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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Interview with Douglas Hulick and Giveaway - April 19, 2011

Please welcome Douglas Hulick to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge Interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Douglas:  I don't know if it's a quirk, but I can worry a sentence or paragraph to within an inch of its life if I'm not careful. Write once sentence, fiddle with it for five minutes, move on to the second sentence, then go back to the first again. It doesn't make for a high word rate some days, let me tell you.

I suppose the one thing that might qualify as a "quirk" is the music I listen to when I write. I don't always listen, mind you -- usually, I prefer silence -- but if I'm in a coffee shop or waiting room or the like and there's noise? Then I put on either surf music or a playlist of songs from the "Cowboy BeBop" soundtracks (a great anime SF show from the '90s). The music is only instrumentals, though; I can't write to music with lyrics.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Douglas:  Favorite? Well, in the genre, it has to be Roger Zelazny, Barry Hughart, Sean Stewart, Joe Abercrombie and Gene Wolfe. Outside the genre, you're looking at Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, David Liss and Arturo Perez-Reverte.

As for influences...in written form, you definitely have Zelazny and Chandler and Hammett from above, as well as George Alec Effinger. I'm looking at Liss more and more to see how he fits his historical research so seamlessly into his novels, and I have to say I think Bernard Cornwell is a master when it comes to pacing an adventure story. They've all taught me something, and I've consciously studied how they structure their stories, tell their narratives, or fill their characters with life.

Outside the writer's circle it gets harder. There's so much media I've seen over the years--from old black & white gangster movies to Quentin Tarantino's work to Richard Lester & George MacDonald Fraser's 1970's Three and Four Musketeer films (which are the best ones ever made) to TV shows like "La Femme Nikita" and "Burn Notice"--where does it all stop? How can you say where one influence ends and the other begins when you get to these more transitory, or at least immediate, forms of story? I can't say one of those held a stronger sway over me than another, especially when you consider how long it took me to develop Drothe and his world; a lot of it was osmosis, picking up an idea here, and inspiration there, and turning or twisting it to fit (or not fit, in some cases) the piece I was working on. But I can't pretend these things didn't impact me as well, even if I can't point to a specific film or show or scene and say, "That one"; the acknowledgement needs to be made.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Douglas:  A little of both, but more of a panster. I always try to know where the book is going, but that of course doesn't mean the story won't change between page one and "The End." If nothing else, I make sure I know what is coming for at least the next three chapters, so that I can set up the flow from one chapter to another and make sure I don't get too much of the same thing piling up one after the other.

I'm much more of a character writer, and so I tend to let them have their heads when things get rolling. Sometimes this works exceptionally well; other times? Eh, let's just say I have a lot of "scrap" files on my computer with wonderful bits of dialog or action or what have you that will never see the light of day. However, this also makes for a lot longer writing practice, and I'm hoping to work with at least a bit more on structure as time goes on.

I tend to refer to revisions as "pulling out the machete." While I'm pretty free-wheeling on the first draft, I'm ruthless when it comes to shaping and fixing things in the second. That's where the story really comes together and the layering begins.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Among Thieves?

Douglas:  I've wanted to be a writer since I was twelve. And I knew I wanted to write fantasy. But after that? Hmmm....

I don't think there was any one thing, really. Oh, there were bits and pieces: I distinctly remember having a very cinematic picture of two people standing over a third in the rain in a stable yard. This is where I met Drothe and Degan and Jelem (Jelem was the dead one), but quickly realized that wasn't the story they wanted to be in; but that's how I found the characters. Likewise, I can point to the first time I found a copy of a "Dictionary of the Underworld" by Eric Partridge. It's a dictionary of historical thieves' cant (criminal jargon) I bought on remainder in a bookstore in college. I didn't know it at the time, but it helped me better cement the culture and practices of the underworld of Ildrecca over the years, not to mention some of the characters. Then there's the P.I.-style character I used to write on a computer bulletin board in college, which helped give me Drothe's voice....

No, I can't really point to one thing: it was a process, driven by me simply wanting to write. Everything else was just added on over the years.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Among Thieves?

Douglas:  As I mentioned above, I stumbled across the concept of actual historical thieves' cant early on. That led to both learning more about historical criminal cultures, as well as some of their practices. There are pamphlets from the Elizabethan age that tell not only about the people who performed various crimes, but also how some of the crimes were carried out. This was invaluable for me not only in being able to see how criminals of the time operated, but also into getting an idea of how they were organized as well. And that was just the beginning. It's surprising how much is out there on this kind of thing now--it seems to be a growing field of academic study, which is just great for me.

I also have a B.A. and M.A. in medieval history, which helped quite a bit, if for no other reason than it gave me a lot to draw on. History is so chock-full of fascinating (and surprising) bits and pieces, it's hard not find inspiration there. A bit of a twist, a bit of a tweak, and voila!, you have a clever bit of something for your world.

Thirdly, I've been practicing and teaching historical rapier combat for over seven years now. This came in rather handy when writing the combat scenes (although it also got in the way at times: it's easy for me to get too detailed in describing a fight, which is why it's handy to have readers who don't handle swords to tell me when I've gone over the top in terms of detail or terminology).

TQ:  Describe Among Thieves in 140 characters or less.

Douglas:  Drothe, informant for a medieval mob, finds something he's not supposed to and gets in over his head. Danger, intrigue, and betrayal ensue!

(Hah, with one character to spare, even!)

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the book?

Douglas:  There's one scene where, after I wrote it, I simply sat back and smiled. It's not the most important or definitive or character-altering scene in the book, but the way it read just made me happy. I never changed it. And when I got my first copies of the book, I opened one and random and came to that scene again--and it still made me smile.

It's a scene where Drothe, the narrator, isn't quite all there (he's been wounded, and is sitting in the rain, bleeding), but is the one to notice an impending danger approaching and tries to do something about it. The way the images and sensation combined with his narrative voice just seemed to click. Like I said, I still smile at how it turned out.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Tales of the Kin series?

Douglas:  That's hard to say. I didn't conceive of this series as being a "trilogy" or "quartet" or anything like that. Each book is meant to stand on its own in terms of its main plot, with there being a sense of completion at the conclusion of each novel. I want the reader to be able to finish the story and not feel like they are balancing on the edge of a cliff, waiting for the next book to come out.

That said, there's also an over-arching storyline I'm trying to address in each book as well. That's more of a big-picture kind of thing, though, and something that can be dealt with in a number of ways in each novel: as a sub-plot, or part of the background, and so on. So while each book will have a definite "End", there will be aspects of the world and the occasional thread that won't always be resolved as neatly, since it is meant to be picked up again later.

But, getting back to your original question: I'm currently contracted for three books. If sales do well and my publisher wants more, I'll do some more; if not, then I'll be working overtime to finish up that bigger story arc by the end of book three. Either way, I don't want to leave readers hanging when everything is said and done.

TQ:  What's next?

Douglas:  Hard to say. Like I said, the Tales of the Kin is meant to be able to go for more books than contracted, but that doesn't mean it will. If it does, then that's what I'm going to be doing for at least a few more years; if not, well, I have a stand-alone urban fantasy that's 85% done. It's a lot of fun, and I'd love to get back to it and sell it. After that, I'm toying around with a fantasy in a French Revolution-era style setting. That's a period not as many people seem to play with in fantasy, and I think it has a lot of potential. However, I don't have anything more than one character and a very loose motivational arc for him, so that would need a lot more research and fleshing out before I was even ready to propose it to my editor. I've kicked around with a couple of steampunk ideas, too, and have a couple of protagonists in mind, but it's all tentative. Then there's the library at war with itself...

Yeah, no shortage of ideas.

Other than that? I'd like to get my life back into a regular rhythm. I've never been a fast writer, and doing a book a year is a new challenge for me ("Among Thieves" took over ten years). I'm getting a better handle on it, though, so I'm hoping that by the time I'm into Book 3, I'll have enough of a routine going that I can start fitting a few things back into my life that I've had to set aside for the last year or so while I learned how to be a professional writer.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Douglas:  Thanks so much for having me, and for featuring "Among Thieves" this April. I really appreciate it, and I hope the readers who took up the challenge to read the book enjoyed it.


About Douglas' Book

Among Thieves has 2 covers - US and UK.

