1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity–where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylum insane–and tell us why.
Oh, maybe a 2 or 2.5. I’ll tell you why. I’m finally doing what I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve never felt better or saner. Writing about vampires is the most liberating job I’ve ever had and I’m loving it. When I worked day jobs, that’s when I would have ranked my insanity up around 10!
2. Some of this week’s blog readers will probably be thinking, “Not another vampire series.” What separates Anna Strong from the pack? And do you think that there’s always space for another vampire series?
I’ll answer the last question first: yes, I think there’s always space for a GOOD vampire series. I hope mine qualifies.
As for what separates Anna, she’s tough, she’s strong, she’s independent, she’s smart. You won’t find her going alone into a dark basement when she knows there’s an ax-murderer lurking around. She’s not about false bravado and she doesn’t do stupid. If she needs help, she asks for it. At the same time, she’s fearless when it comes to protecting those she loves. These are all characteristics she possessed as a mortal. The fact that she is now a vampire only magnifies the scope. I like to think she represents the best in womankind and that we all see a little of ourselves reflected in her persona. I see Anna as a grown up Buffy, only instead of slaying vampires, she’s become one and the demons she battles can be mortal or immortal. The stories all come down to relationships, what we perceive as good and evil, and how we make moral decisions.
3. The Becoming was originally published by ImaJinn books. How did it move from a small press to a New York publishing house?
I used The Becoming as a tool to query agents. When I queried Scott Miller of Trident Media, he read it, called me and said he could sell it to New York. I’d always been told New York would not touch anything already published by a small press. He busted that myth wide open. I had an offer in about two weeks. Ace Books (part of Berkley) bought The Becoming, Blood Drive (also published originally by ImaJinn) and a third, The Watcher. I am now under contract for books 4 and 5, scheduled for release in 2008.
4. Why do you think bounty hunters are such popular characters?
The laws regarding bounty hunting haven’t changed since the Wild West days. Bounty hunters are free them from the constraints of traditional police procedure. They don’t have to be concerned with due process because the guilt or innocent of their quarry has no bearing on what they’re hired to do—find a bail jumper and bring him or her in. It’s simple. Black and white. And it allows greater freedom in storytelling than if Anna were a cop or lawyer and I’d have to research exactly what she could or could not do in a particular scenario. That’s the best part of all.
5. Was The Becoming rewritten for the re-released version?
Very little of The Becoming was rewritten. Now, the second book, Blood Drive, was. It’s a much longer, much richer book. My editor at Ace, Jessica Wade, made some excellent suggestions to expand the story and it went from about 60-some thousand words to over eighty thousand.
6. How did you like your first Romantic Times convention? Would you do it again?
Romantic Times is a kick. It’s also exhausting and expensive. Meeting readers makes it worthwhile, though, and getting on panels allows access you really can’t get anywhere else. So, yes, I will do it again, but I hope to participate in writing panels as well as genre panels. I’m always impressed with how many good pre-published writers there are out there. Writing is a tough business. I’d like to share a little of what I’ve learned along the way and maybe make someone else’s journey a little easier. I’ve also had wonderful mentors and writing/critique partners. Another aspect I can’t emphasize enough. A good critique group can take the level of your work from good to great.
Her current release is Blood Drive, to be followed by The Witch and the Wicked in the Many Bloody Returns anthology (September) and The Watcher (December).
Now, Contest! Jeanne is super-nice, and she’s giving away 2 signed copies of Blood Drive to two lucky winners!
We have two contests:
2. Blog about this interview, the contest and Jeanne C. Stein (with links to said interview and Jeanne’s website). Then email me the link at miladyinsanity (at) gmail (dot) com with BD Contest in the subject line or leave it in comments. Bonus entry into draw if you wait and include the link to the excerpt that will be posted shortly.
One copy for each contest, and you can enter both. Deadline is July 13th and 17th respectively (Friday and next Tuesday), and you have to come back to find out whether you won.