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Archive for the ‘interviews’ Category

Hey guys!  We’ve got a guest with us today…Michelle Lauren.  Michelle has a book coming out from Liquid Silver in the near future and she’s also a finalist in the AMERICAN TITLE V.

Hope you enjoy her visit with us!

V&S: Okay…standard questions all us writers get asked.  😉  Which came first…oh, wait.  Wrong question.  When did you first start writing?

Michelle Lauren: I first started writing professionally six years ago as a freelancer. At that point, I wasn’t sure what facet of the publishing world I wanted to go into, but I knew it needed to be challenging yet allow me to flex my creative muscle.

My big break came in an amusing way. I’d been trying (unsuccessfully) to get one of my articles published. On a fluke, I interviewed an literary agent who was also a member of my RWA Yahoo group. When the editor of Romance Writers Report, the monthly magazine for Romance Writers of America, passed on my article, I offered to provide my literary agent interview on spec. She accepted and that’s how I got my recurring gig as the Agent Spotlight columnist.

At the time, I thought “on spec” meant pro bono; so getting the first check in the mail was a BIG surprise! But it was a welcome one. After that, I worked as an editor at Cobblestone Press, which was so fun and educational. Working as an editor helped me hone my writing skills and I’ll be forever grateful to the wonderful staff for taking a chance on me.

V&S: Is there any story that you wish you hadn’t written? Is there any story that someone else wrote that you wish you’d thought of first?

Michelle Lauren:

To the first question: Absolutely not. Every story – even the duds – taught me something. Not to say that I’ll publish everything I write (some of my early novels make me cringe in hindsight). It’s like that adage: you have to go through the hard times (in this case, the dud manuscripts) to appreciate the good times.

To the second question:

This is a tie for me. It’s between A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket and L.A. Banks’ The Vampire Huntress stories. Both books are so unique and creative; they pushed boundaries on what was expected from stories in those respective genres – children’s/intermediate fiction and paranormal fiction. That’s what made them memorable and so enjoyable.

V&S: What kind of stories do you write?

Michelle Lauren: I write multicultural urban fantasies. I adore this genre because it allows me to blend my favorite things: the fantastical elements and action of comic books with the happily ever after of romances.

Two of the books I’m most proud of are Starstruck and How to Tame a Harpy. Starstruck (coming in 2009 from Liquid Silver Books) is about a love shy celestial star that crash lands on earth, where her kind are hunted for their life-prolonging energy. Rescue comes in the form of a jaded hero whose touch melts her resistance, but whose past threatens to destroy them both.

How to Tame a Harpy (a story about a love shy harpy with a temper that has a mind of its own, and a genetically-enhanced bad boy with the ability to shapeshift into stone) is a finalist in Romantic Times magazine’s American Title V competition, a contest based on the popular show American Idol. Except instead of winning a record deal, the winner receives a book contract with Dorchester Publishing.

It’s a really cool contest because it gets readers involved in voting for their favorite book. Each round of voting is themed. Round 3 (Best Story Summary) starts January 19th – February 1st, 2009. To learn more, visit my site: www.michellelaurenbooks.com.

V&S: What is one thing about you that surprises people?

Michelle Lauren: I think I’m most surprised when people behave cruelly or do vindictive things.
V&S: Name five books you think every romance reader should read.

Michelle Lauren:

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. This is an unconventional love story that delivers in every aspect: passion (the exchanges between Teacake and Janie are both steamy and cathartic); humor; voice; and making a social statement. This is a December-May romance, with Teacake being the younger man and Janie being a woman twice married but never divorced (ponder that for a moment; yeah, she was ahead of her time).

Shakespeare. So many modern stories and movies rehash his tales that it pays to know them well.

A Dance Through Time by Lynn Kurland: No matter how many times I read this book (and it’s been many), I never get tired of this. It’s a time travel romance where a contemporary woman travels back in time to Scotland and falls in love with the cranky but gorgeous Highland laird. This is a PG romance, and one of my favorite stories.

