Archive for the 'Author Interviews' Category

01
Oct
08

6 Questions with Maggie Stiefvater

I think Maggie Stiefvater must have very fierce faeries, because she is not afraid of my manuscript zombie. Fierce Faeries! *thumbs up* To meet the fierce faeries, comment!

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.

I would definitely rank myself at least a solid 8. I mean, a year ago, before I had any novels under contract, I was definitely a 6-7 on a good day, and now, having four novels under contract and working on editorial revisions for two at the same time has only pushed that number up.

I battle the insanity with sweet tea and cookie dough, and it seems to be working. Or maybe it’s just making me too hyper to notice that it’s not working. It helps that I have a very tolerant/ supportive husband. Without the tea, cookie dough, and my fearless companion-in-life, the men in the clean white coats would definitely be taking me away soon.

2. Have you always written and painted? Or did one come before the other?

Yeah, I was always a compulsive doodler and storyteller. I still remember sitting with my brother playing with our toy horses and before we sat down to actually play, he would ask, “What’s the ‘way’?” Way meaning plot. I had to plot out the rough happenings of our characters before we could even get started.

And then I took over my dad’s old word processor and all was lost.

As for painting and drawing, suffice to say that one of my early habits that I had to work to get rid of was drawing in the air with my finger. When no one was around and I had no paper to occupy myself, I’d draw figures in the air with my finger, practicing facial expressions and shapes. Yep, I was possibly even crazier back then.

3. Will we see a book written and illustrated by Maggie Stiefvater any time soon?

Actually, yes, though not in the way you were thinking. I have a weekly original short fiction blog (http://www.merryfates.com) with my friends and fellow writers, Brenna Yovanoff and Tessa Gratton, and at the end of this year, we’re collaborating on an anthology of the best stories from the blog this year. Nothing formal, but it will definitely have a couple internal drawings by yours truly and of course a third of the short stories will be mine.

One of these days, though, I would like to do a graphic novel. I’m a sucker for the art of J. W. Waterhouse and Maxfield Parrish and I’d love to do something fantastic and gorgeous like that. One of my favorite books growing up was a lushly illustrated version of King Arthur with all the squicky bits left in.

4. We all have a well for creativity. Do you have separate ones for art and for fiction? Does doing more of one mean less ‘creativity’ left over for the other?

I think the answer for this is sort of yes, sort of no. To a certain extent, I think that when one creative pursuit is going well, your other creative pursuits tend to go well too. So in that case, the art helps the writing, or vice versa. But sometimes, if I’m doing something really intensive – like working on a rough draft – I find that I’m just too mentally beat to start working on another creative pursuit.

5. And you’re a musician as well! Many writers have soundtracks for each of their books, songs that especially speak to the story they are telling. How about you?

Oh, absolutely. Not only do I tend to write songs to go along with my novels, I also listen to music 100% of the time while I’m writing. I burn CDs of songs that fit the mood of the novel and label them as such. For instance, I have ‘Homicidal Faerie Mix,’ ‘Angst Etc.,’ Wailing Atmospheric Females,’ and ‘Relentlessly Cheerful’ sitting on my desk right now, for four different novels. I can’t really seem to concentrate on writing unless I have music playing.

6. Since you first made your name as an artist, did it make it easier for you to put your fiction out in the world?

I think so. Actually, I put myself out musically before I started really displaying my art or sharing my writing, so that really broke down the barriers. Because I played the bagpipes, and you just don’t get much more public with your abilities than with an instrument that is as loud as a fire engine. Also, I had siblings that read over my shoulder all the time – I started the submission process with a far thicker skin than a lot of people, I think. It’s a fine line to walk between having a big enough ego to not get beaten down by rejection or easily swayed by subjective opinions and having an ego so big that you don’t keep learning or take note when you hear the same sorts of criticism over and over again.

Maggie Stiefvater @LJ and @website. Lament is coming to a bookstore near you!

If you’d like a signed copy, however, comment! Tell us why fierce faeries will beat up manuscript zombies!

01
Sep
08

MG Braden Comes To Town

She cheated. I wouldn’t give her questions, and guess what she does? She cheats and gets the Divas to give her some. *tosses severed hands at her*

Mock her for her cheating, and you could win a copy of Harmony!

When May said I could guestblog I had no idea what to talk about so I asked people to tell me what they’d what to know about. Here are the questions they asked:

What were your struggles when you started writing for publication and how did you over come them?

When I started my struggles mostly involved juggling family time with writing. At the time I started writing seriously, for publication, I became pregnant and experienced a difficult pregnancy. That sidetracked me for a while, but then when my youngest was a few months old I came back to it and my first published story was written with him in my lap. Really, it’s just been a matter of finding time for everything. I’m not really sure I’ve over come anything, some days are easier than others. My family has to come first, especially because my kids are so young right now.

How do you deal with writer’s block or do you think there is such a thing? I totally believe there is such a thing. It is hard. My worst was last year when I went three months without writing anything. I was miserable, but I just couldn’t write. The well was empty and I didn’t really know why. I just kept in touch with my CP and hung out with Romance Divas for inspiration. It finally came back. Thankfully I wasn’t on contract at the time, although I tend to work better under stress and when work is due, so hopefully that won’t be a problem.

Why are you the way you are?

Because God made me this way.

What is the nastiest, dirtiest non-writing job you’ve ever had and do you think it contributed to you becoming a writer?

For me it was being a busser at busy restaurant where the kitchen was downstairs. We had to haul trays of dishes, cutlery etc. up and down those stairs without killing ourselves or breaking anything. I know that’s not necessarily nasty, but it was dirty. And I didn’t last long at it, so I don’t really think it contributed much of anything to my life, let alone writing. I waitressed for a long time and was much more suited to that. I love people-watching and working at restaurants provides a great venue for that. People-watching contributes a lot to my writing.

When you write do you keep pictures of your heroes and your heroines in front of you?

Nope. They’re in my head.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

A pantser for sure.

How would you describe a typical writing day?

I have three kids aged 2-9, there really is no typical writing day for me at the moment, but mostly it would start at 9pm when my house is quiet. When I’ve got something due then I try to write between 9 and 11pm every day and then whenever I can catch some time throughout the day.

Is there anything you have to have on your desk or you can’t write? And I don’t mean a computer.

Duh. LOL Coffee!

If you could choose just one, would you rather win the National Book Award, a Nobel prize, or be on Oprah for something unrelated to your writing? And we aren’t sayin’ what!

Wow – well, I’m not really eligble for the National Book Award because I’m Canadian, but I’d probably pick that if I was. Otherwise, Oprah, for something unrelated to writing.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’m not sure I could just choose one. I choose different things from different people. But, I guess, if I had to choose just one, it would be Imogen Howson. She is brilliant with world-building and description/narratives. She puts words together in a way that makes them magical and she’s a grammar goddess.

What book are you reading now?

I just finished Lara Adrian’s Midnight Awakening.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I need to work on descriptions more. I love dialogue and I like the pace to move along. When I read I don’t like a lot of filler, so I tend to write that way, but sometimes you need descriptions—you need more information.

You write within a few romance sub-genres. How do you think that affects your writing? Are any of the sub-genres the one you aspired to write?

I honestly didn’t intend to do that. I honestly write what I am called to write. What I mean is, the story in my head evolves the way it evolves and I let it. At the base, everything I write is contemporary romance. What I actually aspired to write was romantic-suspense, but my voice seems to be lighter than that requires. I like to read gritty romantic-suspense, but I just don’t have a dark voice. I’ve learned to accept what my voice calls for and am slowly finding what works for me.

How did you get so tall? Can I have some?

It’s my genes! And I’ll Fedex you some.

I think this is srsly unfair. I’m her sister. How come I’m so short? I throw more severed hands than she does. I should be taller!

Seriously, does the butterfly (in your banner) have significance to you or is it just pretty?

It’s all about the emergence of me as a writer and how I coccooned and… No, really, it’s just pretty! LOL

What is your favorite cheese?

Brie

If you could write anywhere in the world, where would it be? why?

Probably on the beach in Mexico, because I would really rather do anything on a beach in Mexico. LOL Truly, I am lucky to have a great office to write in at home, where I can look at the trees, squirrels and nature in my backyard. Sometimes, I wish I had walls so that I could shut out the household noise, but otherwise I’m good.

Michelle (MG) Braden is the author of several contemporary romances, the latest of which is also a paranormal. Vampire Oracle: Harmony cover Vampire Oracle: Harmony was released by Cobblestone Press on August 1, 2008.

You can find out more about the book at http://www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/harmony.htm and more about Michelle at http://www.mgbraden.com

And so. Giveaway. Harmony. One lucky winner, one vampiric copy. It’s gonna suck your soul out into its pages. *nods* That’s why I haven’t read it yet. Not sure I have one, but if I have a soul, I wanna keep it. So comment if you dare!

25
Jul
08

6 Questions with Justine Musk

I have been looking forward to the release of Lord of Bones ever since I found out that there would be a sequel to Bloodangel. And now it’s out, though I’ve been unlucky thus far in my search for a copy. That’s mostly why I’m going to giveaway an ebook copy of Uninvited.

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 God. I’d say I’d range from 7 to 15, depending on the day. I’m going through some tough stuff right now that I’d love to blog about but as a favor to the other party involved will keep entirely private unless given a reason not to. Ahem.

2. Lord of Bones is being released almost three years after your debut with Blood Angel. Care to share us the story of what happened during the interim?

This is kind of a two part answer, so first: My husband and I decided to try and give our twin boys a little baby sister. So again we did the IVF route, this time with sex selection, and instead of one girl ended up with triplet boys. I kid you not. It seems the sex-selection process was faulty. Thankfully my husband is one of those visionary genius types whose talents tend to meet with extraordinary financial rewards, so we have all the help we need – like they say, it takes a village, in this case a village of nannies – but I wrote the first two drafts of Lord of Bones in the last trimester of pregnancy and then while recovering from a C-section, which meant I wrote while stoned on painkillers. I was also nursing the triplets, whom the baby nurses would bring me one at a time, during which I would somehow tap away at my laptop with my iPod plugged into my ears. Not surprisingly, the draft turned out to be terrible. Terrible. I had to throw out about three quarters of it and start over – so instead of a final rewrite I was basically writing a whole new book. On top of that, I had surgery to correct the kind of damage that twins and triplets will do to you physically, no matter how fit you are or how successfully you manage to lose the baby weight. I had a massive hernia, so my stomach muscles had to get stitched back together, and recovering from that took the longest of all. And, of course, more painkillers.
The second part is a lot less dramatic – for whatever reason I went through kind of a dry spell. Writing became difficult and the ideas just weren’t there. I hadn’t really thought of the story beyond BLOODANGEL, except for a few things I knew about the characters and their mysterious connections to each other. The sequel just took an extremely long time to come together, possibly because this time I really was thinking in terms of an actual series and how each book could still be a complete saga on its own while still leading into the next one. In sharp contrast to that, I expect to finish the next book in the series – tentatively called SOULSTICE – within a few months. I knew from the beginning where I need to go with this one.
So while wrestling with story ideas for LORD OF BONES, I went ahead and wrote UNINVITED, which became my second published novel with a different publisher. It was an idea I’d been kicking around since high school and really wanted to get out of my head. I also felt the need to write something short and fast-paced – the kind of book you could finish on an airplane ride – after the epic multiple-perspective plot of BLOODANGEL.

