Kim Baccellia has always been a sucker for the paranormal. She blames it on her families’ love for such things such as having picnics at cemeteries, visiting psychics, and reading her mother’s copies of the daily horoscope. She even had her own horoscope column in middle school, which was a big hit! Kim’s other works include the poem, “My Father”, which appears in the anthology Mind Mutations, published by The Sun Rising Press. Her essay about the adoption of her son, Finally, Our Turn, appeared in Adoptive Families magazine. Her YA multicultural fantasy, Earrings of Ixtumea, is published by Virtual Tales and available now at Amazon. A member of SCBWI, Kim is currently writing the sequel to Crossed Out, her latest paranormal young adult fiction novel. She’s also putting the finishing touches on an upper MG fantasy No Goddesses Allowed. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.
Q: Thank you for this interview, Kim. Can you tell us what your latest book, Crossed Out, is all about?
Sixteen year old Stephanie Stewart has a little gift she’s hesitant to share with others. She’s a rescuer—someone who makes crosses to help murdered girls cross over. She’s been doing fine until one rescue goes terribly wrong. Add a mysterious boy at Sutter High and a former rescue that warns her of danger. Nothing will be the same.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?
Stephanie isn’t too happy with her ability. She feels isolated from others and only wishes she could belong. She also has major trust issues. Dylan is the next door neighbor who wants to be more than just a friend. He has his own secret. Mark is the mysterious new guy at Sutter High who might share a similar gift.
Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
A lot of my characters come from my very vivid imagination. I do admit I share some of Stephanie’s ‘tude. I often heard growing up that I had major attitude with a capital “A”.
Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?
I usually map out my story first using a story paradigm which is similar to a screenwriter’s model. That doesn’t mean I don’t change things.
Q: Your book is set in Sacramento. Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?
North Sacramento. I’m from Sacramento. I also thought it would be very cool to have a paranormal based around the McClellan deserted airbase. Some parts are still deserted.
Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?
Sometimes. Mostly I try to make my story more character driven.
Q: Open the book to page 69. What is happening?
Stephanie is on the dance floor with Dylan. Emotions swirl through her. What’s going on? Then Mark shows up and makes the comment, “I didn’t know you two were together.” In which Stephanie replies, “As if. That would be like dating my brother.” Major ouch factor for Dylan.
Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?
I pulled my hoodie tighter. Working in near darkness was bad enough without the drop in temperature. Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. I dropped my black Sharpie. Over in the corner of the garage loose papers and dust whirled around – a funnel growing larger and larger. A light shone next to Mom’s holiday plastic boxes, illuminating some Christmas ornaments, tinsel, and wrapping paper. “Stephanie…careful….” The childish voice grew louder. A chill went up my back. I know that voice! I blinked once and when I opened my eyes I saw the girl. Her long dirty blond hair was clumped into two pigtails, and her bikini top and cut-off Levis brought back memories of the YMCA pool three years ago where I’d spent my summers. Allison! Omigod! I pushed the wooden cross aside. A tingling sensation burned through my whole body. Once I helped a dead person cross over, that was supposed to end the whole rescue scenario. The bright light appeared and poof! Well, not this time. I scooted away, over the rough, cold pavement. This didn’t make sense. Though I was used to visits from the “other” side, having Allison reappear scared me. I didn’t know what to do. “Allison, why are you here?” My voice broke. She took a step toward me. Her lips trembled. “Careful…danger….” Danger? Did that mean her murderer was out of prison? Just the thought of that perv touching or killing someone else made me want to hurl. “No… another….” Someone else? “Allison, what are you trying to tell me?” I slowly got up off the ground. “Is the guy who killed you, out?” Allison shook her head. It still freaked me out how much the dead looked like us, not fuzzy or semi-transparent like they show on TV. The ones I helped still looked the way they had when they’d been killed, complete with all the blood and stuff. Yet here was Allison. She should be in Heaven singing in one of those heavenly choirs Mom always talked about. I bit my hangnail, ripping it off. I couldn’t deal with this. Not now. “Careful….” The wind picked up, tossing loose papers everywhere. None of this affected Allison. I had so many questions to ask her. I missed her. I knew she’d understand me, even when others – including my mom – were clueless. “Allison, what’s it like to be…?” The wind howled drowning out her answer. And just as quickly, Allison left. I felt as if something had punched me in the stomach. I pushed back the sickness threatening to escape. What was going on? But even worse, I didn’t know what to do. One thing had been made perfectly clear. The rules had all changed and no one bothered to give me the new players’ guide.
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Kim. We wish you much success!