Unfortunately, the Q&A done for yesterday’s blog tour stop never got posted, so I’ll just run it here so you WILL see what influenced the BELLE CHASSE storyline!
Also, if you’re a newsletter subscriber, no, you didn’t miss my November 15 newsletter because the day job ate it. Look for it in mid-December!
So, here’s the interview that didn’t run. And if it goes up late for some reason, I’ll post the link again so you can enter for the tour prizes.
Where do you get your ideas?
It’s usually from a combination of stories and trivia I’ve tucked away in my subconscious that somehow, at some point, coalesce into an idea for a book or series. With the Sentinels of New Orleans series, it came from a combination of leftover PTSD from having been a New Orleanian at the time of Hurricane Katrina, plus moving away from New Orleans into a small town where I didn’t know anyone, plus rediscovering urban fantasy in the form of Simon R. Green’s Nightside series, plus reading an essay by fantasy author Terry Pratchett about the glass ceiling in fantasy magic—wizards were almost never female and witches, mostly female, were almost always inferior to wizards.
So that all coalesced, somehow, into an urban fantasy series about a female wizard in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina when the borders between our world and the preternatural universe fall, gradually throwing her world into utter chaos.
Do you have a dream cast for your book?
For the Sentinels books, I think the actress Emilie de Ravin, in her “Lost” era, would make a good DJ, the heroine. I don’t think she’d kick Joe Manganiello out of bed if he played Alex, although I’m not totally sold on that–Alex is a big younger but the size is spot-on. There has been a Facebook movement afoot to cast Jason Momoa as the undead pirate Jean Lafitte since he played Lafitte on “Drunk History,” and I might be down with that. What do my “Lafitians” think?
How do you handle writer’s block?
By binge-watching entire seasons of TV shows? I am very deadline-driven, so the times I’m likely to get writer’s block are the times when I do not have a hard deadline on a book…like right now. I can set deadlines for myself but I’m not very good about keeping them. When I leave the day job next spring to write full time, I’m going to have to get over that problem really fast! Seriously, though, you just have to write through writer’s block. Write something every day, even if you know it’s crap you won’t end up keeping, because everything can be revised but you can’t revise what you haven’t written. Do as I say, not as I do! (Says the woman who binge-watched 12 seasons of “The Deadliest Catch,” at about 16 episodes per season.)
What inspired you to write this book?
Technically, the fact that I had a contract and a deadline—two great motivators! It’s the fifth book in a series of six, so there will be one more. I have known how this story arc ended since about book two, so this has been unspooling in my head for several years, at least in general terms. In terms more specific to BELLE CHASSE, it has very much been influenced by what I have seen going on around me in the United States politically the last three or four years—NOT the election, mind you, because this book was completed and turned in to the publisher at the end of 2014 so it was written waaaaaay before all the election drama began. But the anger and the unwillingness or inability of leaders to move forward—or move, period—had a big influence on the behavior of the Interspecies Council in particular.
The series’ trajectory has also been influenced by history—specifically, the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 and how it all played out. Just imagine it playing out with pirates and wizards and elves and faeries instead of pirates and Americans and Brits! And throw in Mardi Gras. Ready for book six? LOL.
What’s the hardest part of being an author?
Time management, for me. I have a 50-hour-a-week “day job,” plus caregiver duties for a disabled 91-year-old Senior Adult, plus all that goes with having a full-time writing career in addition to actually writing. Writers don’t just write; they also need to read, and they have to do the bulk of the marketing and promotion on their books themselves.What gets undone is sleep, self-care, and housework. Finding enough hours in the day to do what I need to do without getting too exhausted to function—it’s a challenge. I try to stay positive…especially since I’m leaving the day job at the end of March in order to write full time. Yay! (Guess I have to add a codicil here that after spending more than $12,000 on house repairs in the past three days, I will probably have to continue working somewhere although it’s too late to stay where I am. Anybody need a good part-time copy editor? LOL.)
So, there was the missing interview. And if you stuck with it this long, leave a comment on whether or not you can endorse Jason Momoa as Jean Lafitte, and be entered for a $5 gift card!