Wednesday, July 28, 2010

INTERVIEW: Jocelynn Drake

This week's interview is with Jocelynn Drake who pens the Dark Days series, a masterful weaving of vampires, politics, war, and magic with just a dash of romance thrown in for good measure. This year sees the series having back-to-back releases with Pray for Dawn on June 29 and Wait for Dusk just yesterday on July 27. Now, without further adieu, enjoy!

(1) So, I guess I may as well start with the basics: how exactly did Jocelynn Drake break into the publishing world?

The same way that most people got a break in the publishing world: a great query letter and a lot of patience. Not long after I finished writing Nightwalker, I started sending out query letters to agents. They showed a lot of initial interest, but commented that the book was just not there yet. So, I kept trying until after two years, I queried a wonderful agent that was willing to take a chance on me. From there we tweaked Nightwalker and sent it out to editors. Within three weeks, we had a contract offer.

(2) Is writing a full-time job or have you got an alter-ego thing going on à la Clark Kent?

Sometimes writing feels like a full-time job because it does demand a lot of hours. However, I do still have a day job that I work part-time in the mornings to help pay the bills. During the day, I am a financial analyst that writes articles about the stock market and at night, I write about vampires.

(3) Your first series deals with Mira – a vampire with the unique ability to control fire – as her world teeters on the brink of a war between nightwalkers and their ancient enemies the naturi. What inspirations led you to develop your mythology?

I don’t know if there were any particular inspirations that led me down the road to creating the world of the Dark Days series beyond an overactive imagination and reading too many fantasy novels.

(4) Mira is not your average run-of-the-mill heroine; she’s pretty powerful and kickass, but as the story develops she’s revealed to be a lot more complicated than at first thought. How did Mira come to be exactly?

I’ve had Mira rattling around in my head for a long time. She is a tough, powerful creature, but her life and the circumstances that she’s survived have made her into what she is. She’s had a very dark past with losing family, and being betrayed by people that she’s trusted. This makes her a very complicated and volatile character to work with.
(5) Now, Danaus. How would describe your hero?

Danaus is a difficult character to get talking because he is very stoic and likes to hold things in. He clings hard to his beliefs because they are what give him direction and balance in a constantly shifting world. However, he is very loyal to those he sees as his comrades and he has a very deep sense of honor to him.

(6) The relationship between Mira and Danaus has this whole love-hate thing going on. Has it be hard setting the development of their relationship?

I have been very particular about the pacing of their growing relationship. These are two very old, stubborn creatures that started out on opposite sides of the battlefield. I couldn’t have them jumping into bed in the first or even the second book just because readers wanted that love affair. I needed the relationship to have a natural and cautious flow to it.

(7) How exactly did you come up with your characters? Are any of them based on real people?

My characters are not based on real people, but just my own wild imagination.
(8) How long, in a perfect world where your publisher gave you whatever you wanted, do you envision the Mira series being?

In a perfect world, I would like to finish the series in nine books to give me ample time to tie up some loose ends. However, it is looking more likely that the series will be finished in six.

(9) What about outside of Mira’s world; do you have any plans for non-Mira/Nightwalker books?

Yes, I am currently working on plans for other series within the urban fantasy genre, but they are still in the early planning stages.

(10) Your last publication, Pray for Dawn, just recently came out on June 29. What can you tell us about this book?

PRAY FOR DAWN is a book that takes a closer look a someone from Danaus’s past while bringing up the question of what a person would do to maintain and achieve their freedom.

(11) Rumor has it that this book shakes up the narration style, that Danaus’ POV is given a chance to shine. What brought about this change? Was it difficult to pull off?

PRAY FOR DAWN is actually told from Danaus’s POV instead of Mira’s because I think a lot of fans were beginning to wonder what was going on in the hunter’s head. It was also easier to show his struggle with his past by writing through his POV. It was not as difficult to write from his POV as I had expected and it was a nice break for me.

(12) Will there be more such narrator changes to come in future books, perhaps even beyond Mira and Danaus?

There is always the possibility, but Mira will always be the POV that I fall back on as the main storyteller.

(13) And now just yesterday Wait for Dusk hits the shelves on July 27. What can you tell us about this book?

WAIT FOR DUSK also tackles someone from Mira’s past as she struggles to bring order to the chaos that is claiming Budapest following the escape of the naturi. At the same time, Mira and her companions must escape the plotting of the members of the Coven if they hope to remain alive.