3. Last year, you published a young-adult novel with MTV, Uninvited. At least for me, it was very different, and not simply because it’s a young adult novel. If it didn’t say Justine Musk on the cover, I would not have thought you wrote it. It just reads so differently. It doesn’t read like a YA novel for me either, except that Kelly is in the right age group. So what do you think makes a novel a YA novel versus something else?

It’s interesting that you would say that – UNINVITED is in many ways a book I wrote to and for my much younger self, the same self who dreamed up that story in the first place. Although the villain in that book – who became one of my favorite characters, actually, and I plan to use him again at some point – was in some ways a rehearsal for the villain in LORD OF BONES (although he is a much more dangerous piece of work and not someone I’d ever want to encounter in any way under any circumstances whatsoever).

Some readers really love that book and some readers don’t. BLOODANGEL tends to elicit that kind of reaction too – for the most part the response was extremely positive, but there are readers out there who just hated it. I also have a few friends who just couldn’t handle BLOODANGEL because they found the opening chapters too intense and scary. But at the same time they really did want to read something of mine, so they were happy (or maybe relieved) to get UNINVITED, which one of those friends not only whipped through but emailed me an ongoing commentary of the experience. It was worth writing the book just for that.

In my mind UNINVITED was always a young adult novel, maybe because the protagonist is a teenager and it’s a coming-of-age story, as YA novels usually tend to be in one way or another. And YA novels tend to be short and maybe a bit more linear than adult novels, although certainly not always. Other than that, I never saw much of a difference. Especially in this genre. In fact, when I was a teenager there really weren’t any YA supernatural thrillers – it was mostly realist or problem novels or romances – so you had to ‘read up’ into adult fiction if that kind of genre was what you wanted. And I did.

In fact, it turns out there’s so much reader crossover, or at least seems to be – so many adults telling me they enjoyed UNINVITED and so many teens passing around copies of BLOODANGEL– that there doesn’t seem to be much of a point labeling me one thing or the other. Which is one of the things you learn after you publish – who your audience is, which is not always the audience you expected. For example, I was surprised (and delighted) to hear from so many guys who read my first book. I thought my audience would be mostly female, which doesn’t seem to be the case at all. Which maybe shouldn’t have surprised me so much, given that I actually do write from the perspectives of several male characters, but still. I also didn’t realize that Ramsey would be by far the most popular character, or that the demon Del, who appears very briefly, would get such a great response from readers that I actually went out of my way to figure out how to include him in the next books. Which I’m really glad I did, because he brings a neat dimension to the tale.

4. Since you have twin boys of your own, do you have any insight as to why people are often so fascinated by them? It’s such a common trope in fantasy that I swear that every writer must have written about twins or have an idea filed away somewhere starring twins.

Heh. I’m not immune to that – I play a little bit with the twins trope in LORD OF BONES and when I was a teenager I wrote a novel about twins who can communicate telepathically with each other, and then one of them gets kidnapped. As the mother of twins, I can say that it’s just a neat relationship to watch unfold. There was never a time when either twin knew life without the other – I have a photograph of the two of them, 4 years old, watching TV together on the edge of my bed. The photo is of their backs and how their seated bodies just fit so neatly and nonchalantly into each other, like pieces of a jigsaw. I think it’s that idea of closeness, of intimacy, that really fascinates – it seems natural to imagine that that kind of knowledge of each other extends into the preternatural – they know each other’s thoughts, have a mysterious mode of communication, that kind of thing. Or that they come into the world already made complete by each other. We’re kind of a lonely species, when you get down to it – trapped inside ourselves. The idea of twinship opens up this possibility that maybe there’s this alternative way of being. So behind the sheer fun of the idea – the cool image of it – I think there’s some wish-fulfillment involved about being that strongly connected to another person…or even just the narcissistic fantasy of having this other you walking around.

5. One of the reasons why your blog is such a good read because it’s a mix of you and the people you see, meet etc. Do you think the whole ‘writers are boring’ thing is a cliché, or true most of the time?

Thank you! The blog kind of took on a life of its own. I really thought it would be much more of a writer’s journal, talking about craft, etc. , and maybe it will become more that way. But I’ve always enjoyed describing the people and events I see around me – observing, analyzing. When I was an exchange student in Australia or away at college I would write extremely long, detailed letters to a small handful of individuals. Which is probably, I realize now, when I first started to develop what eventually became the voice of the blog — it’s a very different voice from my novels, influenced by a different group of writers, the sharp-witted social observers like Edith Wharton or F. Scott Fitzgerald or a much more contemporary favorite, Paul Theroux. There’s a part of me that was always drawn to that kind of writing, of bearing witness. So landing in this life in Los Angeles and blogging about the less-private parts of it was inevitable, I think, and took my ‘writer’s journal’ in a completely different direction.

What I want to do at some point is bring both those voices together – the blog voice, the dark-thriller voice – in some fiction. There are a couple of novels I’m planning that are set in an LA milieu based on the one described in my blog and I think those will be a lot of fun. Although I still need to soak up more of LA and the people here and creatively digest my experiences a little more to get some really compelling fiction out of it.

Do I think writers are boring? Not at all. I’d much rather listen to a writer or director talk about a movie than any of the actors who starred in it… a successful writer is someone who spends a lot of time reading and really thinking things through and has the ability to take a personal experience and make it interesting and relevant to other people by finding the universal aspect of it. In contrast, I’ve met people who have lived through experiences that seem so amazing and fascinating…if only they could process, analyze and express those experiences in an interesting way. You can lead an extremely exciting life and still manage to bore the crap out of people…I think the reason why writing about writers has gotten such a bad rap – to the point where one of the ‘rules’ of making fiction is that you’re not, apparently, supposed to write about a character who writes fiction — is because it’s so easy to do it so badly. When it’s done well, I think it’s great. Stephen King wrote one of his best books, MISERY, about a writer, the process of writing…. Writers are a quirky breed with some truly wild inner lives. There’s nothing boring about that.

6. You are one of the most mysterious authors I’ve ever interviewed who has an online presence. If you had to write your bio in five minutes, what would you write?

Here’s the bio I just wrote – in a hurry – for the San Diego Comic Con:

Justine Musk grew up in Ontario, Canada and started writing at age eight when her parents refused to buy her a dog. She entered her self-conscious and perilous adolescence planning to be either an actress, a vet, or a writer of fine literature like the Sweet Valley High novels.

Then she discovered Stephen King.

Thanks partly to a less-than-stellar social life, Justine wrote her first few novels before graduating high school. She attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, where she was rejected — twice — from the school’s lone creative-writing workshop, which she didn’t want to join anyway. Really. After living abroad in Australia and Japan she made her way west, as a young woman should, to California. She is the author of the dark-fantasy novels Bloodangel and Lord of Bones, about a race of men and women descended from fallen angels who go to war against demons, and sometimes each other, as well as the YA supernatural thriller Uninvited.

Justine lives and writes in Los Angeles, where she blogs about living and writing in Los Angeles. She also likes to Twitter.

I really do recommend reading her blog, and she’s quite fun on Twitter too–though I am also a Twitter addict and hence understand the liking Twitter part.

As to the contest, the usual rules apply. Comment to enter. Either way, go buy Lord of Bones! There’s going to be a third book!

01
Jul
08

6 Questions with Marjorie M. Liu

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.

Right now — and this is remarkable for me to write — my current level of insanity is perched at a very nice and lovely ONE. Despite the fact that I’m suffering from jet-lag and have deadlines — a lot of work to do — my ideas are flowing, and life is good. Life is always good, but I’m not letting myself get stressed about things. I’m taking it easy.

2. Recently, you announced that you’d be writing six issues of Marvel’s NYX series. How is writing a comic different from writing a novel?

Not that different at all, except in the format. Telling stories is mostly the same, no matter whether it’s a comic book or a novel, but it does take some getting used to when writing a script versus prose. I’ve been lucky, though, to have received a lot of support from my Marvel editor, John Barber.

3. Even before NYX, you have had experience writing in worlds not your own. Two years ago, you published Dark Mirror. Do you not find it constraining in anyway?

Not really. Because even when you’re writing a character that isn’t yours, you still have the opportunity to explore that character is ways no one ever has. And that is very fun, indeed — especially when you’re getting the opportunity to play with characters as remarkable as the ones in the Marvel library.

4. Every author influenced by who she is and where she’s from. You are half-Chinese, you majored in East Asian Languages and Culture, and your first book, Tiger Eye, is set partially in China. Have you ever read the old Chinese folktales, and if you have, do you have a favourite supernatural creature amongst them?

I have read them, and while I must say that Monkey is my favorite supernatural creature in the Chinese pantheon — of all the books I’ve read, folklore or otherwise, the Chinese literary masterpiece, THE DREAM OF THE RED CHAMBER, remains the most lovely, as does the hero of the story — Bao-yu, the magical stone who is born upon earth as a boy, to learn the ways of man.

5. What’s the one thing you think that one must do in Shanghai? And aren’t you excited about World Expo 2010?

There are so many things to do in Shanghai! First off, just walking around on the side streets of the old city, mingling with locals, is a lovely experience. Wander! Keep your eyes open! But if you like more formal experiences, I highly recommend the Shanghai Museum, the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, strolling along the Bund — during the day, and at night — and exploring some of the parks in the evening, when the elderly come out to practice their ballroom dancing. There are also some beautiful bookstores in Shanghai.

And yes, I’m very excited about World Expo!

6. Name a place that you’ve been and would love to include as a setting in one of your books, but haven’t yet done so and tell us why.

Gosh. I’m pretty good at mining most places I’ve gone to. I would love to travel to Europe, though, and see what inspires me there!

Marjorie’s latest release is The Iron Hunt.

And one lucky winner will get a mystery prize!

26
Jun
08

6 Questions with Larissa Ione

Larissa is an occasional partner-in-crime and well, that’s enough said about the type of gal she is, right?

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.

Ten-point-five. Why? Let’s see…I have two books due in just a few days – the fourth Sydney Croft ACRO novel, Taming The Fire, and the third Demonica book, Eternity Embraced. I also have a proposal to write for the fifth ACRO novel, and I’m getting ready to head to Washington state for a month to visit my parents…as well as getting ready for RWA in San Francisco at the end of July. Just hand over the straight-jacket. Yeah, that’s it…buckle it tighter…feels good…

2. Since winter is your favourite season, what are your top tips for dealing with summers? (I’m going from gloomy old England to tropical Singapore…should be fun.)