Among Thieves
A Tale of the Kin 1
(April 5. 2011 - US)
Interview with Douglas Hulick and Giveaway - April 19, 2011Drothe has been a member of the Kin for years, rubbing elbows with thieves and murderers in the employ of a crime lord while smuggling relics on the side. But when an ancient book falls into his hands, Drothe finds himself in possession of a relic capable of bringing down emperors-a relic everyone in the underworld would kill to obtain.








 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Among Thieves
A Tale of the Kin 1
(April 1, 2011 - UK)
Interview with Douglas Hulick and Giveaway - April 19, 2011
An exciting new fantasy debut in the underground world of thieves...
 
Drothe is a Nose, an informant who finds and takes care of trouble inside the criminal organization he’s a part of. He also smuggles imperial relics on the side.
 
When his boss sends him to Ten Ways to track down who’s been leaning on his organization’s people, Drothe discovers hints of a much bigger mystery. Someone is trying to stir up trouble between lower-level criminal organizations, including the one Drothe belongs to. And there’s a book rumored to contain imperial glimmer (or magic) that a lot of very dangerous people seem to be looking for - including two crime bosses known as the Gray Princes.
 
When Drothe discovers the book, he finds himself holding a bit of swag that can bring down emperors, shatter the criminal underworld, and unlock forbidden magic…that's if he can survive long enough to use it.


About Douglas

Interview with Douglas Hulick and Giveaway - April 19, 2011
Photograph by Ben Zvan Photography
Douglas Hulick was born in Fargo, ND, but spent much of his life moving about the Midwest. Somehow, he kept ending up in the vicinity of Chicago, IL, which helps explain his abiding love of deep-dish pizza, Ferris Bueller, and Goose Island beer.

Growing up, there were always books in the house, and Douglas was encouraged to read both through example, as well as by the general policy of the house, which was that the answer was never “No” when it came to getting more books. Toys, games, and so on could be “no”, but not books. You see where this is going, yes?

Given this background, it was only logical that Douglas entered the University of Illinois with a dual major in computer science and mathematical theory–logical, that is, when you consider he changed majors within a year. After a few early academic hiccups (he got kicked out of school), as well as four different majors (psychology, business, liberal arts, and pre-law), Douglas settled into the study of history, with a minor in english. A Bachelor of Arts degree was eventually achieved, followed by a Master’s in medieval history at New Mexico State University. A PhD at an Ivy League university was considered, then happily discarded, after as year of study.

Needless to say, with his broad and varied academic background, it was only a matter of time before Douglas followed the storied path of so many Liberal Arts majors and took whatever the hell job he could find. Stints as a waiter, bartender, bookstore manager, pizza delivery driver, brewery worker, freelance RPG writer, and technical/business writer followed, until Douglas finally settled into the one career he seemed destined for: stay-at-home dad.

Somewhere along the way, a copy of “A Dictionary of the Underworld” by Eric Partridge fell into Douglas’s hands. Having sold a few fantasy short stories, Douglas thought a book that defined historical thieves cant (criminal jargon) and described some of the practices of that world might come in handy at some point. Little did he know.

Among Thieves, his first novel, grew out of this unlikely seed over the course of a decade. It was acquired by Roc/Penguin U.S.A. on Douglas’s 45th birthday in 2009.

Douglas lives with his wife and two sons in Minnesota. When not writing or chasing after his kids, he likes to practice and teach 17th century Italian rapier combat (in the tradition of Ridolfo Capoferro), cook, read, and hang out in coffee shops.

Douglas' Links

Website:  http://www.douglashulick.com/
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/douglas.hulick
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/DougHulick

The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a copy of the US Mass Market Paperback of Among Thieves.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Which cover do you like better - US or UK?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, April 26, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Andrew Shaffer and Giveaway - April 13, 2011

Please welcome Andrew Shaffer to The Qwillery.

TQ:  Describe Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love in 140 characters or less.

Andrew:  A humorous look at the less-than-spectacular love lives of 37 of history's most revered thinkers.

TQ:  What is your most interesting writing quirk?

Andrew:  My most interesting quirk was that, for years, I didn't write with my true voice. In college, I attempted to write deadly serious literary fiction. It was dry and boring. My writing didn't really take off until I dropped the pretension and started adding humor to it.

TQ:  Out of all the philosophers in Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love, who is your favorite? Why?

Andrew:  My all-time favorite philosopher is Friedrich Nietzsche, simply because he's imminently quotable. Syphilis drove him insane, but the insanity made his writing that much more entertaining – albeit incoherent and rambling at times. Probably the same reasons that people are fascinated with Charlie Sheen right now. (I'm not saying Charlie Sheen has syphilis, but I'm not ruling it out either.)

TQ:  What inspired you to research and write Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love?

Andrew:  As a kid in junior high, I was a nerd. I was near the top of my class in terms of test scores, grades, etc., but at the very bottom in terms of interaction with the opposite sex. Same with all of my friends. Philosophers are sort of the ultimate nerds, and the thesis that big brains and broken hearts go hand-in-hand is something I had fun exploring while researching the book.

TQ:  What songs would you put on a playlist for Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love?

Andrew:  A lot of Cure and Joy Division. Although I think I was listening to Slipknot on repeat while writing the book.

TQ:  What's next?

Andrew:  I will be contributing to a couple of "pop culture and philosophy" books over the next year – "Yoga: Philosophy for Everyone" and "Hunger Games and Philosophy." I'm also writing a second book for Harper Perennial, although I don't think the subject has been announced yet.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.


About the Book

Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love
HarperPerennial, 1/4/2011

Interview with Andrew Shaffer and Giveaway - April 13, 2011
Few people have failed at love as spectacularly as the great philosophers. Although we admire their wisdom, history is littered with the romantic failures of the most sensible men and women of every age, including:

Friedrich Nietzsche: "Ah, women. They make the highs higher and the lows more frequent." (Rejected by everyone he proposed to, even when he kept asking and asking.)

Jean-Paul Sartre: "There are of course ugly women, but I prefer those who are pretty." (Adopted his mistress as his daughter.)

Louis Althusser: "The trouble is there are bodies and, worse still, sexual organs." (Accidentally strangled his wife to death.)

And dozens of other great thinkers whose words we revere—but whose romantic decisions we should avoid at all costs.


About Andrew

Interview with Andrew Shaffer and Giveaway - April 13, 2011
Andrew Shaffer is the creative director of Order of St. Nick, the greeting card company whose irreverent cards have been featured on The Colbert Report and NPR. He is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and reviews Harlequin romance novels for RT Book Reviews magazine. He lives in Iowa with his wife.

Andrew's Links:
 
Twitter: @andrewtshaffer
Website: Order of St. Nick
Twitter: @gr8philosophers
Website: Great Philosphers Who Failed at Love



The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a copy of Great Philosopher's Who Failed At Love.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question: 

Do you have a favorite philosopher?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Maureen McGowan and Giveaway - April 8, 2011

Please welcome Maureen McGowan to The Qwillery.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Maureen:  I don’t know whether or not it’s interesting, but even after I’m happy with my work on the screen, I need to do several rounds of pen and paper editing. I don’t know if it’s because my brain sees things differently when they’re printed out, but I always do edits that way. It’s not terribly efficient, but it’s what works for me. My on paper editing is almost always done in coffee shops. One local barista asked me if their shop was going to get royalties. J

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Maureen:  I love all kinds of novels across most genres of fiction. There are too many to list, but Robertson Davies, John Irving, Anne Rice, Anne Tyler, Emily Giffen, and J. R. Ward are examples of authors whose entire backlist I gobbled up as soon as I read one. I’m not sure if I’ve been directly influenced by any particular authors, but Suzanne Collins definitely inspired me to not be afraid to put young characters in danger. Certainly in traditional fairy tales the characters face life or death situations.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Maureen:  I’m a mix of the two. I do believe I can create a story with more coherence if I go in with an overall plan—at least the broad strokes of a plan—but the most exciting elements in my stories often happen while I’m at the keyboard. These moments of inspiration often lead me in unexpected directions, and when I inevitably hit a wall, I go back and plan again. Plot, pants, (rinse), repeat in what sometimes seems like an infinite loop.

I have written detailed synopses for entire books before starting them—Cinderella: Ninja Warrior being one—but then I never seem to stick to the plan. This was particularly challenging for the Twisted Tales books because of the complicated structure.

