Bite Me: Christopher Moore talks about Abby Normal

With the publication of Bite Me: A Love Story on March 23, Christopher Moore’s vampire trilogy reached a conclusion.  If you’ve been keeping up, you read or reread Blood-Sucking Fiends and You Suck to get ready.  It turns out that Moore uses the first two chapters of the new book to summarize what has happened so far, so, if you were lax in preparing yourself, you should still have little trouble jumping right in, but you missed the fun of catching up.

In Bloodsucking Fiends Jody was turned into a vampire and made Tommy, the 19-year-old grocery stocker and aspiring writer, her minion.  In You Suck Jody turns Tommy into a creature of the night, and Tommy finds Abby Normal, a “non-perky” (who really is pretty perky) Goth girl, to be the minion for the two of them.

Bite Me is really Abby’s book as the tattooed and much pierced teenager finally achieves her desire to become one of the undead.  In fact, Jody finds herself barely surviving after an accidental dose of the sun, and Tommy has been absorbed into a cloud of vampire kitties led by Chet, the huge hairless vampire cat, and hardly makes an appearance until the last few chapters.

This novel doesn’t have as many laugh-out-loud moments as the first two books, but you are bound to find a few grins from a fist-pumping Asian grandmother; the foibles of Cavuto and Riviera, the two bumbling cops who are trying to stop the vampire invasion; the Animals who work the Safeway shelves; and, of course, from Abby Normal’s narration.

Abby is probably the most popular of Christopher Moore’s characters, so rather than tell more about the book, I thought you might be interested in hearing how the author came up with her as he told me in an interview for You Suck.  Here is what he had to say:

When I researched (You Suck) and A Dirty Job, I just would walk around the city, have coffee, sit and watch.  You sit in a place long enough you sort of become invisible.  I saw these kids hanging out at these places that are in the book, like the Metreon and the different coffee shops, and there was this real fierceness to their appearance but sort of this goofiness to their behavior that I thought was hilarious.  At any time, (I pay attention to) anything that strikes me as being contrasting and funny.  So I started reading blogs on this site called  It’s sort of a MySpace for Goth and Industrial kids.  And that whiplash reaction between what is really dark and what is just goofy and kidlike that Abby has through her narrative is what I see in the blogs.  Everyday, if I were going to write an Abby Normal scene, I would spend an hour reading these kids’ voices up, because, obviously, I don’t speak with the same idiom that kids do, but I wanted it to be true to the way the kids wrote and talked, and, yet, I wanted her to be really smart.  That was what really blew me away was just how sophisticated, and what we, as, old guys would say, jaded, these kids are.  But they’re casual about it.  I wanted to make it as accurate as I could.  It was great for the character, the synthesis between this dark angst and Baudelaire and Edgar Allen Poe and Marilyn Manson and then leaping out and saying things like, “Mom got me a green Care Bear for Christmas.”   So that was basically the research: walking around and observing and reading the blogs on line.  At one point I thought, Oh my God, the FBI is going to break down the door because I’m lurking or   It was recommended to me by a Goth kid who started reading, so my insight into Abby came from one of my readers.

The reason I wrote You Suck was that I so enjoyed spending time with Tommy and Jody.  It was just so fun to have these two smart asses on stage and, when I created Lily for A Dirty Job and then Abby for this book—and I had always planned on Abby being in this book, but I didn’t realize she was going to be telling almost half the story until I was writing it—I just really liked it.  For one thing it was a challenge.  In writing a sequel, I didn’t realize that some of the challenge of writing a book wouldn’t be there because I didn’t have to create these characters again.  But, when I had to write Abby’s voice, that was real work.  It was like trying to write in a foreign language almost, and I liked it, because when her stuff came off really funny, I thought it was funny.

After reading Bite Me, you will likely be thirsty for more.  But sadly, the end is pretty final.  However, don’t put it past Moore to reprise the characters in other ways, just as he did with various folks from his novels in The Stupidest Angel.  Imagine Abby and Molly Michon (Warrior Babe of the Outland) and Biff and Roberto, the fruit bat, meeting up—that would be worth the price of admission.

Mark Graham reviewed books for the Rocky Mountain News from 1977 until the paper closed its doors in February 2009. His “Unreal Worlds” column on science fiction and fantasy appeared regularly in the paper for over 20 years. He has reviewed well over 1,000 genre books, including most of those by Christopher Moore. If you see a Rocky Mountain News blurb on a book, it is likely from a review or interview he wrote.  Graham also created and taught Unreal Literature, a high school science fiction class, for nearly 30 years in the Jefferson County Colorado public schools.


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