Header Menu

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Author Interview & Contest with Suzanne McLeod

I am very happy to welcome back author Suzanne McLeod to Amberkatze's Book Blog!

Suzanne is a UK author who writes books about dangerous faeries, seductive vampires, bureaucratic witches, eccentric goblins, rock-solid trolls, magic, mayhem and murder!

I absolutely love her Spellcrackers.com series and I am already reading The Bitter Seed Of Magic which comes out this week!

Read the interview and enter the contest to win a copy of Suzanne's newest release!


Amber – Welcome back to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here as a guest again! Could you start things off by telling my readers a little about your Spellcrackers Series?

Suzanne – Thanks for inviting me back Amber. It’s lovely to be here! Okay, well my books are set in London, UK, and they’re about Genny (Genevieve) Taylor who is a sidhe fae, and who works for Spellcrackers.com ~ making magic safe! Genny’s job gets her involved in all sorts of magical mayhem and murder, and usually means she has to venture into the dangerous deep end of both the local fae and vampire communities in order to solve her ‘case’.

Amber - The first two books in the series were amazing reads and I expect The Bitter Seed of Magic will be too. What can we expect from the third part?

Suzanne – Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed them :- ). And you can expect lots of trouble for Genny both in her personal life, and in her working life, as she has to find a way to crack a fertility curse afflicting London's fae, stop a murderer, save her friends, and make sure she doesn’t become the curse’s next victim.

Amber - The Sweet Scent of Blood came out in 2008 and The Cold Kiss of Death in 2009. Why has there been such a long wait for The Bitter Seed of Magic to be released?

Suzanne – The Bitter Seed of Magic was due to be released in 2010, but unfortunately a couple of things derailed it. First I had some health problems which meant I couldn’t meet my deadline, then when I did finish, my editor had her own health problems . . . all of which ended with the book’s publication being put back 6 months. Something which no one wanted to happen, and which we’re all sorry about, but sadly was unavoidable. Hopefully, it will be worth it, and the readers will forgive us for the wait.

Amber - Genny has already seen a lot of action. How do you decide what to throw at her in each book?

Suzanne – Oh, I stick my ‘evil author’ hat on, decide what could go wrong in Genny’s life, then make it worse. Lol! The practical way of doing that, is to work out what the ‘baddies’ want, why they want it, and what they’re prepared to do to get it. And as Genny is usually standing in the baddies’ way, and trying to stop them, she’s the one who ends up in the middle of all the action :- ).

Amber - How did you come up with the idea for the series? Was it a long process or did it just come to you?

Suzanne – I always knew I wanted my main character to get involved in ‘solving’ crimes or mysteries in some way. Which was the quick part of the idea. Only I didn’t want her to be constrained by rules and regulations, like the police, or even a P.I. would be. But if I made her an amateur sleuth, there was the possibility that ‘I as author’ would end up having to use a lot of coincidences to kick-start my plots, and get Genny into the thick of things. So I had to work out what sort of job/abilities/world she could live in that would bring her into contact with enough problems, and people needing her help, that she would always have trouble battering at her door and calling her out to play *g*. Which was the longer part of the process, and I think probably took a good three to five months in all.

Amber - What kind of research have you done for the books so far? Anything interesting or do you find research boring?

Suzanne – Oh no, I love research. And it’s something I do all the time. Life is full of fascinating things that trigger all sorts of ideas. Then I daydream ... err, sorry do some serious thinking/investigating to see if the idea will work. Not every idea does, but the research is always fun, even if it’s just Googling, or reading up, and then quite often I’ll end up finding something even more interesting that my original idea. Which is always very cool.

Of course, the most fun is the location research. I usually read up on a place first, then once I’m sure it’s going to work for the plot, I visit (any excuse for a day out in London *g*) where I take lots of notes, photos, and get the feel for the place. Frex: A place I researched for use in The Bitter Seed of Magic is Dead Man’s Hole which is under Tower Bridge, and which was used in the past to retrieve corpses from either suicides or bodies dumped in the River Thames from the Tower of London and surrounding areas. The bodies were stored in the mortuary under the steps until they were ready for burial. I thought it would be an ideal place for a victim to be found *g*.

Amber - How do you pick the names for your characters? Do they have any special meanings?