Ooh, I LOVE England!!!! I wanna live there SO bad!!! And my tips for dealing with summers? Avoid them at all costs. *g* Yep, I pretty much just stay inside and take vitamin D tablets. Oh, and drink lots of cold drinks. You know, like margaritas…

3. Broadly speaking, isn’t the series that you write with Stephanie Tyler as Sydney Croft rather similar to the Demonica series? Both are paranormal, erotic and romance.

You know, it a lot of ways, they are similar…on the surface. But the differences are huge. The ACRO series is really more science-fiction than paranormal, and it’s also VERY erotic. The Demonica series is hot, but it’s not anywhere near the ACRO series in terms of erotic content. Another big difference is that the Demonica series is very, very dark. I definitely tapped into my horror background to write these books.

Also setting the books apart are the basic setups and settings. The ACRO books are about humans with special powers who work for a secret agency called the Agency for Covert Rare Operatives. The world is basically contemporary, with some grounding in science.

In the Demonica series, the main characters are three demon brothers who run an underworld hospital. The inhabitants of this world are a mix of demons, vampires, were-beasts, and humans. There isn’t a whole lot of science in these books – it’s pure imagination with mythical undertones.

4. The first generation of authors who started blogging before they were published are now maturing as a breed. Do you think it’s made you a little more savvy about the internet as a tool for authors than you would have been otherwise?

You know, I talked with Stephanie (Tyler) about this, and she brought up a good point – that basically, that first generation hasn’t changed their style much. I agree. I know I started blogging in 2003, and at the time, there weren’t a lot of author or reader blogs out there. Blogging was pretty much in its promotional-tool infancy, and authors who blogged were big on conversation and craft more than straight promo. I think, because of that, I’ve never seen my personal blog as a huge promotional tool.

Yes, that’s what it is, but really, my blog is my home, my personal space, and if I want to talk about something as mundane as what I had for breakfast, I feel comfortable doing so. But I also see the value of blogs as a hardcore promotional tool, and I know a lot of authors use them a LOT more effectively than I do.

So, savvy…in my case, not so much. I think that because I started blogging so long ago, I’ve continued to use my blog more casually than many authors. It’s a tool, but for me, it’s probably not as effective for promo as it could be.

5. Do you think that there will ever be anything that could tempt your sweet tooth back into action? And what do you crave during PMS if you don’t want sweets?

LOL! What a fun question! But alas, I think my sweet tooth is the one that got the root canal. It’s dead. I do crave sweets every once in a while, but it’s very, very rare. When I do get a craving, for some reason I want a Dairy Queen sundae. Of course, I usually eat two bites and I’m done. I also enjoy the Godiva chocolate cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. Takes me three days to eat a slice, though!

For the most part, I crave salt when I’m PMSing. Potato chips, popcorn, and cheese!

6. Are you sure it says Demonica and not Demented on the cover of Pleasure Unbound?

*g* Pretty sure, but I’m working on that Demented proposal! *g*

Larissa Ione‘s current release is the first book of the Demonica series, Pleasure Unbound, and she’s giving away a signed copy to one lucky winner!

01
May
08

6 Questions with Alan Campbell

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.

One, because my deadline is still a few months away. And if I need reminded of the insanity of the rest of the world in the meantime, I can always switch on the TV.

2. You’re not really going to end Book Three with “Everyone dies after 80,000 words” right? Seriously though, do you think that there might be a Third Book syndrome that follows Second Book syndrome?

I don’t think my publishers would let me kill everyone off after 80,000 words. I haven’t heard of Third Book Syndrome, so… fingers crossed.

3. According to your bio, it says that you left game design to pursue a career in writing and photography. You’re a published writer now, so what happened to photography?

I still sell pictures to magazines and newspapers through a stock library, but I don’t concentrate on it full time now.

4. Do you think that SFF writers might be more political in general? Or are they just more vocal than other (fiction) writers about it?

SFF has a long tradition of exploring dystopian political structures, such as in George Orwell’s “1984”, Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” or Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451″. This type of fiction can act as a powerful metaphor for current events, or even as a warning. SFF is a perfectly-shaped hole for that particular peg. But are SFF writers in general any more political or vocal about politics than other writers? Certainly not, when compared to journalists. We’re more political than romantic fiction writers, I suppose. But that’s probably because Romance, as a genre, doesn’t really lend itself to hard political analysis (and nor should it).

5. Iron Angel and Penny Devil. Would you say that the differing titles for the US and UK markets refer to different facets of the book? If yes, how so?

The title “Penny Devil” has now been dropped. We all thought it would be a bit daft to have two different titles for the same book. It confused me, and I wrote the book. The titles refer to two different characters. “Iron Angel” will also refer to something subtle and clever, just as soon as I figure out what it is.

6. Having picked up the violin at a rather, umh, late age, how’s it coming along?

Late age? What do you mean late age?

Well, it’s coming along like a sick cat in surgery. It’s a very sick cat, and I don’t rate its odds too highly.

Alan Campbell‘s current release is Iron Angel, coming soon to a bookstore near you.

Talking about Iron Angel, I’m giving away a copy. But just so you know, it’ll probably take awhile to get to you, since I can’t afford to ship it any faster. Just comment, and mention why you want it, and you’re in the draw!

01
Apr
08

6 Questions with Stacia Kane

Stacia is the first person I’ve interviewed who’s living somewhere that doesn’t require a plane trip for me to visit. That probably deserves a prize of some sort.

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.

Hmm. I’d say about a seven? I’m not quite homicidal yet, or plotting elaborate drugs-in-the-water-supply schemes, so yes, seven or so.

As to why…it could be the isolation of living in a rural community where your every move is viewed with suspicion. Or it could be my parents are to blame, or that I spend most of my time planning how much creepiness and gore I can insert into the lives of people I made up. Or it could be the gremlins who visit me at night. Yes, it’s probably those damn gremlins.

2. How do you think life on the right side of the pond affects the stories you tell?

You mean the right side as in the right hand, or the right side as in the correct side?  How does it affect the stories I tell. I think my work is a lot darker now. I’ve always had leanings towards the dark/violent/spooky, but now I don’t think I could write something cheerful if you paid me. Isolation has always been something of a theme for me as well but it’s really moved front-and-center now. Sorry, I really don’t have a funny answer for this one—the truth is, it’s very lonely here and I feel very out of place, and I think that’s really affected what I do.

It’s always been difficult for me to write people who have, say, close and loving family relationships and huge groups of friends, but I find I’m getting to a point where my characters have no friends and no one. (Although for the record I am very happily married, with two adorable daughters, and my best friend in America and I talk every week, and she is the greatest friend in the world. She’s Charlotte from Sex and the City—you know, the one who always makes occasions special and is thoughtful and caring and sweet and all that? Only Cori is also bitchy sometimes which makes her perfect.)

3. Chocolate cake is the food of gods. How can you not like it, and even worse, how can you subject your loved ones to your dislike of it? Though, I suppose your sadism is a good sign, for goodness only knows what you do to your characters.

Okay, now you’re not being fair.  I love chocolate, I do. And if chocolate cake tasted like chocolate, I would like it. But to me chocolate cake just tastes…brown. There’s no real chocolate flavor. It’s not like I don’t let them have cake at all!

And over here, because the cakes you buy in stores are so awful (really, the “party cakes” they sell for kids’ parties are like cardboard with that horrible plasticy roll-out frosting) I bake cakes from scratch for the girls’ birthdays and stuff and make the frosting myself too. I bake peanut butter cakes (which are delicious, and the recipe is on my overflow blog.) I bake sponge cakes with Nutella and fresh whipped cream, and Devil’s Food cakes with raspberries and raspberry syrup and fudge frosting and whipped cream, and all sort of things. Just not plain chocolate cake.
But hey, if you have a chocolate cake that really tastes like chocolate, bring it on!

4. One of your newest releases is a book you co-wrote with Anna J. Evans, who is also your critique partner. Were you critique partners before you started writing together, and if so, has it changed the way you look at her work?

We were critique partners first, for about a year, year and a half? We found each other through the Passionate Ink forums (Passionate Ink is the online erotic romance RWA chapter) and just really clicked right away. So after a year or so of critting and chatting, we thought it would be fun to write something together. EC was still accepting submissions for their Torrid Tarot line, so we came up with a plot and got started! That book, As the Lady Wishes, took us about three weeks start to finish—we got really competitive with the word count, lol. “If she did 3k, I bet I can do at least 3500!” And so on. Since we live in different time zones, too, we were able to trade off once a day. A book gets written fast if you’re adding 6-8k words per day! It was a blast, and we definitely wanted to do it again, so we did Demon’s Triad. We really want to work together again, too, but both of us are so busy these days that we don’t know when we’ll get the chance. We have some ideas, though…

It hasn’t really changed the way I look at her work, no. I loved her work the very first time I read it several years ago, and I still do. There is nothing in the world like having a really good critique partner, someone who gets you and your voice and knows what you’re trying to do. Really, it’s worth hunting around until you find that person. I trust Anna implicitly—if she says something doesn’t work, chances are it doesn’t work.

5. You are part of the League of Reluctant Adults? Why are you reluctant to be an adult?

Well, really, aside from being able to legally drink, who wants to be an adult? It’s all the responsibility and less of the fun. I hate getting older. Yes, it beats the alternative but frankly I’m pissed about that too. Whose stupid idea was death?

6. Thus far, all your books are paranormal/fantasy etc. Do you think you’ll be writing a book with an ‘ordinary’ setting any time soon?

No, I don’t think so. Every time I try, the supernatural stuff sneaks back in. I’m not really a fan of reality, so it’s just not fun for me to write books that take place there. I did write a historical romance, a medieval called Black Dragon which was just released by Cerridwen Press, and I may do another historical without the paranormal elements, but as far as writing straight contemporaries I’d be a flop. The present as it is just doesn’t excite me, I’m afraid.

Stacia Kane‘s Personal Demons releases this month. Black Dragon was published under the December Quinn pseudonym.

01
Mar
08

6 Questions with Mark Henry

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.

I’m easily down to a 7, since book 2 is off to the editor. Normally, I’d be freaking out but my betas and my agent assure me the book is as fun and funny as the first one. Otherwise, I’d be running up and down the street screaming like an idiot, in between bouts of hitting the refresh key on my email program. Has he read it yet? Has he? Has he?

Just asking.

2. There are quite a few female writers who write in male first person POV, but rather fewer males who write in first person female points of view, I think. Any thoughts on the matter?

