This past October I was introduced to a new author who has written a new paranormal series that blew my mind. That author is Jeaniene Frost who has penned an on-going series about a half-vampire, half-human woman named Cat. In Jeaniene's first book, Halfway To the Grave, Cat's sole purpose was to kill any vampire she could find and along the way she found her soul mate in that of Bones, a vampire. (Kind of ironic, don't you think?) It has been a long time since a new author has made such an impression. The sequel, One Foot in the Grave, is to be released next week and if you read my review I posted here, you know that I have become a true fan of this wonderful series and the author who has penned it.
**I also recommend you go to my Comic Con buddy's blog. Christine has just posted her own review of One Foot in the Grave. She of course was the one responsible for introducing me to Jeaniene. *G**
I wrote to Jeaniene after I finished reading One Foot in the Grave and asked if she wouldn't mind doing an interview. As you can see she said yes! :)
You are pretty active on your own blog. How has having a blog helped with your creative processes? Do you think it is important for authors to have websites and keep their readers in the loop about what is going on in their lives, whether it is personal or professional?
Jeaniene: How has having a blog helped with my creative process? *laughs* It's a great way to procrastinate, for one! I can burn hours of time blogging and reading my friend's blogs. It can be truly addictive.
But, with proper restraints, I think blogs are great for authors. I know I love getting a peek into my favorite author's activities through their blogs, and it's a quick easy way for readers to connect with authors. Websites, in today's internet world, are essential for authors. I check author websites all the time for release date info, excerpts, appearances, interviews, etc. Plus, a website can be an easy way to get a feel for an author's "style", too.
Your Night Huntress series is categorized under "Urban Fantasy Romance". Do you think being labeled under a certain genre helps sell books or limits your target audience?
Jeaniene: Both, actually. We all know romance outsells any other fiction, but as my books teeter on the edge of urban fantasy and romance (hence them being called urban fantasy romance :), having that romance label has turned off some UF readers, who don't venture into the romance aisles because they want more UF elements versus romantic ones in a book. And having as many UF elements in my novels as I do has turned off some romance readers, who wanted more emphasis on the relationship between my characters versus external plot complications.
I do respect the need for labels, so consumers can get a good idea about the product they're spending their hard-earned money on. As an author shelved primarily in romance, I know I need to deliver a HEA for my characters. And I will. There will just be some UF issues and complications that need to be dealt with first.
The writing process has always intrigued me. Are you the type who needs total quiet and writes in their PJ's, or with music playing in the background and staying up all night drink a ton of caffeine?
Jeaniene: I like quiet when I'm writing, but I use music to help get in the mood for writing. Yes, I've been caught writing in my PJ's, LOL, and there have been more than a few nights when large quantities of caffeine were imbibed so that I could make a deadline. I don't have a particular time of day that I'm more productive - though I will say that I dislike writing very early in the morning. This is probably because writing while half-asleep results in the most revisions later from my editor ;)
I have so many books in my TBR pile it is not even funny. How many books do you have pending to be read and what are some of their titles?
Jeaniene: *looks over at bookshelf* Um, I have a lot of books in my TBR pile. Here are a few of them:
TOUCH OF TWILIGHT, by Vicki Pettersson (currently reading and loving this)
MAGIC BURNS, by Ilona Andrews
THE OUTLAW DEMON WAILS, by Kim Harrison
UNDEAD AND UNEASY, by Mary Janice Davidson
BY VENOM'S SWEET STING, Tiffany Trent
THE BLEEDING DUSK, by
THE SMOKE THIEF, by Shana Abe
BLOODSUCKING FIENDS, by Christopher Moore
ONCE BITTEN, TWICE SHY by Jennifer Rardin
One Foot in the Grave is the sequel to Halfway to the Grave. Did you have a sequel planned all along or was this something that came up after you finished writing Halfway to the Grave?
Jeaniene: When I first started writing, I never intended it to be more than one book. Hey, I didn't even know if I could finish one book. That was something I'd procrastinated about for twenty years, is there any wonder I didn't set a goal to do a series when I started?
But, when I was about midway through my first version of Halfway to the Grave, I knew there was no way I could get Cat and Bones's entire story out in one book. So I finished that novel, and immediately started on the second book. Then when I finished that and realized I still had more story to tell, I started on the third book. Then when I finished that and knew I still wasn't done, I was about to start on the fourth book when my husband said, "Uh, honey, shouldn't you try to sell the first book before writing several more in the series?" Yeah, good point ;). That pushed me to start querying agents. Finally, many rewrites of Halfway to the Grave later, I was signed by Rachel Vater and then sold to Erika Tsang at Harper.
Tell me something about Cat or Bones I wouldn't necessarily catch?
Jeaniene: Bones loved his mother, despite his very odd upbringing. One of the reasons he so relentlessly pursues Hennessey in Halfway to the Grave is because Hennessey preys on prostitutes. Since Bones was the son of a prostitute, Bones takes that very personally.
Because of Cat's frigid family environment and her disastrous first relationship, she has a very hard time letting anyone - even herself - know how much certain people mean to her. It's a classic emotional defense mechanism of reject-someone-so-they-can't-reject-you-first. This may be a "duh" obvious trait of Cat's, but sometimes, certain readers think she acts in ways because she doesn't care, when in reality, she cares so much that she hides from the emotional vulnerability it causes.
Sex scenes, especially in romance, are critical to moving the story along and bring out the underlying emotions in the main couple. How important is it to you to write a key love scene, especially between Cat and Bones who are very passionate and struggle with their animalistic natures?
Jeaniene: I treat sex scenes the same way I do fight scenes: I don't want them to ever be gratuitous, I want them to evoke emotion in a reader, and I want the details to be clear so that readers can feel like they're seeing what's happening. This is TMI for some people, and not enough for others, LOL.
Seriously, I try not to let my own personal shyness/morality/boundaries dictate what happens sexually with my characters. I am NOT my characters, so their actions shouldn't be filtered through my internal censures. I sure as hell don't write a sex scene with the thought that my parents will one day read it (and they do, but I cringe and pretend they didn't see those scenes :).
I try to be as in character writing sex as I am writing any other scene, and that means sometimes, my characters will embarrass the hell out of me with what they do (Katie, you know whereof I speak *wink*). But to do anything less isn't being true to them as a writer, in my opinion. So I write sex scenes as I think they would unfold with my characters if I wasn't peeking in their bedroom door, then I wait to see if my editor censors anything for public consumption (side note: she hasn't yet).
You wake up one morning and, BAM, you are a character in a book. Would you want to be either a vampire, werewolf or shift changing seal woman known as a selkie. What would your name be and how would you spend your day/night?
Jeaniene: Oh, I'd have to say vampire. Hello, RESEARCH
Jeaniene has so kindly donated both, Halfway to the Grave and One Foot in the Grave for a contest. *G*. I welcome any questions or comments you have for Jeaniene. But to make this really interesting why don't you tell us which character you would want to be and what your name would be? Would you be a sexy vamp, a crazed werewolf or some other character all together? Whoever posts will be eligible to win both these books and you have the whole weekend to come up with something creative.
Katiebabs (KB) who wouldn't mind being the Queen of the zombies. But the zombies must be hot men who look like Richard Armitage or Gerard Butler and craze sex and not flesh. My name will be Katrina who always has perfect windblown red hair!