Speaking of the structure, some early readers of these books have said they wished there were multiple endings and/or “wrong” paths to follow, like there were in some other choose-your-own-adventure stories. With hindsight, I almost wish I’d done that too, because it would have been much less complicated/challenging than writing alternate paths to the same place. But I think fairy tales promise fairly specific happy endings—true love, good triumphing over evil, winning against the odds—and I wanted to deliver on those inherent fairy tale promises.

Also, I like the idea that my characters are smart and brave enough to get themselves out of any bad situation they might face, no matter which decision the reader chooses for them. I don’t think there’s ever one right answer in life, so why should there be for my characters?

TQ:  What inspired you to write Cinderella: Ninja Warrior and Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer?

Maureen:  For Cinderella: Ninja Warrior, I liked the idea of “fixing” some of the elements of the traditional story that bothered me. The original Cinderella character was too much of a victim for my taste, waiting around for a handsome prince to save her. I wanted to create a strong heroine who was doing all she could to save herself. I also never liked the idea that the prince needed a shoe to recognize her the day after supposedly falling in love, or that he fell in love with her because of her beauty (which he couldn’t even recognize when she wasn’t in a fancy dress!). What kind of message does that send to modern young readers about love?

There were two basic idea seeds for Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer. One came from linking the darkness inherent in the Sleeping Beauty story with vampires. That idea was like being hit by lightning. The other came from the, I think creepy, idea of a girl whom others watch while she’s sleeping—the idea of being so exposed and vulnerable and helpless. But again, I wanted an active heroine—hard to make a girl who’s asleep an active heroine—so the idea of a double curse, and isolating my Sleeping Beauty from her family whenever she was awake, was the result.

TQ:  Do you consider the books mash ups or something else?

Maureen:  I hadn’t thought of them as mash ups until others started saying that, mostly based on the titles, I assume. I consider these books more as re-tellings, or re-imaginings, or even re-boots, than mash ups. I think a lot of the recent books considered mash-ups actually use the original source material, lifting lines and scenes and dialogue as well as story elements. I don’t think that’s what I did, although I did follow the traditional fairy tale structure more closely with Cinderella.

I suppose one could argue that I’ve mashed up genres, combining fairy tales with paranormals, but I don’t think the stories themselves are mash ups. At least not based on my definition. I prefer re-boot or re-imagining.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for the books?

Maureen:  I read some of the old (and I mean centuries old) versions of the fairy tales, mostly to better understand which story elements were “original” and which were added by modern adapters of the stories, like Disney. I also did some research on martial arts for Cinderella, but for the most part, all of the details in both of these stories came more from my imagination than from research. I’m a former gymnast and I if that counts as research, it probably did help me write some of the more acrobatic scenes.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in either book?

Maureen:  That’s a great question! It’s hard to choose, but I particularly enjoyed writing the magic competition scenes in Cinderella: Ninja Warrior, as well as her altercations with her stepmother. I do enjoy writing action and putting my characters in danger. I also love the action scenes in Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer, but in that story I also love the scenes where she first meets Alex and Tristan, and the scenes with her parents.

Thinking back to your plotting vs. pantsing question, I had no idea when I did my initial plotting for Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer that it would be a story about a child coping with divorcing parents, but that became a major theme as soon as I started thinking about how parents might react if they knew their daughter carried a curse.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Twisted Tales series?

Maureen:  I have lots of ideas up my sleeve, and a couple plotted out, but right now there are no firm plans for more. I hope that I’ll be able to announce something soon.

TQ:  What's next?

Maureen:  I’ve been working on another series for young adults, which is much darker and skewed to a slightly older audience—less appropriate for the youngest readers of Twisted Tales—but I can’t talk specifics right now. Stay tuned!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery

Maureen:  Thank you so much for having me!

 
About Maureen's Books
 
Cinderella: Ninja Warrior
Twisted Tales
(April 1, 2011)
Interview with Maureen McGowan and Giveaway - April 8, 2011
In this fast-paced story full of adventure and romance, Cinderella is more than just a servant girl waiting for her prince—she's a tough, fearless girl who is capable of taking charge of a dangerous situation. Seeking to escape the clutches of her evil stepmother, Cinderella perfects her ninja skills and magic talents in secret, waiting for the day when she can break free and live happily ever after. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Cinderella and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!




 
 
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer
Twisted Tales
(April 1, 2011)
Interview with Maureen McGowan and Giveaway - April 8, 2011
In this thrilling story full of adventure and romance, Sleeping Beauty is more than just a lonely princess waiting for her prince—she's a brave, tenacious girl who never backs down from a challenge. With vampire-slaying talents that she practices in secret, Sleeping Beauty puts her courage to the test in the dark of night, fighting evil as she searches for a way to break the spell that has cut her off from her family. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Sleeping Beauty and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!

Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is an entirely new type of fairy tale–one that will keep today's kids guessing and offer them hours of magical fun.


About Maureen

Interview with Maureen McGowan and Giveaway - April 8, 2011
Maureen has always been making up stories--her mother called it lying, her teachers creative talent--but sidetracked by a persistent practical side, it took her a few years to see the light and channel her energy into writing novels. After pummeling her sensible side into submission, she quit her career in finance and hasn't looked back.

Aside from books and writing, she's passionate about art, dance, films, fine handcrafted objects and shoes. Maureen (and her shoes) go to a lot of movies in Toronto, Canada.




Maureen's Links:

Website: http://www.maureenmcgowan.com/
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/MaureenMcGowanBooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/MaureenMcGowan
Personal blog: http://www.maureenmcgowan.blogspot.com/
Reader blog: http://www.getlostinastory.blogspot.com/
Writer blog: http://www.drunkwritertalk.blogspot.com/


The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win her/his choice of Cinderella: Ninja Warrior or Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What is your favorite fairy tale?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Friday, April 15, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Jim N. Duncan and Giveaway - April 6, 2011

Please welcome J.N. Duncan to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge Interviews.

TQ:  Describe Deadworld in 140 characters or less.

J.N.:  Struggling FBI agent gets caught up in centuries-old conflict between two vampires.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

J.N.:  I'm a big plotter. I'll work out my story for several weeks before I actually start writing, and if things go according to plan, I'll have a chapter by chapter breakdown of the whole thing before word one gets on the page. Conversely, I do little, other than broad stroke characterization before I start, working that out as the story goes on the page. The drawback to that is I end up editing a lot of dialogue in my stories.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

J.N.:  The bulk of my reading has come from fantasy and thrillers. A couple of my favorite authors/books is G.R.R.M.'s Ice and Fire Saga and King's Dark Tower series. The best writer I've read in the past year or so though, is Tana French. Wonderful, wonderful mystery writer.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

J.N.:  Given my above quirk, I'm totally a plotter. That said, often my plotting for a chapter will be something like, "investigates crime scene and sees ghost." This obviously leaves a fair bit to the imagination, so in some ways, I pants my way through, but I always know the general direction things are heading. I'll also "plot" my characterization out to some degree, designating points in the story where significant emotional develop points or conflicts arise. This is far more up in the air compared to the physical action of the story, but I still have clear goals in mind for the development of my characters. I am not the sort who can sit down at a starting point and then "see what happens." My brain doesn't function well that way.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Deadworld?

J.N.Deadworld was my "break" from writing a fantasy novel, which I had just finished after three years (and which I still plan on doing something with in the future). I went from third person epic, to first person thriller. Basically I wanted to do something different, and being a fan of the paranormal and big thriller reader, I wanted to write a paranormal thriller (which honestly, is what a lot of urban fantasy is, in my opinion). To that end, I am fond of vampire stories. I think they make cool villains, and so I went at it with the thought, "How can I take the vampire story in a little different direction?" What I ended up with, based on other favorite characters I've loved to read, is something along the lines of (and please don't take this as a literal blend because it's not) Eve Dallas meets Roland the Gunslinger. But it all started with the vampire character and his backstory, and where it might end up in present day.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Deadworld?

J.N.:  Honestly, not a whole lot. I looked up and got some general info about the FBI and how it's structured and operates, kinds of crimes they investigate, how they interact with local authorities and such. But I didn't want to get too detailed, because for one, it's so easy to get that stuff wrong, but also the story isn't about the FBI. I just wanted enough to make the elements feel legit. The nice thing about the paranormal end is that there really are no set rules. I'm free to create however I want as long as the rules are consistent. It was, and still is, a lot of fun developing how the living and dead aspects interact in my stories.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the book?

