E: Hi, Mary! Welcome to Erindipity. I trust you found the place ok?
M: Thank you so much for having me, it’s a pleasure.
E: Your book, The Devil’s Mixtape, is being released as a second edition. Can you tell us what’s new with this edition?
M: The new edition has fanart from readers, which is always an exciting treat for me and which I’m really glad to be able to share with everyone. There’s also a very grim little short story by me, ‘Shots and Cuts’ that felt like it fit thematically with the novel.
E: Looking through your catalogue, the title that jumped out at me as very different from the rest is Sharpest—a tour diary. Can you tell us a bit about it?
M: It’s funny that you say it jumps out as very different, because in many ways I feel like it’s the direct ancestor of The Devil’s Mixtape – both are about live music, physical travel, and using those things to cope with loss and darkness. Sharpest came first, and dealt with my own experiences, and then Mixtape was the translation of those themes into a fictional narrative.
E: You have a series, The Wolf House, which deals with vampires and werewolves. How is your series different from all the other vampire and werewolf stories?
M: It doesn’t actually have werewolves! I love werewolves, but the use of wolf in the title refers more to how the vampires are pack animals. I also wanted to invoke that little red riding hood vibe, of stepping into a place that seems welcoming but is very dangerous.
If anything, the other horror creature which appears – though only through reference, not as a character – is Victor Frankenstein’s creation.
I guess the thing which makes my series different is that I wanted to tease out the things usually only addressed in metaphor by vampire stories, and make them manifest as their actual selves rather than just as oblique references. The first book opens with a discussion about how vampires are still scary because of AIDS, but later on there’s an actual character with HIV. Queerness is present in the text, not just the subtext. One character had an eating disorder when she was alive, and that plays into how she feeds as a vampire. Things like that.
E: You also write a lot of steamy books and stories. What do you like best and least when working with erotica?
M: I like how easy it is to write short stories in erotica – apart from occasional anthologies, other genres of writing aren’t as big on short stories, but they’ve made up the bulk of my erotica work.
What I like least is probably the way everyone immediately asks ‘are you going to sell 70 million, like fifty shades?’ as soon as they find out I write in the genre!
E: You write for both YA and adults. Subject matter aside, what adjustments do you make when writing for these different audiences?
M: None, really. YA appeals to me because it tends to play with broader strokes than adult fiction; all the emotions and stakes and events are bigger and louder. I don’t really have much of an interest in writing anything mundane or cynical, and I think those are what makes a book ‘grown up’. Adults can read my books, teens can read my books.
I’ve never been sure what differentiates the two audiences from one another, I think the books in the two categories tend to be more different from one another than the two groups of readers are.
E: Do you have any upcoming events, book signings, etc.?
M: I do! On 30th July at Warragul Library in Melbourne I’m giving an author talk with my friend Narrelle Harris, who also writes vampire novels. And at some point in the next few months I’ll have a launch for a novel I’ve got coming out, but I don’t know the details of that one yet – I’ll post ‘em on maryborsellino.com as soon as they’re worked out.
E: What are you currently working on?
M: I’m writing three video games right now. I’m enjoying the challenge of writing a more open-ended narrative form; the rules are different to straight up fiction, but I’m loving it so far.