The Qwillery | category: Marked


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Interview with Alex Hughes, author of the Mindspace Investigations - March 31, 2014

Please welcome Alex Hughes to The Qwillery. Alex's most recent novel is Marked which will be published on April 1st. In addition Rabbit Trick, which includes a Mindspace Investigations story, was published on March 4, 2014.

Interview with Alex Hughes, author of the Mindspace Investigations - March 31, 2014

TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery. The first two novels in the Mindspace Investigations Series, Clean and Sharp, were published in 2012 and 2013 respectively and Marked will be out tomorrow. How was your writing process changed since your first novel was published?

Alex:  Thank you so much for having me on the blog. It's good to be back :)

My writing process is still developing, and every novel feels different as I'm working out not only plots and character arcs but also the best ways to work with my muse in a way that makes us both happy. Marked had to be written in about four and a half months, about half the time it took to write Sharp, so the process and the stress was accelerated. As I'm writing Book #4 right now, it's a different experience still, much slower and incremental, with layers building as I go. I'm still adjusting my process with every book, and it may take awhile to get it right. By nature, I'm a pantser (I write by the seat of my pants) but this is a very inefficient and illogical process. I'm trying to add more structure and planning to this to make the process easier, but if I overshoot, I can hobble my muse. So I'm still learning and trying new things.

TQ:  The Mindspace Investigations series is set in an alternate future Atlanta. Why did you set the series in Atlanta?

Alex:  I live in Atlanta. Specifically, I lived in Decatur in college, where the Mindspace series was set. They were constantly telling me in creative writing class to write what you know, so when I came up with the core idea for the series, it was set there, mostly to prove I could do it.

TQ:  You've written two e-shorts set in the Mind Space Investigations universe: Payoff in 2013 and Rabbit Trick earlier in March, which includes some extra stories. Can you tell us about Rabbit Trick?

Alex:  Thanks for asking! "Rabbit Trick" was a story I wrote about eighteen months ago, right before I finished the draft of Sharp. Without going into spoilers, one of the characters in Sharp has a history with Adam and Cherabino that I wanted to explore. "Rabbit Trick" is the first time they come into contact with this character's handiwork. Since the story is set before the events of Clean, Adam deliberately doesn't have a name, and his and Cherabino's relationship is still pretty rocky. They're called in to consult on the murder of a fellow police officer, which Cherabino takes hard. When they show up, though, Adam discovers there was a kid at the crime scene... a kid no one can find.

I had a blast writing "Rabbit Trick" and the two other stories in other worlds, and I wanted to share that with the readers. Since you guys seemed to like Payoff so well, an e-short seemed the right format.

TQ:   After Sharp (book 2) was published I asked you which character surprised you the most in the series to that point. Is Paulson still the character who has surprised you the most?

Alex:  At this point, I think it's Kara. Her loyalties and motivations shift with the tides, so that I'm never quite sure at any given moment which side of the fence she'll land on. That makes her fun (and frustrating) to write.

TQ:  The novels have been described as "dark noir" and "SF mysteries and/or thrillers." Would you agree? What is noir?

Alex:  Noir, the way I understand it, comes from the look and feel of old forties films in the black-and-white Film Noir style. There's dramatic lighting, strong contrasts between shadows and lights, and also elevated dialogue and stakes. The heroes are always a little gritty, and the situations always a little more dramatic than normal, and there's usually some kind of hardboiled crime story. I love this genre, though I wasn't intending to write in it; it's apparently where my ideas naturally go. I was definitely trying for a cop-show feeling, and a speculative element pulling from real science concepts. What I ended up with works, but it's hard to categorize.

TQ:   What's next?

Alex:  I'll have more Mindspace stories as we go, but I'm also working on additional ideas for other worlds. One of which is actually set in the 1940s, speaking of noir. And I'm working on a collaborative project about a hotel ghost with critique partner Kerry Schafer this year as well. To make sure you stay up to date with all the latest news (and get periodic free short stories from me), sign up for my email newsletter at

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Alex:  Thank you so much for having me here! I had a great time.

Mindspace Investigations

Mindspace Investigations 3
Roc, April 1, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Alex Hughes, author of the Mindspace Investigations - March 31, 2014

Freelancing for the Atlanta PD isn’t exactly a secure career; my job’s been on the line almost as much as my life. But it’s a paycheck, and it keeps me from falling back into the drug habit. Plus, things are looking up with my sometimes-partner, Cherabino, even if she is still simmering over the telepathic Link I created by accident.