I get this question a lot and I’m not certain I have a good answer. It’s probably related to my work as a psychotherapist. The majority of my clients were women and after twelve years and countless hours of reading body language, facial expression and speech patterns, it just became second nature, I guess.

3. In contrast to the Amanda Feral series, which is written in first person, your other work-in-progress has a male protagonist and is in multiple third points of view. A hard switch, or was that just the way it had to be?

This is another tough one to answer without giving away a major plot point. I should probably start by letting your readers know that The Dark Rites of Joe Barkley is another urban fantasy series , this one about an impotent incubus, his missing other half and an Australian hooker with a limp. Suffice it to say, the demon protagonist in Joe Barkley is of two minds, so it had to be third. I just couldn’t figure out a way to to consolidate the two in a first person format. I tried. It didn’t work and I’m not going to say it’s been an easy switch, either. I’m much more comfortable in first person. It’s like acting. Particularly in Happy Hour where the format is a fictional memoir.

4. Both of us live in places where it (supposedly) rains all the time. Any tips and tricks to cope with the weather? And how do zombies deal?

Just go with it. I don’t even own an umbrella, though I do have a rubber slicker (does that sound dirty?). Zombies, on the other
hand–particularly skin-care obsessed sentient zombies–prefer huge golf umbrellas. Mortuary grade concealer streaks and is difficult to apply in the back of a cab.

5. Is it the rain that makes Seattle grow hot urban fantasy writers quickly?

Well, first, thank you. It’s rare for people to pick up on my “hotness”, particularly from such a distance. As for why Seattle is
such a hotbed of urban fantasy, I suppose it could be the rain. It keeps us all inside and reading. Writers are usually readers, so we have a disproportionate population up here. It’s also pretty dark most of the time and despite the travelogues, Seattle is not a particularly clean city. There’s a reason our primary contribution to music was called grunge. Throw all that into a blender with a handful of tech geeks found roaming outside the Microsoft headquarters and you’ve got yourself an area primed for this genre. Or at least that’s the conclusion I drew, just now. Ask tomorrow for a different answer.

6. Quite frankly, I typically avoid comedic books of every kind because most humor falls flat for me. Do you think comedy, as a genre, is especially subjective?

That scares me but…yeah, absolutely. Comedy is hugely subjective. I find John Waters to be absolutely hysterical, while a friend of mine just simply shakes his head. Doesn’t get it. Who’s right? Well, me, obviously. I’ve sat through movies where the theater erupted in laughter over some old comic standby, I thought was tired as hell, and I’m sitting there stone faced. In fact, any film ending in the word “movie” (Date Movie, Epic Movie) is likely to cause me to open a vein. Yet, I bet there were a ton of people that saw the trailer for Meet the Spartans and thought, that movie’s going to be fucking hilarious. I hope they enjoyed themselves, too. I doubt it, but I hope they did.

Mark Henry debuts with Happy Hour of the Damned, to be followed by Road Trip Of The Living Dead.

Want some Happy Hours (with a book)? Well Mark’s giving away a signed copy of Happy Hour of the Damned, so tell us where you’d have your perfect Happy Hour, and what you’d be drinking. ;)

20
Feb
08

6 Questions with Ann Aguirre

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.

I’d have to say five. Why so low, you ask? Well, for one thing, I’m too freakin’ tired to be crazy at the moment. Going nuts takes energy — and I just got back from a family vacation. I’ve visited something like six airports in the last seven days, been scanned so often, it’s a wonder I’m not radioactive. And things are clicking along well. I finish up one project, either writing or edits, take a short break, and then move right along to the next thing. I’m terrible at planning, but this has worked out delightfully well without any conscious effort from me.

Plus, I have a great agent, and my editor is a joy to work with. I can also rest easy, knowing my publicist is shouldering part of the load. Those factors are all great for reducing stress. So far, I’ve turned in all my work at least a month before deadline, and sometimes as much as two. I don’t see any reason why this can’t continue. The pace is just about right for me, but then again, I’ve been accused of being inhumanly fast at what I do.

2. You have previously published one other book as Ann Aguirre, The Stone Maiden. I have read it, and it’s very different from what I expect of Grimspace. I mean, you defined an Ann Aguirre title as “darker themes, less explicit sex, and lots of ass-kicking action” on my blog. I’d say that TSM has darker themes, but not sure about the last. Care to share the story of your evolution to Grimspace?

I wrote STONE MAIDEN before I had clear ideas about how I wanted to brand myself. It’s sort of an interesting story (or maybe not).

Around 2002, I got serious about my writing, and I enrolled in the Online SFF Writing Workshop. As it happened, Del Rey partnered with them that year. I won the Editor’s Choice contest and wound up with a publishing contract with Del Rey Digital. That was my first experience writing on a deadline, and I am proud of STONE MAIDEN. It’s just not representative of my body of work because it pre-dates that post you reference.

Anyway, my editor loved me, and I expected a long and fruitful relationship. Then she left the company. Being orphaned is tough on an author, as others know. I found myself back at square one.

But I didn’t give up. I decided to give contemporary romance a try. I finished Guide in September of 2005. I once again began to query, but this time I was determined to find an agent. No more peddling my own stuff.

The search went slowly, and it nearly drove me mad, but in May ’06, I signed with an agent, who felt I needed two separate brands, if I was going to write straight romance, and do cross-genre books as well. So I had two websites designed and tried to do my part to get ready for my big break. Well, I received some lovely rejections, including “send me your next book!” but they were rejections just the same. This wasn’t the one for NY.

I was very frustrated by this point. I can write, can’t I? I’m getting better every time. Why aren’t I selling?
Some of the joy went out of writing too. I started to feel like, “What’s the point? Nobody but me will ever read this.”
To counteract that feeling of futility, I went with it. I said to myself, “Okay, if nobody but me will ever read it, then I’ll write something for ME.” I sat down at the keyboard with an utterly blank mind, no plot, no idea, no characters, and just began to WRITE. It was…magical. I wrote and wrote and wrote.

The end result was GRIMSPACE, the book Ace bought. I had to switch agents to make that happen, but Laura Bradford is my lobster.* See, when I finished GRIMSPACE, I knew it was “the book” for me. I just had to find an agent who knew it too. That’s the moral of this story. Believe in yourself. Then find someone else who believes in you. And you can do this.

*Geeky Friends reference

3. And of course, there’s Annie Dean, your erotic romance pseudonym, and an Annie Dean title has “quirky romance and smoking hot sex.” Do you think your writing as Ann Aguirre and Annie Dean will diverge, or converge, as time goes on?

I did find that my latest (and possibly last for the foreseeable future) Annie Dean title has darker themes and less comedy than the other two, however. So you could call that convergence of a sort. MY VALENTINE is an erotic title, but it’s different in that it’s an interracial erotic paranormal / reincarnation story. And I think it’s pretty wonderful. My editor said it was so intense, passionate, and edged with Gothic overtones that she actually shivered a few times, reading it.

4. You’ve recently sold your first series that has Mexico, where you live now, as one of the settings. Do you think it helped with your research? It’s not so completely familiar because it’s not where you lived all your life, but at the same time, you’d probably know enough to get a start on the research, right?

It absolutely helped with my research. And the cool thing is, most of what I’ve included has a basis in fact. I can’t say more without revealing key plot points, but yeah, it made a big difference. It lends the book a certain verisimilitude, I think.

5. Living in Mexico, do you think it’s made it more important to have a publicist? Or do you think it would be the same even if you lived in the US?

It’s definitely important. But publicity and promotion is important to any author, regardless of locale. It’s not enough to write the books. We have to do our part so that readers actually hear about them, just not in an obnoxious or over-eager way. Nobody likes the tool who can’t hold a conversation about anything but her sale.*

*See this post for more information on the Diva

If I lived in the US, I could visit bookstores to do stock signings more readily. I’d have a hometown bookstore that would be tickled to host signings for me. Authors in the US have more recourse, I think. J.A. Konrath, for instance, often does road trips, but I don’t have that option. A trip to the States for me always involves an airport. So I need someone there to help generate excitement over my releases.

6. You don’t eat raw cookie dough any more. Why not? Raw cookie dough makes people happy, and therefore the world becomes a better place.

Heh, you’d be surprised how often I get asked about this. The answer is kind of gross, but hey, you did ask. I got food poisoning from some improperly cooked chicken. Once you’ve spent a night hurling up your guts and wishing for death, you get more careful about what you eat. Raw eggs can have the same effect, so I stopped eating anything that contains them, which includes cake batter and cookie dough. Never riding the salmonella express again.

Ann Aguirre‘s current release is Grimspace, to be followed in September by Wanderlust.

She’s giving away a signed copy of Grimspace, and maybe other surprises! Comment, tell us what you think when you think “Grimspace,” and win!

10
Jan
08

6 Questions with Diana Pharaoh Francis

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.

Probably about an 8. A few weeks ago it would have been a 19. I just finished (sort of) revisions on the next book in the Crosspointe series, titled The Black Ship. They were really difficult to write and while I got the book to the point that it is overall exactly what I want it to be, the ending needs a little tweaking and so I keep thinking about how to make it work the way I want. Then too, I’m working on figuring out the characters (really getting into their heads) on The Turning Tide, the book I have due in June. I’ve made interview questions for each and am having them discuss their answers in their own voices. This is odd, because they are doing so in first person, but I will write the book in third person. I often don’t get a good handle on characters until after I’ve written about them awhile–about twenty or thirty thousand words, and so I thought I’d try this to see if I can get into their heads sooner.

And then I have these other ideas pronking me on the shoulder saying, “ahem, write us. Write us NOOOOOOOW!). So I’m a little schizophrenic.

2. What happened to all the animals in the Path books?

They lived happily ever after. No, seriously. The ahalaad-kaaslane animals remain attached to their partners and there will be more partnered in the future. While the goddess cannot be very present any more in her own land because her presence suppresses magic and therefore causes problems, she watches from afar and still creates the ahalaad-kaaslane animals to pair with the humans.

3. Both the Path and Crosspointe books will be trilogies. What do you like about the structure of trilogies?

Actually, the Crosspointe books aren’t a trilogy. I’m hoping more for a series (depending on whether my publisher likes them enough to buy more). Each story is complete in itself and will focus on different characters. The first book is about Lucy and Marten, the second about Thorn and Plusby, the third about Shaye, Ryland and Fairlie. I’d like to write a story about Keros and about Sarah also *(who appeared in The Cipher) and have planned for it. What connects the stories is the growing trouble in the culture and the way that it will explode and then change the world. I picture it sort of like those big-cast disaster movies where you follow different characters who are experiencing different parts of the disaster in different ways and in different places, until they eventually converge as things settle out.

I really prefer writing the series to the trilogy, if only because I like that I have the time to develop the Crosspointe world on a larger canvas and with more perspectives. Trilogies I like because they allow me to really develop the characters and the world over more than one book, and so there’s a greater sense of depth to the story, to the characters and to the world. But in the series, each book is more complete at the end, which is a bit more satisfying.

