HARD BITTEN | Chicagoland Vampires Book Four |NAL | 5/3/11
Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals--and they're camping outside of Cadogan House with protest signs that could turn to pitchforks at any moment. Inside its doors, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan are ... tense. But then the mayor of Chicago calls Merit and Ethan to a clandestine meeting and tells them about a violent vamp attack that has left three women missing. His message is simple: get your House in order. Or else.
Merit needs to get to the bottom of this crime, but it doesn't help that she can't tell who's on her side. So she secretly calls in a favor from someone who's tall, dark, and part of underground vamp group that may have some deep intel on the attack. Merit soon finds herself in theheady, dark heart of Chicago's supernatural society--a world full of vampires who seem to ready to fulfill the protesting human's worst fears, and a place where she'll learn that you can't be a vampire without getting a little blood on your hands...
Please describe your writing environment.
I have a day job, so I usually write in the evening, in my pajamas, on the couch beside my fiance, Jeremy. He plays xBox while I write on my Apple laptop. (The writing occurs in between playing with the dogs and baking, which are my favorite forms of procrastination.)
Tell us your latest news!
HARD BITTEN is the fourth novel in my Chicagoland Vampires series. Merit, a new vampire who's been selected Sentinel of the her House, has already dealt with a shapeshifter convention and a Master who can't make up his mind about her. Now the city's mayor--the dark and brooding Seth Tate--is on her case as well. She's tasked with cleaning up violent vampire attacks in the city, but can the story really be that simple?
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I love Diana Gabaldon, who writes the Outlander series, and J.D. Robb, who writes the In Death series. Both feature strong heroines and dedicated heroes, and both have a fabulous attention to detail. Claire, the heroine of Outlander, is a stubborn physician thrown back into 18th Century America and Scotland, and Eve, the heroine of In Death, is a cop in 21st Century New York. Both work with their partners to solve various problems, and the dynamics are fabulous!
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I went through a phase in which I read a lot of books. So many, in fact, that I was convinced there was nothing else to read. (This was before the surge in PNR and UF titles). With nothing to read, I tried my hand at writing a bit of fan fiction just to have something to do. I decided it might be better to try my hand at writing something with my own characters. SOME GIRLS BITE was the second manuscript I wrote. I sent it to one publisher (Penguin) and they bought it! My road to publication was mercifully short. :)
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing. Stop worrying about "being published" and focus instead on your skills. Do you write good sentences? If not, practice. Take a class. Read more books to get a feel for writing. Do you write good stories? If not, practice. Take a class. Read more books to get a feel for writing. :)
What main genre do you write in?
Paranormal / Urban Fantasy
What's been the most challenging part of writing for you?
Writing to a deadline isn't nearly as much fun as writing for the sake of writing. When I'm on a tight deadline, I have to meet a word count each day. That makes the writing often feel like a chore or job rather than a creative exercise. But some days are definitely better than others, and the finished project is usually worth it.
What book are you reading now? What are your thoughts on it?
I am currently reading a non-fiction book: CHINA ROAD by Rob Gifford. It's part travelogue, part social history, part cultural history about China, and a very interesting read!
Tell us all about "The Call" or "The Email"!
ACK! The CALL!!! Well, the voicemail, actually. I was at the airport, ready to board a flight to New York for a day job trip. (The day job I still have, actually.) I got a voicemail while going through security, and when I went through and checked my phone, it was my now-editor telling me she loved my (unsolicited, slush pile) manuscript and wanted to chat. The offer came by phone while I was in Kate's Paperie in Manhattan. It was completely dumbfounding and awesome. But I think I managed not to cry. :)
Do you have any animals? Do they influence your writing?
I have two dogs--a three year old bichon/maltese mix (Baxter) and a two year old miniature schnauzer mix (Scout). Scout is named after a character in my Dark Elite series. Baxter's middle name is Sullivan, after Ethan Sullivan in my Chicagoland Vampires series. I wouldn't say they influence my writing per se, however. :)
Thank you for having me today!