Interrogate the Author: Starring Karen Chance

In this issue of “Interrogate the Author” I have yet another urban fantasy diva to present you and namely Karen Chance. Thank you Karen for your cooperation in this interview, otherwise we reviewers would be left with very little to do with our spare time. Now let’s proceed to the best part aka the questions, where Karen leaves everyone in suspense with short, but very promising answers about her writing career.

1. Hello again Karen. Let’s cut straight to the chase and start with the writing questions. So how and when did it occur to you to start writing?

My first book was published in 2006 and written the year before that. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but for years I was a full-time student and also worked a full-time job, leaving me little time for it. Then I graduated and went to teach history in a university in Hong Kong for a couple of years, and discovered that there weren’t many recreational activities in the immediate area (I was in Tuen Mun, which is sort of the back 40 as far as HK is concerned). So I used my free time to begin writing for pleasure and things just evolved from there.

2. What did you originally write? Was it urban fantasy or something else?

I’ve always done fantasy thrillers with a little romance and a little mystery thrown into the mix. They end up shelved in a variety of different genres, including even horror occasionally. But I think they fit the fantasy genre best.

3. How did the idea for the Cassandra palmer series come to you? The usual answer is a dream like with Jeaniene Frost and Stephanie Meyer. Did the awesomeness visit you during your sleep as well?

No, I can honestly say I have never dreamt up a storyline in my life. I suppose the idea grew out of my background in history and my desire for a different kind of character. No one in urban fantasy was doing much with seers, and I thought it might make for a fun dynamic. And the time travel aspects open up a huge range of potential plots.

4. As far as my Greek mythology knowledge goes Cassandra is one of the most talented seer back in her time. As the myth goes she was cursed by the gods to make the greatest premonitions and yet no one to believe her. Is there some parallel between this Cassandra and your Cassandra?

Quite a bit, in fact. Cassie came by her position in a roundabout sort of way, and as the series begins, few in the supernatural community are willing to accept her or pay much attention to anything she has to say. Also, the original Cassandra wasn’t cursed by the gods so much as cursed by a god, the lover she’d spurned. He’d given her her ability and expected to control her, although that didn’t turn out quite like he’d planned. Something similar happens to Cassie, who also tends to be rather independent minded.

5. “Claimed by Shadow” in my opinion competes for most dynamic novel. Can you describe the process of vacuuming so much action in just 371 pages? Was it layouts, clipboards or something else?

I don’t write out elaborate plans for my stories. I normally have four or five main plot points that I know need to be in each book, and the challenge is to present them in the most interesting way possible. But that tends to evolve naturally. I have more fun with it that way, and I think it makes for a stronger end result. The few times I have tried to force myself to write to an outline have not gone well.

6. Mythology seems to play a vital part in the series. How much of it featured is actual researched myth and how much is fiction? In particular the Pythia, Graeae and the runes.

All of the points you mention are my interpretation of older myths. The Pythia’s position in ancient Greece was that of the most respected seer in the county, but she wasn’t a time traveler, obviously! I embroidered on the myth to create an unusual heroine. The Graeae, likewise, were the guardians of Medusa as stated in Claimed by Shadow, and their names and some basic physical features are as the legends describe them. But, of course, I gave them their distinct personalities and their quirks. The runes are actual Scandinavian runes and the story I included on their origin is also as legend describes. However, there are no such things as battle runes outside fiction, so that was my twist on the old tradition.

7. How did you decide to involve famous characters from fiction such as Dracula, Casanova and real people like Rasputin and Bram Stoker? Were there any copyright issues? I have always been curious.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is in the public domain, so copyright no longer applies (books lose their claim to copyright 75 years after the death of the author). Anyone can legally write a Dracula story, and many have done so. However, even were that not the case, I highly doubt that anyone would bring a case against Claimed by Shadow! It bears little resemblance to anything Stoker wrote.

As far as using real historical characters is concerned, especially those hundreds of years dead, it’s open season. Anyone can incorporate them in books with no legal issues arising. Few people do so because they don’t want the research headaches that come with the decision. But I have a Ph.D. in history; research for me comes under the heading of ‘fun.’

