Don’t you love it when people you already know get acquainted and fall in love with each other? Just look at what Austin’s BookPeople has had to say about A Taste For Red, the debut novel by Lewis Harris:

“This fun, exciting middle grade novel is perfect for girls and guys who want to jump on the teen vampire bandwagon, but aren’t quite ready for some of the racier teen books. A Taste for Red is not one you want to miss this summer.”

Lewis was kind enough to interview me a couple of weeks back about The Day-Glo Brothers, so today I’m returning the favor with a few questions of my own about him and his heroine, Svetlana Grimm.

Has there been a particular moment this spring when you’ve officially felt like a Published Author?

It was definitely when I opened the box from my publisher and pulled out the ACTUAL BOOK. Until that moment, I was prepared for a myriad of worst case scenarios, including an asteroid strike at the printer, a petition banning the further publication of vampire literature (although I hope my book is the anti-vampire-vampire book), and the classic “stop the presses!”

Your bio tells how you’ve hiked the Appalachian Trail, worked on a paddleboat on the Mississippi, and hitchhiked to the Arctic Ocean. How do you reconcile all that with being able to sit still long enough to write a novel?

At the moment I’m trapped in an idyllic rural setting populated with fuzzy rabbits, mischievous raccoons, and glowing fireflies. Honestly, there was a bluebird singing outside the window this morning. It’s nice, but the job opportunities are slim. The commute to town is short, but I DO NOT COMMUTE! So what could I do? I had to become a writer! The alternative was to eat Cheetos and watch TV all day, which would have eventually gotten me in Dutch with Lisa. And the Maury Povich show just doesn’t command my attention the way it once did.

In chronological order, what were some of the things you wrote before A Taste for Red?

I have a satchel full of chicken-scratch journals from my travels. I have a collection of questionable poetry from my French Quarter days. I’ve written a crime thriller with an Elmore Leonard/Jim Thompson bent. I tried my hand at a romance novel, but my limited experience put a hole in that boat before it left the dock. The last four works I’ve completed have all been middle grade novels. I had a fantastic childhood, especially during that period from 5th to 7th grade. That was when I first began breaking the gravitational pull of home life and bicycling out into the GREAT BIG WORLD. Coupled with a steady diet of Robert E. Howard, C.S. Lewis, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, I was pretty sure that the world was a magical place. It turned out I was right.

Where did the character of Svetlana Grimm come from, and what were you in the middle of doing when she arrived?

I was writing a horror novel about underwater vampires in the Bermuda Triangle when I started daydreaming about an eleven year old girl who thinks she’s a vampire. I knew that she was smart, a lone wolf, and a bit of a smart aleck—but was she a vampire? I had to find out.

Svetlana’s teacher, Ms. Larch, may or may not be her immortal enemy. How do you keep your own enemies list down to a manageable length?

I don’t want to come off as some mastermind-manipulator-Svengali type with a frightening knack for usurping the will of others, but I’ve discovered that most people can be controlled with donuts.