This is All I Ask by Lynn Kurland: Ms. Kurland has a knack for sweet romances that keep you coming back for more. This book features an unconventional romance between the Dragon of Blackmour and his unlikely bride. I’m a sucker for jaded men and heroines with inner strength. I also loved that the hero of this book is blind. And he still kicks butt in an utterly believable way

The Taming of Jessi Rose by Beverly Jenkins: What can I say about Ms. Jenkins except that she knows her craft and never disappoints? This book is a Western and isn’t exactly a May-December pairing; the indomitable Jessi Rose is 32 to Griffin’s 25, but I liked that aspect of their relationship. Both are fighters and their chemistry is undeniable.

Michelle, thanks for coming by! For the readers, you can read more about Michelle at her site

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Interview with Marjorie M. Liu

Vamps and Scamps Blog Interview with Marjorie M. Liu:

V&S: What were some of your favorite t.v. shows/cartoons growing up? Did any influence your imagination to write the wildly creative stories you come up with?

Marjorie M. Liu: Oh, my. I had (and still have) a serious love for TRANSFORMERS, THUNDERCATS, DANGER MOUSE, DIAPER BOY, GI JOE, and later, GARGOYLES. And while I can’t say for sure what influence those cartoons have had over me, I’m certain that there wasn’t any harm done to my imagination – or my love for the wild and crazy. It’s all good, man. My one regret is that I don’t see the same quality of animated television on the networks anymore.

V&S: Was there anything in particular that inspired the Dirk and Steele books?

Marjorie M. Liu: At its most basic level, TIGER EYE is what started it all, and that book began – as they usually do – with a first line that I could not turn away from. I wrote those words, and simply had to keep going – and going, and going – until a month later, I had a book. It was like my brain had caught on fire. I ate, breathed, and dreamed that book – with little thought to the future, or whether it would make a good series. Though, admittedly, at the end it did cross my mind, and I marketed it as such when I began submitting to the slush piles.

So, TIGER EYE was the root. But the inspiration for the entire series was the characters, the desire to explore the idea of family and trust and friendship, all of which are tremendously important to me.

V&S: What type of research have you done for your books?

Marjorie M. Liu: When it comes to researching settings, I’ve traveled a lot, which has helped in some instances, but in others, I rely heavily on interviews, books, local newspapers, the internet, documentaries, and so on. Every little bit helps when striving for the soul of a place. As for other types of research, I use the same strategy. You do the best you can.

V&S: What is one thing about you that surprises people?

Marjorie M. Liu: I’m the wrong person to ask! I’m the most boring person I know.

V&S: Name three books that you’ve read recently.

Marjorie M. Liu:

KILLING FLOOR by Lee Child (this is my third reading of that book)

HELL AND BACK by Frank Miller (second reading)

THE KNIFE THROWER by Steven Millhauser

V&S: Name three books that you want to read soon.

Marjorie M. Liu:

HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones

IF HIS KISS WAS WICKED by Jo Goodman

RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES by Scott Lynch

V&S: I’ve heard you have a serious love for Wolverine. Is this true?

Marjorie M. Liu: Is that a trick question? Ha! Yes, Wolverine will always have a special place in my heart. Right alongside Batman, Superman, Captain Malcom Reynolds, Dr. Who, Vincent (from Beauty and the Beast), and many others.

V&S: What are you working on right now?

Marjorie M. Liu: THE IRON HUNT, which is the first book in my new Urban Fantasy series about a woman covered in living tattoos – her own demonic army. Set for release, I believe, in July 2008. You can find out more at my website.