8. Well I am happy that at least one person enjoys digging up info. I usually get sidetracked by colorful art sites. Apart from Merlin, who I feel might make an appearance during Cassandra’s time shifts, do you plan to enter any more celebrities?

That’s pretty much a given. Cassie will meet many more people, both vampires and not, who may be familiar to some readers.

9. I think that we shall be having some “Guess the Historical Celebrity” moment. I am up for that. So now let’s wind time forward. How many books does the Cassandra Palmer series have until the end? And what are your future plans after that?

I originally envisioned nine books–three trilogies each centered around a different theme. The first trilogy is now complete, concerning Cassie becoming Pythia. The second one begins with Curse the Dawn, out in April 2009. How many books there will end up being, however, I can’t say. That depends on how many it takes to tell the complete story.

As far as my future plans, I’ve begun a second series, which together with the Cassie books should keep me busy for quite some time!

10. Speaking of your new series, what is “Midnight’s Daughter”, the first novel, about? As far as I can see it is set in the same world as Cassandra Palmer series. What are the prospects for this idea?

I think the best answer to that is the back cover copy:

Dorina Basarab is a dhampir—half-human, half-vampire. Subject to uncontrollable rages, most dhampirs live very short, very violent lives. So far, Dory has managed to maintain her sanity by unleashing her anger on those demons and vampires who deserve killing.

Now Dory’s vampire father has come back into her life. Her uncle Dracula (yes, the Dracula) infamous even among vampires for his cruelty and murderous ways, has escaped his prison. And her father wants Dory to work with the gorgeous master vampire Louis-Cesare to put him back there.

Vampires and dhampirs are mortal enemies, and Dory prefers to work alone. But Dracula is the only thing on earth that truly scares her, and when Dory has to go up against him, she’ll take all the help she can get…

11. From what I gathered so far during the first two installments in the Cassandra Palmer series, there is this strange geometrical love figure between Cassandra and Tomas, Mircea and even Pritkin for a moment. Do you plan to elevate this to a 3D figure like a cube?

No. Cassie may have more than one man in her life, at least for a while, but it won’t be quite that complex!

12. So now let’s get a tad serious. Do you think that with the number of paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels increasing every year, the market will saturate fast? I ask this because there are already several categories of clichés established.

Are there? You know, I don’t have time to read much in my genre anymore, which is a shame. I have a rather large TBR pile, but with two books out a year, I haven’t had time to make much of a dent in it. As far as saturation is concerned, I think that fantasy is a strong genre and will continue to be so. Writers who don’t do their research or take time with their novels probably won’t last, of course, but that’s true in any genre. But good, well-written, fun books will always be popular.

13. Very well said. Class is difficultly destroyed. And to further the topic of clichés, what do you think are the most wide spread clichés in those genres and what are your pet peeves, when reading such novels? And on the opposite side, what is your favorite scenario?

As far as clichés go, the only one I can think of that really bugs me is picking up a book that is advertised as a fantasy only to discover that it is something else entirely. This happens most often with romance books that have a few fantasy trappings scattered around (because that’s what is selling right now), but which are clearly not fantasies. Of course, that may be more of a problem with marketing departments misrepresenting a book than with the writers.

14. If the market does saturate and you find yourself with a literary niche, do you have a backup genre you want to write in?

Historical mysteries would be fun. I like Lyndsey Davis’ Falco books and the Cadfael mysteries, so doing something along those lines would be fun.

15. Here comes the last question in the bunch. What kind of writing advice can you give to aspiring writers apart from writing and reading constantly, which is the most commonly used advice?

Well, it helps to get out and see and do as much as possible. At least, it does for me. The more I travel and experience, the better I tend to write. You just have so much additional material to draw on.

But, of course, persistence pays, too. People tend to think that you are born with the ability to write or you aren’t. There are prodigies out there, certainly, and also people who are never going to make writers no matter how much time they spend on it (rather like me trying to play music—I just don’t have the talent). But I suspect that many people fall somewhere in the middle. They have ability, but it needs to be fostered and trained. But a lot of them won’t stay with it long enough to gain any polish. It’s a shame, because there are probably a lot of good stories out there that aren’t getting told.

