Interview with Wynne Channing1. What specific themes did you want to emphasize throughout the novel?
What Kills Me is a supernatural adventure about bravery and survival. Sometimes you have no control over bad things that happen. But you can be strong and endure.
2. Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to their predicaments? To what extent do they remind you of yourself or someone you know?
I believe all authors mine their own lives and personalities for inspiration. Definitely, my heroine, Zee is like me. While I’ve never been hunted to the death by every vampire in the world, we’ve had similar upbringings. We both share a self-deprecating sense of humor, and an openness with strangers. Our fathers address themselves in the third person and our best friends rescued us from bullies. We both talk when we’re nervous, and take time falling in love. But we are also very different. I’m a lot more sarcastic and pessimistic. (The coins in my swear jar could buy a car.) And I’m definitely not as brave.
3. How do characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? What events trigger such changes?
Zee’s journey in the novel is epic. She goes from being a naive 17-year-old exchange student to becoming a “monster.” Not only is Zee hurting from the loss of her family and her old life, but she must struggle to define herself in this dangerous new world. “Was I a vampire wearing an Axelia mask?” She asks herself at one point. But it is her humanity that gives her the strength to fight back.
4. In what ways do the events in the books reveal evidence of your world view?
As a national newspaper reporter, I’ve had the fortune of meeting a lot of amazing people who’ve done and endured incredible things. That informs my writing. Readers have told me that there is a realism to What Kills Me, which is gratifying because so many parts of it are borrowed from real life. For example, the words that are spoken when my heroine Zee is captured by the vampire empire, are the ones police used after bringing down a notorious serial killer. And the heroism portrayed in my story was inspired by the courage of normal people doing extraordinary things.