J.N.:  Hmmm, tough one. I love the turning point in the middle of the book, very intense scene, at least it was to write it. Piano scene between Nick and Jackie was fun to write. And I loved the sequence in the funeral home. Hopefully readers find that one as dramatic as I did.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Deadworld series?

J.N.:  I am contracted for three books right now. Beyond that all depends on the readers. I'd love to keep writing it though. The series is heading in a very intriguing direction, I think.

TQ:  What's next?

J.N.:  Next up is The Vengeful Dead. It'll be out in October, and I'm just starting into book three, which I'm tentatively titling The Lingering Dead.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery

J.N.:  It was great being here, and really glad to answer questions and talk about the book and being a writer. This is fun stuff.


About J.N.'s Books

Deadworld
(Deadworld 1)
Interview with Jim N. Duncan and Giveaway - April 6, 2011
She’s as tough as anything haunting Chicago’s streets. But to deal with an inhuman power that won’t stay buried, this FBI agent needs help that comes at an immortal price…

Jackie Rutledge has seen her share of supernatural killers. But her latest murder case is what recurring nightmares are made of. Brutally exsanguinated human victims, vanishing-into-the-ether evidence, and a city on the edge of panic mean that she and her psychic partner, Laurel, are going to need more than just backup …

So Jackie is fine with any help rugged P.I. Nick Anderson can give—even if that includes the impish ghost and sexy vampire who make up his team. But Nick is hiding secrets of his own. And Jackie’s investigation has plunged them both into a vengeful game reaching back centuries—and up against a malevolent force hungry for more than just victory…

Look for The Vengeful Dead in October 2011.
 
 
About J.N.
 
J.N. Duncan is a father of four and an aspiring teacher, living in Ohio. He's got as many pets as kids, and a partner who is published as well (romance author Tracy Madison). He's a big fantasy gamer, sf/f geek, lover of astronomy, and generally scores pretty high on the nerd scale, if one were to measure such things.

J.N.'s Links

Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Website (under construction)

The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Deadworld.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What kind of supernatural help would you like on your investigative team?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)  Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)  Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)  Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, April 13, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Sara Creasy and Giveaway - March 29, 2011

Please welcome Sara Creasy to The Qwillery.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Sara:  I tend to get obsessed with detail. For Song of Scarabaeus I drew a plan of the pirate spaceship, the Hoi Polloi – all four decks. It was important to keep the layout correct while I was writing the book, but I enjoyed doing it in any case. I tend to draw plans and design costumes and create all kinds of details when I start a project. Recently I researched Victorian domestic servant hierarchies and duties for a new book. I love getting into the nitty gritty, even if most of it doesn’t end up in the final book.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Sara:  It’s hard to name specific writers who’ve influenced me because I’m sure anything I’ve read and enjoyed over the years has had an impact. My favorite writers include Josephine Tey, Mary Stewart and Jane Austen; SF writers Elizabeth Moon, Vonda McIntyre and John Wyndham; and non-fiction writers Stephen Jay Gould (an evolutionary biologist) and Bill Bryson.

TQ: Are you a plotter or a panster?

Sara:  Definitely a plotter. I plot way too much, in fact, because a lot changes along the way and the rewriting takes ages. When I do occasionally write without plotting, just to see where it takes me, it’s a lot more fun! I should definitely do it more often.

TQ:  Describe Children of Scarabaeus in 140 characters or less.

Sara:  Edie and her bodyguard Finn uncover a destructive plot to use highly trained children to demolish, rebuild, and colonize alien planets.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create the world of the Scarabaeus series?

Sara:  Because of the biological technology in the book, I had to brush up on my genetics. I extrapolated a plausible scenario whereby alien ecosystems can be changed at the genetic level, over a period of years, to make them compatible with human life. This process uses retroviruses, which are viruses that change the host cell’s DNA.

Some of the description of the jungle they encounter on the planet came from a sewing book, of all things. It was a coffee table book with machine embroidery patterns and photos. The designs were beautiful, alien, very organic. I leafed through those photos and wrote down all the words that came to mind, and used those terms in describing the jungle.

TQ:  Who is your favorite character(s) to write in the Scarabaeus series?

Sara:  Finn, because he’s sexy and rational and protective and capable. A downtrodden man who’s constantly finding ways to exert himself until he finds true freedom. I like that he’s open to trust and to love despite his past. I think he has honorable ideals. He’s definitely someone I’d want on my side.

And Cat Lancer was just plain fun to write. She’s a confident, sassy gal with a mind of her own – you’re never quite sure whose side she’s on. I had to bring her back for the sequel because she adds a spark to any scene.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what it your favorite scene or scenes in Children of Scarabaeus?

Sara:  There are several scenes where Edie and Finn interact with the children on the ship they find themselves on. I especially like the way Finn interacts with the little seven-year-old boy. I have several nieces and nephews and I imagined them in that situation. I thought about what their priorities would be, how they would talk, how they would interpret what was going on.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Scarabaeus series?

Sara:  Just the two. This story could go in all sort of directions, though, so maybe in the future I’ll return to it. I also have ideas for other stories in that same world, with new characters.

TQ:  The Scarabaeus series is Science Fiction Adventure. Would you like to write in any other genres?

Sara:  I have plans to eventually write in several genres. Who knows if that will actually happen. I feel most comfortable writing science fiction, but I’m determined to try my hand at other things. The genre I’m not too interested in is straight contemporary, because I read fiction to escape. I don’t want to read about the problems people like me are having in a world just like mine.

TQ:  What's next?

Sara:  I’m working on three very different books, and I’m not sure which I’ll finish first so I don’t know exactly what’s next. The science fiction book, working title Incursion, is lighter in tone than the Scarabaeus books, with more romance. It also has aliens in it (friendly and otherwise). I didn’t really have much interest before now in writing alien characters, but this story called for it.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery!

Sara:  Thanks so much for having me!


Sara's Books

Song of the Scarabaeus
Scarabaeus 1
(April 27, 2010)
Interview with Sara Creasy and Giveaway - March 29, 2011
Trained since childhood in advanced biocyph seed technology by the all-powerful Crib empire, Edie's mission is to terraform alien worlds while her masters bleed the outlawed Fringe populations dry. When renegade mercenaries kidnap Edie, she's not entirely sure it's a bad thing . . . until they leash her to a bodyguard, Finn—a former freedom fighter-turned-slave, beaten down but never broken. If Edie strays from Finn's side, he dies. If she doesn't cooperate, the pirates will kill them both.

But Edie's abilities far surpass anything her enemies imagine. And now, with Finn as her only ally as the merciless Crib closes in, she'll have to prove it or die on the site of her only failure . . . a world called Scarabaeus.

 
 
Children of Scarabaeus
Scarabaeus 2
(March 29, 2011)
Interview with Sara Creasy and Giveaway - March 29, 2011
The crib is everywhere . . .

Edie Sha'nim believes she and her bodyguard lover, Finn, could find refuge from the tyranny of the Crib empire by fleeing to the Fringe worlds. But Edie's extraordinary cypherteck ability to manipulate the ecology of evolving planets makes her far too valuable for the empire to lose. Recaptured and forced to cooperate—or else she will watch Finn die—Edie is shocked to discover the Crib's new breed of cypherteck: children. She cannot stand by while the oppressors enslave the innocent, nor can she resist the lure of Scarabaeus, the first world she tried to save, when researchers discover what appears to be an evolving intelligence.

But escape—for Edie, for Finn, and for the exploited young—will require the ultimate sacrifice . . . and a shocking act of rebellion.

 
About Sara

Interview with Sara Creasy and Giveaway - March 29, 2011

Sara Creasy grew up in the UK and moved to Australia as a teenager. Her biology degree led to work as a text book editor for 10 years, both in-house and freelance. She was associate editor of Aurealis, Australia’s SF&F magazine, from 2001 to 2004. Her first novel, Song of Scarabaeus, was published in 2010 by Harper Voyager and was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award. Children of Scarabaeus came out in March 2011. Sara lived in Arizona for five years before moving back to Australia in late 201. She now lives in Melbourne with her husband and baby daughter.




The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a copy of Children of Scarabaeus (Scarabaeus 2).
 
