1. Before we start talking about your book, why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself?
Writer, editor and hopeless romantic. I've lived on a sailboat on the Chesapeake Bay, ridden more than 1000 miles in trail competitions on horseback, and been owned by two Newfoundlands. I'm staff for a herd of cats and a herd of horses. The newest ‘love of my life’ is a tiny bundle of catitude we’ve dubbed Miss Stormin Norma.
I've never met a potato chip I didn't like and I weight lift - which is probably fortuitous as I really like potato chips.
Optimist by day and by night...
2. Besides writing, what other things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Ah yes, that ever elusive ‘spare time’. What with editing (day job) and writing—and promoting and marketing and all that heinous ‘busy’ stuff—what time I have is spent with reading (for pleasure!) and watching a few favorite shows on TV. I’m also a cinema freak, slavishly following certain writers and directors. Oh, and cooking. I’m a huge fan of the eff-word … ‘food’.
3. What is your daily routine as far as when you have an idea for your story?
Since a tune will often send me off into flights of fancy, I spend a fair amount of time under the headsets listening to music and choreographing scenes (especially action or fight scenes). Acid Jazz Singer (Hunger Hurts) was one such happy synergy. I’m what’s known as a ‘pantser’, writing on the fly, letting the characters take over with me acting as just the scribe.
4. Where do you get your ideas from?
Music, of course, but also stray bits of conversations, or watching two strangers interact … that interpretive aspect of the creative process is critical for me.
5. Out of all of the stories you’ve written so far, what would be your favorite and why?
Oh my, they are, after all, my babies, each and every one. Trying to cull a favorite would be nigh impossible, although I must admit that my latest character—a conflicted vamp with some surprising secrets and an unusual career path—sparked my interest from the get-go. His story touched a nerve in some strange and wondrous way.
6. Tell us something funny about yourself that not a lot of people know about?
I, um… well, if I have wine (not a lot, a glass or two is enough), I seem to lose my ‘filters’. You know the ones: the good sense not to say that in a roomful of mixed company. Some of my comments, while mercifully gone from my own memory, have acquired the stuff of legend with my friends who delight in repeating and expanding on that little core of mischief I usually hide from the world.
7. Does any of the stories you’ve written based on real life experiences or basically just from imagination?
That’s a very good question and not one easily answered. While I seem to channel characters and stories, there has got to be a kernel of me hidden somewhere in that conflict I so enjoy subjecting my characters to. I grew up in a family that put the ‘dys’ in dysfunction, so perhaps that’s all the impetus I needed to fashion the kinds of dark urban fantasies that so appeal.
8. Does your ‘muse’ have a name and if so what is his/her name?
I have a muse—his name is Rowan—and while you might snicker, ‘oh she has an invisible friend,’ trust me … this dude is as real as they get. If Rowan’s on walkabout with his buddies, I do *not* write, it’s that simple. Fortunately he prefers my company over Raoul <don’t ask> most days.
9. What other genre besides the one you are writing about now would you like to venture into writing?
I’d love to try a crime thriller, though with my pantser tendencies I’m not sure I have those kinds of writing chops to handle the careful plotting required.
10. Who are your favorite authors that are out now?
Robert Crais just came out with a new one that apparently is quite different from his usual fare and I simply cannot wait for that book to arrive. I also adore Greg Rucka (Queen and Country series, Atticus Kodiak series). Yes, I like guy books. A lot.
11. Who is your favorite female and male characters from your books and why?
Angel, from Dance Macabre: she’s 40-something, with a long history of bad choices and a habit of not learning from her mistakes. When she decides that turning her life around might not be a bad idea, karma drives up in a vintage Mustang.
Dreu, my Vampyr with secrets and a surprising career path, is deliciously self-indulgent. After centuries of successfully staying off the grid, he suddenly finds himself exposed, in more ways than one.
12. What do you think is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Isolation: it’s that good news/bad news thing. Good because not having distractions (other than Face Book, Twitter, and… oh, you know) allows me to concentrate fully on the characters and the storyline. Bad news because I can lose that valuable instinct for writing dialog without a steady infusion of listening to other folks talk, of observing body language and all those things that are not said but dominate every conversation. To be a writer is to be a voyeur.
13. What advice would you give someone who wants to start off being a writer?
Anyone who wishes to be a writer must first and foremost be a reader. To learn the craft requires grounding oneself in the rules, the forms, the formats of whichever genre speaks to you most intensely. To be a writer means you write every day. Writing is like using a specific muscle group – if you ignore it, it will atrophy, so just write. And don’t worry about it being ‘good’, worry about making it better. Think of your writing as earning a lifetime achievement award.