When my ex, Kara, shows up begging for my help, I find myself heading to the last place I ever expected to set foot in again—Guild headquarters—to investigate the death of her uncle. Joining that group was a bad idea the first time. Going back when I’m unwanted is downright dangerous.

Luckily, the Guild needs me more than they’re willing to admit. Kara’s uncle was acting strange before he died—crazy strange. In fact, his madness seems to be slowly spreading through the Guild. And when an army of powerful telepaths loses their marbles, suddenly it’s a game of life or death.…

Mindspace Investigations 2
Roc, April 2, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Alex Hughes, author of the Mindspace Investigations - March 31, 2014

As a Level Eight telepath, I am the best police interrogator in the department. But I’m not a cop—I never will be—and my only friend on the force, Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino, is avoiding me because of a telepathic link I created by accident.

And I might not even be an interrogator for much longer. Our boss says unless I pull out a miracle, I’ll be gone before Christmas. I need this job, damn it. It’s the only thing keeping me sane.

Parts for illegal Tech—the same parts used to bring the world to its knees in the Tech Wars sixty years ago—are being hijacked all over the city. Plus Cherbino's longtime nemesis, a cop killer, has resurfaced with a vengeance. If I can stay alive long enough, I just might be able to prove my worth, once and for all...

A Mindspace Investigations Novella
Roc, March 5, 2014
eNovella, 112 pages

Interview with Alex Hughes, author of the Mindspace Investigations - March 31, 2014
Being a telepath, I should have seen the hell I was getting myself into…

I used to be one of the most powerful telepaths in the guild. That was before my drug addiction and before they kicked me out. But I'm not a bad guy. Now I help the Atlanta PD solve murders. And even though there are only a few people I call friends, I'd do most anything to keep their trust.

So when a judge asks me to help investigate a missing college kid, I'm down for it. No questions asked. No problem. But in this dark world, things are never easy and a favor is never just a favor. Turns out, politicians don’t like being murder suspects. And it's bad to anger someone with more power than you. I thought I had nothing to lose... I was wrong.

Includes a preview of Alex Hughes’s Sharp

Mindspace Investigations 1
Roc, September 4, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Alex Hughes, author of the Mindspace Investigations - March 31, 2014

I used to work for the Telepath’s Guild before they kicked me out for a drug habit that wasn’t entirely my fault. Now I work for the cops, helping Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino put killers behind bars.

My ability to get inside the twisted minds of suspects makes me the best interrogator in the department. But the normals keep me on a short leash. When the Tech Wars ripped the world apart, the Guild stepped up to save it. But they had to get scary to do it—real scary.

Now the cops don’t trust the telepaths, the Guild doesn’t trust me, a serial killer is stalking the city— and I’m aching for a fix. But I need to solve this case. Fast. I’ve just had a vision of the future: I’m the next to die.

Rabbit Trick
Mindspace Investigations .5
Alex Hughes, March 4, 2014

Interview with Alex Hughes, author of the Mindspace Investigations - March 31, 2014
New short story in the Mindspace Investigations universe (with two bonus short stories in other worlds from author Alex Hughes).

Open Mind

When the cops call me in the middle of the night, I know it’s bad. One of their own is dead, strangled in her car by a professional killer, and it’s up to me, telepath consultant extraordinaire, to pull the rabbit out of my hat and solve the case. Only this time I’m not so sure I can.

Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino is breathing down my neck. The dead cop’s partner is too. And now, the worst—there was a five-year-old kid in the car, a kid no one can find.

Note from the author: “Rabbit Trick” takes place before the events of Clean, so the hero intentionally remains nameless.

About Alex

Interview with Alex Hughes, author of the Mindspace Investigations - March 31, 2014
Alex Hughes, the author of the award-winning Mindspace Investigations series from Roc, has lived in the Atlanta area since the age of eight. She is a graduate of the prestigious Odyssey Writing Workshop, and a Semi-Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novels 2011. Her short fiction has been published in several markets including EveryDay Fiction, Thunder on the Battlefield and White Cat Magazine. She is an avid cook and foodie, a trivia buff, and a science geek, and loves to talk about neuroscience, the Food Network, and writing craft—but not necessarily at the same time! You can visit her at Twitter at @ahugheswriter or on the web at Or, join her email newsletter for free short stories at

Facebook  ~  Twitter @ahugheswriter

Interview with Elisabeth Naughton, author of the Eternal Guardians series, and Giveaway - November 2, 2012

Please welcome Elisabeth Naughton to The Qwillery. Enslaved, the 5th book in the Eternal Guardians series, will be published on November 6, 2012.