As the traditional finishing touch of “Interrogate the Author” I have included Karen’s site: Take a Chance or as I like to call it: Spooky Castle. There a very inviting demon will welcome you with open arms to Dante’s.

Interrogate the Author: Starring Rachel Vincent as the Interviewee

After much torture and moaning and psychological damage I inflicted on poor Rachel Vincent, unintentionally of course, I got the dream interview with my urban fantasy icon. Here is what she dropped in. I promise that next time I will squeeze her out even more, just wait until her newest project arrives. *Evil Grin*

1. Hello Rachel and thank you so much for fitting this interview in your schedule. I’m really thrilled about this interview as you have been the reason to start blogging in the first place and getting to love UF and somewhat get a glimpse in the writer community. I did some background check up and it seems that you have had a very dynamic childhood. How did you find living in so many different parts of the US and why did your family move so much?

Um, I liked most of our moves. They were each a chance to try something new. A new house or apartment, a new school, new potential friends. But of course, I missed the old one. As for why we moved, I’m not sure. We settled in one town the year I was ten, so most of the moves were before that. My parents got divorced, remarried, found new jobs, needed a change. Lots of reasons, I guess. 😉

2. So as we all know, writers usually get this bang on the head by an invisible epiphany and suddenly from ordinary human beings we all get the strange notion to start creative writing. When did your epiphany bang you and how did that happen? I mean it could have been either a novel or an actual hit in the heat. Details are usually wanted here.

I didn’t really have that epiphany. I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first short story when I was five, and wrote all the way through school. I took about a five-year hiatus from writing after college, while I tried out the “real” world, but after that, I dug into it with renewed enthusiasm, and haven’t looked back since.

3. Reading your short bio I came across a sentence, which mentions your college years and I had to wonder. What did you study?

I have a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a concentration on literature. Even most of my electives were extra lit classes. Though I also took an interest in Philosophy, Women’s Studies, and French.

4. That same paragraph mentions you dabbled with short fiction at that time as well and since I do dabble with that one as well I am curious to know what you exactly wrote about. Did Urban Fantasy always ruled your artistic heart from the first story you have ever written or have you been influenced by a popular at the time genre? Stephen King is in question here, since you seem to be his fan.

Um, actually, none of my pre-published writing is in urban fantasy. They were contemporary short fiction pieces, mostly about people who were whatever age I was at the time. One that sticks out from high school was a story I wrote about a bunch of strangers on a bus. The bus had an accident and rolled down an embankment, leaving the survivors to get to know each other—including the requisite Deep Dark Secrets—while they wait to be discovered. Of course, since I can’t seem to write anything without blood and death, only one passenger survived in the end, after seeing all her new friends die off one at a time, waiting in vain for rescue. 😉

5. You also mention that “Stray” started out as a short story and then became a novel. Was the transition hard and why did Faythe made such an impression that you decided to tell her story more fully?

No, the transition wasn’t really hard. It just sort of happened. Faythe’s tale began as a short-story tie-in to the two previous (unpublished) novels I’d written. I was hoping to break into publishing in the short-story market. But her tale didn’t end after a few thousand words, and eventually I realized I had the beginnings of another novel. So I kept writing. I ended up making a clean break between her world and that of the original two novels, and I knew I had something good. Or at least something with real potential… 😉

6. Speaking of Faythe (I seriously can’t stop snickering, cause I love her) isn’t she too powerful and assure of herself for her own good? I mean her stubbornness left quite an imprint in my mind and even though I knew she was acting immature her motives were steel solid. Good job about that one. So will we see a Faythe that is a bit more wise and patient?

Do I think she’s too powerful and sure of herself? No, not really. Physically, she’s not as strong as her fellow enforcers, and there’s nothing she can do about that. And she’s less and less sure of herself with each mistake she makes. But because of that, she’s growing and maturing with each novel, and I’m having fun watching her transition. I hope everyone else enjoys it too. 😉

7. Now let’s go on to the world at hand. I personally am not a great fan of that kind of shapeshifters, since werewolves over flooded the media. Count me as a massive scale guy like woman growing to be a dragon or so, but I fell in love with yours. Why did you choose feline shape shifters and why did you made them solely black panthers? I would have liked to see lions and tigers, but the author knows best and I wanna know the logic.

