my imagination and Dracula, the only vampire movie I had ever seen. Bloodless led to a trilogy of the Bloodless Series and my solo Historical Vampire Fiction, Forever In Vein. Writing these vampire books opened me up to the dark beauty, shocking reality and the endless possibilities of blood drinkers.
(Bloodless trade paperback cover)
McCARTY: Bloodlust, the sequel involves Marilyn Monroe’s untimely demise from the one- hundred-year-old vampire Daniel Peck. You are a big fan of Marilyn Monroe, what are some of your favorite films of hers? Why do you think she is still so popular over half a century after her death?
LaGRECA: I think Marilyn Monroe is still popular after all these years because of her style, talent, depth of character and vulnerability. On the outside she was beauty personified, but on the inside she was insecure and a storm of emotions. Dying at such a young age and at the height of her splendor and fame has immortalized her. There are so many images of her that are timeless and classic; her fashion sense and sex appeal are eternal. If she were alive right now, she would still be considered beautiful exactly as she was. This is an outstanding phenomenon. My favorite Marilyn Monroe movie is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). Monroe’s performance of the song “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” wearing a pink dress is renowned.
(Bloodline ebook cover)
McCARTY: Bloodline, the last in the Bloodless series has Daniel’s encounter with Andy Warhol. Did you ever meet Andy Warhol or go to the Factory? Are you a fan of his work?
LaGRECA: I used to go to Maxes Kansas City in New York City where Andy Warhol hung out. I could have easily met him back in the day since we frequently crossed paths at Maxes and were often face to face. Back then I used to spend my summers tanning on the beach, so I thought Warhol was shockingly pale and living on the fringe. In retrospect, he was ahead of his time and beyond amazing. There were many celebrities I met and spoke to at Maxes and I was very good friends with Eric Emerson. He was an American dancer, musician and actor, well-known for his roles in Warhol’s films. Eric made his film debut in Warhol’s Chelsea Girls, and quickly became a regular at the Factory. He was also a member of the Magic Tramps, a glam punk group, I often saw. There was a publicity shot of Emerson painted gold wearing shorts and glitter boots that I still have somewhere. In hindsight, I recall a party Emerson invited me and my friend to that I think might have been at the Factory. It resembles the photos and colorful crowd I have seen online so I strongly believe I have been there, though we did not stay long.
If I could go back in time I would have loved to meet Warhol, but back then I didn’t understand his genius or influence. I am a huge fan of his work and read his book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, which is very insightful. The Nassau County Museum of Art exhibited Warhol’s artwork and it is extremely memorable. Warhol is a true icon who left an amazing mark on society.
McCARTY: Is the house in Suburban Weird based on a real place?
LaGRECA: As far as the location of Suburban Weird I researched the area. The Great South Bay inspired the house and overall atmosphere of the vicinity. It all began when I did research on graveyards on Long Island since I needed to find one that had a Jewish section. As it turned out Bayshore had one so I decided to use this as the location where the book takes place. My husband took me to visit the neighborhood and graveyard to get a real feel for it. So my story is based on the visual location to a certain degree. The cover of Suburban Weird was taken from a vintage picture of a house from an unknown location, but it looked perfect for the setting so I decided to go with it. Suburban Weird is a romantic and eerie tale about love, lust and betrayal on Long Island. I have been frequently told once someone starts reading it they can’t put it down as I am often told about my other books as well.
McCARTY: Are you a fan of Happy ever after endings? Why or why not?
LaGRECA: Happy ever after endings have their place in books and movies as long as they are not predictable. For me I like books that surprise me so I am not always interested in reading authors who always have happy endings since it takes away from the suspense. Interpretation of an ending is a necessary art and quite personal. Sometimes in life people choose to see things their own way that can make a sad ending have a happy twist. Ultimately, whether an ending is happy or not all depends on the perspective of how it is seen.
(Forever In Vein)
McCARTY: Are you planning on writing a sequel to Forever in Vein?
LaGRECA: Many readers have been asking me about a sequel of Forever In Vein, but I have it on the back burner. I have many other projects I’m working on and this is my priority as of now.
McCARTY: Last words?
LaGRECA: Being an author of 10 books is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and I’m proud in all I’ve accomplished. I’m especially thrilled I am now a Simon & Schuster author of five of my books. These books are the Bloodless Series, Forever In Vein and Love Edward, my first Contemporary Romance. This has been a lifelong dream and I have faith my books will live on. Like many authors they will most probably be discovered more in the distant future. This is how it often works as many books become more glorified with time. As for the present day my daughter recently mentioned to me that writing is a lost art which really opened my eyes to how much the world has changed. As an author, who takes extreme care and pride in my work, I wish reading books and appreciating good stories was as paramount today as it has been in the past, but the truth is in our high-paced computerized world many people miss out on the simple pleasures of reading a good book. I thank all the avid readers and those who have read my books and given me feedback as there is no finer reward than to touch the sensibilities of a reader. For more information please visit my website at http://jodylagreca.wixsite.com/suspense.