4. I could never see myself going to school for a degree in Creative Writing. But you have a BA/MA in it. Why did you do it?

I started out my BA in Agriculture Science Marketing and Management (I grew up on a cattle ranch and thought that would be a good fit. It wasn’t). I liked English. And in college, I actually started to write stories and loved it. I had told stories before that, but only in my head. So I just decided to follow my heart.

I went to get my MA in creative writing because I wanted the chance to hone my skills more than I had. It was an excellent experience overall (with some potholes of the snooty ‘you write (add derogatory adjective) fantasy?’ sort. I remember in one workshop where a fellow student asked why I had to have all the strange names. And I pointed out that there were plenty of strange names littering traditional literature. Hamlet, Bihaj Mudge, Uriah Heep, and so on. Once I pointed that out, he shut up.

I did my PhD in literature because I wanted to explore literature more, but I didn’t want to go further in creative writing. At that point, i just wanted to write without the structure and requirements of classes. I wanted to see what I could do on my own.

5. Did you ever figure out how to pop an eyeball without breaking it?

I have a friend, who we all call Fighter Guy in my online writers support group (you’ll see him in the acknowledgements of my books), who gives advice on many things regarding fighting (he used to be a professional jouster). And he happened to know about eyeball popping. He knew about the itching, the blood and what it looked like (since he’d experienced it). He just told me about unhinging a jaw and how easy it is. Look for that to show up in a book someday. He has saved the logic of my fighting and other elements on more than one occasion.

6. Since you are my first guest of the year, you get the New Year’s Day resolutions question. Have any? Don’t bother? What are they if you do?

I think my resolution is to be disciplined and organized so I don’t feel so insane. To do the sensible thing about exercise and diet so I don’t feel insane. (Are you sensing a theme here?). I want to work on some new projects also, and that requires discipline and organization to keep different story threads straight in my head. I may start with cleaning my house . . . erm, maybe with my office actually . . . . I have to keep a regular schedule. I’m on sabbatical from my job for a few months and want to take the best possible advantage of it.

Happy New Year!

Diana Pharaoh Francis (descendent of the Pharaohs?) blogs at Mad Libs. Her next release is The Black Ship (November ’08), the second book in the Crosspointe series.

And a contest! Diana sent me an ARC of The Cipher, which I reviewed here. One lucky person who comments will get the ARC (I’ll throw in slowboat international shipping), and I will get a new copy to keep at home in Singapore. So comment away!

10
Dec
07

6 Questions with Deborah Grabien

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.

At the moment? I’d have to give it a solid eight, not all of which has to do with writing. There are money issues keeping me up at night, plus I’m deeply involved in local rock and roll (Bay Area), especially in helping with the organization and ramp-up for San Francisco’s free concert in Golden Gate Park on 2 September. It’s the fortieth anniversary of the Summer of Love, and the show is going to be a monster. I’m dealing with the political end. My to-do list for the day includes nagging the mayor of San Francisco and my congressional representative, who also happens to be the Speaker of the House, about whether or not they’re appearing. Going to be a long day.

More insanity, on the writing front: I’m working on a YA novel (for 15 and up, I’d say), called Dark in the Park, narrated by a feral cat. Sixteen thousand words in at the moment; I’m trying to finish that one by the end of September. Plus, I’ve been doing a series of Mystery panels for the Santa Clara Library System with other authors, and the final one is this week. I’ve got a two-hour radio appearance this coming Saturday.

And that doesn’t touch the fact that I’ve got two novels coming out within a few weeks of each other in November and December, plus the anthology I’m in for Avalon.

Did I say eight? Make that a nine. A nice little rubber room somewhere, with a fruit basket and an espresso machine, and crayons to write with, sounds perfect…

2. After publishing a few books, you took a few years away from writing to learn how to cook. Did you write during that time, even just dabbling? Or was cooking too all-consuming?

Do you know, I don’t think I wrote a word of fiction during that ten years. I didn’t take the ten years off to perfect the cooking skills – I mean, yes, polishing the cookery was what I did, but it wasn’t why I walked away. I walked away because I really hated what publishing looked to be becoming: giant conglomerates who wanted product rather than books or authors, individual players who were more interested in seeing their name dropped casually in the New York Times, blah blah blah. Not what I signed on for. So I said, to hell with it, and turned my back.

But this is really more the answer to question six, so I’ll talk more about it there.

I think I didn’t write during that period because there were other things happening in my world. I wasn’t just cooking – I was ill for a chunk of it. I had stage one cervical cancer in 1997. I had throat surgery in 1999. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2002.

I got into my forties and things just fell apart, physically. So that was part of what was happening – a lot of my emotional energy went into staying alive.

3. You’ve been writing a whole lot in the past few years. You’re not afraid that you’re heading towards burn-out? Or do you merely consider it an exhilarating pace?

Oh, I doubt it’s burn-out; I don’t work that way, emotionally or creatively. And yes, the pace is exhilarating, but whether it keeps up is an open question. Only time will tell.

I’m a storyteller. It’s what I do. And a storyteller creates stories, whether by book or by song lyric or by simply drawing people around the campfire and saying “Once upon a time…” It’s as integral as breathing. I’ve never had writer’s block, probably for that very reason. There’s always a story, and the story wants out.

Plus, the stories I want to tell at fifty aren’t the ones I told at thirty. You hit midlife and suddenly there are doors with signs on them saying “Not an option anymore, move along.” But there are always other doors.

So as long as I’m alive and receptive to listening to myself, the stories will coalesce. At least, I hope so.

4. Music has been a big part of your life, and it plays a part in your next series, the Kinkaid Chronicles. Is it a part of your writing process as well?

Absolutely. That’s one of those things that’s changed over the years. Of the first four novels, three were written with absolute quiet – even a fly buzzing could send me into a snarling fit. When I wrote Plainsong, though, I was listening to Suzanne Vega’s “Solitude Standing” CD. That was my main listening for the six weeks that book took to write. It was an unbelievably tranquil experience.

When I started the Kinkaids, the need for music was obvious. My narrator, JP Kinkaid, is a rock star and a session guitarist who was a child prodigy. He also came out of a man I knew and loved thirty-five years ago, a world-class musician; part of writing the Kinkaids in the first place was to get him back by using his voice as I remembered it, and to see myself as I was then and as we both might have evolved, had things gone differently.

So this one came with the built-in soundtrack, because I had the music JP’s inspiration made, all those years ago. And now, no matter what I’m working on, I want music, all day and all of the night (two points to anyone who got the Kinks reference!). My iTunes gets a serious workout.

5. Last month marked the release of the final novel of your Haunted Ballad quintet, which is set in Britain as well as having mysteries that often center around British folklore and music. Did you have an interest in the music and the history before you started writing the series, or because you started writing the series?

Interest first, books second. I’ve always loved rock and roll and I’ve always adored traditional music as well (I have jazz days, but not as frequently as I used to, alas). When the trad bands in the UK went electric, I did the serious dance of joy. Fairport Convention, Pentangle, Steeleye Span – loved them all (still do).

So I’ve been listening to that music, and getting into the bardic tradition it represents, for over forty years now. And the history? Hell, that’s one of my majors. I was a Plantagenet specialist, which made the second Haunted Ballad, The Famous Flower of Serving Men, the easiest one to write, in terms of the historical aspect. That was Wat Tyler, John of Gaunt and the Peasants Rebellion. Right there in my wheelhouse.

6. Still Life With Devils is Drollerie Press‘s first print release. Can you share how it came to be published with a small press?

Well, I had Still Life With Devils written; like the first Haunted Ballad, I’d begun it in 1993 or thereabouts, and then I put both books in a drawer and walked away from writing and publishing. My agent then didn’t seem to have any enthusiasm for anything that wasn’t a series book, something she could sell without some hard work involved. In those days, I had no interest in writing a series.

Plus, the surge of “cult of personality” attitude in publishing – it’s worse today than it ever was, in fact – was enough to make me unwilling to deal with it. We’re seeing it in mainstream publishing more and more: “Superagent wining and dining publishers in NYC with Big New Client!” The big new client is some politician’s kid. Said superagent gets the kid a half-million dollar deal on the strength of Cult of Personality, the publisher takes that allotment of their resources away from publishing ten other authors and flings it into shining shite, basically, and the books sells maybe five thousand out of a fifty thousand print run. And everyone loses except the politician’s kid and the agent.

I got bored with it back then, and I’m bored with it now. I love my editor at SMP – she’s a legend for a reason. But the industry as a whole is, I think, in a deep dark hole, and they’re trying to dig their way out of. And of course, all it leaves them is deeper down.

I liked the small press option, because I think they may be the saving of publishing. And I knew both Deena and Amy, and trust them both implicitly, both creatively and as businesswomen.

So when Deena contacted me and asked if I would consider giving them Still Life With Devils, I said yes. It was really a no-brainer: the book wasn’t one I’d have given Saint Martins Press (and they’re already have two of my series in any case), it fit Drollerie’s guidelines to a tee (magical realism thriller), and with any luck, the fact that I already had nine other novels out and a reasonable reputation as a literary writer would get Drollerie’s stable of first-time writers get a foot in the door for things like Publishers Weekly or Kirkus reviews.

Deborah Grabien‘s current releases are Still Life With Devils and New Slain Knight. She also has an essay in the collection For Keeps.

20
Nov
07

6 Questions with Jenna Black

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.

I’d say about five. I’m not on any deadlines right now, but I am waiting to hear what my publishers think of my next proposals. I’m not very good at waiting–which for a writer is not a good thing, as we spend most of our time waiting for one thing or another.

2. How many points do you think does your decision to come back to my blog again add to your insanity quotient?

Not a one! You ask a pleasantly manageable number of questions, which avoids triggering the panic response that some interviews give me. I was recently asked to do fifteen interview questions with two days’ notice–now that added major points to my insanity level! (I ended up not doing it–it was just too much work for two days’ notice.)

3. You’re planning to become a full-time writer in 2008. We’ve all heard the usual tips, such as quit while you’re under contract or have this much in your bank account. What have you done in preparation for the change?

Well, some of this decision was made for me, as there have been major changes at my day job. I could have worked something out with them if I’d be willing to a) move to Omaha (yeah, right!) or b) take a different position within the company, which I didn’t want to do. I figured the universe was trying to give me a hint.

As sad as this reality is, part of what makes me able to make this leap is that I lost both my parents three years ago, and I inherited their nest eggs. That gives me a safety net. If it hadn’t been for that, I think I probably would have wanted to hold onto the day job for another year or two, just to be safe. (Although if I continued to write for two publishers and do a full-time day job, the workload probably would have put my insanity level at a permanent ten!)