I chose cats because I’m a cat person. I like puppies as much as the next person, but I tend to lose interest in dogs when they grow up. But I love cats. They’re graceful, and strong, and stubborn, and they definitely know their own minds. Just like Faythe.

As for why they’re all black, I don’t know. They just kind of came out like that, and I ended up tying their physical description into lots of actual sightings of black cats, everywhere from the southern US to Europe. This gave me a chance to try and explain those sightings, by making up my own species. Whereas I would have had a hard time explaining lion and tiger sightings in Texas. They’re not even native to this continent.

But if you’re looking for other cat species, like tigers and lions, I think there are several other writers out there who write those kinds of books… 😉

8. Another reason to ask that question why big feline shapeshifters is because I know for a fact from your blog that you are scared to death from big cats. Normally I would be scared too, if the distance between one and myself were less than a meter and I had no chainsaw. Isn’t this a bit of an oxymoron?

Oh, maybe. 😉 It’s also a way to face my fears. I’m also terrified by tornadoes, but I live in Oklahoma, which sees more tornadoes every year than any other state in the US. What can I say? I’m a woman of many contrasts. 😉

9. Now to continue with the big cats I would like to ask how the hell researched them so well that you would know how your characters move, how they react in their cat forms and well have such a well developed society. You must have watched days’ worth of Discovery Channel movies.

I did! I watched Animal Planet, and the National Geographic channel. I read articles on feline anatomy, behavior, and instinct. I studied the cats at my local zoo, and scoured the internet for clips of the various sounds they make. I also studied the cats in person, at an animal rescue organization in Tulsa.

And, of course, I watch my own house cats. Some of my Shifters’ features and abilities come from house cats, rather than big cats. Like their vertical pupils, and ability to purr. 😉

10. So far in your world we only see these shapeshifters and many UF novels I read feature some sort of other beings. Jeaniene Frost adds some ghouls to spice things up, Karen Chance does the same with ghosts, while Vicki Pettersson adds the mysterious Tulpa. Do you plan to introduce something paranormal-y into the good mix?

Not in this series, no. In my Shifters series we’ll see only humans, werecats, bruins, and thunderbirds. There were werewolves once, but they went extinct.

However, I have a new (young adult) series coming out next fall, and in that, we’ll see a whole host of beings, most of which I made up from a combination of “creature” characteristics I wanted to use. The main character of that series is a banshee, and I can’t wait to introduce the world to my take on her species… 😉

11. Okay, it’s a new round in our interview called “Play Psychic” and it will discuss your future. Now let’s start with something you do know about. ”Rogue” hits the bookstores in just about a week and what can the readers that love Faythe expect?

Well, since I’m answering these questions late, some people will already have read Rogue. But in case they haven’t, readers can expect to see a more mature Faythe dealing with the consequences of past mistakes, while hunting for a rogue in their territory.

As for Pride, the third installment in my Shifters series, we’ll be seeing the outcome and fallout from her trial, and we’ll also be introduced to a couple of new characters, at least one of whom will have a permanent effect on her life and her outlook.

12. I somehow missed the exact details about the length of your series. If I had to rely on my rusty memory it’s around five or six, but you can say with total accuracy. For how many books will we enjoy Faythe kicking ass?

Faythe will have six books, all of which are already under contract with Mira books. The first two (Stray and Rogue) are available now. Pride will be out February 1st, 2009, to be followed by Prey on July 1st, 2009. I’ll be writing book five early next year.

13. When her story eventually ends as with all good things happen, have you prepared something that will blow our minds? So any future plans?

Well, I have my young adult series coming out next fall, and it will run concurrently with my Shifter books. And I have the first book in a third urban fantasy series ready to go. Whenever I find the time… 😉

14. I know by reading your blog that you have a side project that is titled as “Side Project”. How much aside does it stand from your world and what does it explore?

