I’m very excited to bring you an interview with Bekka Black, author of the upcoming Sourcebooks Fire novel iDrakula. It’s a cell novel re-envisioning of the classic Dracula story by Bram Stoker, due out this fall in book stores … and on your cell phone.
1.Bekka, what IS a cell novel? It’s not a book you typed out on your cell phone … or is it??
A cell phone novel is a kind of novel that is delivered to a cell phone. In Japan tons of kids are reading them on their cell phone screens even as we speak (or type).
I wanted to take it a step further and write a book using only the cool things that I could download to a smartphone (like an iPhone or a Droid). I picked Dracula, because the original was written to showcase the high tech communication methods of its time: the typewriter, the wax Victrola recording disk, newspaper articles, and ship’s manifestos. So, I wrote iDrakula in the language of today: using only text messages, texted photos, URLs, and short emails. It’s Dracula through the eyes of my phone.
I did type some of it on my cell phone too! In fact, I’m thinking of dedicating the book to my iPhone (and my husband and son).
2.How have you woven modern society and technology into your retelling of the Dracula story?
Not counting the entire new medium I’m using for the story? Lots of ways. The characters live in modern-day Manhattan. They use cell phones. Dracula is shipped over in a container ship. Van Helsing uses modern tests on Mina’s blood. I even have a modern autopsy report of a vampire victim.
But just like teenagers since the beginning of time, they sneak out at night and get into trouble. Only the trouble they unearth is ancient and powerful.
3.Does iDrakula include versions of the original Stoker characters – VanHelsing, Jonathan and Mina Harker, Lucy Westenra, etc.? Which character (good, bad, or in-between) was your favorite to write about?
The novel has Abe Van Helsing, Mina Murray (her maiden name), Jonathan Harker, Randolph Renfield (I had to give him a first name), with cameos by Quincy Morris and Dr. Seward.
I hate to pick favorites. I loved writing about them all. Updating Renfield was enormous fun, but I especially enjoyed making the girls more modern. Mina is my favorite, of course. Unlike the old Mina, she takes jujitsu, is ready to face down demons, and takes charge of her own problems.
4.Of course, we all want to know: What ringtone does Dracula use?
Bach’s Fugue, of course!
5.What else would you like us to know about your book?
It should be fun! It’s a brand new way to experience a classic story and I hope everyone enjoys it. The designers at Sourcebooks outdid themselves on the cover and layout. The digital rollout (yep, it’s coming out in my beloved iPhone and the iPod Touch and … and … and …) will be like nothing seen before.
Oh, and it comes out October 31, 2010, just in time for Halloween.
Thanks, Bekka, for giving me one more reason to love Halloween! I need to have this book in paper, because of the incredible cover design, but I might just need it on my Droid, too! Bekka’s website is under construction as I type this, but be sure to check it out in a couple days!