4. A number of well-known romance novelists have also sold urban fantasy novels recently, but they will be published under pseudonyms. You’re not one of them. Thoughts? And did you think about using one for the Morgan Kingsley books?

My gut feeling when I wrote The Devil Inside was that it would appeal to the fans of my paranormal romances. Both my agent and my editor agreed, so we decided there was no need for me to use a pseudonym. I’m very happy with that decision, because if I’d had another name, I’d have had to do a second website, add yet another email address, do another newsletter, etc.–all the promotional activities that are associated with this crazy business. I spend enough time on promo with just one pen name!

If I’d been writing romantic comedies or historical romance–something with a very different audience from urban fantasy–then I probably would have been forced to use a different pen name. I’m very thankful I was writing paranormal romances!

5. The move from paranormal romance to urban fantasy: natural progression?

Absolutely! (Though I haven’t actually moved, so much as added. Assuming I can work out a new deal with Tor, the publisher of my paranormal romances, I plan on writing both.) My paranormal romances have a hint of an urban fantasy voice to them anyway. I seem not to be able to write without some amount of acerbic wit, which is one of the hallmarks of urban fantasy–I think I’d be in real trouble if I had to write “sweet” romance. My urban fantasies definitely have a strong romantic element in them, although Morgan’s life is such a mess, it would take some pretty fancy footwork to fix her relationships.

6. You call your blog “Jenna Black’s Blog Experiment.” How’s the experiment going?

To be honest with you, not all that well. I don’t blog frequently enough to build up the kind of traffic I would need to feel like the experiment was working perfectly. Sometimes, I can’t think of anything to blog about, and sometimes I just plain don’t feel like it. (I must admit, I greatly prefer writing fiction!!) However, I have just enough readers to keep me motivated to write the occasional post and try to keep the blog alive. I’m also posting identical blog entries on MySpace ( http://www.MySpace.com/JennaBlackBooks ) and have signed up for Amazon Connect so that my blog can be seen on my book detail pages on Amazon.com. I’m hoping that will increase my readership without adding too much to my work load. I’m a very stubborn person, and I don’t give up easily. (So stubborn I worked toward publication for 16 years, writing a total of 18 novels before I finally sold one.) I’m going to keep trying!

Thanks for inviting me to join the insanity once again! It’s been fun!

Jenna Black blogs, and her current release, The Devil Inside, is the first book of the Morgan Kingsley series.

10
Nov
07

6 Questions with Jeaniene Frost

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.

First you must promise this information will never be held against me in a competency hearing ;)  Okay, how insane am I? I’d rank myself a six. My husband might say a seven, but six sounds better. Why am I insane? Well, I let pretend people in my head order me around (“You don’t need to sleep, you need to write this scene!”) Half the time, writing is like taking their dictation. So I guess that’s not very sane.


2. Is Frost just a pseudonym thing? Or is it your real name? If it’s the latter, and you married your way to it, tell me, is worth marrying your way into the Right Author Name? *ggg*

Frost is my real last name. Yes, I married into it when I was nineteen. Always plan ahead *grin*  The funny thing is, my maiden last name was Holly. We joke in my family that going from Holly to Frost kept a very winterish theme.


3. Is Halfway To The Grave better described as (sub)urban fantasy?

Probably. My heroine is from a very small town. She does go to several big cities in the novel, but a big city isn’t where she lives.


4. The lines between genres blur and change constantly. What do you think separates paranormal romance from urban fantasy at the moment?

I’m a new author, so I feel very unqualified to discuss genre boundaries. But you asked, so here’s my newbie, unqualified two cents: If a novel has less than 50% of the story containing the romance plot, and the novel doesn’t end with the hero/heroine together in some form of happy, then it’s an urban fantasy, not a paranormal romance. Most romance readers want to see their hero/heroine together happily at the end. Most UF readers want to see the Big Bad Evil defeated at the end, and whoever’s left standing doesn’t necessarily have to be in love. Now, I do have an exception to this generalization, in my obviously-biased opinion: If a novel is part of a series, and the series as a whole has at least 50% romance plot with the hero/heroine ending up together and happy at the series’ conclusion, then I’ll say it’s a paranormal romance series versus an urban fantasy series.


5. Vamps are hot or Vamps are not?

As a reader/writer, I love vampires. I love them whether they’re smokin’ hot and sexy (think author JR Ward) or whether they’re evil, mindless puppets (think author Ilona Andrews). Vamps have been a favorite creature of mine since I was a child. They were the clear choice for me when writing. One of the first rules of writing when you start out is ‘write what you love’, because then no matter what happen career-wise, you’re at least guaranteed to please one person :) So I wrote vamps, because they’re my creature version of chocolate.

Industry-wise? There’s some fatigue with vampires. I’ve heard the rumbles from both readers and agents/editors. Editors are getting choosier about the vampire novels they acquire, because there’s a plethora of fangs already in the fiction section. But fellow vamp lovers shouldn’t despair. A well-written, exciting book will still get snatched up. I just wouldn’t encourage people to write vampires if they think it’s a hot trend they’re going to catch, because that no longer seems to be the case.


6. Is there really a group of five cemeteries that forms a pentagram on a map somewhere? Or did you make the whole thing up? 

There really are five cemeteries forming a pentagram in Ohio. Simms cemetery, where my heroine has her encounter with a ghost, is one of those cemeteries. Simms cemetery is reportedly haunted, too, though it’s closed to the public. And the former lawman/hangman referenced, John Simms, was an actual person. The cemetery was named after him, and he kept it well-stocked, since he wasn’t known for leniency. According to records, the tree Simms used to hang people on still stands in the cemetery. John Simms left Ohio in the eighteen hundreds under mysterious circumstances. Some records claim he died, some showed he moved out west. I thought the whole history surrounding the cemetery and who it was named for was fascinating.

Jeaniene Frost has a LiveJournal. Her debut release is Halfway To The Grave, to be followed by One Foot In The Grave (April ’08).

Update: Halfway To The Grave is a NYT Bestseller! Congrats, Jeaniene!

01
Nov
07

6 Questions with Melissa de la Cruz

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.

10! “Insane” is how I always describe my life. LOL. Also, overwhelming and crazed. When I signed up to write five books a year I had NO IDEA (or I was in denial) that it meant actually WRITING five books a year. So basically once one book is done, I have a week off and then I have to dive face-first into the next one. It’s getting better though. I like to change it up a bit, have a break between my more “mystery” books and my fun, fast “chicklit-y” ones.

2. Have you always written as fast as you do now, or is it necessity?

I’ve always been a fast writer. Writing comes easily to me, and I was
the kid who wrote my term papers after midnight the night before they were due, and still got As. Or sometimes I would write them an HOUR before it was due, on a typewriter, even! (No computers back then-I’m dating myself!) I got slapped on the head though, when I went to college, my Logic & Rhetoric teacher told me “You’re a good writer, but you don’t put enough effort into it.” He could see I was okay with coasting along. Now I really plug. But with my deadlines, I don’t even really have a choice. I have to do it fast or the books won’t get published on time. And I’ve already missed several deadlines! Believe me, it’s not a fun thing.

3. There have been discussions about how some young adult fiction is not ‘wholesome’ enough. Things like sexual content, drug use etc. Has it made you rethink some of the things you write or were writing at the time?

Nah! Wholesome schmolesome. LOL. I like naughty, naughty books and I think all this hue and cry over the sexy nature of some YA books is just at lot of useless hand-wringing. Also a lot of “blame the
content” kind of thinking which is similar to the “Judas Priest made
my kid kill himself” sort of thing. Also, kids are INTERESTED in sex
and drugs and alcohol–that’s the reality of it. If your books reflect
some kind of Disney-sanitized version of teenhood, I doubt anyone will want to read it. Also, I was brought up by people who believed in
PARENTING. My parents believed that THEY taught their kids values, not the movies, not tv, not books. I read lots of racy books in my youth–books my parents probably wouldn’t be too thrilled to know I read, like their Sidney Sheldon and Harold Robbins novels! LOL! They always encouraged reading (both are avid readers of popular fiction still), and once you hook a reader, you’ve got them for life. I might have started out loving trashy books like VC Andrews’s Flowers in the Attic series, but I also ended up loving books like Tolstoy’s War and Peace and James Joyce’s A Portrait of the The Artist as A Young Man. I write for myself–my editors at the ones who reign me in, and I grudgingly relent. I think if you start out policing your writing, you’ll never write anything. Much more fun to go for it and then scale back later.

4. As a follow-on to that question, how old will your cute little girl
be when you finally allow her to read your books?

Um, twenty-five? :) She’ll be allowed to read them when she’s interested in them…probably ten or eleven? Nine if she’s an early reader? I kind of doubt she’ll be too interested in them. Somehow you want Mom to just be Mom. You don’t really want to know about Mom’s other life outside the family, do you? It will be interesting to see. I kind of do hope she becomes interested in the Blue Bloods books because if I’m still writing them when she’s old enough, she will be able to participate in plot discussions. Sometimes that’s all my husband and I talk about over dinner! It will be cool if she can participate in the family business.

5. Fresh Off The Boat borrows more from your life than your other books. Did it make writing it easier or more difficult?

Easier, I think. I had all this material stewing in me for so long,
and it was a relief to finally get it out on paper, worked out in
chapters. It was very cathartic to write that book.

6. What do you miss most about not living in the Phillipines any more? The food?

Definitely the food!!! And my friends and family who still live there.
And being somewhere and not being hyphenated, you know? Also, being somewhere where everyone knows who you are because of who your parents are and who your grandparents were…in a way, it’s good to be in America and not have that burden–you can reinvent yourself. But it is also nice to come home “where everyone knows your name” so to speak.

Melissa de la Cruz has her very own shopping diary. Her next release is the first book in her new series, The Ashleys!

And because Melissa’s the absolute coolness, she’s offering a galley copy to be given away! Read the blurb, and then come back to share why you think Ashley is/was such a popular name.

30
Oct
07

6 Questions with Jezebel

Jezebel, the star of the Hell on Earth series, is here, to give us some tips on being…Wicked!

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.

Me? I’m perfectly sane. Except for when I think I might be going crazy. Being a former demon can be tough on the “This Is Normal For Mortals” radar. I mean, most humans don’t see auras, right? Or converse with demons regularly? Or get accosted by angels in the bathroom? Or really mean it when they tell someone to “Go to Hell,” right? Um. So I guess I’m either a 1 or a 10, depending on whom you ask.

2. You managed to resist Daunuan’s attentions. Think there are any lessons there us girls can learn in order to apply to that box of chocolate?

