Blog Tour + Author Interview + Excerpt: Weregirl by C.D. Bell

Welcome to our tour stop for Weregirl by C.D. Bell. Make sure you read to the end to read an exclusive excerpt and our author interview! 
Title: Weregirl
Author: C.D. Bell
Publishing Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Chooseco LLC
Pages: 400
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Thriller/Paranormal

Nessa Kurland is running for her life. C.D. Bell's WEREGIRL is a fast-paced teen thriller set in Tether, Michigan, a town on the brink of a shutdown since it was stripped of its resources by corporate polluter Dutch Chemical. High school junior, Nessa Kurland, is a cross-country runner with her eyes set on one thing: a college scholarship as her one-way ticket out of Tether. Talented teammate Cynthia Sinise invites Nessa on a nighttime run through Tether's overgrown forest trails. But she speeds ahead, leaving Nessa alone to discover a trapped wolf. Nessa tries to free the animal but is badly bitten, seemingly ruining her hopes for a strong fall season with the cross-country team. Instead, Nessa's freakishly quick recovery is followed by improved running times. All her senses are heightened. Nessa has transformed. She has become a werewolf. In her new state, Nessa learns there are things about Tether that powerful people want to keep hidden. Why does a Nobel Laureate work at the small-town medical clinic? Are top college athletic scouts really interested in her emerging talent? Can she trust Chayton, the motorcycle-riding guide her friends have faith in? WEREGIRL's Nessa must navigate her junior year and true human darkness, while making peace with her new, wild nature. 

Bree picked up Nessa and Nate after the school bus dropped Nate at home. As Nessa got into the passenger seat and stowed her crutches, Bree said, “You’re wearing that?” looking pointedly at Nessa’s track pants, slides, and bright blue hoodie.

“Cassian will have to deal,” Nessa said, rolling down her window of the enormous clunker of an old Buick that Bree called the Monster.
“The crutches are good,” Bree said. “Conversation starter?”

Nessa laughed. It felt good to be back riding in the Monster.

Bree hit the gas, and the car’s ancient V8 engine sent them flying out of the lot. Nessa loved this car.

The familiar (if loud) churn of the engine made it hard to talk, especially with the windows open (the air-conditioning didn’t work), but the day was warm and they blasted the music and sang along. Nessa loved singing at full volume. She couldn’t carry a tune, but with Bree it didn’t matter. For a few moments she forgot all about the bite and running and scholarships and Cassian.

When she's not biking the streets of Brooklyn, NY, you can find C.D. Bell writing in a decrepit RV clinging to the side of a hill in upstate New York, trying to teach herself to watercolor, or inventing her own recipes. She is a voracious reader of anything and everything fantasy, supernatural, or romance. And she swears that the monsters she often writes about are not real -- at least she hopes not. 

1. The “About the Author” section states that this book was created by a team of writers. Does this mean this book was written collaboratively? And if so, what was that process like?

The writing process for “Weregirl" was modeled on a television show's writer's room. Weregirl was conceived by a team of five women from Chooseco, the publisher of the Choose Your Own Adventure series. They brought me in after most of the characters were established and the opening of the book was conceived. Together we developed the back half of the story in outline form. I wrote a draft which Chooseco edited. Then they added a bunch of new material to the third act. The process reminded me of cooking in a group. You chat and chop and stir a few things, then all sit down to a delicious meal that feels like it made itself.

2. In the story, Nessa’s younger brother suffers from Asperger Syndrome. Can you tell me a little bit about making this choice?
“Weregirl" never actually confirms that Nate has Asperger's. At one point, Mr. Porter, the guidance counselor says about Nate, "He's got Asperger's?" and Nessa shrugs, then muses, "Her brother was autistic and the name of the condition didn't much matter anyway. Nate was just Nate.”

Having Nate exhibit some symptoms of autism was a decision made by the Chooseco team before I became involved in the project, but I was glad to write a character who is different in the way Nate is. As a mom and a creative writing teacher, I've seen the behaviors Nate exhibits in lots of kids I know. My aim was to depict Nate's being on the autism spectrum without making his character all about autism. To me, his personality has as much to do with being the only boy in a family of three women and the youngest member of the family as his autism behaviors.

3. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing Weregirl?

We all spent a great deal of time researching wolf behavior as well as werewolf mythology. We were all surprised and fascinated by how pervasive stories of wolf shapeshifting are. Starting with the Big Bad Wolf of fairy tales, we're taught to be afraid of wolves, but because of the human-dog connection, we also have ways of identifying with them. In reality, these supposedly vicious animals are loathe to attack humans, prey or even each other.

4. These days, fantasies in the young adult fiction world seems to be all the rage, coming off the heels of the dystopian craze. Are you ever worried about writing a book that doesn’t align with the “hot” publishing trend of the moment?

I don't see “Weregirl" so much as a book designed to fit into a niche as a story about a very real-feeling teen character who is faced with a challenge and must decide how to overcome it. Like many other classics, (to name a few) series like The Chronicles of Narnia, His Dark Materials (“The Golden Compass”), and the Time Quintet (“A Wrinkle In Time”), as well as standalone titles like “Matilda," “Weregirl" strives to withstand the test of time and be more than just “popular genre fiction." That said, there are aspects of “Weregirl" that are very fantastical… ahem, Nessa turns into a werewolf.

5. What was the hardest scene in Weregirl to write?

I had a hard time matching up the moon phases with the plotting of the story and had to go back and keep checking the calendar and the possibilities for transformation.

6. Does writing energize you or exhaust you?

That depends on the day. On a day where I've been working hard, my brain is usually reduced to jelly and I have trouble reading the directions on the pasta box at night. So: exhausting. But also energizing: I'll wake up the next morning filled with ideas and ready to go.

7. Do you outline the story before you begin writing the story? And if so, is it very detailed or just skeletal?

For “Weregirl," an outline was essential, and used "beats," which are a series of paragraphs describing sections of story. A beat can describe a scene or a series of scenes. It can be wide-ranging or focused on details. Sometimes a line of dialog will be specified or a visual image or a sound. Sometimes a beat will specify in a few words a scene or series of scenes that result in pages and pages of writing.

8. What kind of research do you do and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? Or, do you research while you write?

For “Weregirl," we researched before writing. Our research topics included werewolf legends, the look and feel of northern Michigan, werewolf stories, wolf behavior, shamanism, Native American tribes located in Michigan, medical examiner and coroner procedures in Michigan, stem cell experimentation, and, of course, the sport of cross country. We researched them all at the outset by reading and talking to everyone we knew who was connected to these topics in any way. Then, as questions came up during the writing, we went back to our sources to fill in the gaps.

9. Can you name, specifically, books you’ve read throughout your lifetime that directly influenced the shapeshifting aspect of Weregirl?
There are so many great stories that feature animals and shapeshifters. When I sat down with the team at Chooseco to talk about all of our inspirations, we came up with a list that included Harry Potter, Dracula, and Karen Russell’s "Vampires in the Lemon Grove," which is a more contemporary take on shapeshifting. We also talked about the long history of metamorphosis in literature—some of the earliest stories like “Gilgamesh," the “Iliad," and Greek mythology have involved magic and transformation.

10. Goodreads says that you’re in the middle of writing the second Weregirl installment. Is there anything you can tell readers on what to expect?

Look for more of Luc and other significant men in Nessa's life.



  1. Loved your interview with the author. I am always curious if authors write books to fit the current trend. I feel a book's genre gets judged based on what is "hot" in the now versus the story. I am interested in reading this book and seeing where it goes for me.


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