Enjoy the interview and enter the contest!
Anyway, I hope you all have a Happy Halloween! I am off to party! Enjoy the last author interview for this weekend! Have a spooky time and don't forget to enter all the contests! You have till November 7th!
Amber - Welcome back to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to haveyou here as a guest again! Book four in your Blood Lines series iscoming out soon! What can we expect from Blood Heat?
Maria - Keira returns to Texas in Blood Heat to take up her mantle as Heir, co-ruling with Adam. Should be cake, right? Instead, there's trouble. A couple's gone missing from a nearby werewolf pack, and there are signs that this isn't just an average missing person situation.
Amber - Keira has seen a lot of action since the series started. How do you decide what to throw at her in each book?
Maria - Most of the time, I think about what the "ideal" next step would be in her life. In BLOOD HEAT, it was settling down in a routine as Heir; settling down with Adam. Then I try to figure out what would make the most impact. In BLOOD KIN, it was the revelation about her heritage, about Adam's heritage. In BLOOD HEAT, it's the fact that this quiet country location isn't as safe as it should be. Add that to
natural issues, like a record-making heat wave and drought, and you have chaos.
Amber - How do you pick the names of your characters? Are they just names you like, people you know or do they have some other meaning?
Maria - Each character name is carefully chosen. In many cases, the name speaks to me for one reason or another. Adam Walker - because he the first real love of Keira's life, and Walker because he is a nightwalker, a vampire. Keira is a name I looked at for a long time. It's Gaelic for "dark" - meaning dark haired. I also thought it
sounded strong (the K sound) and was unusual. (Of course, when I first started writing this series in earnest, Keira Knightley was all of 15 years old and no one had heard of her). Tucker was named as a shout out to a character in Buffy - the boy who raised hellhounds. Niko - well, his nickname was after a friend's dog! But his "real" name, Nicholas, is from the Greek, meaning "victory of the people" - Niko has had many personal victories since his origin.
Amber - It has been just over a year since the last book in the series, Blood Kin, was released. How long does it take for you to write a full novel? Do some get finished faster than others?
Maria - Pretty much a full year. I do a LOT of mental "writing" - that's thinking about the story arc, where the next book is going to take my characters; how they are going to move forward, get challenged. Then I think about whole picture. What's happening around them in the community, in the state, at home with the Kelly clan? I
always try to put in some sort of real world situation or issue--for example, in BLOOD BARGAIN it was missing teens (who ran away because of discrimination). In MATTERS, it was illegal immigrant workers. BLOOD HEAT will showcase something very prevalent in the area, though I don't want to give anything away, so I won't be specific! There's usually a couple of months of R&D and then I start the actual writing of the prose, which takes about 4-5 months.
Amber - What kind of research have you done for your books? Anything interesting or is the research boring?
Maria - LOVE research. Because the Internet is such a wondrous collection of information (and yes, some it so wrong), I'm able to do a lot of my reading online. There's a great Web site, The Handbook of Texas Online, run by the Texas Historical Association that provides me with tons of great data. For this latest book, I was able to research weather patterns, Texas high school football, and so much more. I often rent or buy documentaries or find information in online articles from reputable magazines. I also subscribe to Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine. Research is so much fun, that I end up with tons of notes and ideas for other plots. I keep those in a "plot bunny" file.
Amber - How is the future for the series looking? Will there be more books?
Maria - I'm currrently working on book 5, BLOOD SACRIFICE that is due out next fall. At this point, this is the last contracted book in the series.
Amber - What else have you been working on? Do you have any other projects you would like to tell us about?
Maria - It's been a busy year - especially in the first half. I've done 2 essays for the SmartPop books series - one for A TASTE OF TRUE BLOOD and the other for FILLED WITH GLEE. I've also done an essay for the upcoming (2011) book: WHEDONISTAS from Mad Norwegian Press. I love getting to write about genre television! Nothing else specifically in the pipeline (at least, that I can talk about!) but I'm considering a
couple of other projects that have been burning a hole in my brain. I don't like not having something to work on...not that it's been a problem this year!
Amber - I am sure that being an author has its ups and downs. What experiences have you had so far?
Maria - The very best: getting to go to Comic-Con this year (on my own dime!) and meeting the wonderful folks from Simon & Schuster, plus getting to hang out with one of my all time favorite authors, Tanya Huff. She's one of the main authors that I consider an influence. It was reading her first Vicky Nelson book that gave me the "aha" moment.
The down side: deadlines, deadlines and more deadlines. Luckily, I changed my schedule at my regular job, so I only work 4 days a week. This allows me 2 full days to concentrate on the writing. Sundays are my day of rest and relaxation.
Amber - How much say do you have in the book publishing process? Eg. Do you get to pick the covers for your books?
Maria - Not even! Mostly, I get a sneak peek at the cover when it's near to being done. My editor gets an earlier peek and luckily, has a little bit of say. I've been very lucky so far and had brilliant covers for the Blood Lines series!
Amber - What was the last book you read? and the last film you watched? Any recommendations for Amberkatze's Book Blog readers for when they are not reading? :)
Maria - Last book: Seanan McGuire's AN ARTIFICIAL NIGHT, the 3rd in the Toby Daye series. I normally don't read much fiction when I'm in the midst of writing, but I couldn't wait to read this one. It's brilliant!! The last movie, hmm. Probably State of Play - the British Miniseries. I'm WOEFULLY behind on movies. Even though I have Netflix and can stream, I'm mostly watching documentaries these days.
Amber - Alot of authors have 'soundtracks' for their books. Is there any music influenced your books?
Maria - Yes, absolutely. Though I don't have a specific song list for the books, I love the old Child Ballads for atmosphere when I'm writing anything about the Faery Courts. Texas singer/songwriters: Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Tish Hinojosa. Anything that's got good folk/country roots with a little dollop of rock works for me. Recently, I was typing like mad listening to the Glee soundtrack--which totally doesn't fit the pattern.
Amber - There are alot of online sites taking up peoples time lately. Are you on Facebook or any other sites? Do you think the sites are useful or do they just take up too much of your time?
Maria - I'm utterly hooked. I'm on Facebook & Twitter, but I don't play any Facebook games. I use both as mini-micro blogs and ways to put out information. Since I have a day job that sometimes involves me looking at both sites (I write documentation, work on procedures, etc. for a Web firm), it's really easy to catch up on both sites during my work day. If I'm writing--actually typing out the book, I don't really go there that much.
Amber - If you could have superhero powers would kind would you pick? Or would you be a villain? :)
Maria - I'd love to be able to stop time around me, like Hiro in Heroes. That way, maybe I could get a lot more done!
Amber - Thank you for being a guest on Amberkatze's Book Blog! Feel free to come by again sometime!
Maria is very kindly giving away a copy of BLOOD HEAT or winner's choice of the BLOOD LINES books.
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