Yeah: Don’t ever fuck an incubus, unless you want to die a nasty, icky, painful death. Sure, getting there is a lot of fun – bless me, a LOT of fun – but the little death of an orgasm pales before the big death of…well, death. Don’t do it. Even if you really, really, really want to. Something else: demons don’t love. They can’t. They’re not wired that way. Only humans can. And sex without love is…well, a lot of fun, granted, but it’s also fleeting. True love is the real thing. And that makes the sex go from “spectacular” to “earth moving.” Hold out for true love. Trust me, it’s worth it.

3. Wicked Succubus versus Nice Succubus. Who’s going to win that girlfight?

If it’s a girlfight, the Nice Succubus. If it’s a demonfight, the Wicked Succubus.

4. What’s the one ‘human thing’ that you hate so much, you’d almost give up your soul for?

Periods. Man, those suck. The blood is cool-and seeping from a very awesome place, might I add-but the cramps and the bloating? Ugh. And no sex for five or so days? Ugh!

5. It’s a man’s world out there. From your point of view as a new…umh, newly-turned human, is that true or false?

That is so precious. I’ve heard that before. And it gets funnier every time I hear it. It’s the human world. (Which, by the way, looks more and more like Hell with every passing day. No, that’s not a compliment.)

6. Your Creator has turned her attention to Daunuan. Are you jealous, or are you cheering her on because you want to see Daun get his come-uppance?

About fucking time she got her focus off of me. Do you know what she just did to me? Sure, she tells me it’s just going to be a road trip for me and Paul, a nice little romantic weekend getaway for us, with absolutely nothing bad or Hellish about it. Yeah, right. She wrote it up in a novella called A HELL OF A TIME, and that’s coming out in April 2008 as part of Kensington’s ETERNAL LOVER anthology. Thank Gehenna that Daun has to deal with her for a whole book. That’s HOTTER THAN HELL, which comes out in August 2008. Wow, I thought Jackie hated me-my Dear Creator must despise Daun, based on what she puts him through. He’s just a dumb demon, but you have to feel sorry for him. Sort of. Well…okay, not at all. He deserves everything that she does to him. Everything. Stick your horn in that, incubus! Hah!

Jezebel can be found blogging at the Magical Minxes. To find the excerpts of her books, including the newly released The Road To Hell, please click here.

Her Creator, Jackie Kessler, blogs on her website.

10
Oct
07

6 Questions with Amy Garvey

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.

Current level of insanity – definitely an 8. Why? Three kids, a temperamental dog, writing to do, editing to do, and a part-time job. My brain is pulled in seventeen different directions on a daily basis, and I’m lucky I can (usually) remember my own name. Tea helps. And way too many cigarettes.

2. From editor to author, and now you’re both. Why did you accept the position of Drollerie Press‘s Editor-in-chief?

I accepted because I adore Deena and I think she’s brilliant. And because Drollerie is publishing the kinds of things I’d love to read, and be able work on. Plus, I miss editing. Working with an author from inception to finished project is really a gift, and Drollerie gives me the freedom to choose projects I really love without having to please an editorial board or worry about the bottom line. I’ve gotten so busy, though, with my own writing, that I’ve been stretched pretty thin and I really want the erotica line to grow, so Deena and I have decided that I would take over the erotica line, Penflourish, and step down as Editor-in-Chief. I’m really excited about this opportunity to basically create my own imprint.

3. Did/Does being an editor make you a better writer and/or vice versa?

I think they complement each other in really helpful ways. Editing definitely informs my writing, which I noticed after I’d been editing for a while, because suddenly I could “see” the places where I would suggest revisions if it had been a project submitted to me.

By the same token, I think being a writer helps me to understand what other writers are going for sometimes, and sharing a common language with them makes communicating changes a lot easier.

4. Isn’t what you edit rather different from what you write?

Yup. That’s part of the fun. After editing romances for so long, too, it got a little formulaic – I could see the big-picture structure of where a story was going really early, and that sucked some of the joy out of it. I like being surprised with the Drollerie projects, and the freedom our authors have to wander away from traiditional happy endings.

But what I’m editing isn’t very different than some of what I like to read, and what I’ve published so far isn’t indicative of everything I write, or want to write.

5. Tell us about some of the Drollerie releases (previous and upcoming) that you edited.

I don’t have space to list everyone, or at least not talk about them in depth, but I was very lucky to work with everyone I have so far. But I’ll give two examples.

Editing Deborah Grabien‘s Still Life with Devils was an absolute joy; I’ve been a huge fan of her writing for a long time, and this novel was so gorgeously creepy and real, I couldn’t stop turning pages. Deb has the chops to sell almost anything, too-she makes you believe in the supernatural, makes you hear her characters speaking, see the settings.

I was also really lucky to work with Imogen Howson on Falling. It’s like she read my mind about the kind of submission I wanted. A fairy tale in a whole new setting, touching on the old themes and making them fresh and different, and written so smartly, so elegantly. A real pleasure.

6. What are you hoping to see when you next go through submissions?

I want to see some really good erotica. Not porn dressed up in Victoria’s Secret, either. Really lush, precise language, exploring sexuality in all its forms, and with all its ramifications, not just for the “wow, hot!” factor. And erotica in all kinds – historical, contemporary, even fantasy.

I want to see some new takes on fairy tales. Either retellings that bring a new perspective (Sleeping Beauty from the prince’s point of view, for instance, or the wicked fairy’s), or new twists on the old tales in new settings. A note: erotica is a perfect way to explore fairy tales. (Hint, hint.)

I also want some really innovative horror or paranormal stories. Ghost stories, vampires, whatever, but something *new*, something that takes me someplace I’ve never been. My only caveat there is that I want stories with worlds, and rules, firmly in place. Rules that make sense, too, insofar as that’s possible with something like vampires. Sell me on why your werewolf breed is real, for instance. And don’t hold back on the rough, the raw, the painful. Again, not everything has to have a happy ending.

Most of all, I want good stories told well. I want a strong, confident voice, a firm grasp of conflict and motivation, and the patience to weave the language into something gorgeous and still accessible.

Amy Garvey is the Editor of Drollerie Press‘s Penflourish line, as well as a published author in her own right.

Drollerie Press accepts erotica with a mythic theme in any genre, setting or style. It can be based on any of the legends, myths, or fairytales, or be original but mythic in tone, just as we accept for any other genre. It does not require a HEA, only explicit sexual content that is integral to the plot. To submit a story for publication under the Penflourish imprint, e-mail your submission to amy@drolleriepress.com.

I’ll post the list of upcoming Drollerie Press releases later today.

01
Oct
07

6 Questions with Eve Kenin aka Eve Silver

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.

Hmm…maybe an eleven, LOL! Right now I’m writing for three publishers under two different names, and I still teach human anatomy part-time. Talk about a juggling act.

As Eve Kenin I write for Dorchester’s new SHOMI line. My first book for them, DRIVEN, was a September 2007 release, with the second book, HIDDEN, slotted for July 2008.

I write historical gothics for Kensington as Eve Silver. My third gothic, DARK PRINCE, hit shelves in August 2007, and the fourth one, HIS WICKED SINS, will be out in August 2008. Add to the mix a gothic novella due for release in September 2008, and I’m definitely nose-to-the-grindstone right now.

And I’m very excited about my first dark, sexy contemporary paranormal written as Eve Silver, DEMON’S KISS (Grand Central Publishing). It’s out this month, and I’ve completed the second book in the series, DEMON’S HUNGER, but don’t have a confirmed release date yet.

So things are a little hectic, but I’m just hanging on to my keyboard and loving this crazy ride!

2. Did you start writing as an escape from gory human innards? *g*

I love teaching human anatomy. And I love writing. The trick is finding a balance. I don’t see human innards as gory; I see them as a fascinating construct, an assemblage of great brilliance and beauty. I love knowing the names of the bones, each bump and groove on each bone, each muscle and artery and nerve. And for those who have read my debut books, DARK DESIRES and HIS DARK KISS, my love of the science of anatomy and the history of medicine is apparent. *wink*

Actually, I started writing when I was nine; I wrote a story of an unwanted teddy bear that found a new and loving home. I started writing romance because I had always loved to read romance, and a set of events combined to create opportunity. My husband (who always thought I should write) found a small ad in our local paper for a writing workshop and he encouraged me to go. My sister-in-law talked me into buying a second-hand laptop. The workshop leader clued me in to the existence of RWA. At my local chapter I met the two women who would become my critique partners. And at that point, the secret yearning to write that had always burned in my heart became so strong that I couldn’t ignore it any more.

3. Why did you choose Eve Kenin to be the name for your Shomi title, Driven?

I knew I definitely wanted to stick with my first name, Eve. I was worried that if I chose something else, I would be at a conference or a booksigning some day, and people would be addressing me by a name not my own and I’d stare at them blankly. Not a good thing.

With the first name decided, I looked at surnames. I wanted something short, something punchy, something that sounded action-adventurish. I thought about using my husband’s name (Henning), but it was too long, so I shortened it and gave it a harder sound with the “k” and decided to run with it. Ta-da! The birth of “Kenin”.

4. Is the demarcation line between your Eve Silver books and Driven merely defined in terms of genre? Or is it themes and voice as well?

My SHOMI editor actually once commented that if she didn’t know for certain that I had written all those books, she wouldn’t have thought they were by the same author. They are all very different reads.

The voice and themes for my historical gothics (DARK PRINCE, HIS DARK KISS, DARK DESIRES) are spooky, eerie, suspenseful, a little melodramatic and overwrought. They have to be. That’s what gothics are all about.

For my contemporary paranormals (DEMON’S KISS) the writing leans to dark and very sexy with a hint of mystery and suspense.

In contrast, DRIVEN is edgy, kick-butt, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, action-adventure with a dash of quirky humor.

Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll find the common thread. Each book I write is, at its heart, a romance.

5. Did you have any specific inspiration for Driven?

DRIVEN bears absolutely no resemblance to this series, but Joss Whedon’s amazing FIREFLY was a huge inspiration. Something about his fascinating space-cowboy creation triggered thoughts of DRIVEN’s frozen wasteland. Also, as I was writing DRIVEN, I was getting into Anime and Manga (HELLSING, TRIGUN, FULL METAL PANIC), and I was seeing the value of a little shot of humor in even the darkest story. These elements combined to inspire parts of DRIVEN.

6. Do you think that lines like Shomi will attract newer, younger readers to romance?

I started reading romance when I was in my teens, and over the years, romance novels have offered me comfort when I’ve hit some rocky patches. I love the idea of a younger reader discovering these books and falling into a new and fascinating world. But I think the SHOMI books cross age and gender boundaries. I hope the line, and my books, attract new readers. Younger. Older. Those who have never tried romance but now might be willing to give it a try. I think the Manga-style covers of the SHOMI books might draw the eyes of the younger reader who is familiar with Anime and Manga. Perhaps a reader who likes comic books or graphic novels, and wonders what the SHOMI covers are all about.

Eve Silver‘s current release is Demon’s Kiss, to be followed by His Wicked Sins (August ’08) and Demon’s Hunger (TBA).