(14) And, ok, I’ve got to ask: what is up with, um, the new cover designs? (Specifically Wait for Dusk)

The art department went in a new direction with the covers in hopes of attracting more and different readers to the series. At the same time, the series has shifted gears slightly and the covers help to reflect that.

(15) What sort of research is done per book? Any particular texts you rely on? Could you break down your research process?

The only research that is completed for each book is specific to the location that I have the book set in. For PRAY FOR DAWN, the book is set in Savannah, Georgia so I went down to the city and explored it for a few days so that I could get a good feel for the setting where all the action would be taking place.

For WAIT FOR DUSK, the book is set mostly in Budapest, which meant a lot of online searches for interesting locations as well as different travel guides to help with maps, routes, neighborhood, as well as finding a hotel for Danaus and Mira to stay in.

(16) Finally, some random questions about you:
a. What are your hobbies aside from writing?
I play video games, go Geo-caching, and read.
b. Could you please describe your dream day?
A dream day would be getting up and slipping right into the story that I’m working on with no interruptions and no delays.
c. If you found a genie, what would be your three wishes?
I would wish for more time to write books, more time to read books, and a two week vacation in Fiji.

And there you have it folks. Be sure to check out the Dark Days series, especially its newest installments out this summer. You can also keep yourself up to date by visiting Jocelynn online here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

INTERVIEW: Molly Harper

Right, so I think I've cleared the back-log of interviews from before I had my tech-malfunction, and that means new interviews! That's right, boils and ghouls, I've got brand-spanking new interviews hot off the inbox, so buckle your seat belts and get prepare yourselves to be wowed!

First up this week is author Molly Harper who wrote the terrific and original vampire series about the newly-turned Jane Jameson and only just released a contemporary romance entitled, And One Last Thing... Now, without further adieu, enjoy!

1) So, I guess I may as well start with the basics: how exactly did Molly Harper break into the publishing world?

I wrote NICE GIRLS DON'T HAVE FANGS while working as a church secretary.

People seem to find that amusing.

I took the job at the church after leaving a reporting position with my hometown newspaper. For six years, I covered school board meetings, quilt shows, a man “losing” the fully grown bear he kept as a pet in his basement, and a guy who faked his death by shark attack in Florida and ended up tossing pies at a local pizzeria. I loved my job at the paper. I loved meeting new people every day and never knowing where I would end up. But somehow, the newsroom schedule and my husband’s police shifts did not equal "family friendly." One of us needed to take a normal job for the sake of our young daughter.

I took a secretarial position at the church, which left me with dependably free evenings for the first time in my adult life. We were living in "The Apartment of Lost Souls" while building our new home. This was the place where appliances and small electronics went to die. Every night, I would sit and wait for the washing machine to start smoking or the dishwasher to vomit soap on the floor. Then, there was the plague of frogs in the bathroom that put our daughter off potty-training for about six months. It was either write a book, or go slowly insane.

Being a huge fan of vampire movies and TV shows, I wondered, what would be the most humiliating way possible to be turned into a vampire- a story that a vampire would be embarrassed to share with their vampire buddies over a nice glass of Type O. Well, first, our poor heroine gets canned so her boss could replace her with someone who occasionally starts workplace fires. She drowns her sorrows at the local faux nostalgia-themed sports bar and during the commute home, she's mistaken for a deer and then shot by a drunk hunter. And then she wakes up as a vampire. And thus, Jane Jameson and the wacky denizens of Half-Moon Hollow were born.

It took me almost a year to complete and edit a draft of the book, which I planned as the first in a three-book series. I spent three months using to ruthlessly stalk potential literary agents. (There were a lot of lists involved, I don't want to re-live it.) I was gently rejected by at least half of them. I corresponded with some very nice, very patient people, but ultimately signed with the fabulous Stephany Evans of Fine Print Literary Management. Stephany was willing to take to the time to give me advice on how to improve my book before she even signed me. That meant a lot. And when she sold the series at auction to Pocket Books about a month later, it was obvious I'd made the right choice.

(2) Is writing a full-time job or have you got an alter-ego thing going on à la Clark Kent?
I am very much a Clark Kent. I work as an editorial assistant for a medical society. I write at night and on the weekends. Also, I wear glasses.