How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:  What is your favorite or least favorite insect?  Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, April 5, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Jennifer Lyon & Giveaway - March 23, 2011

Please welcome Jennifer Lyon to The Qwillery.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Jennifer:  When I start a new project, I like to have a brand new sharpened pencil, and I get very cranky when the kids steal my pencils! While I do that bulk of my work on the computer, I like to “think” by free writing on notebook paper, and also I make notes on a yellow pad relating to research, character names, etc.

And I’m a bit of a caffeine addict—I often wonder if I could write a book if I ever gave up coffee J 

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Jennifer:  Some of my early favorite authors were Julie Garwood (loved her historical romances), Jude Deveraux, Judith McNaught, Stephen King and Dean Koontz—which shows how mixed my reading tastes can be! I loved romance and I loved the horror. It’s probably not a big surprise that I write paranormal that combines deep love with some dark and gritty story lines!

These days some of my favorites are Laura Wright (love her Mark of the Vampire Series!) Regan Hastings awesome witch series, Nalini Singh, Larissa Ione…I could go on and on!

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Jennifer:  I started out writing as a panster, but the more I write, the more I learn to plot ahead of time. I have gained a better grasp of the pitfalls that will derail a story. But that said, my books will always follow the characters, no matter what my outline says. I’ve accepted that I will always run into issues that force me to stop and replot. And that’s okay—it’s part of the process, part of finding the right way to tell the characters’ story.

TQ:  Describe Night Magic in 140 characters or less.

Jennifer:  Earth witch Ailish Donovan and Wing Slayer Hunter Phoenix Torq must free Ailish from a demon's treacherous binding to find eternal love.

A longer Description:

Ailish Donovan is a witch whose pure heart and good intentions cannot change the fact that she is bound to a demon. If she doesn't break the binding completely by her 24th birthday, she will die. Ailish has always fought her battles alone, but a dangerous slayer who craves a taste of Ailish's blood may become her most unlikely savior.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create the Wing Slayer Hunters world?

Jennifer:  I have a notebook full of research! I have information on demons, gods, witches, winged creatures like dragons and a phoenix. I’ve researched chakras and various things related to witches like candles, herbs, crystals, lunar cycles and anything that I come across. Oh and for Phoenix, the hero of Night Magic, and I have pages of Chuck Norris jokes—Phoenix loves Chuck Norris jokes!

TQ:  Who is your favorite character(s) to write in the Wing Slayer Hunters series?

Jennifer:  That changes all the time, but Phoenix and Ailish are special to me. They are both damaged, but they rise above their pasts and the dark torments they have suffered to fight for each other. Ailish’s blindness makes her tough and capable, and she brings the hardened and tortured Phoenix to his knees. Their story has stayed with me even though I finished writing their book nearly a year ago.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what it your favorite scene or scenes in Night Magic?

Jennifer:  That’s hard to answer! But one of them is the first time Phoenix meets Ailish. From a distance he can tell that she’s hot and sexy, but once he gets close he sees her damaged eyes and realizes she is blind. The moment shocks him and shifts him in a fundamental way he can’t even grasp yet. I love that scene because where other people mind see scars and pity, Phoenix sees in Ailish true strength and courage.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Wing Slayer Hunters series?

Jennifer:  The two books out this year, NIGHT MAGIC and SINFUL MAGIC make four so far. I know I want to write at least three more books, telling the stories of Ram, who is one of the original five Wing Slayer Hunters, and the two newer hunters, Linc Dillinger and Eli Stone. I love these books and will write them as long as I can.

TQ:  What's next?

Jennifer:  Next is SINFUL MAGIC out May 24th, 2011. That is Kieran DeMicca’s story and I’m excited about that book too. A dragon named Dyfyr has a role in the story, and I absolutely fell in love with Dyfyr.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Jennifer:  Thank you for having me! It’s a pleasure and I always love to talk about books and reading!


Read an excerpt of Night Magic at Jennifer's website by clicking here.


About Jennifer's Books

Blood Magic
Wing Slayer Hunters 1
(February 24, 2009)
Interview with Jennifer Lyon & Giveaway - March 23, 2011
THE HUNTER AND THE HUNTED

In the days when powerful witches used their magic to shield humanity from demons, their allies and guardians were a group of men gifted with preternatural abilities of their own–the witch guardians. But when a band of witches traded their humanity for demonic power, the ancient bond was broken, and the guardians became the hunters.

Darcy MacAlister knows nothing of demons or magic. But this beautiful young woman is about to discover the truth about her past . . . and her future. For she is a witch–not just any witch, but the key to breaking the curse that has plagued witches and the men who hunt them. For if a hunter kills an innocent witch by mistake, the price is no less than a piece of his soul.

Axel Locke, gorgeous leader of the Wing Slayer Hunters, has sworn never to shed the blood of the earth witches who have resisted the temptation of demonic power. But when his sister is cursed by a demon witch, he discovers that Darcy MacAlister may hold the cure–if she can master her newfound powers in time. When the chase begins and Axel and Darcy come face-to-face, this hunter must weigh his soul against his honor–and against his heart.

Soul Magic
Wing Slayer Hunters 2
(October 27, 2009)
Interview with Jennifer Lyon & Giveaway - March 23, 2011KISS OR KILL

When an ancient pact is broken, powerful witches who once used their magic to help humanity become the twisted playthings of demons, and the mortal men who once protected the sorceresses become witch hunters, cursed with the longing to spill the witches’ blood: an irresistible craving that will cost witches their lives and witch hunters their souls.

\The Wing Slayer Hunters fight this curse, guarding innocent witches until the urge to harm them grows too strong–then they must kill their own. Wing Slayer Sutton West has always honored that vow. His own father killed himself rather than go rogue. But now Sutton is tempted as never before by Carla Fisk, a brilliant psychologist and dynamic witch whose twin sister, Keri, was murdered by rogues.

Bound by blood and passion, Carla and Sutton dare not succumb to their deadly attraction. Yet when a mysterious rogue named Styx joins forces with the demon Asmodeus, witch and hunter have no choice but to work together. For Keri’s immortal soul is at stake–and with it, balanced on a knife-edge, is the fate of humanity itself.

Night Magic
Wing Slayer Hunters 3
(March 22, 2011)
Interview with Jennifer Lyon & Giveaway - March 23, 2011
THEIR LOVE IS DESTINED TO RISE AGAIN
 
Ailish Donovan is a witch ready to do battle. Raised unaware of her powers, she is just sixteen when her mother tricks her into binding with the demon Asmodeus. Pure-hearted Ailish escapes with the connection incomplete but pays a heavy price: For the next eight years, she is shunned by her earth sisters and tormented by Asmodeus’s lust. After hardening her body and mind as a champion kickboxer, Ailish returns home to break the bond—or die.
 
The Wing Slayer Hunter Phoenix Torq is sworn to protect earth witches, but he is shaken by Ailish’s fierce independence—and his own forbidden cravings. Dark, impulsive, and haunted by his troubled past, Phoenix likewise arouses Ailish in ways she finds disturbing—and irresistible. Torn between mistrust and desire, each must go to hell and back to seek the magic that could set them both free.

Sinful Magic
Wing Slayer Hunters 4
(May 24, 2011)
Interview with Jennifer Lyon & Giveaway - March 23, 2011
Roxanne “Roxy” Banfield refuses to be like her mother, a fertility witch who uses sex as nothing more than a magical weapon. Roxy rejects that life and is determined to become mortal to pursue her dream of real love and a family. All she has to do is avoid meeting the one man whose sensuality can release her powers. But steering clear of this magnetic stranger is easier said than done.
 
Wing Slayer Hunter Kieran “Key” DeMicca channels the dark violence that lives inside him into a popular comic book series about an ancient dragon named Dyfyr, but only Key knows that Dyfyr is real. Lately he finds himself drawing images of a young woman in peril, and assumes that she’s just a product of his imagination—until he meets Roxy. Struck by her beauty and her resemblance to his sketches, he feels compelled to protect her. As steamy magic, lethal danger, and timeless love collide, Roxy must become what she swore she would never be—and awake a part of Key that will threaten to destroy them both.
 
