Friday, December 12, 2014

The Holidays with Marcus Damanda and A Devil in Daylight

Holiday Author Questionnaire

**Please tell us a little about yourself...
Thanks for having me. Happy holidays and Merry Christmas!
I’m a middle school English teacher, perpetual storyteller, and avid reader. I enjoy horror and fantasy tales, usually set in perfectly normal little suburbs. Put-upon characters that find their strength in the face of conflicts beyond the normal human experience are my bread and butter.

**What is your favorite childhood Christmas memory?
Every single Christmas between ages five and twelve. Waking up to my mom’s cinnamon buns, trying to get my parents awake and downstairs—even cleaning up after presents. Putting the batteries in. All of it.

**Do you like to decorate your house?  Anything special that you do for your decorating?
Shazam the cat only lets me go so far. Most of the things I decorate with come from my students at school. Frilly stuff and fragile ornaments—oh, no. The cat’s having none of that.

**Do you have any special tradition that your family celebrates for the Christmas Holiday?
It’s usually me, my brothers, my mom, sister-in-law, nieces and nephews. I’m generally the guy who gets nominated for the family grace, oddly enough. After we’ve done the presents and before the big dinner, the guys usually go outside and shoot BB guns.

**Are you the holiday cook or do you let someone else do the cooking?
I’m the only Italian boy I know who does not cook. But Mom always makes this great Christmas spread—breaded chicken, stuffed shells, lasagna. It’s incredible.

**Do you like to be where there is snow for the holidays or are you (or want to be) a snowbird that likes to fly south for the winter?

I live in Virginia. You can never predict the Mid-Atlantic. Sometimes we get nothing, sometimes we get completely hammered in snow. There’s nowhere I’d rather be, either way.

**As a reader, do you like to read Christmas stories?
I don’t seek them out, per se. When I used to work retail around the holidays, I kind of overdosed on all that. But I don’t rule them out, either.

**As a writer, do you like to write Christmas stories?
DEVILS IN THE DARK and TEETH: THE FOREVER SHOW BOOK 2 both happen around Christmas. There’s a Christmas scene in DEVILS IN THE DARK. Do ghosts and vampires count?

**Do you give the gift of reading for Christmas?
Sure—for my friends who read.

**For fun, I have a few personal questions, 
Your Favorite 5
1) Favorite Christmas song – U2’s “Baby, Please Come Home.”
2) Favorite Christmas movie-SCROOGED
3) Favorite Christmas story –A Christmas Carol
4) Favorite Christmas color-red
5) Favorite Christmas food – Mom’s pasta stuffed with breaded chicken. Oh. My. God.
I’m hungry now.

**And for a bonus, if you were given the gift of travel to anywhere for the holidays, where would you want to go???
Anywhere? Really?
Middle Earth. Hogwarts, if Middle Earth’s booked.

**Where can our readers find you??


**Tell us about your current or upcoming release and where can we find it?
I’m very proud to let everyone know about the second in THE DEVIL IN MISS DRAKE’S CLASS series, A DEVIL IN DAYLIGHT. Just when you thought it was safe to go back to high school …

A Devil in Daylight
The Devil in Miss Drake’s Class, Book Two
Marcus Damanda

Evernight Teen, 163 pages
Horror/romantic elements
16+ due to violence and adult situations

“You will account for what you did to Audrey.”

After three months in the suicide prevention wing of St. George’s, Audrey Bales is finally coming home. Enrolled at a new school, she plans to reinvent herself with a new look, new friends, and a second chance to be just like everyone else. But the kids who drove her over the edge aren’t through with her yet. 

And one of her new friends has an agenda all his own.

 “You, and all the others.”

 During the day, the halls of Battlefield High will echo with their screams.

 “It will never stop.”

 And at night, their screams will be silenced.

 “Until one of you ends it.”

Buy Links:    Evernight Teen     Amazon

Audrey watched the knife go in. Alex’s Swiss Army knife, from Scouts.

That’s right, sis, Alex’s ghost said. You’re doing it. Good girl.