Suzanne – When I first started writing, quite a few of my walk-on characters picked their own names (out of my subconscious, obviously :- )) but after ending up with three characters all called Peter, which would have been confusing for readers, I decided that my subconscious wasn’t working hard enough. So now most of my walk-ons start out being called XXX. Then once I’ve got a handle on who they are, and what they’re up too, I start researching an appropriate name for them. Frex: the mountain trolls in the Spellcrackers world all have names that relate to mountains or stone in some way.

Amber - What made you want to be a writer? Were there any books or authors that had an influence on you? Why did you pick the Paranormal Urban Fantasy genre?

Suzanne – I’ve always loved reading, then about seven years ago got to a point where I couldn’t find enough to read next, plus I had a bit of time on my hands, so I thought I’d give writing a go. Which turned out to be the right thing to do! I think everything I’ve read has probably influenced me in some way, but authors like Charlaine Harris, Neil Gaiman, Emma Bull, Charles de Lint, Tanya Huff, Jim Butcher, J.K.Rowling, Tolkien . . . and many others, have given me a love of fantasy and urban fantasy in particular. So as I love reading it, that’s what I decided to write.

Amber - Is there a paranormal creature you just don't like, and would never use in your books?

Suzanne – Lol! No, I’m an equal opportunity author. If it’s paranormal, and if it fits with the plot, then I’ll probably use it at some point *g*.

Amber - What paranormal creatures are you dying to fit into a story but you haven't managed to fit in yet?

Suzanne – Umm, I’ve been trying to fit a certain character/creature (from Genny’s past) in since the beginning, but so far he’s ended up on the cutting room floor. I’m hoping he’ll make it for book # 4 – The Shifting Price of Prey. And, no, sorry, spoilers mean I’m not telling you what he is ;p. I will tell you that the book has a unicorn though :- ).

Amber - Would you ever be able to write a book together with another author? If yes, which author would you like to work with and why?

Suzanne – Now, that’s a hard question. Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve never collaborated with anyone (other than my editor) on writing, so I’m really not sure if it would work for me. Though, if I was to pick a writer to work with, I’d be happy with any of my favourite authors.

Amber - What is next? More Spellcrackers? Are you working on any other projects?

Suzanne – I’m writing book 4 – The Shifting Price of Prey, then it’s book 5 – The Hidden Rune of Iron, then it’s book 6 – The Sharp Bite of Ritual (hope you all appreciate the Shameless Plugs! *g*), which is going to keep me busy for quite some time to come :- ).

Amber – A lot of authors have 'soundtracks' for their books. Is there any music influenced your books?

Suzanne – I don’t write to music, can’t in fact, it distracts me too much. But I did a lot of thinking about the Spellcrackers world listening to Seal, partly because I love his music, and partly because our dog was scared of fireworks and storms. Seal was the only music that we could play loudly enough to block out the noise, and that Mr. Mc. could also fall asleep to. Our dog’s gone deaf now (she’s very happy still), so we don’t have that problem any more :- ).

Amber - What have you been reading and watching lately?

Suzanne – Well, my recent fav reads are The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney, A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang, and just to make everyone jealous, Silver-Tongued Devil (which won’t be out until early 2012) by Jaye Wells (my brilliant Crit Partner). As for what I’ve been watching ... the new seasons of True Blood and Being Human have just started in the UK, so those, and I’m looking forward to Outcasts; new science fiction drama coming from the BBC.

Amber - What's your favorite paranormal movie of all time?

Suzanne – Umm, *ponders* I think it’s between Blade Runner, Serenity and The Fifth Element, which, now I written them down, I realise are more science fiction than paranormal . . .

Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be and why?

Suzanne – Oh, a shapeshifter; one that can take on any shape. I think that would be a lot of fun!

Amber - A huge thank you for being a guest! I hope you will come by again!

Suzanne - I’d be delighted, Amber, and many thanks for having over again. It’s always a pleasure to visit!


Contest Time

Suzanne is very kindly giving away a copy of her new release The Bitter Seed of Magic!

How To Enter

It's all about the Location! Where would you set your paranormal book?

No answer = No Entry

Earn more entries for each link you place about this contest on the net. You can post on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace but make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries! However please do not make individual postings for each entry. Please post all your entries in one post.

