Oh those funny authors
Thank you for hosting us today during out whirlwind blog tour for Vampires Gone Wild. Kerrelyn Sparks, Pamela Palmer, Amanda Arista, and Kim Falconer are here today to tell you about the strange life of being paranormal writers.
So this recent anthology is all about Vampires, do you ever come up with anything so wild that you scare yourself, that leaves you wondering where that came from?
Kerrelyn Sparks: There are times when the characters surprise me and say or do something really crazy. If I tell them they can’t do that, they tell me to buzz off. Also, my heroes tend to kiss the heroines without my permission, before I was planning for them to do it. If I object, they smirk at me.
Pamela Palmer: Oh, yes, all the time. My imagination seems to be fascinated by the things that used to give me nightmares. Starting with vampires!
Amanda Arista: Going to echo everyone else on this one. Yes, especially when I’m trying to really test a character. When you are really testing a character’s metal, you have to pit them against their personal darkest fear. For some, that’s being buried alive in a coffin seven feet below the surface where they can still hear the living, or putting them in them in a dark alley with a monster and nothing to protect themselves.
Kim Falconer: Oh yes. Particularly with characters that are over the top, or emotionally on the edge. To write them, you have to ‘go there’ in your mind. You have to ask, what would it be like to have that perspective? The answers come out in the writing, and it can be terrifying. When that happens, the up side is, you know you’re on to something good! Something real.
Since you all are multi-published authors, what would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
KS: Thinking my characters are real with minds of their own (see above comment).
PP: I always listen to music when I write—Keiko Matsui’s new age jazz instrumentals. I turn on the music when I sit down to write and turn it off when I get up, even if it’s just to refill my coffee mug. Hearing that music puts my mind in instant writing mode.
AA: Coffee. It’s not so much the caffeine as the ritual of making the coffee. My brain knows that when I go to make the cup of coffee that it’s writing time. With the biggest mug that I can find, I can start my writing. Same works at coffee shops. A cup of black coffee with a splash of cream and two sugars. And then I sit down and begin the torture.
KF: I have this habit, when waiting for a new wave of inspiration, of rubbing my hands together, like in those cartoons when someone’s just gotten a great idea, or is about to execute a plan. Almost an ‘evil grin – now we’re cooking’ action. Within seconds, the light bulb goes on. Every time.
Since the book is about things that go bump in the night, what was a time in your life when you were really scared?
KS: I get scared when someone I care about is in danger. They can be real people or imaginary ones.
PP: Hmm…I’d probably have to say a time when I was really scared was the first time I went water skiing after watching the movie Jaws. We lived on the water in Florida when I was in high school, on the intercoastal waterway that leads out to the Gulf of Mexico. My little brother, who was about twelve at the time, saw a fin breach the water near him when he was up on the skis, panicked, and dropped the rope…right beside the fin. You can imagine the grief I gave him about his lousy survival instincts. Fortunately, it was just a dolphin, and one who ignored him.
AA: Madame Tussaud’s House of Wax. There is a Halloween exhibit of all the nightmare creatures from the movies: Freddie, Jason, the Alien, Chucky. I knew that they weren’t going to jump out at me (hello, wax), but I couldn’t stop my imagination from going there. What if all of them attacked at once? I hid behind my mom the whole time (she was totally calm).
KF: On a dive off the Channel Islands, 75 feet deep, a school of thirty tiger sharks swimming between me and the surface, almost out of air . . .
Since we know that the book has vampires and romance in it, what did you edit OUT of this book?
PP: Nothing that I can think of. I tend to write in layers, so I’m always adding IN, not out.
AA: There was a piece of information about Valiance that I had built in as a deep secret that he would share with Esme to show how much he trusted her. But as I kept working at their story, about the time that Valiance was realizing that he wasn’t the man he used to be, that information wasn’t relevant to who he was anymore, who he was with her. It was kinda an interesting moment as a writer and as a person.
KF: I took out one of Salila’s scenes (a secondary character) which was very dark and sexual. On second and third thought, it was too full on for the shorter work. There wasn’t enough time to ‘repair’ afterwards, and choices weren’t making quite the right sense. It had to go, but Salila will hopefully have her day in the sun, somewhere down the track.