Marjorie is giving away a Dirk & Steele tote bag. To enter, all you have to do is join in the conversation… FYI, comment as much and as often as you like, however, you’ll only be entered in the drawing once. Sadly, I feel the need to point out that wordpress does log IPs and that’s how your name will be drawn, so please don’t try posting under separate names. Yes, ladies, it’s sad, but it’s happened several times with my contests. Thanks for understanding! Contest will run from now until… oh… hmmmm… Sunday afternoon because I’m heading out of town.  Marjorie will try to drop by to ask questions, so ask away!~Shi

Marjorie, thanks for joining us and for offering such a cool prize. BTW, I just finished Tiger Eye and I can’t believe I waited so long to read it. Talk about… goooooooodddd…….

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Today’s interview is with Alison Kent and as always, the questions were ones I collected from readers.

V&S: What type of research did you have to do for your SG-5 series?

AK: That would depend on each book. For The Bane Affair, I did a lot of research into upstate New York, and had a reader tell me that she lived in the area and felt as if she was reading about her home turf. That was nice. I did the same for The Samms Agenda, learning about the Everglades and Miami.

For The Perfect Stranger, I had to figure helicopter speed, helicopter make/model, and flight time between the northern coast of South America to the U.S. I had maps of Mexico spread out while writing The McKenzie Artifact, and the same for West Texas when writing Larger Than Life. For LTL, I also read a lot about Warren Jeffs and his polygamous followers.

I also research weapons, and am lucky enough to have a source for computer information in both my husband and stepson. Sometimes it can be something as small as the abacus I put into the hands of the villain in The Bane Affair who also suffered from a disease I based on ALS. Once the research is done, I don’t mind taking literary license to fit the story!

V&S: Regarding the SG-5 series, are you sad to see the end of those Hunky guys? Are you going to do another similar series?

AK: I have 3 more books contracted with Brava, and 2 of those will be SG-5 related featuring Simon Baptiste and Finn McClain who both appeared in Deep Breath. After those two, I’m not sure if I’ll do a story for Gideon Martel (another operative who got screen time in Beyond a Shadow and was mentioned briefly in The Samms Agenda), or if I’ll do something new. I’ll figure that out (with the help of my editor) later this year!

V&S: As an avid (rabid?) fan, I’m wondering what role, if any, do your readers play in your writing? Do they motivate you? Drive you crazy? Do you remember comments they make about particular books and/or characters that inspire the molding or development of future books/characters?

AK: I love hearing from fans, but I can’t say I’ve changed anything or molded anything based on reader feedback. I did ask readers if they’d like to read about Finn or Simon next, but then since Simon’s story came to me first, I had to honor the muse! Still, I listen to all of the comments readers make, and probably at some subliminal level do stress the parts of the stories they’ve told me they like, and maybe back off on others!

V&S: What makes a scene sexy?

AK: The unknown. The tension. The waiting. I’ve read a couple of things lately that have just knocked my socks off and given me that bottom-dropped-out-of-the-stomach sensation. Love that!

V&S: What was the inspiration for the SG-5 series?

AK: Oh, the TV show Alias, totally! Fun adventure that’s so far out there it requires a huge suspension of disbelief. But that’s what’s so much fun, making it all about the characters even when the situations might seem implausible. My adventures are pure fantasy just as are vampires and werewolves!

V&S: What are you reading right now?

AK: I’m reading a Silhouette Desire by new author Tessa Radley. I’ll probably grab Holly Black’s Tithe next, then maybe Tami Hoag’s The Alibi Man. I read all over the place!

Thank you, Alison! Guys, Alison is going to drop by the blog at some point on Thursday, so if you have questions of your own…have at it!

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On thursday!

www.alisonkent.com

We’ll be posting questions selected by readers from the ScampsVampsandSpicyRomance loop and Alison will also drop by and maybe answer some questions from the blogger.

:o) Hope to see you.

Shi
www.shilohwalker.com

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This and That

I totally forgot I was blogging today.

So we’ll just do a hodge podge kind of thing.

Karen Scott is posting her results from her racism in publishing survey.

I’m still running the contest for Alison Kent’s The Perfect Stranger. And there’s the BOMContest running thru my blog as well.

