Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Interview Time with Judith Graves

Tell us a bit about The Skinned series. Where did the idea come from?

Skinned was a long time brewing. Between working full time as a library technician, playing in a folk-rock band, and life in general – I’d write scenes, picking away at this idea of different mythological beasties converging on one small town. After reading about a Cree creature, the Windigo, things began to fall into place, and I decided my main character would be a shapeshifter. From there – Eryn pretty much took over. ;)

There are three books: Under My Skin (UMS), Second Skin and Skin of My Teeth.

Eryn is such a unique spelling, how do you come up with your character names?

Ah….the “y” in her name…lol…there’s actually a story to that. In an early draft of UMS, I had her name as “Erin”. She had this snarky line about how writers add “y”s to words to make them gothic – like “vampyre” for example. The line got nixed along the way, but the spelling of Eryn’s name is ever an inside joke to keep me from thinking too much of my writing. ;)

Have you ever experienced anything supernatural in your life?

If you go to the Class of 2k10 blog ( during my book launch, you’ll hear all about a wicked little incident with a doll my aunt gave me once. Nuf said.

Did you find any characters taking on a life of their own & deviating from your outline?

Yes! You sound like you have experience with this yourself. Tell me, Mel – how the hell do you keep your characters in line? Got any tips to share? While I do find out all kinds of nifty things about the Redgrave crew as I’m writing, it would be nice if my characters would at least pretend I’m the boss.

Who was you favorite character & why?

Most of my favourite characters in the Skinned series are ones that haven’t even taken the stage yet – Sebastian / Nikko / you only get a taste of Logan in UMS. Too bad, really. But in UMS, Kate is one of my go-to girls. She’s a witch who can control time. She’s very Zen and funky. I luvs her. ;)

What were your favorite authors growing up & how have they influenced your writing?

K – I know this is a Canadian cliché, but L. M. Montgomery was my fav author when I was a teen. Anne of Green Gables – the whole Anne series – was a major obsession. When we were planning our wedding, I told my husband he had two choices – either we have a Star Trek wedding (did I mention I’m a Super Nerd?!) or an Anne theme. We got hitched in Fort Edmonton Park (dressed in period costumes, rode in a horse and buggy, etc). Now that’s love. (Although I still wonder what our pictures would have looked like if we’d boldly gone…ya know?)

You worked with the amazing illustrator,Val Cox. Can you tell us a bit about the process.

Hanging out with Val was the best. Okay, we didn’t hang – I’ve still yet to physically meet her, but we talked on the phone, emailed a ton, and formed this cool collaborative vibe. Basically I searched through UMS for visual scenes and with my 10 illo limit, I targeted areas where Val’s gothic images would best used. Then we chatted about style/character personalities/physical descriptions, etc. Together we created the finished “Eryn.” Val’s idea of the funky ponytails beat my original (and clichéd) wavy auburn locks - hands down. I ended up changing the manuscript to match. Val = so damn cool. Check out her website:

This is your debut, how many books have you written?

UMS was the first.

How long did UMS take to write?

I started jotting down ideas for UMS in 2004. Sold the book in 2008, and here it is getting published in 2010.

What your first ever book was about & do you still have it?

Since UMS was my first book, I do still have my original (handwritten) notes. I also have about 7 different version of the story saved on various disks and flash drives. Just for fun, here’s the original opening (notice it’s in third person – yup, somewhere along the line I switched the story to 1st): 

            Erin McCain stood at the bedroom window. Not that there was much to see. She’d lived in the mountains her whole life. She expected the prairies to be flat.
            But this was flat-flat.

Meh. I think the final draft has a much hookier intro.


Thanks Judith! The thought of a Star Trek wedding cracks me up!!!

Thanks for all the extra questions for those who have entered the contest. A few were answered above as I had asked them too, but the others have been passed along to Judith and her answers will be posted Friday, along with a really fun surprise and the winner of the prize pack!

There's still time to enter the contest for an Under My Skin Prize Pack - open internationally & closes Friday.


  1. Nice interview! Thank you. I loved L.M. Montgomery's books when I was a girl, too.

  2. Great interview !! :) Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Hey Stephanie and Shantal - thanks for reading the interview. Mel does such a great job of making you feel at home, ya know?

    Yes, Anne is one sassy, smart girl. She still kicks butt.