(3) Your first series deals with Jane Jameson – a fledgling vampire slash bibliophile – as she adjusts to her new life. What inspirations led you to develop your mythology?
I don’t know if I have a mythology per se. I tried to treat vampirism as a disease, a medical condition. And that sucked away a lot of superstitious rules like not being able to enter the home unless invited, fearing crosses and holy water. Other rules I needed to keep for plot purposes, i.e., being allergic to silver and sunlight. It was sort of a patchwork process.

(4) Jane is...a pretty unique take on the vampire heroine. I mean, with the exception of being locked into the nightlife and having a liquid-diet, her life is pretty normal. How did your take on vampires come to be?
I wanted my vampires to be regular Joes with everyday problems, who just happen to have fangs. I figured not every vampire is going to have a castle and a satin-lined cape to fall back on. I flatter myself in hoping that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was an influence on the way I write vampires. What I loved about the show was that it explored all of these heavy, emotional topics, but through vampires and demons. Buffy finally sleeps with her boyfriend, only to have him lose his soul and go all evil. Buffy goes away to college and her roommate is a soul-sucking, annoying weirdo from another dimension. It showed that scifi/fantasy can be cool and scary, but still smart and emotionally relevant. I don’t know if my scope is quite that wide, but I’m working on it.

(5) Now, Gabriel. How would describe your hero Jane’s love interest?
Gabriel is an old-fashioned guy. He’s lived apart from the modern world for the most part, so it’s confusing for him to encounter a woman like Jane. She says exactly what she thinks, even if it would be better if she held her tongue. He finds that intriguing. But at the same time, she exasperates him with her stubbornness and her unwillingness to just let him step in and take care of her problems for her. He would do anything for Jane, which leads him into some fairly stupid decisions. Fortunately, he’s a good enough person to find a way to make up for them.

Oh, and did I mention he’s super-hot?

(6) The relationship between Jane and Gabriel has had its rocky moments but some how it all comes out seeming a lot more real because of it. Has it be hard setting the development of their relationship?
Yes, and no. I needed to maintain that conflict throughout several books, because who wants to read three books where the main character is in a happy, settled, schmoopy relationship? That would be annoying.

At the same time, I felt bad pitting Gabriel and Jane against each other. They are capable of hurting each other deeply, but they also work best when they’re together. Having Jane spend time away from Gabriel is like benching your best player. It all works out in the end, though.

(7) How exactly did you come up with your characters? Are any of them based on real people?
I’ve only based one character on a real person, and that’s my husband. He’s the inspiration for the yummy ex-cop neighbor in AND ONE LAST THING. Everybody else either came to me fully-formed, (Mr. Wainwright) or their personality traits are sort of a mishmash of what I needed for the plot.

(8) You’re now moving on to new projects, if your upcoming releases are anything to go by. Does this mean Jane’s story is over?
My agent has proposed a fourth Jane book to the publisher, but no decision has been made. I would be happy either way. As much as I love writing about Jane and the gang, I don’t want to push the series to the point where it loses its spark.

(9) Your most recent release, One Last Thing..., was lacking of vampires, werewolves, and all things that go bump. Why the change?
I was between books 2 and 3 in the Jane series. At that point, I’d been writing about vampires for a while and I wanted to do something a little different. My deadline for book 3 was a ways off and I was due to have our son at any moment. I had an idea for AND ONE LAST THING, and decided to spend my maternity leave working on it. It’s about a woman who finds out her husband is cheating, and uses his company mailing list to tell everyone they know what he’s been up to. She’s exiled from her little town and has to rebuild her life from there. She meets the aforementioned yummy ex-cop neighbor, wacky romance and half-naked hijinks ensue.

I finished the book in about two months. My son would sleep during the day. I would throw in a load of laundry and work on my manuscript, instead of, you know, sleeping, like a normal person. It’s the fastest I’ve ever written a book. I think because I didn’t have to be so careful about the vampire rules, and just write about interactions between characters.

(10) Do you plan on writing more contemporary romances?
I do have several more ideas for contemporaries, but I’ll always come back to paranormal romances. It’s where I’m most comfortable.

(11) Your next publication, How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf, won’t be coming out until February 22, 2011. This book is the start of a brand new series, obviously taking on werewolves instead of vamps. What can you tell us about this book?
Well, I think the cover blurb is safe to reveal, so here goes:

Even in Grundy, Alaska, it's unusual to find a naked guy with a bear-trap clamped to his ankle on your front porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham - who has been openly critical of Mo's ability to adapt to life up North - has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.