Advertise Amberkatze's Book Blog on your site and get an extra entry for this and every other contest!

Amberkatze's Book Blog

You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

Make sure you post your links here so I can confirm your entries.

Keep the contests going by using the Bookdepository.com and Amazon.com links/Banners below and around the site!

The Book Depository

The contest will stay open until Wednesday 23rd of February 2011 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.


SandyG265 said...

I like western stories so I'd set mine out west - maybe Arizona or New Mexico.

sgiden at verizon.net

ArtemisG said...

I would set my paranormal book in Greece. I am from Greece and I think we have great places and great history to become interested the book.

artgiote at gmail dot com

LSUReader said...

I'll stick with New Orleans as my setting--Paranormal stuff just blends so easily there! (Email in profile.)

Stephanie said...

I would set my paranormal book in Scotland.


Tynga said...

I'd set my story in greece! Mostly becauseI love the mythology and I really want to visit this country one day, so it'd be the perfect excuse =D

Thanks for the interview & Giveaway =)


Ina said...

I've said it before and haven't changed my opinion *g* I would set it in Budapest - it's a great city with an incredible flair and I love to visit it :)
greetings, Ina

inale87 at gmx dot at

sunlightbub said...

Probably Bristol because that's where I'm from so it's the place I know best...

Unknown said...

An island! Or castle, cave... remote and desolate!

robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

Barbara E. said...

I'd set my paranormal book in Orlando, because that's where I live. I think it would be fun to write a dark, action packed story set among all the sunshine and amusement parks of Orlando.

Llehn said...

Somewhere exotic like Korea or Hong Kong.

heatwave16 said...

I think it would be the mid-west. It is not a popular location, and since I live out here...I'd have more info. :)

Although, I think Vegas would be a great spot as well.


JenM said...

I live in the SF Bay Area and I think it's the perfect place to set a paranormal story. Lots of old Victorian houses, and that atmospheric fog rolling in most nights.

jen at delux dot com

donnas said...

Las Vegas. Something is always going on there. And its surrounded by the desert, so plenty of places to get away too.

tweet - http://twitter.com/#!/DonnaS1/status/38092632420921344

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Pam P said...

Being a fan equally of paranormals and historicals, I'd like it to be Victorian England or turn of century NY timeline.

Mardel said...

**DON'T ENTER ME** I already have a copy. I just wanted to say I loved reading the interview. I enjoy your questions and Suzanne, I always get a chuckle out of your answers.

I think I would like to read a urban fantasy set in Scotland - maybe the highlands....or my "mother-country" Panama. We're supposed to have ancestors in both places.

Happy book birthday!

Julie S said...

You know, I haven't seen any book set in the city of Houston, the area where I live. I think that would be neat.


Unknown said...

I would set my story in Alaska. That would be the perfect place for paranormal creatures. Some areas you are isolated and not very close to any cities. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Sharon S. said...

a made up small town outside of a large city like New Orleans. This book sounds like a great read.

Bethany C. said...

Hmmm. I think I would set my story where I live in Alexandria, VA. It's urban enough because we're just minutes from D.C., but also has lots of wooded areas- would be a great place for a shifter! Old Town Alexandria could provide some history, so many possibilities!


Anonymous said...

I would set my story in Cuernavaca, Mexico. It's a wonderful place that's like a mix of desert and city; the heat and the smells just give it an aura that anything can happen there.

Tweeted here: http://twitter.com/Parakiss25


Good lick to everyone ^_^

justpeachy36 said...

I think New Orleans is such a great setting for Vampire paranormals. For witches somewhere in the northeast like Maine or New Hampshire. Werewolves the pacific northwest, Washington... It just depends on the what kind of paranormal I decided to write.


Anonymous said...

Canada would be great or somwhere in Great Britain.

Victoria said...

I think I'd set my book in the woods of North East Ohio. Just to be different. Or maybe in in north east Canada.

Dovile said...

I'd set mine in New York City. It seems to me the perfect place for all kinds of paranormal beings to hide out, but still be involved in modern life.

spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

Aurian said...

What a great interview! I really want to read this series now. Good to know there is more to look forward to.

