BCC: How do you feel about Darkest Powers coming to an end?
It’s sort of a semi end, it’s not a complete end in that it ends that first trilogy and then the second trilogy is taking off, with new characters, different Edison group experiment, but my plan at this point is by the end of that one they will have joined up with the characters from the Darkest Powers. Sort of similar to what I would do with the Otherworld in that I just need a bigger cast to work with, so the trilogy ends, the majority of the questions are answered but when you hit the end of The Reckoning you’ll see that I have not just wrapped everything up or left characters in a safe place as that’s no fun at all! [Laughs]
BCC: What made you decide to go into young adult fiction?
I had the idea from the second book in my adult novels. Second novel, Stolen deals with some scientific experimentation on supernaturals and that gave me the idea to do something on modified supernaturals, and the best time to show this would be when they were just coming into their powers, which is puberty, so you’re talking teens and you can’t really bring teenage characters into an adult series. So I kept this idea in the back of my mind and I kept getting emails from readers I considered too young to be reading the Otherworld series. I waited until my daughter was a teenager so I could give it to her to make sure I didn’t sound like a forty year old trying to sound like a teenager
BCC: That must probably be one of the hardest things being an adult, trying to write as a teenager, because you sort of remember but you don’t quite remember the way they think.
Having a teenager in the house with all her friends and hearing about their lives. Things have changed obviously but the core problems are the same: friends, boys, school, getting into the work world, parents. Actually it was a lot easier than I thought to get back into that, but there were problems like how to make them sound like modern teenagers without using slang that will then date your book in ten years.
BCC: How do you research your books? Do you find that now you’ve written so many supernatural books you are so much in that world you can now just write it, or do you still go out and research?
It depends. I’ve always been so much into the supernatural world that even in my first adult novel, Stolen, I would have done far more research on wolves that I would have done on werewolves. I already knew all of the myth but going forward I didn’t know much about necromancers, demonology, so there’s always ongoing research.
BCC: Do you like that side of it (research)?
I do! It’s great being able to go into a store and buy a book on demonology and it’s a tax write off! [Laughs]
BCC: And do you find that you work well in your own environment at home or do you take yourself out to write? Do you set off for parks and coffee shops or stay at home, when you’re in the zone?
My preference is home, because that’s what I’m accustomed to, certainly in the early days I could only write in that very quiet, nobody around, basement office. I need that complete silence, especially writing in the first person to immerse myself in that character to see what they see, smell, hear, whatever they feel. However, as time went on, with more and more travelling I couldn’t, so I had to learn to write in a coffee shop because although there’s lots and lots of noise I can now immerse myself by shutting out the noise with earphones.
BCC: Do you listen to music in the background? When you put on your earphones do you listen to certain types of music? I have spoken to other authors who listen to certain pieces of music when writing certain characters – do you do that?
No, it’s very bad for me to listen to music while I’m writing as the tone of music can affect me, as it might not match. So if I do listen to something it will be sounds of the forrest or storms. If a song reminds me of a character then I may listen to that song before writing that character but once I’m writing I need as close to quiet as I can get.
BCC: Which character did you enjoy writing the most with Women of the Otherworld series, because you change point of view quite often? Is there one that you think “oh that was so nice going back and writing her” or do you find all them equally good?
I find all of them interesting for different reasons, I mean I’m usually excited to write about one that I haven’t written about for a while. The one that’s the easiest for me is Elena, because I’ve done four novels, short stories, novellas with her as a main character, so I can get into her voice very easily. I did Eve recently in a novella and haven’t written her since Haunted so that was nice to switch back to someone who’s very different.
BCC: You have a book coming out in August, Waking Witch, can you tell us about that?
That is from the Otherworld, and is book eleven.
BCC: How far do you think you will take the Otherworld?
Book 12 first draft is done, I’m plotting 13 and I’m contracted until the end of thirteen. I never guarantee anything past that as it always sounds arrogant saying, “I’m going to do twenty books!” when a publisher hasn’t even bought twenty books
BCC: Which book has made you cry?
Anything that is melodramatic, I can easily get emotional.
BCC: What sort of books do you like to read yourself?
I don’t read anything in the same genre, so I’m reading thrillers. Love thrillers, romance, historical…
BCC: Can you find inspiration from those types of books even though they are not the same genre as you?
Things I admire are things I know I cannot do, like High Fantasy. I will read something and notice how they’re plotting that it’s very well done or how they’ve done something that I didn’t like, then analyse why I didn’t like it – the reason I don’t read a lot of paranormal is that fear of thinking “oh I really like that” and then three years later doing a similar thing because I’d forgotten that I’d read it and thinking it’s an original thought – although coming down to it, nothing is original.
BCC: Do you think there’s a lot more Urban Fantasy/Paranormal writers around now? There seems to be a huge rising of this genre?
You are seeing a lot more in the UK – but in the US for years now you have been able to go into the store and go to the romance section and half of it is vampires, demons etc so in the US from 2004-2007 it was really big. Then publishers started saying no more vampires but then Twilight happened and now it’s bigger than ever.