For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it's love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But he has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he's worried that he might be the violent canine in question.

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen. Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. But if he's not responsible, then who is? Life is complicated when a when you fall head over haunches in love.

(12) Is it set within the same world as Jane’s books? Are the werewolves the same sort as we saw in that series?

Let’s say the world is “adjacent” to Jane’s world. And yes, the werewolves are the same, with a more specific pack structure.

(13) The second book in that series, How to Talk to a Naked Werewolf, is due out just a month later on March 29, 2011. Have you any other releases scheduled for 2011?

I think the title has been changed to HOW TO FALL FOR A NAKED WEREWOLF. My title skills are weak, so they always seem to be in flux. At the moment, that is my last release for a while, but if you watch my web site and blog, I may be making an announcement soon.

(14) How many books do you envision the Naked Werewolf series to have? In a perfect world that is where the whims of the publisher wouldn’t matter.

Three. I’ve written about half of a third book, I’m just waiting for the publisher to decide whether they’re interested in expanding the series to a trilogy.

(15)What sort of research is done per book? Any particular texts you rely on? Could you break down your research process?
Most of my research consists of Googling to make sure my pop culture references are spelled correctly.

(16) Finally, some random questions about you: a. What are your hobbies aside from writing? Hmmm. I remember having hobbies… I used to cross-stitch and decorate cakes. But I don’t have time for either, anymore. I make my kids’ birthday cakes when they let me.
b. Could you please describe your dream day? I wake up and the kids have already dressed themselves and eaten a well-balanced breakfast. (Quite an accomplishment for a 2-year-old and 5-year-old.) I drop them off at pre-school, where they practically vault out of the car, because they are so happy to be there. I zip on over to the day spa to get rubbed, scrubbed and pampered. At some point, Alexander Skarsgaard drops by to administer my footrub.

I get home around lunchtime to find that some wonderful soul has done all the laundry, put away the dishes and picked up lunch for me from my favorite Chinese restaurant. Pot-stickers in hand, I retire to my office, where I write until it’s time to go pick up the kids.

I come home to find my loving husband waiting for me, with dinner prepared. (To be fair, he normally does this anyway.) We have a meal that does not involve screaming, crying, food being flung on the floor, or my food getting cold because someone needs to be taken to the potty.

The kids are practically chomping at the bit to go to bed. I get to spend the evening watching Castle re-runs with my husband.
c. If you found a genie, what would be your three wishes? -That all of the calories in cheesecake magically evaporate.

-That I could live in a world where I’m a full-time writer.

-That the Jane Jameson books get adapted into a movie starring Jenna Fischer and James Marsden. (I used to want Gerard Butler to play Gabriel, but then he went and single-handedly murdered the romantic comedy with “The Ugly Truth.”)

Wait, should I have wished for world peace? DANG IT!

So, like it's mentioned above, Molly's next release, How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf, isn't until Feb, 2011, but in the mean time be sure to check out her backlist and pop on over to visit her website.

Monday, July 12, 2010

INTERVIEW: Nicole Peeler

So, this week author Nicole Peeler was kind enough to answer a couple of questions. Her Jane True series, which is whacky, humourous and, oh yeah, something magical, just recently saw its second book, Tracking the Tempest, released on July 1 and its third, Tempest's Legacy, will be coming out January 1, 2011. So, without further adieu, enjoy!

(1) So, I guess I may as well start with the basics: how exactly did Nicole Peeler break into the publishing world?

Human sacrifice? No, not really. I basically did what every writer does, only speeded up quite a bit. I had an idea for a book, wrote book, figured out how to query agents, queried agents, found an agent, and she sold it. Basically, the way you publish a novel is hard work and research, just like the process of writing a novel is hard work and research. Put in the effort, listen to the advice you're given (rather than assuming you're such a superstar people can't understand your genius), and keep getting back up when you're knocked down--that's how you become a published writer.

(2) Your current series, the Jane True series, is about a half-selkie living in a small town by the Ocean who one day gets thrown in head first into the magic world lying just behind the normal everyday one she’d been living in . At this point, there is only the first book released with the second due out July 1. Do you have a definite idea of where this series is going? Tied to this and “it depends on my publisher/sales” aside, have you an idea how long the series will be?

