New York Times bestselling authors Maggie Shayne and Marjorie M. Liu, and sizzling newcomers Alyssa Day and Meljean Brook discover the wild instinct in everyone with four all-new stories of feral heat. Fans will get swept away by the passions in the unfathomable depths of Atlantis; they’ll follow the shadows that stalk both the living and the undead in a world of vampires and guardian angels; they’ll enter the forbidden world of the demon horde and their willing victims; and they’ll be privy to the secrets of a beautiful animal-whisperer who’s drawn closer to the most suspect of all male animals — man.
For release day, we cooked up a few questions to ask each other, and we’ll each be posting our answers on our blogs. Click here for the scavenger hunt and contest to win one of four copies of WILD THING!Â
Here are my answers to some really wonderful and fun questions:
I enjoy the chance to develop new characters in novellas, but on the flip side, sometimes I hate not having another 300 pages to continue their stories!! What is your favorite thing about writing a novella? What is your least favorite thing?
Definitely, not having enough space to really dig into the characters, and to explore every nuance of their personality. I love big plots and taking my time to give them big and little obstacles to overcome … but in a novella you just donâ€™t have space for that.
Thatâ€™s also my favorite thing about writing a novella, though — taking that quick look at a character, and the challenge of showing who they are within a short amount of pages. It forces me to get to the core of them, and fast … which isnâ€™t easy for me, but good for me to do. *g*
What is your favorite scene in â€œParadiseâ€ and why?
About three-quarters of the way through the novella, Lucas finally takes a leap … literally. Heâ€™s been repressing a huge part of his nature for spoiler-ish reasons, but thereâ€™s an instant when he realizes he can let go, because Selah will be there to catch him.
In honor of WILD THING, what is the wildest experience you’ve had as an author recently?
Well, there was that time I was cutting it so close to deadline that I flew around the Earth so fast that the flow of time reversed and I got more time to write …
And there was another time that I was at Office Depot buying supplies when a grinning clown came in and I totally put on my tiara and star-spangled-knickers and kicked his ass, all the while juggling two reams of paper and a new laser toner…
Okay, okay. Does trying to write with an almost-four-year-old waving her milk near my keyboard count as an exciting author experience?
Why do you think readers will fall in love with your hero from this book? With your heroine?
When we first see Lucas, heâ€™s just nailed himself to a bit of scaffolding because heâ€™s been drinking animal blood and his judgment is — to say the least — impaired. It was difficult to portray him as a bit slow in the first couple of chapters … but his reasons for choosing the animal blood instead of finding another vampire to drink from hopefully win readers over. Heâ€™s grieving, but thereâ€™s something deeper at work there, too.
And then Selah — sheâ€™s the quiet one in the back of the classroom with a secret smile on her lips. Sheâ€™s in a state of transition, too — and she doesnâ€™t always make the best decisions, but most of them are defensive maneuvers. Yet when she meets Lucas she feels comfortable to be herself, precisely because he is a stranger (and because, like her, he has a habit of telling really dumb jokes). But once she gets to know him better, she canâ€™t erect the same barriers she does with everyone else.
Do you have any pre-writing or during-writing rituals or habits you use to get your muses flowing?
My biggest pre-writing ritual are the photos and research — I take a ton of visuals for characters, locations … and then the research takes me down so many paths that Iâ€™m often like, â€œOMG Iâ€™ve got to use that!â€ I donâ€™t always, but it gives me a huge base to jump from, places in both character and plot to go … itâ€™s really exciting. And I keep gathering that information and those visuals as I go along.
In this particular story, what actor and actress would you choose to play the leading roles?
Hmm … this is always tough, because I can see flashes of similarities at times, but not in others. On a purely superficial level, I think Dylan McDermott for Lucas, and Scarlett Johansson mixed with Jessica Stam.
Give us a movie-style voice-over for your story, beginning with the words:
“In a world…”
In a world where vampires roam the night, thereâ€™s something worse coming their way … and it intends to make them prey.
But one Guardian is determined that one vampire community doesnâ€™t go to its knees … although if the vampire who leads them does, she knows just how to make him cry mercy…
Just for fun, what is your favorite movie in the paranormal genre?
