Interview: Hellhole by Gina Damico


Gina Damico is the author of Croak, Scorch, and Rogue, 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, and one dog, and while she has never visited hell in person, she has spent countless waking hours at the Albany Regional Bus Terminal, which is pretty darn close.

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Thanks for stopping by, Gina. I’m honored to have you on the blog. Since you’re stopping by Book Sniffers Anonymous I have to ask… are you a book sniffer?
Oh, indeed I am. And while my favorite smells have to be those of the stories I know and love, I will always reserve a special place in my heart for that odd chemical smell of high school textbooks. Do you know what I mean? Almost like a plastic odor, like I shouldn’t be whiffing it as deeply as I am? I miss that.

Your first book Croak revolved around Lex who is a smart-mouthed bad-ass main character, but Hellhole’s main character is the complete opposite. Why did you write Max the way that you did?
I have a soft spot for shy, geeky teenage boys. Er – not in the way that will get me arrested. I just mean that they’re the kind of boy I gravitated toward in high school, instead of the jocks or stoners or what have you. And since Max is constantly terrified of getting into trouble and fears any sort of authority or confrontation, it also seemed amusing to me that the sort of person who was going to be forced to deal with the devil was literally the worst person equipped to deal with the devil.

I love the cover of Hellhole, it’s simple and yet sums up Burg and the story. Can you tell us how you came up with that illustration for the cover?
I had nothing to do with it. The geniuses over at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt did – specifically, Lisa Vega, the cover designer – and I couldn’t love it more!

What would you say was the hardest part about writing Hellhole?
The pacing tripped me up a bit. In original drafts the whole story took place over a much longer amount of time, but the more I wrote it that way, the more it seemed like things were dragging and not moving along at the frantic speed at which Max acts like they are. I ended up condensing the entirety of the action into a single week, and that improved things considerably. It was a pain in the ass to fix, though. I kept leaving out Tuesday.

I know this is going to be a tough question but I always end my reviews with my favorite quote or part. What was your favorite quote or part from Hellhole?
Burg rubbed his palms together and started to stroll around the room. “I’ll require a hot tub – obviously – and a walk-in closet, three spiral staircases, a full-sized meat locker, a bumper car racetrack, a sex dungeon, and a llama. Those last two are unrelated.”

Thanks again for stopping by. Before you leave are there any works in progress that you’d like us to keep an eye out for?
My next YA novel is called WAX, about a teenage girl named Poppy who visits a famous candle factory, sneaks into the employees-only section, and accidentally stumbles onto a mysterious studio. There, she meets a weird old woman who sculpts unbelievably life-like human sculptures out of wax – a little too life- like, as Poppy comes to find out, since one of them follows her home and immediately starts to muck up her life. Add to that a big town fire, a murder, and a series of strange disappearances, and now Poppy’s starting to think that something is rotten in the town of Paraffin.




about the book


By: Gina Damico
Publisher: HMH Books
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Genre: Mature YA
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
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.

Message from Gina:
“Hey there book fans! I’m running a Follow Frenzy giveaway over the course of this blog tour, and the prize is pretty neato: a signed copy of HELLHOLE wherein each chapter will have a little bit of trivia and/or a doodle handwritten by yours truly. (Gina) (Damico) To enter, all you have to do is follow me on one or more of my various social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Youtube), then fill out this adorable little form.
That’s it! The more things you follow, the more chances you will earn to win. Good luck!”

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5 Thoughts on “Interview: Hellhole by Gina Damico

  1. Great interview! I really enjoyed Croak so I’m looking forward to reading Hellhole 🙂

  2. I want to read Croak but since it has a few books out, it might take me a while to get caught up. This is new so that alone is an incentive. I am anxious to sample her writing.

    Great interview, Kristin!

  3. I really want to read Hellhole! It sounds like a perfectly funny read, and I know I need more of those! So, this book has now been added to my TBR.

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