I love paranormal books set in New Orleans, it is such a different city. Also Los Angelos, more relaxed than others. At least, great excentric characters turn up there.

Martha Lawson said...

I'd have to go with New Orleans! (I've got New Orleans on the brain, since I'm going next month!!!)

follow on gfc

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Amy said...

I'd set mine in New York City because it's where my home is and I know all about it.


Nikki said...

I think the best setting is one you know. I would go with NE PA, because it's my home. Also, it hasn't been done too often, so it would be fresh.

Cynthya said...

I know it's been done to death, but I really like New Orleans as a paranormal setting. I also like reading books set anywhere in Britain or France.
neztep at aol dot com

Persephone said...

I would either set my paranormal in my birthplace and current residence of Rhode Island. Or I would set it in Tampa, Florida where my grandparents live. I love both locations and consider them my home and they are locations I am most familiar with. And it is good to write about what you know, right?

patronus89013 at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Would definitely be glad to read about Edinburgh in Scottland or Cardiff in Wales. Also anything from the north of England where I currently live. It's full of goth subculture, which will be a wonderful background :)

Anonymous said...

I would have my paranormal take place in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. (and it does)
kaydeeroyal at msn dot com

Victoria Roder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Victoria Roder said...

I would set it in small town America. It is where people feel safe and don't think anything strange will happen.


Alicia said...

I would and already have set my story in New Mexico. With its history of aliens and native american ghosts, I just had to.

DC said...

I think I'd set mine in Chicago, or maybe Boston. Both great cities with a lot of history to them.

BrigidsBlest at yahoo dot com

A'lina said...

I'd probably set my book in the city I grew up in in California. Not only would I know the area but as a kid I would daydream about something paranormal lurking about at night. Hmm, maybe I should give it a try, sounds fun! ;)

I've read Suzanne's first book in this series and really liked it and can't wait to read book 2 & 3!Thanks for the chance to win!

Ladytink_534 said...

Savannah, Georgia. It's such a lovely place!

Advertised you on my blog


Calliope said...

I would make up a hybrid place that blended the attributes of several existing places.

Or, you know, use Montreal. No one ever uses Montreal.

Gail said...

I think I would set my paranormal book in the Chicago area (since I'm from there), but push it back in time to the 70's. Kind of a hippie paranormal. LOL Some how I think the paranormal would blend nicely with the 70's.
Peace, Love, Witches & Vampires:-)

Deirdre said...

Having come across too few books set in Galway I think I'd have to set it there.

Tweeted here: http://twitter.com/#!/wyvernfriend/status/39315377230069760

Audra said...

I set my story in Dallas TX.

Cindy McCune said...

It doesn't have to be a KNOWN town or country...I think a town called NOWHERE is a place that you'll never suspect what's waiting around the next courner to surprise you...

Vickie said...

I would set my paranormal story in the Badlands of South Dakota. It is an alien looking landscape, plenty of places for paranormal inspiration.

lgm52 said...

Probably in the swamps of Louisiana.

Anonymous said...

I think the exotic locale of New Jersey would be perfect. Stop laughing- I was born and raised here and it's nothing like those t.v. shows portray it to be........

Or if you don't like my beloved home state, I have always been intrigued by Prague-it's almost as classy as New Jersey, lol.

Meredith said...

Tampa, FL....or somewhere nearby to make the location research easy!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Lady_Graeye said...

I love paranormal stories written with a New Orleans setting, it's my favorite. But since I live in Missouri, it would be nice to have one written with the Ozarks as a setting. It has alot of history, caves and a unique atmosphere about it.


Unknown said...

I would love to set any UF or paranormal novels in Paris! Love its athmosphere with the beautiful medieval churches, gargoyles and bridges, it oozes mystery and magic! :-)

Tweeted here: http://twitter.com/Stella_ExLibris/status/40157288446693376

posted on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=128222420582484&id=100000899165880

stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

wanda f said...

Definately New Orleans I love that setting or how about going old school and seeing one set in Transylvania sounds like a winner to me .

Pauline MIlner said...

I would set my Paranormal book in Quebec City, Canada. It is an old city which I find creepy. There are tons of stories about the Paranormal there so it would be the perfect setting.

Thanks for the giveaway.