7 Questions with Vicki Pettersson

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.

It’s at about a four, possibly a five if I let myself think about the release too much. Family life and time to write continue to be a priority for me, though I’m finding the peripheral stuff has a life of its own, too – interviews, photos, contests, launching and maintaining a site. Phew! Yet I’ve waited so long for this that I have to keep reminding myself to relax and enjoy it.

2. You’ve said that urban fantasy chose you, that you didn’t choose it. Did you know about its existence before your agent told you what genre The Scent of Shadows belongs too?

I didn’t know of UF as a subgenre before Miriam told me what it was. And when I told my writing friends, they were as surprised as I was. I’d been pretty secretive about SCENT as I was writing it, having learned years before that writing by committee wasn’t my thing, so as far as most of them knew I was still working on historical fiction. We were all a bit flabbergasted.

3. After she told you, did you go on an urban fantasy reading binge? Share with us some of your favorites.

Charles deLint was the first UF author I consciously sought out. A writing friend told me that if I was indeed writing UF then I needed to read him, and thank goodness for that advice because deLint is wonderful! Interestingly enough, I’d already found Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong. I’ve been a fan of Harrison’s from the time Dead Witch Walking came out, and I distinctly remember thinking, “Yes! This is what I write!” My search for more of that led me to Armstrong and both remain on my auto-buy list. But I’m consciously keeping my reading list wide. I don’t pick up a book just because it’s UF; I pick it up because it’s good, regardless of genre.

4. Tell us about being a showgirl, and will a showgirl show up in any of your books anytime soon?

No! I did that job for so long that I don’t want to think about the details of the nightly grind, much less write about them. Frankly, the most interesting aspects of that job had nothing to do with being on stage. That never changed, so my job was to keep my performance fresh for those who’d never seen the show…even if I’d already performed over 4,500 of them. But the backstage life, the laughter and friendships, the wild conversations and parties, that’s what I remember more than anything, and it’s why I remained in that job for so long (over a decade). After a day spent at my computer – alone but for the voices in my head – those distractions were just what was needed to be able to do it all over again the next day.

5. Can you name a few books that you think shows Vegas as it really is?

Michael Connelly’s VOID MOON was great; well researched and well written, as usual. In UF, Rachel Caine also did a nice job. CHILL FACTOR was written from a visitor’s perspective, which was clever. My perspective happens to be that of a native and an insider, so I’m extremely critical of someone trying to come in and tell it from that point of view. (I.e. they’d better get it right.)

6. Would you say that this is urban fantasy’s year? I can count more than a dozen debuts in this genre alone that I’ve been hearing about since last year, including yours. 🙂

To be honest, I really don’t know. I don’t think about trends or what’s hot, and I still don’t write to genre. Instead I focus on what got me an agent, an editor, a contract. It’s all about storytelling. That said, I certainly hope it is a good year for UF. The more great stuff that shows up on the shelves the better it is for all of us. I think the sign of a strong genre isn’t merely the number of titles on the shelves, but the number of good titles on the shelves. So the more, the merrier.

7. Where did you take those gorgeous author photos? And why? You look very the urban fantasy author in those.

I took my author photos in the Neon Boneyard next to the Silver Slipper. I was, of course, aware that my black trench coat fit the idea of a UF author well, but to be honest I was only wearing it to hide the fact that I was six months pregnant. My wardrobe was limited at the time, to say the least. {wry g}

Vicki Pettersson MySpaces and has a LiveJournal. The Scent of Night releases today, and The Taste of Night follows next month.

She will be dropping by again later this month, so Wait for it!

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