I am a total plotter/outliner. I would outline you if you sat still for me. So I have a very definite idea where this story is going, and I have exactly six books planned for Jane True. I'm a firm believe in capping series . . . I guess it's from reading Mercedes Lackey as a child. She's a great one for giving her readers a perfect story arc.

(3) In developing Jane's character in the series, do you plot it all out prior to writing each book or are you winging it as you go?

I never wing! Well, I rarely wing. I outline the whole book before I start, in non-specific terms, then I outline each chapter before I write it, filling in chapter elements in later parts of the book as I'm inspired by writing earlier scenes. I think it's a great way to finish a project on time, but I do have to remember I'm not a prisoner of my outline. I have to be responsive . . . sometimes characters do things I'm really not expecting them to do. My third book ends in a way I totally didn't plan on it ending. But it made sense, and it was unexpected, which made it perfect.

(4) Now, Jane’s love interest is this vampire named Ryu. How would you describe their relationship?

Jane and Ryu have fantastic sexual chemistry. Jane's very much an unapologetic hedonist, and so is Ryu. They both enjoy sex, they're both very sensual and they are both very fun people. That said, I don't know if Ryu and Jane are good for each, long term. I don't think even Jane and Ryu know that, yet. They're just getting to know one another, like in real life. When two parties start dating, they're each trying to suss the other out. My goal was to try to create characters who are alive in the sense that we're watching them live, not fulfill the destiny I have planned for them. We all do things that are good or important for us to do, at the time, even if they aren't some sort of final solution to our existence. Jane and Ryu are enjoying one another and seeing where things go, and I, for one, am enjoying watching them do so. :-)

(5) And the story itself? How did you come up with the idea in the first place? Why go with what you did?

I was inspired to write Tempest Rising after reading one of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse books. I'd never read a heroine that wasn't kick ass, and I thought, "I LOVE this idea." So I started to put together what kind of elements I'd need for my own non-kick ass heroine. I did want her to be magical, unlike Sookie, but, again, she couldn't start out fierce. Living in Scotland right on the Firth of Forth, and having been obsessed with Celtic myth as a child, the idea for a Selkie came to me pretty quickly. But then I realized that particular mythology had a lot of limitations . . . what do Selkies do, really, besides bask on rocks and seduce mortals? So then my brain leapt to one of the half-human children of a Selkie. Whenever I'd read Selkie myths I'd wondered about what happened to those children . . . then I realized it was my time to tell their story, they way I imagined it.

(6) There are a lot of faeries floating around your world – was there a lot of research involved? What sources do you use most?

My world isn't necessarily populated by faeries, but by the creatures of various mythologies throughout the world. I studied myth and religion throughout high school and college (I think being raised without religion, at all, made me very curious), so I already had a lot of background not only in folklore, religion, and mythology but also in theories regarding why humans invent these things. So many different people have tried to answer why it's so important to us to have these stories, and why so many of these stories are so similar in otherwise vastly divergent cultures. My book takes the approach that much urban fantasy does . . . we write stories about these creatures because we've seen them. For me, every mythology--from Mayan to Mesopotamian to an urban legend from Manhattan--is possible fodder.

(7) Is writing a full-time job for you? What’s a day-in-the-life-of-Nicole-Peeler like?

In my "real" career I'm an assistant professor at LSU in Shreveport. So my day-to-day life is quite hectic. A normal weekday sees me at the gym, then teaching, and working on book-related stuff whenever I can fit it in. I wouldn't trade my life for the world, but it's requires a lot of work and a lot of organization and prioritizing to be both Dr. Peeler, professor, and Nicole Peeler, author. Last year I really let Nikki Peeler, human being, take a back seat, so that's my goal for this year. Not only get everything done for both jobs, but carve out some "me" time. I'm doing pretty well, so far.

(8) In terms of the writing process, what is the most difficult part for you? Is it starting? Writing certain scenes? Editing or chopping up parts? What about the easiest?

I think editing is the hardest, in some ways. You want to publish the best material possible, and it's important to really engage with the editing process. But I don't get that sheer pleasure in just creating as I do when I'm writing the rough draft. That said, my rough draft is always rough, and there's real pleasure in turning that into a final product I'm really proud to have written. But while I'm editing, it can get a bit frustrating.

(9) How long does it take you to go from idea to finished manuscript?