BCC: I started reading Urban Fantasy back in 2000, and there was hardly anything, but now there are quite large sections for urban fantasy and paranormal in UK bookshops.
So, who’s your hero in life?
Stephen King probably, because I read them all through high school read everything and taught me so much about how to make the supernatural natural and the importance of character. What I would have read earlier in horror, character was not the important part. It was the horror. He really made everybody care about the characters and made them real.
BCC: Who influenced you as a writer – would you say Stephen King again?
Yes, Stephen King, and Anne Rice, who was the first person I’d ever seen to do the monster as the main protagonist. And until then I’d been writing horror so the werewolves, vampires were the threat. It really opened up my writing.
BCC: Best place you’ve ever visited – I mean obviously you’re going to say the UK, right?
[Laughs] Honestly, best place I’ve ever been is Alaska. Just loved it – absolutely loved it. It was amazing, fairly normal city surrounded by wilderness. I was there researching book 10, Frostbitten.
BCC: Did you go sightseeing or was it just business?
My husband and I drove around quite a bit and did tours of the glaciers.
BCC: What’s your most favourite possession?
Beyond the family stuff, family pictures.. in the situation of a fire what would I grab: first is box of family stuff, then my laptop, which has all my stuff on it!
BCC: Do you constantly back up?
I’m confident with backing up because I’m a programmer so I’m comfortable with all that. Anything you’ve lost, even a chapter, is really strange to re-write, because it just seems like you’re trying to remember exactly how you had it last time, you’re always thinking it’s not the same and while you enjoyed writing it the first time having to re-write it is horrible. So back up!
BCC: OK – so now I have a couple of questions from my readers. First one is from Ryan of Wordsmithonia: Would you ever consider having a gay or lesbian character in any of your books?
I don’t have anybody yet in the teen series, in the adult series I have Savannah’s half-brother Sean, and I have several unrevealed gay characters because they are secondary characters and we haven’t seen them dating there would be no reason to put it in for the sake of it just to say “look i’ve got a gay characters”, no I mean if the characters went on a date or something then it will be revealed. It’s like religion, you don’t know which religion is practiced unless it’s needed to be revealed into the actual plot.
BCC: Second question is from Carol from Book Lover Carol: Which young adult or adult book that isn’t as popular as it should be that you particularly love?
So often there’s a book that you really, really love and yet it didn’t to so well as I would have thought. One I would like to see do well in YA is Sarah Rees Brennan’s The Demon’s Lexicon. I would like to see it do a lot better, I don’t understand why it doesn’t. I mean it should be up there on the New York Time’s list. For whatever reason, you can look at something and say is it the cover maybe that didn’t appeal? There can always be something that has nothing to do with the actual book that didn’t make people pick it up.
BCC: It’s weird with us bloggers, we seem to be obsessed with covers and although there’s the saying “You shouldn’t judge a book by it’s over” it is the actual cover that initially turns our head in a bookshop. If it looks good then you’ll pick it up. Do you find that covers are important and do you have any input into your own covers?
[Laughs] Ha! Very little! The thing that I’ve learned that what I want in my own cover is not what will sell well. Oddly enough I expect the cover to reflect the novel. If it’s the character and she’s brunette I don’t expect her to be blonde on the cover. They’ve just redone the covers for Stolen in the US – lovely covers – but Elena’s meant to be thirty in the novel but looks seventeen. I expect her to look her age. They’ve even done covers where Elena is in lingerie – she’d never be caught dead in lingerie, she wouldn’t even know which way to put it on! But that’s not what sells. I’ve seen covers that I didn’t like that have done phenomenally well and I’ve seen covers that I love and the’ve not done well…
BCC: Do you ever get frustrated and want it changed and actually told your publishers so?
BCC: But not heard?
No, no, no… [laughing]
With the teen covers, I really like them but I got a laugh because in the US my teen covers are more sophisticated than my adult covers, they’re very nice, but they had this changing necklace issue. The necklace changes on the cover and they insisted that because of the changes on the cover I had to write the change in the book. Can you imagine! The colour of the stone changed so I had to write it into the novel. By the third book when it changes again, it had sold well enough that they didn’t ask me to change anything. Only, now I’m getting readers wanting to know why – and I’m like should I tell them the truth or make it sound like some incredible mystery? [Laughs]
BCC: How many books do you find that you’re writing, as it seems you have lots coming up and lots coming out, how many do you think you can manage in one year?
Two. Two books in a year works for me. And by two I mean one teen, one adult. If I had to do two adult books then you wouldn’t see anything else – no short stories, no novellas…
BCC: Well, it seems our time is up as that’s all my questions – thank you so much for meeting with me and answering my questions.
No, thank you!
BCC: So, can you sign all my books…
For a chance to win a signed UK Copy of Tales of the Otherworld, all you have to do is fill out this form!
This giveaway is open internationally and ends 12th June 8am GMT!