Fictionista, Foodie, Feline-lover

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Nuyorican Noir writer Richie Narvaez tapped me for The Next Big Thing (read what he had to say about HIS next big thing here). If you haven't read his outstanding short story collection Roachkiller and Other stories, do yourself a favor and buy it for Christmas. Or you can sample his story "Hurricane" for 99 cents.

The idea is that everyone on the blog tour answers the same questions, then taps another five writers to move it forward. Here are my answers:

1) What is the working title of your current/next book?  Misbegotten.

2) Where did the idea come from?  Several years ago I wrote a story about a vampire with senile dementia for John Donald Carlucci's Astonishing Adventures Magazine. The protagonist of the story was a crime reporter named Kira Simkins and I really enjoyed the world of the story (a not-so-normal Los Angeles), so much so that I've written around 20 or so stories set in the world since then, some with Kira and some without, but all about supernatural crime.  I decided I wanted to write a larger story for Kira, who is a "misbegotten," a not-quite-human born of a mother who was bitten by a vampire while pregnant with her. That's where the title came from. 

3) What genre does your book fall under? Urban fantasy melded with mystery with a dash of noir.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?  Liv Tyler or Selma Blair for Kira. The vampire in charge of L.A. in my story is a folksy, avuncular guy who hides his evil under a bland exterior so that you only get glimpses of what he's really like. Scott Wilson or Beau Bridges would be perfect. For Michael Etebari, the head of a security company and the alpha wolf of a local werewolf pack, I'd love Oded Fehr. Kira is older than she looks (a benefit of her "Misbegotten blood" that means she's slow to age), so her on-again/off-again love interest, John Dannon (head of LAPD's paranormal crime unit) is the same age but looks older. Idris Elba would be wonderful.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  A paranormal crime reporter is caught up in a power struggle when war between vampire factions breaks out in Los Angeles.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I've had a nibble of interest from an agent but the book will be published under the Dark Valentine imprint that I run jointly with Joy Sillesen. (Dark Valentine's latest books are the Nightfalls anthology and Christine Pope's fantasy romance Dragon Rose.)

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft?  I've been working on it off and on since forever, it seems like, but once I got started in earnest, about six months. I hope to have it done by January 15 at the latest.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series; Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series; Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville books.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?  Well, isn't everyone writing a novel? Basically I wanted to stretch my boundaries. I'm  pretty comfortable writing short stories, but I really wanted to explore my supernatural city and my characters. I also wanted to write a paranormal book that made these creatures seem real and not just fantasy objects with tattooed shoulders and shimmering skin. That was how the first story about the senile vampire (called "Tired Blood") came about. I wondered how a really old vampire's mind would hold out.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?  I think I've created a spin on the tired old tropes, offering an Urban Fantasy about characters that have a ring of reality about them whether they're human or not. There are no tramp stamps here and no emo longings for forbidden love. Kira has a very practical attitude toward the paranormals in her circle (who include shape-shifters and were-bears and goblins and fire demons, not just the usual vamps and weres)--they're all monsters. Sleeping with monsters never ends well, in her opinion. You either end up a monster yourself, or you end up dead. 

The writers I'm tagging are:  Canadian horror writer G. Wells Taylor, whose vanpire novel Bent Steeple is one of my favorite books.

Christine Pope, whose lush fantasy romances and zippy contemporary novels are entertaining and smart. Check out her latest, Dragon Rose.

Kat Laurange who's a double menace--a writer and an illustrator who balances a career, a life as a wife and mother, and half a dozen other responsibilities. I'm a hard worker but she makes me look like a slacker. 

Steven Luna, a friend of a friend whose story for the Nightfalls anthology ("Last Shift") was just superb. Check out his Joe Vampire stories.

Joanne Renaud, also a writer and illustrator whose romance novella, Question of Time, has just been published by Champagne Press.

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