If I didn't have to work the day job, I'd say I would have about a 4-6 month turn around on an MS form start to finish. with the day job, I'm working at about 6-8 months, roughly. Doing my Ph.D. really helped me learn to organize and execute a big project with efficiency. Personally, I doubt I could ever have become a writer without having done my doctoral work. I just couldn't start, let alone finish, anything.

(10) Have you plans for any other works outside of Jane’s world, or at least Jane’s POV? What’s coming next for you?

I do have big plans that are set in Jane's world but not in Jane's POV. They're characters you hear of in Book 2, and meet in Book 3. But we'll see what happens. Tempest Rising has to sell well before anything else happens.

(11) Finally, some random questions about you:
a. What are your hobbies aside from writing?
I belly dance, cook, read, and travel a lot.
b. Could you please describe your dream day?
Start with yoga or a bout with my friend and trainer, Dawn, at Fitness World here in Shreveport. Then I'd go get a massage. Then I'd do some good work (I'm not really happy if I haven't gotten some work done), and then I'd go for dinner and drinks with friends.
c. If you found a genie, what would be your three wishes?
I'd love a lighter teaching load, but other than that, I'm happy.

You can find the first two Jane True books, Tempest Rising and Tracking the Tempest, in stores now and for further 411 on what's to come check out Nicole online here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

INTERVIEW: Jenna Black

Alright boils and ghouls, here be my first interview since the Unfortunate MIA Period of 2010. The author is Jenna Black, who to date has two adult and one young adult series published, comprising almost a dozen books with more on the way. These books have everything, from vampires to demon possessions to fairies, so there's no chance you won't find something to love. So, without further adieu, enjoy!

(1) So, I guess I may as well start with the basics: how exactly did Jenna Black break into the publishing world?

With great difficulty! I wrote seriously, trying to get published, for about sixteen years before I finally sold WATCHERS IN THE NIGHT, my "first" novel. Actually, that first novel was the 18th I'd written. I came close many times before that with many other books, but I was never quite able to break in. But I kept writing, kept trying, and kept submitting. Being a writer was my dream, and I refused to give up on that dream even when it seemed it was impossible to achieve, which it did many times during those frustrating years of rejection after rejection.

(2) Right now you’ve got three series, one urban fantasy, one paranormal and one young adult. The urban fantasy series features Morgan Kingsley, a demon exorcist who one day finds out she’s hosting the rightful king of the demons. So far four books have been published and a fifth, The Devil’s Playground, is due out in late March. Will this be the last book in the series?

Yes, that's the final book, although there will be at least one more Morgan Kingsley short story, coming out in an anthology sometime next year.

(3) Will there be more instalments in your paranormal series, the Guardians of the Night?

No, that series is finished.

(4) In May your first young adult book, Glimmerglass, will be coming out. What can you tell us about this new series?

The series is about a teen girl named Dana Hathaway, who gets fed up with her alcoholic single mother and runs away from home to find her Fae father in Avalon, the only place in the world where the ordinary world and the world of Faerie intersect. She's hoping to find something more like a normal life, but she gets way more than she bargained for. It turns out she's a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel freely both in the mortal world and in Faerie. She can also bring magic into the mortal world and technology into Faerie. There are a lot of people--including her father--who see her as a potential pawn in a deadly game of Fae politics, and her life is about as far from normal as it's possible to get.

(5) Returning to the Morgan Kingsley series, in developing Morgan's character in the series, do you plot it all out prior to writing each book or are you winging it as you go?

I generally have an idea of where the story starts and where it's going to end. All the stuff in the middle--and the actual details of what's going to happen at the end--doesn't come into focus until I'm elbow-deep in the writing.

(6) Morgan’s world puts a new spin on demon possessions - How did you come up with the idea in the first place? Why go with what you did? And was there a lot of research involved? What sources do you use most?

I wanted my heroine to be involved in a deep-seated, emotional conflict that was too complicated to be resolved within the course of a single book, a conflict that could sustain tension throughout the course of the series. That's why I created a possessed exorcist, but I made Lugh into a good guy because that increased the complexity of the conflict. If Lugh were a villain--depicted more like a traditional demon--then Morgan would just want him gone. The fact that she likes him and wants him to win the fight for the throne adds another layer of complexity to their relationship. Because I completely made up the mythology for my series, only barely touching on the existing mythology about demons, I didn't have to do any substantive research. I generally hate doing research anyway, so I try to steer myself away from projects that would require too much of it. I like to use existing mythology as just a jumping off point, which is true in my other series as well.

