I recently had the pleasure of talking with author Greg Wilkey. Haven’t heard of him? Well, you will! You MUST check out his Mortimer Drake series! The first book in the series is called Growing Up Dead. It’s all about an 8th grader who discovers he’s half-human and half-vampire. But what does that mean for Mortimer? The shocking truth is that no one really knows – they only know that his developing vampire abilities are about to start a huge vampire war!
Mortimer Drake discovers that he is the product of a supernatural mixed-marriage. His mother is human and his father is a 925 year old vampire. His life is completely turned upside down as he struggles with this knowledge and his emerging vampiric nature. The truth behind the myths and legends of the vampire are revealed as Mortimer enters into a centuries old war of the Undead.
I was actually turned on to this series by another teacher who had the chance to work with Greg. Yup, Greg works in a school – he’s an assistant principal! I love these stories of teachers who become YA authors – I can’t imagine the school dynamic and the reaction of students when they hear that their teacher or principal is a published author! Boys will definitely love this series – Mortimer is a great main character going through major changes, and he has his two best friends along for the ride. But what happens when Mortimer’s secrets get too big – and he can’t confide in Tofer and William? As the drama builds and we get closer to truth about Mortimer’s potential and why half-bloods are after him, you won’t want to put the book down! From the attack at the dance, to his mother’s kidnapping – Growing Up Dead was a great read!
1. – When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I started writing stories when I was about 10 years old. I began by drawing cartoons and comic strips. As I grew up and started reading more, I began writing stories. I have written ever since.
2. – Why vampires? How did the story idea for Mortimer Drake come to you?
I love to read anything scary. I love supernatural/science-fiction stories and movies. Vampires have always been my favorite monster. The idea for Mortimer Drake came to me one morning when I woke up. I had this title in my head, “Growing Up Dead.” I remember thinking that would make a great title for a book. So I wrote it down and forgot all about it. A few months later, I remembered that note and started thinking about what kind of story would fit that title. Well of course, vampires came to mind. At the time, I was teaching middle school so I just combined the two and Mortimer Drake was born.
3. – I know you’re a Vice Principal – is Mr. Lee like you?
Yes, Mr. Lee was modeled after me. So was Mortimer Drake. I used myself as a teenager to write Mortimer. And his two best friends William and Tofer were modeled after my real life best buddies!
4. – How many books will there be in the Mortimer Drake series?
As of now, I have four books planned for my Mortimer Drake series. The titles are “Growing Up Dead”, “Out of the Underworld”, Hope Against Hope”, and “Star Blood.” I have to admit that I am rather sad about ending the series so I am outlining ideas for future books – just in case.
5. – Are you working on any other novel projects other than Mortimer Drake?
Yes, I am writing a different YA series of books about ghosts. I am currently writing the first book in that series. It is a lot of fun and it is a completely new twist on the dearly departed.
6. – Who were your favorite authors/novels when you were in middle school and high school?
I love Anne Rice’s the Vampire Chronicles. I read a lot of Stephen King. There weren’t a lot of books for young boys when I was growing up which is why I wanted to write Mortimer Drake.
7. – Who are your favorite YA authors and/or novels now?
I love Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games) and Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson). I have read the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer and liked them very much.
8. – Are you a TV or music junkie?
I love TV and music. I watched every scary movie that comes on and I always play my iPod whenever I write. I have certain songs that inspire me to write.
9. – What are your writing routines when you’re starting to write a new novel?
I love to research new ideas for my books. When I get a new idea, I spend a lot of time reading about that idea. I make notes on index cards and post-it notes. Once I get my ideas all out, I create an outline for each chapter. I map out the all the scenes that I want to write. Then I go back to my index cards and post-it notes. I arrange them all in order until I get the book layout in a visual format. After that, I start writing. I just let the characters lead me down the road I have mapped out. Sometimes, the story changes as I’m writing and I have to stop and redo the map. But that’s part of the fun!
10. – How do your students react to your writing?
How do the English teachers in your building?! The middle school students love Mortimer Drake. A few even formed book clubs to read my books. The teachers that have read my work like it. I am happy that Mortimer is starting to gain some popularity.
11. – And this is a really important question – Red Sox or Yankees?
Red Sox (good answer, Greg!)
12. – What do you like to do when you aren’t writing/being a Vice Principal?
I love to read. I like to spend time with my wife and close friends. We get together and watch scary movies. I love to cook and eat.
A huge thank you to Greg for spending some time with us! As an author and Assistant Principal, I know he is extremely busy throughout the day! Please visit Greg’s website – http://mrgaw6.wix.com/gregwilkey#!home/mainPage
Greg has links on his website to buy his books – if you own a Kindle or a Nook, they’re only .99 cents right now! Books one through three are out now, and the final book in the series is coming soon!
Mrs. L, EMS Blogger