14. If you hadn’t become a writer, what do you think you would be doing right now?
Probably still working at the former day job in a tech field I loved, writing technical reports and analyzing data. [In my fantasy world, I’d be stalking Joss Whedon.]
15. What do you like on a man…..briefs, boxer briefs or boxer shorts or nothing at all?
Nothing. At. All. [Why delay gratification?]
Well now that we got the question and answer out of the way…..why don’t you tell us about your latest story you have out now?
Penance is the first book in the series, The Strigoi Chronicles. Genre: paranormal, homoerotic romance
Theirs was an unholy union. He was the genetic mistake the mother tried to protect.
The Church gave the boy sanctuary, the Order gave him purpose.
It took fanatics to unleash the man.
I sat staring at the piece of parchment.
Rule One: There are no rules…
Jacob would be down with that. Elliot, not so much. Alphas, especially pig-headed silvers, didn’t come with a sense of humor. So what did they come with? Scribbling with the squib, I continued…
With my right foot toe-tapping to some tune the pups had loaded on the widget with the earphones, I contemplated the list of pack attributes. Obeisance only fit the zeds, the bottom-of-the-barrels, the losers … the pity pups yanked off the mean streets and raised up to serve, leaving protect for the big guns: Elliot first and foremost, then Samuel and Jacob—good lieutenants and not ever likely to jockey for more than what they already had in terms of position and influence.
I called them the Gay Blades … but not out loud. Never out loud.
After a few centuries I’d learned the value of toadying up while keeping to my own agenda. I don’t think Elliot had caught on yet, he was still too testosterone fueled over nabbing a gen-u-ine one-of-a-kind weapon of mass destruction.
I didn’t have the heart to disavow him of his misperceptions. After all, he’d freed me from the cargo hold of that stinking piece ‘o shit tramp steamer. The one with a few errant bits of uranium fuel and a very impressive selection of older, working Russian Kalashnikovs.
Working being the operative term. If the West only knew how dicey the manufacturing standards from the Soviet era were, they’d have called off the cold war for lack of interest. But when those beauties worked, they were a thing of awesomeness.
What tickled my hair shirt was the stash of RPG-29’s, the ‘Vampir’ model, tucked around and on top of my prone form. The brain trust that had raided my cave in the highlands above Yalta hadn’t looked to logistics when they were divvying up the largesse. Being a box short of a full shipment, my coffin was all that remained to stow the booty.
Spinning the laptop so that I could see the screen better, I googled ‘caves above Yalta’. Bakhchisarai - the Khans palace, cave monastery and cave town popped up, complete with tour information. A hundred years ago the only tourists showing up were coming for absolution, not photo ops. It made me wonder which was the more authentic: bartering for salvation or trapping time in a virtual bottle for the purpose of bragging rights.
The two activities seemed strangely alike.
Damn, I missed that place. It wasn’t home in the traditional sense, but the climate had suited, the view was a killer and the peasant girls buxom and willing.
My belly growled, loud enough to roust my jailer out of his afternoon snooze.
“You okay in there, Father?” He had a confounding accent, on the guttural, thick side. Sometime during the day, they’d switched off, leaving me to a novitiate to the pack. If he was Serb or Albanian, it would explain the tone of concern and the subtext of respect.
Those boys knew to pay homage to their betters. Me being one of them.
“Sorry, my son. I didn’t mean to disturb.”
“Uh, no prob, uh … sir.” He peered through the narrow opening in a wood door as thick as Italia and crisscrossed with an iron lattice.
Fortunately the alpha, or whoever had been in charge of securing my prostrate form from the Somalian pirates, hadn’t done a lot of research. At least not enough to get past the obvious fang ’n bang Vampyr outward manifestations. If looks could be deceiving, mine were a currency worth the crown jewels.
The boy stumbled over some Russian, then switched to Romanian, which did me little good since I spoke French like a native and Russian like a whore. The few Roma I’d snacked on hadn’t bequeathed me much in the way of their language skills.
Muttering, “English, please?” we both sighed with relief as he nodded his head in agreement.
Starting again, he asked, “Can I get you anything?”
“Are you hungry?”
Aside from grazing on weak-livered AB negative—compliments of a grizzly of a man whose usefulness to the pack was on the far side of die already—my nutritional requirements remained unfulfilled.
It made me, as they say in the American deep south, a mite peckish.
I watch too much television. But then, there’s not a lot to do other than avail myself of satellite-beamed infomercials and sitcom reruns. And the largesse of major networks rebroadcasting shows via websites.
Gods, I loved this century.
Website: Blood Haven (serial, free read) - http://blood-haven-the-series.weebly.com/
Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=nya+rawlyns
About Me: http://about.me/nyarawlyns#author #bio #stuff
OmniLit (already #1 on their bestseller and highest rated fantasy books, earned Star rating):
Thanks so much for having me!