Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Croak by Gina Damico

Welcome to Author Gina Damico

I grew up under four feet of snow in Syracuse, New York. I received a degree in theater and sociology from Boston College, where I was active with the Committee for Creative Enactments, a murder mystery improv comedy troupe that may or may not have sparked my interest in wildly improbably bloodshed. I have since worked as a tour guide, transcriptionist, theater house manager, scenic artist, movie extra, office troll, retail monkey, yarn hawker, and breadmonger. I live in Boston with my husband, two cats, and a closet full of black hoodies.


If you could have any superpower what would you choose?

The power to eat as much raw cookie dough as I wanted without getting sick or morbidly obese. Wait, no — the power of flight. No, no — immortality! Is it too late to change? Fine, the cookie thing.

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
I guess I’d go to the future, if for no other reason than to find out if we all eventually have to wear those stupid white jumpsuit uniforms with the sparkly cuffs. I really don’t think those will look good on a lot of figures, so maybe I’d try to persuade them to adopt a more pajama-pants-type approach.

What is one book everyone should read?
Any given collection of Calvin and Hobbes. I have yet to encounter elsewhere such a perfect blend of humor, heartbreak, the joys of being a kid, and the terror of growing up.

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Eggs Benedict, but if I had that every day I would explode into a mushy, Hollandaise-y mess. So my typical breakfast is cereal, but only because it entertains me on a daily basis: I’ve somehow trained my cat to arrive in the kitchen the minute I start pouring it, then he jumps up onto my lap and remains there while I eat it. Then I give him the last couple drops of milk, and once he’s done, he runs away immediately. He’s just so shameless. He doesn’t even pretend to love me for me. “Just here for the milk,” his eyes say. “Let’s move it along. I have places to be, hairballs to vomit.”

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I love reading reviews from actual teens. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in what grown-ups think, the big industry reviews, etc., so I feel all warm and fuzzy when I find out that real live teenagers enjoyed my book – including real live teenage boys! It makes me want to hug them all, though of course that would get me arrested. Firm handshakes, then.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
No joke: I wanted to be a diaper service truck driver. For some reason, I really wanted a job that involved driving, and at the age of three, that particular occupation was the only one I really got to see. Eventually I shifted my goals to slightly loftier aspirations, like marine biologist, illustrator, and, inexplicably, given my total lack of sports talent, baseball player. Writing was somewhere in the mix, but not at the forefront – though when I was five I did craft this literary masterpiece about dead rabbits. Given the quality, it was probably best that I waited to hone that particular craft.

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?
I doubt this will happen in the next decade, let alone the next year, but I would camp out in a stair car for days to see the Arrested Development movie.

What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit?
I’m not particularly embarrassed to admit this, but many of loved ones seem to think I should be, so here goes: I’ve seen every single episode of all eleven seasons (and the current twelfth) of The Apprentice, both celebrity and non-celebrity. I adore this show. I adore Donald Trump, in all of his gold-plated, diamond-encrusted finery. (To be clear, though, what I really adore is the gold-plated, diamond-encrusted character of Donald Trump, not so much the actual man. “I ENTERTAIN KINGS! THIS SUIT IS MADE FROM UNICORNS!” How is that degree of pomposity not just utterly hilarious?) I adore the backstabbing, power-hungry MBAs who will sell their finest pinstripe suits off their backs if it will earn them the slightest nod of approval from a Trump, even if it’s only from one of his creepy spawn. I adore the ridiculous challenges, and the increasingly arbitrary reasons these idiots get fired. And of course, I adore the cab ride of shame. One time, Trump fired four men all at once, and all four of them had to pile into the back of the cab and they just silently looked out the window, all sullen and smushed together. Why isn’t this show rolling in Emmys??

Print or Ebook?
Print, but I’m not a snob about it. I just like the fact that printed books each have their own personalities, fonts, designs, covers, and smells. Yes, that is me in the corner of the bookstore, sniffing the pages. What of it?

Sweet or Salty?
It’s a close call, but I do love me some Cheez-Itz (yes, all 73 flavors) so I’ll have to go with salty. But if you’re like me and enjoy both in combination, let me share my favorite snack combo: take a bite of a Triscuit, then pop in an M&M and chew both at the same time. YOU ARE MOST WELCOME.

Favorite quote from a movie?
“Hey, I guess they’re right. Senior citizens, while slow and dangerous behind the wheel, can still serve a purpose.”
-Dumb and Dumber

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
If you like death, humor, and discussions about the cinematic merit of Titanic all blended into one big milkshake of shenaniganry, then you should read Croak.

Thanks for having me, and happy reaping reading!


Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure.

He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business.

Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her targets like a natural born Killer.

Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in?

Giveaway Details
1 ARC of Croak
Open Internationally
Ends 4/2/12

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