UFL – How does writing as a partnership with your husband Gordon affect the
Ilona – As I sit here staring at the championship fight of Midnight Games, I really, really miss his input. Unfortunately, he’s at work. So I think he affects me in a very positive way, as I am not doing so hot without him.
UFL – Have you ever written a scene based in any part on a real life situation or person?
Ilona – Yes. Most writers draw inspiration from those around the, and I’m no different. For instance, I very loosely based the character of Dali in the third book on one of my lj buddies.
UFL – Can you tell us what inspired you to write about Kate Daniels and the version of Atlanta you have created?
Ilona – Gordon and I talked about it and it seems we drew inspiration from 80s cartoons. He-man and Thundar the Barbarian 🙂
UFL – Do you have any strange writing habits?
Ilona – Strange? Probably not. But I have a dangerous one.
I have now carved a place for myself on the smaller couch right next to Gordon’s computer desk. I prefer to have a hot beverage next to me – coffee, hot tea, green tea, herbal tea – which I set on the corner of his desk on my left. When I write, I tend to sink into it. I have an ability – curse or blessing, not sure at this point – to completely concentrate on something, to the point of actually not hearing what people say to me. Apparently I pick up my mug, drink from it, and then attempt to return it to the desk. About a third of the time I miss the desk. I don’t drop the drink, because some part of me knows something solid is suppose to be under the mug before I let it go. So I just wave the mug in the empty air, moving it slightly until I get it onto the desk.
If Gordon is home, he will actually grab the mug and maneuver it and my hand onto the desk. But apparently the waving is hilarious to watch.
UFL – What do you read in your spare (haha) time?
Ilona – Oy you’re killing me here. I have a book out and a deadline in the same month. I forgot what free time looks like. I like to play computer games, such as World of Warcraft. I like to play badminton with my kids and enjoy watching Top Chef and Project Runway. I used to crochet but never get to any more. That’s about it. No exotic habits.
UFL – Romance Genre Smackdown – Mantitty vs. No Mantitty? Discuss.
Ilona – That’s a loaded question. Let’s see by Mantitty, I assume you mean Hot Naked Male cover with emphasis on pecks and and a six pack? First I have to acknowledge that Mantitty does sell books. I think it’s hilarious when industry professionals point it out with great surprise. Women find covers that feature buff men attractive? You don’t say! People tend to be drawn to beautiful examples of opposite sex! Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition figured out that out ages ago.
That said, I do think that Mantitty is overused and often suffers from poor taste problems.
First, the overuse. Mantitty to me signifies a book with higher than average sexual context. For example, Spymaster’s Lady has a Mantitty cover. Why? It’s a beautifully executed, intelligent, delicately balanced historical. Yes, there are sexual scenes in it, but the sex isn’t the primary focus of the novel. I don’t understand this cover at all. I loved the book but wouldn’t have picked it up in a million years on the cover alone.
Second, the poor taste. There is a world of difference between a buff cowboy with his shirt off and a well-oiled male stripper in cowboy boots. Most romance books sell emotional satisfaction, which arises out of intimacy between two (or more) individuals. If the cover model, carved biceps or no, looks seedy and used, that doesn’t exactly inspire intimacy. It just makes me go bleeh.
I like Nalini Singh covers. Strictly speaking, they are Mantitty, but they are different and tastefully done. I also liked the cover of Demon Night by Meljean Brook. The guy looks rough, but sexy.
UFL – Can you tell us what other projects you have in the works?
Ilona – After I’m done with Kate 3, I would like to finish a lighter UF tentatively termed Walmart Story. Gordon and I are also under contract for a novella set in Kate’s world. It will feature hellhounds and will appear in an anthology published by Ace. Other authors in the anthology are Charlaine Harris, Nalini Singh and Meljean Brook.
Thank you so much for stopping by! Magic Burns will be released Tuesday, April 1, 2008.
Ilona’s website: http://www.ilonaland.com/