- Dirty Dancing: The scene in the lake where they’re practicing the lift. It’s just SO much chemistry and sexual tension. Everything about the romance in that movie was so well done. The restrained emotions, the long, heavy glances. For me, there hasn’t been a movie that’s pulled off a love story that well since.
- The Princess Diaries: I really dig that adorable musician boy she initially blows off, but she sends him a pizza with “sorry” spelled out in M&Ms and he forgives her and comes to her crowning ceremony and oh—her foot pop when he kisses her. Sigh. I love that movie.
- While You Were Sleeping: Everything about Bill Pullman in this movie. He’s just so adorable and Sandra Bullock is so cute. I love the scene where she asks him if there’s any reason why she shouldn’t marry his brother and he, unwilling to ruin anyone’s happiness, says “no” and slams out of her building. Also, the scene at the end, when his whole family comes to the toll booth where she works and he gives her a diamond ring instead of a token! You cannot watch that scene without a big silly grin.
- Practical Magic: Again with Sandra Bullock. I know. But also Aiden Quinn! Oh yes. My favorite scene is the one where she’s confessing to him (he’s law enforcement) that she killed this bad guy who tried to kill her sister and then they just attack each other. The chemistry is off the charts. Also, the scene in the end, when he comes back and they’re all dreamy walking toward each other with a Stevie Nicks playing in the background.
- She’s All That: Say what you will about those 90s teen flicks that feature random choreographed dance sequences, they were pure fun. Plus, I write YA, so these movies are close to my heart. The scene that won this movie for me was the one where Rachel Leigh Cook’s character comes down the stairs transformed into a bombshell with that little red dress and makeup and her hair all done and Freddie Prinze Jr.’s character just stares at her in awe. I love that! It’s exactly how every teenage girl dreams her dream boy would look at her. Heck, it’s how every adult woman would like a guy to look at her.
Did you have any of these scenes in mind when writing scenes from your latest release?
Ha! Not really. The make-out scenes in Black Bird of the Gallows formed and grew from the circumstances they were in. Maybe, a little of the forbidden romance was channeled from Dirty Dancing, but when I’m writing the kissing scenes, I’m only in this story, with these characters, and in order for it to be authentic, it’s got to be it’s own thing.
If you could only read five books for the rest of your life, what five books would they be, and why?
I’ve read all these books multiple times, will never part with them, and love them, but I think I’d lose my mind if I could only read five books for the rest of my life.
- BEAUTY by Robin McKinley—It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and so far, the best I’ve ever read! It lives in a place of honor on my forever shelf.
- THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by Holly Black—this book is so twisted, but the zing between the heroine, Tana, and the vampire who falls in love with her, Gavirel, is intense. The kiss around page 159 is epic.
- GENTLE ROGUE by Johanna Lindsey—I have no idea where I acquired this tattered paperback circa 1990 featuring Fabio on the cover in all his shirtless glory, but the romance between Georgina and James is memorable, thanks to incredible character development.
- HIDDEN RICHES by Nora Roberts—Again, it all comes down to characters for me. Jed and Dora are complex, delightful characters who make their romance one I can’t forget. Their vivid personalities make the love story unique.
- HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE by J.K. Rowling—I’m cheating a little by saying I’d like to include the whole series in here, as I read them after all seven books were out and I literally read them back to back to back. It was an intense, immersive experience. I can’t wait to read them to my daughter when she’s old enough.
Who are your book boyfriends? What do you like about them? What characteristics do they share with the hero from your latest release?
1. The Darkling, from Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha series. Okay, so the Darkling is a bad guy (really bad), but he was smoking hot in that first book and that kissing scene was amazing. And I like the bad boys (in fiction, only, thank you).
- The vampire Gavriel, from Holly Black’s THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN (see above question). He’s also of questionable morality, but again, fictional bad boys work for me. I like it when they fall in love and become vulnerable and Gavriel falls very solidly in love. Ugh, I loved him.
Mackie from Brenna Yovanoff’s THE REPLACEMENT. He’s a changeling who was raised by a human family and aside from being hot, he has this cool reserve but an inner sensitivity that I found endearing when I read it. I really like supernatural guys who kind of hate being supernatural. Mackie would be the most similar to my hero, Reece, from Black Bird of the Gallows. Both are inherently decent people, unlike The Darkling. Both possess strong control over their mental faculties, unlike Gavriel.
FIRST ROMANCE (AKA My First Time):
What was the first romance novel you read?
It was EMERALD NIGHTS by Virginia Brown! I found it at a rummage sale with my mom and grandmother. I was fourteen, maybe? Anyway, I bought it without them knowing and hid it in my purse so I didn’t get any grief about being to young to read romance novels. I probably was too young to read romance novels.
What do you remember about it?
I don’t have a crisp memory of it anymore, but I do remember being swept up in the romance and adventure. And surprised by the spicy parts! Even though this book is a sweeping historical and used polite words, like “manhood” to describe the parts, it was still quite eye-opening.
Have you ever reread it? If you did, how do you feel about it now?
I wish I could reread it! I lent the book to a friend and never got it back, learning a lesson about lending books, but also losing my first ever romance novel.
Darcy or Wentworth? Darcy
Rochester or Heathcliff? Rochester
Spock or Kirk? Spock
Sunrise or sunset? Sunset
Angst or humor? Humor
Tea or coffee? Both. Coffee: morning. Tea: afternoon.
Wine or beer? Yes, please!
Cake or pie? Pie.
Scruff, beard, or clean-shaven? Scruff.
Blue-collar or white collar? White collar.
Jeans or a suit? Jeans.
Car or motorcycle? Car.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.
Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.
What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
MEG KASSEL is an author of paranormal and speculative books for young adults. A New Jersey native, Meg graduated from Parson’s School of Design and worked as a graphic designer before becoming a writer. She now lives in Maine with her husband and daughter and is busy at work on her next novel. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart© winner in YA.