Today, I think itâ€™s DARK CITY.
You’re on a street corner in the middle of winter and must sell enough books to put food on the table for those ten hungry mouths waiting at home! What do you tell passing readers about THE GUARDIANS, your superfine paranormal romance series?
If I had a bunch of hungry mouths to feed at home, Iâ€™d be stripping … okay, Iâ€™ve been eating so much junk food lately that wouldnâ€™t get me much money, either.
The Guardians series — Itâ€™s classic good vs evil, with demons and nosferatu ready to destroy all of mankind with just a few Guardians (and vampires) standing in their way. Thereâ€™s sword fights and blood and romance and wayhawtsex … but the heart of the series is looking at all of the shades of gray in the characters, and pulling out what it means for them to be â€œgoodâ€ or not. And itâ€™s different for each one. And so I hope that means each story will be fresh and something not-quite-like anything else out there …
Now give me my money because my babies are hunnnnnnngggggggggrrrry!
Your road to literary success has all the makings of a fairy-tale, and while I’m sure you’ve told the story ad nauseam, I get tickled every time I hear it. So please, indulge me again. Or else.
You know, I really lucked out — Iâ€™d been writing fan fiction with a couple of my favorite comic book characters for a couple of years, but I realized that I was ready to move on. Iâ€™d always loved paranormal romances (ahhh! Maggie Shayneâ€™s WINGS IN THE NIGHT series from Silhouette Shadows honestly changed my world when it came to seeing how romances and creatures in the night could be wonderful and dark and sexy in romance) and so I began a story called TEMPTING HUGH about a demon and an angel-like figure caught in a struggle with Lucifer and battling their attraction and admiration for one another…
So I was about 30K words into it when I got an e-mail from Cindy Hwang, who edits for Berkley. And she said that she really liked my fanfic, had read the bit of TEMPTING HUGH that I had online, and wanted to offer me a chance to write a novella for her in the same Guardian universe.
I totally jumped at it.
Of course, it wasnâ€™t quite that easy — TEMPTING HUGH was really terrible, but she gave me some fantastic advice. I ended up reworking and re-envisioning the series for another nine months before I got the contract, and the story turned into DEMON ANGEL.
Batman and Wonder Woman. Mulder and Scully. Angels and Demons. What makes all of them so interesting as teams and as couples? And while we’re on the subject, if you had a chance to write for comics or television, what characters would you most like to tackle and why?
Itâ€™s the friction. With Batman and Wonder Woman, with Mulder and Scully, youâ€™ve got two people who are looking for the same thing, but who go about it in completely different ways. Batman and Wonder Woman are both looking to make the world a safer, better place … but Batman takes the vigilante route while Wonder Woman tries to lead by example. Batman lives in the shadows, Wonder Woman is out there in her swimsuit. But when it comes down to it, they get down and dirty and do everything they can to stop the bad guys from hurting anyone.
Mulder and Scully are both looking for the truth — but again, through different means … and they donâ€™t agree on what that truth is. Hugh and Lilith … well, they take a lot longer to get to the same place, but they rub and wear and tear at each other until they get down to the core — and recognize that, essentially, what theyâ€™re after is the same thing.
But getting there? Whoa boy.
ETA: Oh oh! I forgot the second part of the question — I’d love to write Wonder Woman. I love strong female characters, but I think she’d be especially challenging in making her likable … because on the surface, she’s so freaking perfect. Someone like Batman, he’s kind of easy — he’s wonderful, but easy. He’s got built-in angst and conflict, and he’s never going to be boring. But how do you get across how fun and wonderful someone like Diana is? And how absolutely and amazingly strong she is … when it’s kind of easy for her to be strong?
There would be an enormous challenge there, I think … I don’t know if I could pull it off, but given the opportunity I’d definitely try.
What are you writing next?
Currently, Iâ€™m working on the third full-length novel in the series, DEMON NIGHT. Iâ€™ve got a hero who was an outlaw in the Old West, a heroine with a lot of problems of her own (being stalked by vampires is just one of them) … and I get to open up another part of the over-reaching story arc in the series, which makes me very excited.
Thank you, ladies!