Writing as Eve Kenin, her current release is Driven, to be followed by Hidden (July ’08).

Eve is giving a copy of Demon’s Kiss to a lucky winner. If you’ve read both Driven and a Silver title, do you think what Eve’s editor said is true? 

04
Sep
07

When Jaci interviews Cheyenne

Not only did Jaci dare to come back to my blog, she even brought a friend!

1. Favorite ice cream?

Cake batter flavor with fresh brownies at Cold Stone Creamery. Mmmmmm.

2. What’s your favorite meal to cook? And if you don’t cook, what’s your favorite take out food?

I so do not cook. If I do it’s spaghetti or something along the lines of pasta and also lots of Hamburger Helper. I do make a mean home made cheese sauce macaroni!

3. Movies or Music?

Both. I listen to soundtracks when I write, and occasionally watch movies when I actually relax!

4. Beach or mountains?

Mountains. Beach is nice, but I’m not a water or sun person. I love the forest and the mysteries there. You know, all the Fae and stuff. *g*

5. Coke, Pepsi, 7 up, Dr Pepper or other?

Diet Pepsi Lime!

6. Flying or Driving?

Neither. :-) I’d have to say driving.

7. Do you and your honey have pet names for each other? And if so, care to share?

LOL. You wouldn’t believe that they were terms of endearment if I told you what they are. But when we were dating and first married, I don’t know how we started it, but it was “Bug.” :-)

8. How long does it take you to write a book in your Magic series?

To write it before I send it to my editor, and not counting any revisions she might have me do—it takes me 6 to 8 weeks to write a book.

9. How do you come up with the names for your heroes and heroines? Do you do them yourself or do you get help?

Sometimes I just make things up. But most of the time I use name books or online name finders with meaning. I used mostly Celtic, Gaelic, and Irish names for the “Magic” book series.

10. Do you take vacations? If so, what’s your favorite vacation spot?

We like to go to resorts and hang out. The kids love to swim, etc.

11. Out of all your books, what’s your favorite cover so far?

WICKED MAGIC!

12. Tell us about Wicked Magic. When does it release, who are the main characters and what’s the story about?

It came out August 28!

Rhiannon Castle is a D’Anu witch whose Coven sisters know nothing of the Shadows that lurk within her. Rhiannon is afraid to reveal the truth to anyone. Keir’s Tuatha D’Danann brethren are the only real family he has ever known. He trusts no one—until he is sent to San Francisco and meets Rhiannon, the one woman with fire enough to tame him. They face a new threat that rises from the depths of Underworld. When a demon goddess unleashes her evil upon our world, Rhiannon’s secret could be the ultimate weapon in this epic battle—or forge a pathway to destruction for the only man she’s ever loved.

13. What’s the best way for readers to find you?

My website

MySpace

Email: chey (at) cheyennemccray (dot) com (substitutions where appropriate and no spaces)

Chey’s giving away a SIGNED copy of Forbidden Magic! Comment to win! Do you think Chey’s going to kill Jaci and hide her body for dragging her here? Does Jaci need a bodyguard? (I think we can get her to pay in ARCs *g*) 

04
Sep
07

When Cheyenne Interviews Jaci

If Muhammad will not go to the mountain, the mountain will come to Mohammed. The Terrible Twosome of Jaci Burton and Cheyenne McCray have decided to release me from my misery at being unable to stalk them all over the internets, and have come to the blog instead.

1. Favorite ice cream?

Cookie Dough

2. What’s your favorite meal to cook? And if you don’t cook, what’s your favorite take out food?

I love making spaghetti, because I make home made sauce and I think it’s fantastic.

3. Movies or Music?

Movies. I love watching movies.

4. Beach or mountains?

Beach. It’s too cold at the mountains.

5. Coke, Pepsi, 7 up, Dr Pepper or other?

Diet Dr. Pepper.

6. Flying or Driving?

I used to love flying. Now I can’t stand it. Long lines and for some reason flying makes me queasy. Driving is just fine with me, even if it does take longer. At least you’re in charge of when you stop and what you can pack and when you can eat.

7. Do you and your honey have pet names for each other? And if so, care to share?

Yes we do, and no I’m not sharing. Heh.

8. How long does it take you to write a book in your Demon Hunter series?

Because the plot and subplot for these books are so complex, it takes anywhere from 4 to 6 months to write these books and really sift through them for continuity to make sure they shine before I turn them in.

9. How do you come up with the names for your heroes and heroines? Do you do them yourself or do you get help?

Sometimes the names just pop right into my head. Sometimes I have to go to my friends for help, or use one of those baby name generators. Affixing a name to a character isn’t really all that easy. It just has to ‘fit’ the character, ya know?

10. Do you take vacations? If so, what’s your favorite vacation spot?

I love vacations, and I don’t get to take all that many. My husband and I often travel only for business, either his or mine. But I love anywhere that has an ocean and a beach. *sigh*

11. Out of all your books, what’s your favorite cover so far?

I have to say Out of the Darkness, because my husband and I are on that cover (and he’d be mad at me if I said otherwise. ;-) )

12. Tell us about Hunting the Demon. When does it release, who are the main characters and what’s the story about?

It released August 28th! Hunting the Demon is the second book in my Demon Hunter series with Bantam Dell. This one is Shay and Nic’s story, and it’s set in Australia. Nic is Derek’s brother (Derek was the hero in the first book) and the demon hunters are out to grab Nic and determine whether the demon blood within him is going to make him side with the evil Sons of Darkness or whether they can convince him to join the Realm of Light and fight against the demons. Shay is one of the demon hunters with secrets of her own, and those secrets reveal much about Nic, but she hesitates telling anyone what she knows because it reveals a lot about who she is.

Lots of secrets in this book, and it was tons of fun to write!

13. What’s the best way for readers to find you?

My Website

My Blog

Email: jaci (at) jaciburton (dot) com (no spaces, and substitutions where appropriate)

Jaci’s giving away either a signed copy of Wild, Wicked and Wanton or Surviving Demon Island, winner’s choice! I think she’d know all about surviving, demons and all, because, you know, she’s survived moi. ;)

01
Sep
07

6 Questions with Sydney Croft

1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity–where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylums insane–and tell us why.

Steph: I think I’m at the point where the insanity is so bad it actually feels normal and calm. Oh look, men in white coats…

Larissa: I’m far, far beyond the men in white coats. I’m already making myself comfortable in the padded room.

2. Is it a plus, a minus or both that the two of you have very different methods of writing?

Steph: I really had fun bringing Larissa over to the dark side of non-plotting and writing out of order. And let’s not forget, she was the one who corrupted me…I wrote sweet stories before her. *glances at Larissa wonders if anyone’s going to buy that*

Larissa: No one is going to buy that. No one. If anything, SHE corrupted ME. Really, I think that our very different writing methods are a plus. Her non-plotting drove me batty at first, but once I started looking at it from a real-life standpoint, as in, when two strangers meet, they don’t plot out their lives…I realized that by playing a little more loosely with the plot, our characters were reacting like real people…mine had no idea what hers were going to do, and vice versa. It keeps a sense of excitement going for us when we write. Of course, I’m sure my seriously picky tendency to go over EVERYTHING with a fine-toothed comb a dozen times makes Steph insane. She humors me well, though.

Steph: I thoroughly appreciate her attention to detail. Really. And I thoroughly appreciate her not strangling me for not having that same attention to detail.

3. You were critique partners before you started writing together. I’m making the assumption that both of you had other critique partners when you started writing together, so why each other?

Larissa: She’s the only one that would put up with me. No doubt the opposite is also true…

Steph: No one else could put up with either of us. Trust me. But Larissa and I have the same…I don’t know what to call it – it’s not sense of humor, although we do share that. We’re opposite in a lot of our likes / dislikes in reading and TV…but somehow we like to write the same things together. It makes no sense, I know.

4. Do you think there’ll be readers who’ll be uncomfortable or even be put off by the m/m scene in Riding The Storm?

Larissa: Maybe, but why close the bedroom door on that scene when we leave it so wide open for the other scenes? There was never any question that Dev is a very sexual person, and he’s equal-opportunity when it comes to pleasure. And the ACRO world is full of extremes, but it’s also a place where the inhabitants are encouraged to be who they are and to be comfortable with what they are. Just for fun, I asked a conservative male friend of mine to read Riding The Storm, and I didn’t tell him about the one brief m/m scene. Later, he said that while he wasn’t thrilled to read it, he felt like he had to because the other sex scenes in the book contained valuable information and were important to the plot. So he “suffered through it.” And he’s still looking forward to the next book.

Steph: The thing about any of the sex scenes in Syd is that, even thought they’re plentiful, they aren’t gratuitous. When we were creating Dev, I just knew instinctively that he was in love with another man even though he is bisexual. It wasn’t a big deal – so I really hope that readers see the scene as Dev trying to deal with his feelings for Oz. What Larissa’s friend said about not being able to skip that scene, even though he wanted to, because of all the information he’d found in the sex scenes was the hugest compliment. And I think that love is love, and I can’t apologize for trying to show that.

5. Are collaborations the next hot thing? There’s Jennifer Crusie and her various collaborators, and I’ve been seeing a growing number of unpubbeds doing collaborations as well.

Steph: I honestly have no idea – I’m pretty much head in the sand with this stuff. Of course, I knew about Crusie/Mayer, but that’s about the extent of it.

Larissa: I’m with Steph—I have no idea. I hear so many people say they have tried and failed—and I’ve tried and failed with other people myself. I also hear people say that they could never do it because they can’t give up control. But the thing is, with the right partner, it isn’t about control. It’s about putting together the best book you can and using each of your individual strengths to enhance the collaboration.

6. What insanity drove both of you to conspire with Alison Kent, Jo Leigh and HelenKay Dimon to start 70 Days of Sweat? The same insanity that drove a pantzer and a plotter to write together? (No, Steph, I’ve not forgiven you for threatening to sign me up if I didn’t do it on my own)

Steph: I couldn’t help it, May – misery loves company and all. I was reminded of the SEAL motto: Don’t bother running, you’ll just die tired…well, insert write instead of die.

Larissa: Steph pretty much covered that one. Every once in a while she knows what she’s talking about…

Sydney Croft‘s debut release, Riding The Storm, is just out, to be followed by Unleashing The Storm (March ’08), Seduced By The Storm (August ’08) and Shadow Play in the Hot Nights Dark Desires anthology (August ’08).

Stephanie Tyler will have a Blaze, Beyond His Control, out in March ’08, and a novella, Night Vision, in the Hot Nights Dark Desires anthology (August ’08).

Larissa Ione releases Snowbound with Samhain Publishing later this month (September 25th) and the first book in her Demonica series, Pleasure Unbound, releases next year (July ’08).





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