  
About Jennifer
 
Interview with Jennifer Lyon & Giveaway - March 23, 2011
Jennifer Lyon always wanted to be a witch. When her witch-powers didn't materialize, she turned to creating magic in her books. SOUL MAGIC is the second book in an enchanting, passionate and supernatural series. Jen’s also has a super secret alter ego known as Jennifer Apodaca, the author of the award winning Samantha Shaw Mystery Series. Visit Jen at http://www.jenniferlyonbooks.com/
Jennifer's Links
Website
Facebook
Wing Slayer Hunter Facebook Page
The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a copy of  Night Magic from Jennifer Lyon.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:
What is your favorite bird of prey?
Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)  Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)  Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)  Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, March 30, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Laurie London and Giveaway - March 16, 2011

Please welcome Laurie London to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews.

Laurie:  Thank you for having me on today!

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Laurie:  Because I don’t have an office and get easily distracted by my family, I wear noise-cancelling headphones, turned on, but without any music.

TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Laurie:  Some of my favorite writers are JR Ward, Gena Showalter, Jeaniene Frost, Cherry Adair, Loretta Chase, Charlaine Harris, Kresley Cole, Alexis Morgan and Virginia Kantra. Their heroes are to die for! They’re driven and unapologetic in the pursuit of their goals, but until you understand their point of view, they can come across as hard, selfish, and unbending. Some of my favorite character arcs, how they change from beginning to end, are Lord Dain’s in Lord of Scoundrels and Zsadist’s in Lover Awakened.

The emotion in books by Stephenie Meyer, Loretta Chase, Lara Adrian, and Nalini Singh sweeps me away. Those authors can describe a look, a touch, or a sensation in such detail that you feel as if you’re the character and the book is about you. Reading their work pushes me to do more in mine.

And I get lost in the almost poetic-like prose from writers like Daphne Du Maurier, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Lisa Genova and Tana French. The way they describe a setting and relate it to the character’s emotion is so vivid that those places feel like part of your personal memories.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Laurie:  I used to write by the seat of my pants, but now that I’m writing on deadline and need to submit proposals before the book is written, I’m becoming more of a plotter. Having a road map ahead of time is great because it allows me to work out the kinks before committing myself. Talk about depressing when you realize a scene isn’t working in the overall scheme of things and you have to cut out something you love. Although I don’t plot in great detail—just high-level stuff—it prevents a lot of heartache later.

TQ: What inspired you to write Bonded by Blood?

Laurie:  Like many authors, I tried writing in several other genres (middle grade fiction, contemporary romance, YA) before I found my writer’s voice.

I’ve always loved vampires (film, television, books) and Bonded started simply as a personal indulgence. It was fun to write, I loved the characters, and the words flowed. But I had no illusions it would go anywhere beyond my hard drive because there are a lot of great vampire romances on the shelves. It wasn’t like I saw a niche and needed to fill it.

When my sister (who is published now, too) finaled in RWA’s Golden Heart contest and wanted me to attend the national conference with her, I decided to go only if I finished the story.

During this time, I told an author friend that I was writing a vampire romance but had no expectations for it. She said the industry was always looking for strong voices, no matter the story. Don’t worry about the market now, just focus on what makes my world unique. This gave me a glimmer of hope.

So I finished Bonded before the conference and polished it up afterward. It did well in a few contests, which led to landing an agent, who soon found an editor who loved it.

The moral of the story is this: Listen to your sister and smart friends, trust your instincts, and never underestimate the power of a deadline.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create the world of the Sweetblood series?

Laurie:  I researched an eclectic variety of topics which included guns, motorcycles, knives, the history of furniture, how our sense of smell works, ferry schedules, vampire sightings throughout history, high-rise building layouts, the salons of Paris in the 18th century, Porsche specs, etc.

I’ve spoken with law enforcement officials; lurked in online forums about motorcycles, location scouting and the military; watched countless videos on guns, knives and fighting; and I plan to interview a friend who works for a gaming company.

Some facts I used and others I twisted. For instance, there really isn’t a rooftop terrace at the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle, but it worked well in the story, so I made one. And in case you’re wondering, the nuns who work the ferry docks on an island are real, although the actual islands in both Bonded by Blood and Embraced By Blood are fictional.

TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Bonded by Blood?

Laurie:  One of my favorite scenes is where Dom and Mackenzie are sharing their favorite childhood memories. The stories they told each other defined what they hoped to recapture in the future— happiness, belonging, beauty, honor, family—whether they realized it at the time or not.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Sweetblood series? Will there be any short stories or novellas set in Sweetblood world?

Currently, there will be four books in the Sweetblood world, but I’d love to write more. I’ve also written an e-novella and I’ll have a short story in a holiday anthology.

TQ:  What's next?

Laurie:  Quite a lot, actually. J

1. I’m thrilled that my publisher asked me to write an e-novella set in the Sweetblood world. Hidden By Blood comes out June 1 and is a complete romance between two people you haven’t met before: Finn, a sweetblood, and Brenna, a vampire. However, you’ll recognize a few of the others.

2. The second book in the series, Embraced By Blood, comes out June 21 and is Alfonso and Lily’s story.

3. In November, I’ll have a Sweetblood short story in the anthology Holiday With A Vampire.

4. Book three is Jackson’s story and it comes out early in 2012.

5. I don’t have many details to share about book four yet, just that it’ll be out in 2012.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery

Laurie:  Thanks so much for having me!!!

 
Laurie's Books
 
Bonded By Blood
A Sweetblood Novel 1
(January 18, 2011)
Interview with Laurie London and Giveaway - March 16, 2011 From the Back Cover:
 
Deep within the forests of the Pacific Northwest, two vampire coalitions battle for supremacy—Guardian enforcers who safeguard humanity and Darkbloods, rogues who kill like their ancient ancestors.
 
Movie location scout Mackenzie Foster-Shaw has always known that she’s cursed to die young. No one can protect her from the evil that has stalked her family for generations—vampires who crave her rare blood type. Until one afternoon in a wooded cemetery, she encounters an impossibly sexy stranger, a man she must trust with her life.
 
For Dominic, a man haunted by loss, Mackenzie satisfies a primal hunger that torments him—and the bond they share goes beyond heat, beyond love. She alone can supply the strength he needs to claim his revenge. But in doing so, he could destroy her…

Embraced by Blood
A Sweetblood Novel 2
(June 21, 2011)
Interview with Laurie London and Giveaway - March 16, 2011
Is she a deadly temptation...or the one woman who can quench his eternal thirst?

Alfonso Serrano is a hunted man. For months he’s managed to elude the Darkbloods, vengeful foes who won’t rest until he’s dead. But he still craves one dangerous temptation: Lily DeGraff, the sexy Guardian agent he’ll risk anything to protect.

Lily is a wanted woman. Her talent for tracking Sweet-a rare blood type that’s addictive to vampires-makes her a prime target for enemy capture. Her only hope is the stealthy vampire operative who stole into her bed...then left her in despair. Danger aside-Lily won’t let Alfonso near her heart again-until an irresistible hunger draws them back together...and into an assassin’s snare.

 
About Laurie
 
Interview with Laurie London and Giveaway - March 16, 2011
A graduate of Western Washington University with a BA in Business Administration and a former tester/programmer for a Fortune 500 company, Laurie London writes from her home near Seattle where she lives with her husband and two children.

She is a member of Romance Writers of America®, Greater Seattle Area RWA, RWAOnline, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, FF&P (RWA chapter devoted to all things paranormal), and two book clubs.

When not writing, she can be found running, reading, or riding and showing her horse. Someday she hopes to qualify for the Quarter Horse World Show – that is, if her horse doesn’t get hurt again.

Laurie's Links
Website
Facebook
Twitter

The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a signed copy of Bonded by Blood (Sweetblood 1) directly from Laurie!