Speaking of Alison Kent, she’s agreed to do an interview here on the blog and we’ll be posting that probably next week. I’ll try to remember to post ahead of time when I get a firm date. And…(pardon me while I have a fangirl moment… SQUEAL) Okay, that’s done. Lynn Viehl is doing an interview for us, too! For those who don’t know me, I’m a total groupie when it comes to anything written by Lynn Viehl, no matter what name she is writing under, SL Viehl, Lynn Viehl, Jessica Hall, Gena Hale… I love them all. But I promise I’ll try to let you all have a shot at asking her questions, too. No guarantees.

Spring Break is coming up here and next week, we’re heading to Gatlinburg for a few days. I love Gatlinburg, all the touristy trappy stuff, and I love the mountains. It’s been a while since we went and we haven’t gone any place that far away with the baby bratlet so this oughta be interesting. To say the least.

Had a few books out the past few weeks, released early but hey, I don’t care. I don’t see me hitting the best seller lists, so I don’t care if they hit the shelves early or not at this point. Hunters: Heart and Soul is selling at BN.com and Lover From Another World is selling at all the online places.

Okay… did I ramble on enough? Lol. Y’all have a good week…I gotta get to work!

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Alison Kent!

Hey guys!

Alison Kent is going to be joining us for the release of her upcoming book, The Perfect Stranger. Not sure of the day yet, but I’ll post it when I know.

Should be in the next week or two.

Hope you can join us~

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Interview with Bad Barb

The infamous Bad Barb, even…

I would have had this posted earlier, but my server through me off for some reason. I’m really starting to dislike them…. gggrrrr….

Onto the interview~

For those not familiar with Bad Barb, she’s a reviewer who likes to lock authors in closets. I had the wonderful idea to turn the tables on her and lock HER up. OKAY… Okay… I didn’t really lock her up but if she threatens me with that closet, I dunno what I might do. ;o) On the Scamps and Vamps look, and other place… I’ve seen people ask Barb where she got her nickname from, how she gets all the ARCs she gets, who she has locked up and more. So today, we’re asking her!

FYI, if you have questions for Barb, related to things like reading or reviewing or authors, feel free to ask. To make it more fun, I’m giving away a prize to one reader that participates today. BTW, I define participation as joining into the discussion… asking questions, offering opinions…something like… Hey, How ya doing… isn’t going to quite make the drawing. So ask away. Ask as many questions as you like, however, names only go into the drawing one time.

First questions and Barbs answers are below!

V&S) What author that you have not met would you like to meet?

BB)There are two, Carole Mortimer who writes for Harlequin Presents, and Miranda Lee who lives in Australia and also writes for HP.

V&S) Where did you get tne name “Bad Barb” from?

BB) I actually got the nickname from Stella Cameron. I met her on the Writerspace email loop back when it started and there was a contest at Diana Palmer’s web site that I wanted to win, and someone else did too (Janey) and we kept going back and forth saying what we would do to get the prize and I can’t remember what I said but after that comment Stella said, your bad, your bad Barb and it stuck. 🙂

V&S) Do you really own a pair of handcuffs?

BB) I will never tell. hehe

V&S) How did you get started reading romances? How about reviewing them?

BB)Started reading Harlequins when I was 14, although there were a few books I picked up in the library that had some romance in it when I was ten. I would read the book while waiting to meet my mom for lunch and there was a book rack in front of lunch counter. 🙂

Lori Foster actually got me started, I had met her at the WS email loop and she asked me if I had read everything she had written so far and I said yes, ( I have been reading her since the very beginning) and she sent me In Too Deep and I reviewed it at Amazon and BN and a few other authors liked what I did and they started sending me stuff.

V&S)If you could get any author locked up in your closet, who and why?

BB) I couldn’t lock up just one author, I would lock up all my favorites and keep them in there so they can keep writing.

Got more questions? Ask away. Come on… you know you want to get back at her for how often she teased you about those ARCs….

Shi
http://www.shilohwalker.com

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