Saturday, January 10, 2015

2 Gina Damico, author of HELLHOLE, on needing silence to write

What is your favorite thing about HELLHOLE?

I really like the character of Burg, the devil that pops up into Max's life and refuses to go away. He's such a mess - eats a ton of snacks, gets drunk, turns the basement into a pigsty. And he's a jerk, too, as devils are wont to be. The things he does to torture Max are really infuriating and mean...but at the same time, he's kind of lovable. He takes such pleasure in the little things up on the surface of the earth that he doesn't have access to in hell. And you get the sense that deep down, maybe he's not as bad as he seems. Or is he?

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

There is one scene in the book where Max is in English class, studying Shakespeare, and his teacher starts to grill him. Then Burg somehow interrupts (I won't give away how) and Max has to bounce between the two of them in an elaborately choreographed set of comic dialogue. It was hard to work out just right, but eventually it all fell into place, and that felt like such a win.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I like to work at home, but occasionally I will go a little stir crazy and storm out to a coffee shop or library. I do not listen to music - in fact, I need it to be pretty silent. My sensitivity to noises, such as lawn mowers and leaf blowers, has prompted me to purchase and wear a set of industrial-grade earmuffs, the kind that airport personnel wear. It's a sickness, really.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a new book that will be out in 2016, called WAX. It's about a teenage girl who stumbles into the back room of a famous candle factory and discovers an old woman back there who secretly sculpts human wax figures - figures that seem a little too real. Especially when one pops out of her trunk later that day.


by Gina Damico
HMH Books for Young Readers
Released 1/6/2015

A devil is a bad influence . . . There was a time when geeky, squeaky-clean Max Kilgore would never lie or steal or even think about murder. Then he accidentally unearths a devil, and Max’s choices are no longer his own. The big red guy has a penchant for couch surfing and junk food—and you should never underestimate evil on a sugar high. With the help of Lore, a former goth girl who knows a thing or two about the dark side, Max is racing against the clock to get rid of the houseguest from hell before time, and all the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos this side of the fiery abyss, run out. Gina Damico, author of the Croak series, once again delivers all the horror, hilarity, and high-stakes drama that any kid in high school or hell could ever handle.

Purchase Hellhole at Amazon
Purchase Hellhole at IndieBound
View Hellhole on Goodreads


ginadamico.jpgGina Damico is the author of Hellhole,as well as the grim-reapers-gone-wild books of the Croak trilogy. She has also dabbled as a tour guide, transcriptionist, theater house manager, scenic artist, movie extra, office troll, retail monkey, yarn hawker and breadmonger. A native of Syracuse, New York, she now lives outside Boston with her husband, two cats, one dog, and an obscene amount of weird things purchased from yard sales. Visit her website at


Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)