“Side Project” sold this past spring, so it now has a title! It is a young adult novel called MY SOUL TO TAKE. It does not overlap with my Shifters’ world, and contains no animal shapeshifters. It has lighter violence and sexual content, and is appropriate for readers fourteen and up. Though I think it will also hold appeal for adults. The second in the series is half-written, and is called MY SOUL TO SAVE. I’ll be writing the third one this fall.

15. I’m sure that success lies, where your work appears and in this one it counts in which country Faythe will be saying her punch lines. Has your agent scored you some foreign rights and if you could wink and get a contract for any country what would you choose? Also as an extension of the question would you like to see Faythe on the big screen doing what she does best, surviving barely?

Um, I sold foreign rights to my US publisher, which means that Mira Books will shop those rights for me. I believe that the werecat books will be out in Australia next year, but I don’t have any information beyond that. As for where I’d like to see the books? Europe, definitely. I get a lot of mail from people in Western Europe, asking how they can get a hold of my books, and other than ordering from Amazon, I don’t know what to tell them.

Would I like to see Faythe on the big screen? Of course! But mostly because that would widen the potential audience for the books. 😉

16. Do you outline or write straight from the heart and see what happens later on?

I outline straight from the heart. 😉 Every book I’ve written since Stray I’ve outlined in advance, because my publisher requires me to hand in a synopsis. At first, that was pretty hard, but now I’m really happy to do it. Having the plot outlined in advance allows me to write the rough draft very quickly.

17. Does writing pay the bills or do you have to drag yourself somewhere at 8pm and do what other mortals do aka waste brain cells at a hell hole for green paper?

I feel very fortunate in that writing pays my bills. It is my full time job, and I love it. I hope to still be doing this twenty years from now. 😉

18. Now for a grand finale. How do you feel being interrogated by a foreigner, not yet fully stepped into legal adulthood, who speaks English as a second language?

Actually, I’m really impressed! I didn’t realize you were so young, and I only wish I had such a wonderful command of a foreign language. So, congratulations, and keep working! I have no doubt you’ll get wherever you want to go with that kind of hard work. 😉

And this was Rachel Vincent, cool as always! If you would like to become a fan start with:
1) Rachel Vincent’s Website

2) Rachel Vincent’s Blog

3) “Stray” by Rachel Vincent

4) “Rogue” by Rachel Vincent

Interrogate the Author: Starring Author Justin Gustaninis as the Interviewee

1. Hello, Mr. Gustainis and welcome to yet another marvelous edition of “Interrogate the Author” with me, the charming host, Harry Markov. I wish to thank you yet again for your consent to sit on my fabled virtual chair. Now to warm up for the main event, how has “Black Magic Woman” been faring on the urban fantasy scene?

The book seems to have gained a lot of fans among urban fantasy readers – and reviewers, too, I’m happy to say. Although a few people have taken me to task for “violating” the contemporary urban fantasy conventions of a female protagonist and first-person narration, most have found the change refreshing.

2. It’s a tradition of mine to ask authors, when they felt the first aspirations to grab their feathers, pens or keyboards and start that novel. When did the writer’s muse hit you up on the head with the epiphany that you could be writing for a living?

I’m happy to talk about the start of my writing, but I don’t write for a living. My understanding is that most people who write (and publish) novels don’t make enough from them to support a family. A few get rich, a slightly larger number make a decent living. Most (like me) have day jobs (I’m a college professor), and others have a spouse with a day job. The cost of health insurance along probably necessitates such an arrangement.

I started writing in the mid-1990s. At first, my main goal was to take my mind off some serious personal problems I was going through. I found that, once I “got into” my writing, hours would pass when I wouldn’t think about anybody’s troubles but my characters.’

But, the writing-as-therapy grew into a novel, and five years later, it was a published novel. Four years after that, I had a second one published. But it looks like the pace is going to pick up, since I now have a contract with Solaris Books for a series of “Quincey Morris” novels.

3. You’d better. I can’t wait for the next one. As I read your biography I have to wonder about that interesting period, when you served in the army as lieutenant. Did you enjoy those years and during that time have you ever thought of a career in the US army? And a third question by nosy me, have you ever thought of writing a military themed novel with all the quirks?