(7) Is writing a full-time job for you? What’s a day-in-the-life-of-Jenna-Black like?

Yes, I write full time. I quit my day job right before the economy tanked. (Good timing, huh?) I'm still glad I went full time--I couldn't realistically keep writing two series while working a full time job. Not without burning myself out, that is. A day-in-the-life generally starts with me checking email over coffee, clad in my PJs. I do activities that require minimal brain power while I'm waiting to fully wake up, then I start writing. I usually write in sessions of about one hour at a time. (This varies wildly depending on where I am in the book, and how sure I feel about what happens next.) After an hour or so, I break to do something else, usually more email correspondence, or Twitter chattering, or website maintenance. (It's amazing how many tasks an author must do that have nothing to do with actually writing a book.) I'll then go back for another writing session, and I'll repeat this procedure throughout the day, usually stopping around 5:00 PM. If I'm doing editing, revising, or proofreading, I often do this after my regular work hours, preserving my "prime time" for the most creatively draining work. I do this seven days a week, and almost never take a full day off. I was never a workaholic until I became a full-time writer, but I have to be now or I wouldn't be able to keep up.

(8) In terms of the writing process, what is the most difficult part for you? Is it starting? Writing certain scenes? Editing or chopping up parts? What about the easiest?

The easiest part for me is writing the big climactic scene(s) at the end of the book. By the time I get there, I'm very comfortable that I know how the plot is going to work, I'm totally immersed in all the characters' heads, so I know what they'll do in any given situation, and I've got a good picture in my own head of all the action that's to come. I often have marathon writing sessions when I get to this part, because the momentum carries me right through my supposed break times.

The hardest part varies from book to book. Sometimes, it's the beginning, because I'm just getting to know certain characters and things aren't so clear in my mind yet. Usually, it will come later in the book. There's usually a place where I have big holes in my plan. For example, I might write in my synopsis something like "And then she escapes from the dungeon." That's enough information for a synopsis, but when I find that scene looming on the horizon, I've got to figure out *how* she escapes from the dungeon, and the logistic sometimes leave me stymied for a while.

(9) How long does it take you to go from idea to finished manuscript?

That varies wildly, and it depends on your definition of the word "finished." To get from an idea to a finished first draft probably takes me around three months on average. With me, there's very little delay between getting an idea and starting to write. If I'm excited about something, I feel the need to start writing right away. I don't think I'd have the patience to write anything where I had to do extensive research before I began writing. The drive to write is capricious, and when the desire is burning in me, I have to take advantage of the surge of energy and excitement it gives me. I'll have peaks and valleys during that three-month writing process--times when the words are being forced out one by one and it's all I can do to keep my butt in the chair, and times when I'm so absorbed I forget to eat.

It's much harder for me to say how long it takes before I have a real, finished manuscript, because there's so much stopping and starting along the way. I have to put the manuscript aside for a while to give myself some distance, then I go back and edit. Then I turn it into my editor, and it can take months before I get feedback. Once I get the feedback, I have to go back and revise some more, and then turn it in again and wait for my editor to read it. So from the idea first dawning to the novel actually being in its finished state can easily take a year, even if much of that time is waiting time for me.

(10) What’s coming next for you outside of the Morgan Kingsley and Faeriewalker worlds? Are you planning a new adult series?

I will actually have a new adult urban fantasy series starting in 2011. Unfortunately, it's still Top Secret, and I'm not at liberty to share any details.

(11) Finally, some random questions about you:

a. What are your hobbies aside from writing?

I love ballroom dancing. I take lessons a couple times a week.

b. Could you please describe your dream day?

My dream day is any day when the writing is really flowing. There is no feeling quite like that, when the ideas o are flowing, and I can hardly type fast enough to keep up with them. Those are the days that make all the insecurities and aggravations of being a writer completely worth it.

c. If you found a genie, what would be your three wishes?
It's hard to answer this question and not sound like a cliche. Let's just say that I wouldn't wish for anything for myself. While my life is far from perfect, I am living my dream and am more than satisfied with what I have. I'd probably wish for world peace, a cure for cancer, and an end to hunger, or something unimaginative like that. Unless I suspected it was one of those genies who gave you wishes that always backfired--then I'd make really small wishes that couldn't possibly hurt anyone.


Jenna's first young adult book, Glimmerglass, hit the shelves in May and for further 411 on what's to come check out Jenna online here.