Interview with Elisabeth Naughton, author of the Eternal Guardians series, and Giveaway - November 2, 2012

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Elisabeth:  Thanks so much for having me!

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

Elisabeth:  Hm…a tough question right off the bat. I think it would be that I have to win at solitaire on my phone before I can start writing. I know, it’s a stupid quirk, but if I can’t win at least once, I can’t write.

TQ:   Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Elisabeth:  Both. My CPs call me a plantster who “plots into the mist”. When I start a book I know the inciting incident, the black moment and the resolution. Everything else is a blur. I usually plot about three chapters, pause, squint into the mist, plot another three and repeat until I get to the black moment. Drives my CP NUTS!

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Elisabeth:  Time management. I’m a procrastinator by nature so if you give me six months to write a book I’ll wait until three have passed before I start. This makes for a lot of stress for me and my family. I’m trying to be better about this but change is never easy.

TQ:  What inspired you to write the Eternal Guardians series?

Elisabeth:   The idea for the Eternal Guardians came while I was writing STOLEN FURY, my debut book. STOLEN FURY is a romantic suspense treasure hunt where the main characters are searching for three ancient Greek relics. I knew during research for that book that I wanted to write a series based on Greek mythology, I just didn’t know what. At the same time I had an idea for a book about a woman who doesn’t know she’s was born into royalty and a warrior who has to bring her back to his world knowing doing so will fulfill a prophecy that could kill her. When I was reading a book blog and someone commented that they wished an author would write a series about the Greek heroes, the research and the book idea melded and the result was the Eternal Guardians.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create your world and mythology?

Elisabeth:  I spend a lot of time researching Greek myths and stories. The world building comes from that, combined with my own active imagination. I do draw ideas from movies, but I try not to read other paranormal romances when I’m working on a series because I don’t want to be influenced by what other authors are doing.

As for the myths…I try to stay as close to the ancient myths as possible, but for every account that says a story happened one way, you can find another that says it happened in a slightly different way. That makes it easy for me to twists myths around to fit my characters – it also makes it fun.

TQ:  Describe Enslaved (Eternal Guardians 5) in 140 characters or less.

Elisabeth:  A haunted warrior with nothing to lose. A woman who will test every bit of control he has left. A journey that could kill them both.

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

Elisabeth:  This question is so hard to answer without giving too much away!

My favorite scene in the book comes about halfway through. Gryphon thinks he’s done something completely awful to Maelea. His memories are sketchy, but when he wakes in the morning he’s riddled with guilt. There’s a scene between the two of them where he’s trying to apologize—although knows he can never make up for what he did—and Maelea’s looking at him like he’s nuts. What follows is a major turning point in their relationship that makes me smile every time I think about it.

TQ:  In the Eternal Guardian series, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?

Elisabeth:  Ooh…good question.

The hardest hero to date was probably Demetrius. He was just so…mean. It was really hard to stay true to his character when I wanted to slap him upside the head. He’s still hard to write because he will always be abrasive to everyone but Isadora. Even though he has his HEA, he doesn’t believe it’s real yet. And there’s always that fear that he still doesn’t deserve it.

The easiest character to write is Casey. I think because I identify with her the most. When I was writing MARKED, I put myself in her shoes – how would I feel if I was suddenly told gods and heroes and daemons were real? It was easy to write her because it was easy to envision my own reactions.

TQ:   Which character has surprised you the most?

Elisabeth:  Isadora. Her character has gone through the biggest transformation, I think. She went from being meek and afraid to strong and confident. Her story isn’t over yet either. I have more in store for her and Demetrius and Nick, and I expect her to continue to surprise me.

TQ:  What's next?

Elisabeth:  Right now I’m working on Eternal Guardians book 6, which is Titus’s book (tentatively titled SCORCHED). It’s set to release in March 2013. After that I’ll move to Nick’s book – lots in store for that one, so stayed tuned! I also recently sold a new romantic suspense series to Montlake romance which I’m super excited about. No idea on release dates yet, but I’m excited to write RS again and am pretty sure readers who enjoyed my Stolen books will like these as well.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery

Elisabeth:  Thanks so much for having me. Happy reading to everyone and I hope you enjoy ENSLAVED!

