Macey was normally immune to cute, but this guy had it down.
It was that killer-watt smile. He knew how to work it. Pity he was also dead.
Macey's life has been turned upside down. Her mother has left, her father is absent and her two best friends are MIA. To add insult to injury, Macey is being visited by ghosts who need her help to 'move on'. But as wild as all that sounds, it's all under Macey's control until a super-hot spirit called Nick turns up...in her bedroom!
Nick's a spirit with spirit, who insists he's not dead, he's astral travelling and has a message for Macey: someone is out to get her. Macey's not stirred but when the threatening notes start turning up, she's seriously shaken. Does someone want her dead? Unfortunately Macey's finding it hard to focus on who could mean her harm with the annoyingly handsome surf god Finn turning up at the most inopportune times and a father with a major surprise of his own.
Is it just a case of bad timing, or is all the weird stuff in her life connected? And if it is, what on earth should she wear when she's solving the mystery?
Kaz Delaney is the author of the highly-acclaimed novel Dead, Actually and the pseudonym of author Kerri Lane. Under both names she has written and published over 60 books. Kaz has tutored in Creative Writing for Charles Sturt University's Enrichment Program and tutored four writing subjects for the Australian College of Journalism. She lives in the beautiful Lake Macquarie, NSW. Kaz Delaney's previous young adult novel Dead, Actually won the Australian Romance Readers Association's Favourite Paranormal Romance award and was joint winner of the 2012 Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Novel.
Allen and Unwin
Author: Kaz Delaney
Interview with Kaz Delaney
Question: What inspired the idea for Almost Dead ?
Kaz Delaney: This is always such a hard question for me. I think stories, such as we write, are the culmination of many inspirations and it's only when they all come together that you stop and think: -Oh yeah...that could work.' I suppose it was easier to find those inspirations with this story because I could bounce it off -Dead, Actually' – the first book. I had the setting, the magnificent Gold Coast, and once I knew (insert big wink) that there was a Ley Line on the Gold Coast that was a magnet for spiritual beings (ahem...), then I was happy to incorporate that theme into this book as well. After all, if there are ghosts and other interesting beings all just hanging out there – why not invite them to the party! I didn't particularly want another ghost, per se, this time though. I wanted to explore the possibilities of that world more, and during my research, I happened upon a story of a guy who claims he astral travels every night. He intrigued me for many reasons – as you can imagine – but ultimately I was grateful to him because I knew then that I had my spiritual link. And because my astral traveller was in a coma, also came the title: Almost Dead. And while Finn is the man, the heart-stopping Forever Guy, and I swoon for him, Nick, the astral traveller is adorable. I always, always saw him as a younger version of Simon's Baker's role in The Mentalist. That cheeky, irresistible grin. That playfulness. Totally irresponsible – but fun. Not the Forever Guy. Not yet, anyway.
The rest came from Macey herself. To get to her core, I had to take the thing Macey values most and tear it to pieces. Then I took the second most valuable thing – her freedom. Being stalked is a horrible, claustrophobic, strangling way to live. These are the things that test her and from that the story was born.
Question: What was the best thing about creating the character of Macey Pentecost?
Kaz Delaney: Macy is an amazing character and she was such fabulous fun to write when I was creating Dead, Actually. I adore her. In that book she was the sidekick – a -takes-no-prisoners', self-assured character who says the things we'd all like to say but most times don't dare to. She makes us laugh and we love her loyalty, but she's tough. When it was suggested I tell her story because -everyone loves Macey', I was concerned that while readers loved her as a sidekick, they wouldn't relate to her as a heroine. I worried that she'd be too brittle; not sympathetic enough. After a lot of thought, I knew that to make it work, she was going to have to go through some pretty tough stuff. There was always a vulnerable, softer side to Macey, I just had to find a way to bring that out. So, yeah, poor Macey really gets put through it in Almost Dead. So, I guess the short answer? Digging deep enough to find the Macey that only two people had ever seen – her brother and her best friend – and yet, not lose that edginess that makes her so unique. I was so happy with the result. Macey is still the Macey that we love – but we now know there's way more to her than her slaying comments and killer wardrobe.
Question: What do you enjoy most about writing for young adults?
Kaz Delaney: Where do I start? I think there are less restrictions when writing for Young Adults. Teenagers don't have to be perfect. They won't always be responsible. People expect them to stuff up occasionally; make bad choices – its part of their rite of passage to adulthood. And so we forgive them for their mess-ups, and we help them move on. And then there's the irreverence of young adults. And their honesty. Their humour. Their quips. Their passion. Their vulnerabilities. Their fears...
I think it is one of the most exciting phases of life – every day brings a challenge. As an author, how can you not love the opportunities it brings? Most of all though? I love teenagers. I always have – for all the reasons listed. They're so -in the moment' and I get a buzz being around that.
Question: Can you talk us through your writing process?
Kaz Delaney: I try to write every day – otherwise you get too far away from the story. I don't have set routines – probably be better if I did. I have a very hectic family life and I also teach, so I have to grab whatever I can get. Sometimes it's a big chunk – and sometimes it's half an hour. I think I'm the only person who craves holiday time so I can work! I have to say though that I am a deadline junkie. Sometimes I can seem to not have the story go right for weeks and I'm pulling my hair out – and then deadline looms so close that I can touch it – and suddenly I'm right again, and the story flows. I seem to need that pressure to free me.
Question: Will another book follow Almost Dead? Can you tell us anything?
Kaz Delaney: I've just finished a mid-grade novel, I'm working on a third connected book to Almost Dead and Dead, Actually which features Flick from Almost Dead and with cameos from both Macey and Willow. It opens with an Ouija Board scene. Creeeeepy. But fun! Next is an internationally set YA which begins in Paris and will ultimately culminate in Sydney. Fingers crossed they all get the green light!
Interview by Brooke Hunter