The answer to the first two questions is “no,” or rather “Hell, no.” The reason for both is the same: the military sent me to a place where little people in black pajamas kept trying to kill me. They almost succeeded.

And I don’t think the military, now that I’m out of it, interests me enough to write a novel about it. In fact, those days are something I try to forget, with varying degrees of success.

4. Of course I also wonder how jobs like speechwriter and bodyguard can influence your view of the world and thus influence your writer. Have any of your experiences of those two jobs started a story that wishes to be told or maybe show a different angle of the world available only through those eyes? And as the cherry, who did you get to guard? Perhaps the president?

We are all products of our experience, and those of us who write cannot help but have our writing influenced by what has occurred in the past. But as for specific story ideas: no. I can’t say that either of those jobs has directly given me an idea for a story, but some of the things I learned (and did) have found their way into my writing.

And I’m glad to say that the President, at any given time, has people guarding him who are far braver and more capable then I: the U.S. Secret Service.

5. Now let’s move on the writing questions. How exactly did you come up with the idea of “Black Magic Woman” and the Quincy Morris Supernatural Investigation series?

It’s hard to say. I think the idea for the plot (a vendetta between witches, “white” and “black” that goes back to the Salem trials) came to me first. Later, I thought of Quincey as a character. I’ve always thought that Quincey Morris was a slighted character in the original novel “Dracula”. But Stoker killed him off, so there wasn’t a lot I could do. But I could give him descendants – and I did.

6. So why not vampires? I love your concept and the novel, but it seems the urban fantasy genre is rules by either vampires or shape-shifters. What made you stray from the trend?

There are a number of vampires who meet their fate in chapter one, you will recall. And, since BLACK MAGIC WOMAN has witches, demons, zombies and a werewolf, I don’t think most readers feel slighted.

Anyway, I think we’ll see vampires again before Quincey and Libby are done.

7. Of course, you can never ever stake enough vampires. Quincy and Libby are peculiar characters with great depth and interesting enough personalities, also deferring from what we generally see in the genre. Was it hard to invent them as they are in the book and did you use actual people you know to model them?

Quincey Morris is an amalgam of three men I know, one of whom is a Texan. Or to put it another way, Quincey is the man I would like to be – give or take the vampires and werewolves.

Libby Chastain is based, loosely, on a remarkable woman I know. She saved my life, once. More than that, I cannot say.

8. No more asked about that one. In the novel the readers can see what an interesting concept of the demons you have. If I recall one was a mutant Teletubby. My question is how the heck that happened and will this quite innovative idea be developed in the following books?

The Teletubbys are evil, Harry. Surely, you already knew that?

9. Yup, I know that. Never go near them without a chainsaw. Did you find it hard to devise the magical system, which is Libby’s tool? It’s not exactly Wicca, but it has its own origins in culture for all I gather. Who helped you or did you rely on google?

Oh, I consulted a couple of witches of my acquaintance. They explained the origin of their magic, and demonstrated to me its power. I’m just glad they’re on our side, if you know what I mean.

10. True. A friend of mine is a witch as well and does she know her stuff. Speaking of witches, I thoroughly enjoyed Christine Abernathy and her witch for hire Cecilia, but I am curious what it took to set them apart as individuals through their spells?

Cecelia’s power is grounded in African “muti” magic, which I did research on the internet. Nasty stuff, that. Christine is more in the European sell-your-soul-to-Satan-in-return-for-magical-powers school.

11. Christine is kicking it old school. Another aspect of why I find your book so great is how you write two parallel stories only to spin around each other until they meld into one. Did you need the special white board with the sticky notes to pull that one off? And if not what is your secret?

I confess, after a while I had to make diagrams of who was where and doing what at any given point, and where they had to go and what they had to do in order to make the story work out the way I wanted. I also used poster board and thumb-tacked index cards. Sticky notes are SO last week. J

12. Innovative now, aren’t we? Now what can we expect in the new Quincy Morris book “Evil Ways”? The cover and titles seem promising enough for a major adrenaline rush.

Actually, Libby and Quincey don’t have a lot to do in this one. Just save the world. No pressure, or anything.