About the Eternal Guardians

Eternal Guardians 5
Sourcebooks Casablanca, November 6, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Interview with Elisabeth Naughton, author of the Eternal Guardians series, and Giveaway - November 2, 2012
GRYPHON—Honorable, loyal, dependable…tainted. He was the ultimate warrior before imprisonment in the Underworld changed him in ways he can't ignore.

She calls to him. Come to me. You can't resist. But Gryphon will not allow himself to be ruled by the insidious whispers in his head. And there's only one way to stop them: kill Atalanta, the goddess who enslaved him. But with so much darkness inside, he can't be sure what's real anymore. Even the Eternal Guardians, those who protect the human realms and the gods, want to exile him.

Finding Malea is like a miracle. Somehow he doesn't feel the pull of the dark when she's near. And he's determined to keep her as near as possible, whether she wants him close or not. But she's a temptation that will test every bit of control he has left. One that may ultimately have the power to send him back to the Underworld...or free him from his chains for good.

Eternal Guardians 4
Sourcebooks Casablanca, April 3, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

Interview with Elisabeth Naughton, author of the Eternal Guardians series, and Giveaway - November 2, 2012
ORPHEUS—To most he's an enigma, a devil-may-care rogue who does whatever he pleases whenever he wants. Now this loose cannon is part of the Eternal Guardians—elite warriors assigned to protect the human realm—whether he likes it or not.

Orpheus has just one goal: to rescue his brother from the Underworld. He's not expecting a woman to get in the way. Especially not a Siren as gorgeous as Skyla. He has no idea she's an assassin sent by Zeus to seduce, entrap, and ultimately destroy him.

Yet Skyla herself might have the most to lose. There's a reason Orpheus feels so familiar to her, a reason her body seems to crave him. Perhaps he's not the man everyone thinks... The truth could reveal a deadly secret as old as the Eternal Guardians themselves.

Eternal Guardians 3
Sourcebooks Casablanca, September 6, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

Interview with Elisabeth Naughton, author of the Eternal Guardians series, and Giveaway - November 2, 2012
DEMETRIUS—He's the hulking, brooding warrior even his fellow Guardians avoid. Too dark. Too damaged. And given his heritage, he knows it's best to keep everyone at arm's length.

Isadora is missing. The words pound through his head like a frantic drumbeat. For her own protection, Demetrius did all he could to avoid the fragile princess, his soul mate. And now she's gone—kidnapped. To get her back, he'll have to go to the black place in his soul he's always shunned.

As daemons ravage the human realm and his loyalty to the Guardians is put to the ultimate test, Demetrius realizes that Isadora is stronger than anyone thought.

And finally letting her into his heart may be the only way to save them both.

Eternal Guardians 1 and 2
Interview with Elisabeth Naughton, author of the Eternal Guardians series, and Giveaway - November 2, 2012
Available Everywhere too!

About Elisabeth

Interview with Elisabeth Naughton, author of the Eternal Guardians series, and Giveaway - November 2, 2012
A former junior high science teacher, Elisabeth Naughton traded in her red pen and test-tube set for a laptop and research books. She now writes sexy romantic adventure and paranormal novels full-time from Oregon, where she lives with her husband and three children. Her work has been nominated for numerous awards, including the RWA RITA© Award, the NJ RWA Golden Leaf, and the RWA Golden Heart. When not writing, Elisabeth can be found running, hanging out at the ball park, or dreaming up new and adventures. Visit her at and follow her on Twitter, @ElisNaughton.

 You can also find Elisabeth on Facebook.


What:  One commenter will win a copy of Enslaved (Eternal Guardians 5) from Sourcebooks. US and Canda ONLY

How:   Answer the following question: 

Which Greek God, Goddess, Demi-God or Goddess would you like to meet?

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.

There are a total of 3 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry) and Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry).  This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook or Twitter mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US or Canadian  mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Friday, November 9, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*
Interview with Alex Hughes, author of the Mindspace Investigations - March 31, 2014Interview with Elisabeth Naughton, author of the Eternal Guardians series, and Giveaway - November 2, 2012

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