How:  Leave a comment answering this question asked by Laurie:

Do any of you have an experience where giving in to an indulgence led to something great?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, March 23, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Tamara Hogan and Giveaway - March 14, 2011

Please welcome Tamara Hogan to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Tamara:  Great question! Hmm, probably how I use music as a tool to get in the writing zone. Rather like how a dog knows it’s time for walkies when a leash is snapped to its collar, clapping on a headset means it’s time to write. In addition to the headset blocking out background noise wherever I happen to be writing, music triggers emotional reactions in me very quickly—don’t put on The Finale of “Wicked” unless you want to see me bawl like a baby! Knowing that, I’ve created some iPod playlists that help me more quickly access the emotional state of the POV character I happen to be writing that day. I’m also influenced by a song’s pace. When the music I’m listening to is fast, I type fast—kinda like how, when you’re rocking out in the car, driving down the highway, you look at the speedometer and notice that, somehow, you’re driving a good 15 miles over the speed limit? ;-) I consciously use this reaction as a productivity tool when I’m doing writing sprints or fast-drafting. Current favorite: The Prodigy’s “The Fat of the Land,” listening straight through.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Tamara:  I’ve always been a genre girl. Early Anne Rice—her vampires, and “The Witching Hour”—was a huge influence. I love Stephen King. I’ve read (and own) everything Nora Roberts has ever written, and her work has taught me so much about dialogue tagging and pace. I’m always delighted by dark and twisted, so there are times when only Anne Stuart will suffice. I’m a big “Dune” fan, and I love Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga. There are phases in my own writing process where I simply can’t read Bujold because she’s so good it psyches me out. Nalini Singh is simply a goddess to me.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Tamara:  I’ll go hybrid with this answer and say I’m a…pantsalotter? At the beginning of the writing process, I do a fair amount of character development work, have a pretty firm idea of the hero’s, heroine’s and villain’s goals, motivations and conflicts. I’m aware, at a very high level, of how the story I’m working on has to drive the overall Underbelly Chronicles series arc. I typically know how I want to begin and end the story, I have a fuzzy vision of several key plot points, and I typically have a short list of scenes I think I’ll need. Then I…fly into the wind. The plot firms up along the way.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Taste Me?

Tamara:  Music, of course. ;-) I was watching a famous band perform, and was absolutely riveted by the…debauched?...behavior of the drummer. I remember thinking, “He must be half incubus.” Something in my head went click, and I started writing (world-building) the next morning.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create the world of the Underbelly Chronicles?

Tamara:  Building this world was a blast, because I, very selfishly, found a way to utilize so many of my personal interests. I revisited classic mythology, sought out ancient religious texts, studied modern pop culture, expanded upon my own technical knowledge, and gleefully delved into futuristic science and theory. One of the first issues I had to consider was the creatures’ origin story. If I was going to propose that mythological creatures were real—and I was—how did they come to exist in the first place? Did they evolve here, alongside humanity, or did they come from someplace else entirely? I found the latter idea to be much more fertile ground from a story-telling perspective. I loved twisting our “known” history to accommodate their very existence.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Taste Me?

Tamara:  I think it’s a tie between the first time Lukas and Scarlett share a scene in the book (excerpt here! Mature readers only), and the concert scene, which spans several chapters and zigzags back and forth between Lukas’s and Scarlett’s point of view. I live near Minneapolis, home of First Avenue—the club Prince made famous in “Purple Rain”—and I’m fortunate to have had years of access to a vibrant live music scene. I’m still trying to weigh just how many concert tickets I can reasonably write off as business expenses. J 

TQ:   How many books are planned for the Underbelly Chronicles? Will there be any short stories or novellas set in Underbelly Chronicles' world?

Tamara:  The Underbelly Chronicles is plotted through nine books, but the world is complex enough to support additional stories of any length. Most of the characters introduced in TASTE ME will be featured as heroes or heroines in later books in the series. (Readers are already asking for Lukas’s sister Sasha’s story!) Sourcebooks has contracted the first trilogy in the series, and I have high hopes that readers will want to visit the Underbelly again and again!

TQ:  What's next?

Tamara:  I just typed THE END on the second book of the Underbelly Chronicles series, CHASE ME, which teams up Valkyrie archaeologist Lorin Schlessinger with by-the-book werewolf geologist Gabe Lupinsky as they excavate the site where Lorin suspects their ancestors’ spaceship crashed. CHASE ME is scheduled for a March 2012 release. I’m starting research and character development work for TEMPT ME, the third book in the series. In addition, I’ll be at the Romantic Times conference in April—catch me at Club RT Thursday afternoon! —and participating in a panel discussion at RWA National during the last week of June called "The Road to Novel Completion: Potholes, Pit-Stops and Poppy Fields, Oh My!" Follow the yellow brick road as my Ruby Slippered Sisters and I share the tips and techniques that help us dodge life’s flying monkeys and finish that darned novel.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Tamara:  So glad to be here! Thanks so much for the invitation, and the thought-provoking questions.


Tamara's Books
 
Taste Me
Underbelly Chronicles 1
(March 1, 2011)
 
Interview with Tamara Hogan and Giveaway - March 14, 2011
Hot, sexy urban fantasy romance by a new author with talent to burn…
 
He Wants Her So Badly He Can Taste It…
 
Ever since their tempestuous fling years ago, incubus Lukas Sebastiani has known that siren Scarlett Fontaine was meant to be his. But when you’re a sex demon with an insatiable desire, relationships are way more than complicated…
 
Her Siren Songs Bring Men to Their Knees…
 
Rock star Scarlett Fontaine desperately needs a break after a grueling tour. But with murder and mayhem surrounding her band, and the one man she never thought to see again put to the task of protecting her, life is going to be anything but peaceful…
 
Every encounter between them creates more turmoil—and heat—until Scarlett pushes Lukas to the boiling point, and unleashes forces that go way beyond anything she can hope to control…

Chase Me (Underbelly Chronicles 2) is slated for release in March 2012.


About Tamara

Interview with Tamara Hogan and Giveaway - March 14, 2011
Tamara Hogan loathes cold and snow, but nonetheless lives in the Minneapolis exurbs with her partner Mark and two naughty cats. When she’s not telecommuting as a quality and process engineer for a global networking company, she writes urban fantasy romance with a sci-fi twist. Taste Me was a 2009 Daphne Paranormal Winner and Golden Heart paranormal finalist under the title Underbelly. For more information, please visit http://www.tamarahogan.com/.
 
Tamara's Links
Website
Ruby Slippered Sisters (group blog)
Twitter
 
 
 
 
The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  Two copies of Taste Me are being provided by Sourcebooks so 2 commenters will win a copy of Taste Me. A big thank you to Sourcebooks.

How:  Leave a comment answering this question: what music inspires you? Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)  Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)  Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)  Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Monday, March 21, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Ben Aaronovitch and Giveaway - March 8, 2011

Please welcome Ben Aaronovitch to The Qwillery. I invited Ben back to answer a few questions that occurred to me after I'd read Midnight Riot / Rivers of London, the first book in his Rivers of London series.

TQ:  Rivers obviously play an important role in the Rivers of London series, but not just as waterways around or upon which events happen. They became people in your mythology. What drew you to the rivers of London, especially the lost rivers of London?

Ben:  London exists where it does because it is the lowest place on the Thames that could be bridged by Roman engineering. Prior to the Roman invasion there was no substantial settlement at London (that we know of) and the Roman's never planned for it to be their capital (that was supposed to be Colchester). The city grew out of that intersection of river and road.

To write a supernatural thriller in London and ignore the river is to misunderstand the true nature of London. So it wasn't so much a question of being drawn to the river rather it was a question of how you deal with this major fact in London's existence.

TQ:  Why did you decide to anthropomorphize the rivers?

Ben:  The Thames has a long tradition of anthropomorphism and there are representations of Father Thames going back centuries. So again it becomes a question of 'how' you anthropomorphize them rather than 'why'.

TQ:  Is there a mythology on which you based your living rivers?

Ben:  There isn't a specific mythology but the concept of river spirits is prevalent in just about every mythos I've looked at so far. Once I'd decided who the Father and the Mother were and from whence they were derived then a certain amount of Romano-British/Celtic and Yoruban flavour was bound to creep in.

TQ:   In the Rivers of London series, does everyone have the potential to do magic or is it only particularly gifted individuals that have the potential?

Ben:  This is a good point that needs to be made clear. Doing formal Newtonian magic is like learning the violin. You can have aptitudes that will help you learn but in the end true mastery comes down to hard work. It's also something that is almost impossible to do without a teacher to provide exemplars and to teach you, for example, the difference between what is vestigia and what is the random product of your own brain.

TQ:  The Punch and Judy puppet show was used to great effect in Midnight Riot / Rivers of London. How much embellishing did you do to the history of Punch and Judy?

Ben:  You do not need to embellish the history of Punch and Judy, the first recorded performance in Britain (in Pepys diary no less) was in the Portico at covent garden, the script I drew from is real and there really is a Puppet Fayre at Covent Garden every May.

TQ:  What's next for Peter Grant?