I also introduce a new character: Hannah Widmark, known in some circles as “Widowmaker.” She’s an occult bounty hunter. For a fee, she’ll track down and destroy any supernatural creature you designate – although she’d probably do it for free. Hannah’s got issues.

13. Oh, now I am giddy!! That release date can’t be further away. Another tidbit I find interesting enough to ask is: How do you write? With outlines or do you prefer the spontaneous sessions?

The first two books, THE HADES PROJECT and BLACK MAGIC WOMAN, started with an idea and a character. However, my publisher wanted to see an outline for EVIL WAYS before issuing a contract, so I gave them one. When it came time to write the book, I found it rather confining – so in places, I just ignored it. J

14. Hah, I feel the same way, when it comes to plotting and outlining. I use a hybrid between outlines and spur of the moment. How do you manage to balance writing with your day job as a professor of Communications at Plattsburgh State University and how people perceive you knowing you write urban fantasy?

Oh, it’s not hard at all – as long as I don’t mind not having a life. I go to campus, I teach (and brilliantly, if I may say so myself…), then I go home and I write. From time to time, I eat and sleep. Neither of those last two occasions is as frequent as I would like. Oh, and I think I had sex, once. Or was that something I wrote…?

15. Social life is overrated anyways, duh. Do you ever dream of seeing your novel on the big or silver screen and if you would choose a land and language, you would like to see your work shown, which would it be?

Of course I do – who wouldn’t? I’d even settle for cable TV, and I may even get the chance. There have been some nibbles from the pay-cable network SHOWTIME, but only nibbles so far. If they bite, I’ll be sure and let you know.

16. Now for a grand finale. How did you feel, knowing that you were interviewed by a teen, who speaks English as a second language?

What!? Go, on, you’re kidding me, right?

And that was Justin Gustainis, another victim on my virtual chair for your entertainment. Hope you enjoyed it and if you did there are some things you could do:

A) Go buy “Black Magic Woman” – now, I know you want to.
B) Go visit Justin Gustainis website – for additional info

C) Go read my review of “Black Magic Woman” – I need more visitors, hah!

[INTERVIEW] The Saturday Seven with Author Tate Hallaway

Today we have an interview with Tate Hallway, author of the Garnet Lacey series of books. Welcome Tate!

UFL: For those that may not be familiar with your books, could you tell us a bit about The Garnet Lacey series and about yourself?

Well, I’m an, ehm, pleasingly-plump forty-something Scorpio witch living in the capitol city of Saint Paul, Minnesota, with five cats and five fish and my soon-to-be-five year old son.

The Garnet Lacey series started with Tall, Dark & Dead (Berkley Trade, 2006) and it follows the exploits of a reed-thin, thirty-something Aquarius witch living in the capitol city of Madison, Wisconsin, with a cat allergic to magic and a vampire boyfriend.

Dead Sexy (2007) continues Garnet’s adventures adding a dash of ex-boyfriend, sexy FBI agents, and frat boy zombies. The third book is available now, Romancing the Dead (2008), and there might werewolves and ghouls, oh my!

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Spotlight on Jeaniene Frost – Saturday Seven Interview & a Contest!


Meet Jeaniene Frost! Jeaniene answers some questions in a Saturday Seven interview about her Night Huntress Series, on writing, vampires and more. We’re also having a contest!

UFL: For those that aren’t familiar with your books (because they are languishing in Outer Mongolia or under a rock) could you tell us a little bit about the Night Huntress series?

My series is about half-vampire Cat Crawfield, a vampire slayer with an attitude who teams up with a Master vampire named Bones to stop a bigger evil. Cat has to navigate a world filled with ghouls, vampires, ghosts, meddling mothers, murderous fathers, and a government organization that won’t take no for an answer. The series is dark, humorous, and sexy, depending on what situation Cat’s gotten herself into.

UFL: The character of Bones in one word equals: yummy! How did he come to life? Is he an amalgam of different influences or was he a fully formed character from the get go?

Bones came to me in a dream. I knew he was English, a vampire, and a hitman (but one who only kills the evil members of human and undead society). The rest developed from asking myself how he had gotten to be those things :).

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