Blood welled up from her wrist, at first in bubbles and droplets, then in a line.

Ignore the pain. Block it out. Deny it, like it’s not even there.

And it wasn’t. Weird. This was supposed to hurt.

Her reflection in the computer screen showed black hair. And that, too, was weird. She hadn’t had black hair in months. Not since her first days in the hospital.

Nor was she supposed to be seeing him. She’d beaten him—banished him.

She had to saw to break the vein. A small, red jet squirted over her keyboard.

On the screen, Val—her one-time best friend—was reaching out to her. Audrey? Audrey, don’t be dumb. Come on.

Alex stopped talking, stopped coaching. From behind, he held on to her shoulders and squeezed.

She still had the strength to use the knife again, going down from the wrist. There was no pain, after all. She had the strength for that and for one more thing.

She set down the knife in a puddle of her own blood, then picked up her cell phone and took a picture, even as her wrist squirted again.

She hooked the phone to a USB cable and to the computer. She posted the picture, unhooked it, and let it drop. It clattered off the side of the desk and onto the floor, but Audrey didn’t even notice.

She tried to put her chin in her right hand. She wanted to watch the responses. See what Val thought. See what Maggie thought.

Maggie, who had started all of this. Maggie, who had ruined Audrey’s life because she’d thought Audrey had been ogling her in the locker room at school. Spoiled, rich little Maggie Lassiter, with the angel earrings—it had been those Audrey had been staring at—and the countless followers that Maggie called her friends. But it hadn’t been enough. No, she had to steal Audrey’s friend, Valerie Mills. Her only friend….

Putting her chin in her hand didn’t quite work out. Her elbow slipped in the blood on her desk. She felt her face hit the hard wooden corner of the desk on her way to the floor.


But instead of hitting the floor, Audrey sat up in her own bed, awake and breathing hard and holding her left wrist with her right hand.

She looked… scarred, but whole.

Her parents had purged her bedroom nearly to emptiness, but her computer was still there, a shadow near the window.

Audrey kicked her legs over the side of the bed and went to it, powered on, and thumbed the monitor. And, amazingly, she yawned, even as her heart began to settle back toward its normal speed and rhythm.

She found her water bottle and Geodon, and checked her clock as the computer slowly hummed to life. Yep, close enough. She took her pill.

Taking a breath, she tried to access her Twitter account.


Instagram, next.




She smiled, rather sleepily. Everything was still normal. She’d just had to be sure.

Sunlight began to peek tentatively through her window. Audrey set her chin in her right hand and waited for it.

Daylight could not come soon enough. 


Alastair Hutchinson lay flat on his back on top of his perfectly made bed, but he did not sleep. Had not slept.

Never slept.

He watched the sunrise.

We should be looking, said one of the voices that lived inside of him. We’re wasting time.

“Why look?” he asked. “There’s an unsettled account at the school we’ll be attending. I’ve found everything we need.”

Audrey is not an unsettled account, the voices protested. She’s alive.

“I’m not talking about her,” Alastair said. “You haven’t been paying attention. There’s another.” He laughed, softly. “Three days from now, we’ll be sitting in her first period class.”

But not as Alastair Hutchinson, he thought. No. As a name she’ll recognize.

The host stirred. We need to move the line, said another voice. This isn’t helping.

“I’ve got that covered too,” said Alastair. “You won’t have to wait long. Trust me.”

About the Author:
Marcus Damanda lives in Woodbridge, Virginia with his cat, Shazam. At various times throughout his life, he played bass guitar for the garage heavy metal band

Mother’s Day, wrote for The Dale City Messenger, and published editorials in The Potomac News and The Freelance Star. Currently, while not plotting his next foray into fictitious suburban mayhem, he spoils his nieces and nephews and teaches middle school English.

Find Marcus Damanda here:


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  1. Thanks again so much for having me!

  2. Awesome interview! I don't think I've seen a holiday-themed author interview before...great idea!

  3. Hi, Shari! Thanks--it was a lot of fun doing it!