The perception of the paranormal romance writer is that she is just a little bit weirder than most. Do you find yourself to be more idiosyncratic than the average person? Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer?
KS: I always thought I was normal, but my critique partners took me gently aside to break the news. Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer? Yes. Getting fat from too many hours in front of a computer!
PP: Ha. I guess that depends on your definition of ‘weird’. If being addicted to paranormal and fantasy television dramas (True Blood, Vampire diaries, Game of Thrones, etc.), loving dark fantasy movies and paranormal romance novels, and being fascinated by antique knives and swords is weird, then yes. Definitely. : ) Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer? Several. We’re prone to sitting too much! I try to spend at least an hour on the treadmill every day to counteract that. And we tend to talk to ourselves. Thank goodness for wireless phone technology. Now when I’m talking to myself in the car, or as I walk down the sidewalk, no one thinks twice. I’m sure they assume I have a Bluetooth receiver clipped to my ear.
AA: Yes, but admitting it is the first step right? I think studying story structure and techniques had probably made me a very idiosyncratic wife. My poor hubby has to listen to me talk about my “Supreme Ordeal” at work and the “Crossing the threshold” moment I had when it came to my novel. And heaven forbid we see a movie that completely skimped on the hero’s journey. My poor hubby has to hear about it. The biggest occupational hazard that I’ve come across is that I’m curious. About everything. I know my hairdressers entire story because I kept asking him about it. And the guys at electronic and gun stores probably roll their eyes when they see me coming. However, I have learned to at least give people a heads up. “Hi, I’m a writer and I saw (blank). Can you tell me more about it?”
KF: I think any writer is a little quirky. A lot quirky. It comes from spending so much time alone in one’s own head. Because we’re thinking a lot about ‘paranormal’ worlds, well, you are what you think about, right? Occupational hazards to being a writer include, talking to oneself, aloud, interrupting people in the middle of a conversation to jot down something that has nothing to do with them, or what they were saying, craving solitude (to get back to the people in the story), being oblivious to meals, appointments, normal sleeping hours and other people’s needs while in writing mode. Oh, and a big one, not getting enough physical exercise. Writer’s need an hour (of bootcamp level) work out, every day, to counter all that time on one’s duff.
Now that we know what scares you and what it takes to get you in the mood, what’s next on the horizon?
KS: A diet!!
PP: Book 2 in the Vamp City series, A Kiss of Blood, comes out June 26th. And the 8th book in my Feral Warriors shape-shifter series will be out in about a year. (Book 7, A Love Untamed, came out last month).
AA: More short stories from the Those who Wander universe and, cross our fingers, a new series about demon redemption.
KF: More of the Blood and Water ilk! I am writing a series, both historical and contemporary, based on this entombed, undersea race.
Thank you for hosting us today.
If you have any questions about our crazy writer lives, please feel free to post a comment/question.
One random commenter will win a digital copy of Vampires Gone Wild
Vampires Gone Wild brings together four paranormal romance novellas by Kerrelyn Sparks, Pamela Palmer, Amanda Arista, and Kim Falconer, authors and bloggers at Supernatural Underground.
Kerrelyn Sparks’s demure Pamela and sexy vampire sidekick battle the Malcontents in “V is for Vampwoman.” Kim Falconer’s aqueous San Francisco vampires in “Blood and Water” want nothing from “landers” — unless it’s dinner, but that’s until Stellan meets Angelina. Pamela Palmer carries readers to Vamp City in “A Forever Love” where trapped Lukas pines for his lost love. When she appears, Lukas will fight to keep her alive. It’s been a hundred years since Valiance has dated; all is great until they’re attacked, but quiet Esme will shock Valiance in Amanda Arista’s “First Dates Are from Hell.”
We’re a group of HarperCollins authors, writing Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance/Fantasy/Sci-Fi for adults and teens under the Avon, Eos and HarperTeen imprints. Call it what you like, if it lurks in the shadows, and there’s fur, fangs, fins, phantoms or faery wings involved, we write it!