Ben:  Peter will continue his apprenticeship both as a wizard and as a police officer. Nightingale will have come to terms with the fact that he may have seriously neglected his duties in the last fifty years. Beverley Brook is still somewhere upstream dreaming of Peter and easily available hair products. Leslie must come to terms with her horrific injuries.

And of course, like the feeling you get when the weather starts to turn in spring, magic has begun to creep back into the world.


Ben's Books

Midnight Riot / Rivers of London
Rivers of London 1
(Del Rey - February 1, 2011)
Interview with Ben Aaronovitch and Giveaway - March 8, 2011
Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.


You can read my review of Midnight Riot / Rivers of London here.
 
 
Moon Over Soho
Rivers of London 2
(Del Rey - March 1, 2011)
Interview with Ben Aaronovitch and Giveaway - March 8, 2011
BODY AND SOUL

The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

Body and soul—they’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.


UK Covers
Interview with Ben Aaronovitch and Giveaway - March 8, 2011


About Ben
 
Ben Aaronovitch was born in 1964. He had parents, some brothers, some sisters and a dog named after a Russian cosmonaut. He also had the kind of dull childhood that drives a person to drink, radical politics or science fiction.
 
Discovering in his early twenties that he had precisely one talent, he took up screenwriting at which he was an overnight success. He wrote for Doctor Who, Casualty and the world's cheapest ever SF soap opera Jupiter Moon. He then wrote for Virgin's New Adventures until they pulped all his books.
 
Then Ben entered a dark time illuminated only by an episode of Dark Knight, a book for Big Finish and the highly acclaimed but not-very-well-paying Blake's 7 Audio dramas. Trapped in a cycle of disappointment and despair Ben was eventually forced to support his expensive book habit by working for Waterstones as a bookseller.
 
Ironically it was while shelving the works of others that Ben finally saw the light. He would write his own books, he would let prose into his heart and rejoice in the word. Henceforth, subsisting on nothing more than instant coffee and Japanese takeaway, Ben embarked on the epic personal journey that was to lead to Rivers of London (or Midnight Riot as it is known in the Americas).
 
At some point during the above, the most important thing in his life happened and he became a father to a son, Karifa, whom he affectionately refers to as 'The Evil Monster Boy'. The Evil Monster Boy will be reaching university age soon, so all donations will be gratefully received.
 
Ben Aaronovitch currently resides in London and says that he will leave when they pry his city from his cold dead fingers.

Ben's and Peter's Links:

The Folly: http://www.the-folly.com/
Twitter:  @Ben_Aaronovitch

Peter's Blog: http://westendblues.blogspot.com/
Peter's Twitter:  @PC_Peter_Grant

The Giveaway
 
THE RULES
 
What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Moon Over Soho.

How:  Leave a comment telling The Qwillery your favorite river, stream, brook, creek, ocean, sea, etc.? Please remember: if you don't answer the question you're entry will not be counted!
 
You may receive additional entries by:
 
1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.
 
2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.
 
3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.
 
There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.
 
Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.
 
Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, March 15, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.
 
*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Hannah Jayne and Giveaway - March 3, 2011

Please welcome Hannah Jayne to The Qwillery as part as part of our 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Hannah:  I don’t think I have any real writing quirks – I pretty much hold tight to “butt in chair, hands on keys.” I will, however, not stop on any number 13. Not on page 13 or chapter 13 or – god forbid – word count 1313.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Hannah:  I love female Southern authors – Jill McCorkle, Lee Smith, Kaye Gibbons. I really think that they laid the foundation for the whole “Chick Lit” genre with stories filled with strong, hilarious women dealing with terrible situations – cheating husbands, bad boyfriends, big thighs… Jill McCorkle’s Crash Diet was probably the most influential collection I’ve read in terms of finding a writing voice. In the fantasy genre, Juliette Blackwell is a huge influence. Her characters are fun, use of magic is excellent, and she has some of the best-written prose I’ve ever read.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Hannah:  Under Wraps was a panster, but books 2 and 3 in the series are plotters. I’m not crazy about plotting/outlining in general, but for a writing career (complete with deadlines, synopses and expectations!), I’m finding plotting is a must!

TQ:  What inspired you to write Under Wraps?

Hannah:  I would love to say something awesome like “it came to me in a dream” or something equally dramatic but that’s so not the case. My agent was pitching my first novel, an as-yet unpublished romance called Rebound Guy, and though it was ultimately rejected, the editorial team came back with “we’re into paranormal. Can she do that?” To which I answered a resounding “no.” Then I called my agent back a day later and said, “Okay, this is what I’ve got.” Then UDA took on a life – and personality – all it’s own!

TQ: What sort of research did you do for Under Wraps?

Hannah:  Whether you believe in demons and spooks or not, it was really important to me to get the legendry right. This is serious business! I researched demons, demonology and “creatures” in fiction, mythology, film and legend, not to mention the myriad of cultural mentions of vampires, werewolves, etc. I’ve always been fascinated by the way something like the vampire myth spreads from culture to culture, how it is so remarkably similar throughout different countries. UDA gave me a great excuse to read every book and article on the subject!

TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the book?

Hannah:  I think my favorite scene has to be when Sophie decides to prove how very “normal” she is and decides to make a pot roast, and drink a bottle of wine while doing so. Nothing tickles me more than airborne meat. I'm also partial to scenes that include Steve, the love-struck troll.

TQ: How many books are planned for The Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles? Will there be any short stories or novellas set in the UDA world?

Hannah:  So far there are three novels – book 1, Under Wraps, which is out now, book 2 will be released 11-11-11, and book 3 will follow early in 2012. As for more books, short stories and novellas? Stay tuned!! Something tells me both Steve and Nina might like to have their moments in the literary sun…

TQ: What's next?

Hannah:  I’m just putting the finishing touches on UDA book 3 (yet untitled), and finishing up a cozy mystery set on the Monterey Peninsula called Deadly Ever After.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Hannah:  Thank you so much for having me! I hope everyone enjoys Under Wraps!


Hannah's Books

Under Wraps
Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles 1
(March 1, 2011)
Interview with Hannah Jayne and Giveaway - March 3, 2011
Sick of wrongful-death lawsuits every time a full moon comes around? 
Call the Underworld Detection Agency.
As a human immune to magic, Sophie Lawson can help everyone from banshee to zombie transition into normal, everyday San Francisco life. With a handsome werewolf as her UDA boss and a fashionista vampire for a roommate, Sophie knows everything there is to know about the undead, the unseen, and the uncanny… 

Until a rash of gruesome murders has demons and mortals running for cover, and Sophie finds herself playing sidekick to detective Parker Hayes. Dodging raging bloodsuckers, bad-tempered fairies, and love-struck trolls is one thing. But when Sophie discovers Parker isn’t what he seems, she’s got only one chance to figure out whom to trust. Because an evil hiding in plain sight is closing in…and about to make one wisecracking human its means to ultimate power… 

Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles 2 will be released on 11-11-11, with a third book in early 2012.


About Hannah

Interview with Hannah Jayne and Giveaway - March 3, 2011Hannah Schwartz is a freelance writer and editor in the San Francisco bay area. In addition to short fiction, Schwartz is the author of the romantic novel Rebound Guy and co-authored the self-help book Crisis Queens: Guide to Your Quarterlife. She shares an apartment with two neurotic, feet-attacking cats, and has created a little dance to go along with the thundering tick of her biological clock.

As an avid reader and writer of chick-lit, finding chicklit.org was a natural (and a godsend!), discovered by wiling one too many hours away on the company clock.

Hannah's Links
Website
Facebook


The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a signed copy of Under Wraps directly from Hannah.

How:  Leave a comment telling The Qwillery the name of your paranormal organization? Make something up. You can even tell The Qwillery what your paranormal organization does! Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Thursday, March 10, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*
Interview with Douglas Hulick and Giveaway - April 19, 2011Interview with Andrew Shaffer and Giveaway - April 13, 2011Interview with Maureen McGowan and Giveaway - April 8, 2011Interview with Jim N. Duncan and Giveaway - April 6, 2011Interview with Sara Creasy and Giveaway - March 29, 2011Interview with Jennifer Lyon & Giveaway - March 23, 2011Interview with Laurie London and Giveaway - March 16, 2011Interview with Tamara Hogan and Giveaway - March 14, 2011Interview with Ben Aaronovitch and Giveaway - March 8, 2011Interview with Hannah Jayne and Giveaway - March 3, 2011

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