Crossed is the third book in the Void City series and I am about halfway through the book. Just like the previous two books in the series, I am loving it! If you haven't already read Staked and ReVamped then you have been seriously missing out on the most Urban Paranormal Fantasy there is.
Enjoy the interview! Enter the contest! And don't forget to read this series soon!
- First J.F. Lewis Interview
- J.F. Lewis Guest Blog
- Interview with Tabitha & Eric from the Void City Series
- A Void City Halloween Short Story
Amber - Welcomeback 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 Void City Series?
J.F - What if I said, "No"? ;)
The Void City books follow the adventures of one seriously angry vampire. Eric is forgetful (though as we find out in the third book, he has a really good excuse). He's prone to rage blackouts. And he seems to attract a wide assortment of interesting companions ranging from a mysterious shapeshifting cat guy (Talbot), to a very damaged, but scary as hell adopted vampiric daughter (Greta), to the ghost of his great great great grandfather (John Paul Courtney)... AND TOGETHER THEY FIGHT CRIME! Or not. Eric mainly wants to be left alone, but he never seems to get his wish.
J.F - Without too many spoilers, the third book starts with a wedding and ends with a funeral. Eric has been up against werewolves (in Staked), Vampire High Society (in ReVamped), and in the third he's up against True Immortals, the oldest werewolf in the world, a demon, and his own sire.
Amber - Staked came out in 2008 and Revamped in 2009. Why has there been such a long wait for Crossed to be released?
J.F - That was actually a publishing thing. When the economic crisis really hit full swing in the U. S., Pocket decided to go to mass market originals for its urban fantasy line. Unfortunately, when this decision was made, ReVamped was already coming out in trade paperback, so they had to wait for ReVamped to come out in mass market before putting Crossed out in mass market so that Staked, ReVamped, and Crossed would all be available in the same format at the same time.
Amber - How did you come up with the idea for the series? Was it a long process or did it just come to you?
J.F - I'd been trying to think of a way to tell Eric's story since late High School early college and it never came out right. At one time, he was a tommy gun toting gangster, and in a another there was this whole Phantom of the Opera vibe. Eventually, though, I realized that the key to Eric's story would be his human foibles, not necessarily his vampiric powers or weaknesses. So... while Eric might be insanely hard to kill, his relationships are all doomed to fail, because he's essentially in love with the same woman he loved when he was alive, but she's now in her eighties and won't have anything to do with him in that way.
In the same way, it was very important to me that I show vampires as monsters and make being a vampire come with cool powers, but also have a real price tag... an ick factor, if you will. So that's where the rules of vampirism such as no eating or drinking, all bodily fluids being replaced with blood, and sunlight literally making them burst into flames came from. To further complicate Eric's existance, I decided that though some vampires can subsist on animal blood, he isn't one of them. Though he can drink blood from a blood bag, it can't be very old or it just makes him hungrier.
J.F - I think CROSSED took the most research. I'm a pantser by nature, so the parts of the story that take place when Greta (Eric's adopted daughter) is in Void City and Eric is in Paris took a lot of careful timing and since it has been a long time since I've been to France, there was a lot of Google Maps action for certain scenes as well as a good bit of research into Le Chateau de Vincennes.
Amber - How do you pick the names for your characters? Do they have any special meanings?
J.F - I'm fond of snatching names out of the air, but I’ve also been known to hit the baby name websites to see what names were popular in the year my vampires were born as well as check on the meanings of names. Lord Phil likes to throw the meaning of people's name at them and there's an amusing bit where the reverse happens to him in Crossed. So, yeah, names are fun and I probably think about some of them too hard. There's also a big reveal about why Eric's last name is Courtney and what that name used to be before it was Americanized when his ancestors immigrated to America.
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?
J.F - What made me want to be a writer? My brain? Seriously though, I've wanted to write as long as I can remember. As for influences, I think if you read Roger Zelazny's NINE PRINCES IN AMBER, you can see in Corwin the seed for my take on the perfect first person narrator. That book was the only first person narrative I'd ever read where the main character wasn't exactly a nice guy, but he was funny and edgy even if he wasn't very trustworthy. Not to say that Eric is like Corwin, because he's very different, but I think reading the Amber series helped me figure out how to tell Eric's story. In my early attempts, I'd been polishing Eric up too much. Eric can be very nice to people he loves, but he's a guy that isn't really bothered if he has to kill and eat someone to survive. He tries to avoid it, but when it happens, he doesn't let it haunt him.
For the last part of the question... heh... I often say that I tried my hand at Urban Fantasy because no one wanted to buy my magical teddy bear stuff and that's pretty close to the truth.
Amber - I am sure that being an author has its ups and downs. What experiences have you had so far?
J.F - Being published, meeting other authors, getting fan mail, all the nice folks who visit my fan page on FaceBooks, those are all high points. Being literally excommunicated for my first novel (which I refer to now simply as The Unpleasantness) was definitely the lowest point so far.
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?
League of Reluctant Adults who might be fun to do some kind of crossover with... or even a wholly new and separate project. Jeanne Stein might be fun to work with, because she's awesome and I dig the way she writes her Anna Strong series. Rob Thurman might be cool, too, because I know we both enjoy writing male protagonists and she's an absolute blast as well. Someday, I might also co-write something with my wife, who does a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff like editing my work. My dream pick, though, would be to work with Roger Zelazny, although he's dead, so that’s unlikely.
Amber - What is next? More Void City? Or are you working on any other projects?
J.F - I'm working on a fourth Void City book (I'll be happy to write that series as long as I have good ideas and people are still interested in reading them), but I also have an epic fantasy project that's dear to my heart (and up for sale!) as well as ideas for a few more Urban Fantasy series. I’m also currently working on a YA series, which is a lot of fun right now because it’s something I can read to my kids.
Amber – A lot of authors have 'soundtracks' for their books. Is there any music influenced your books?
J.F - It depends on the scene, but I listen to a lot of soundtracks and heavy metal while I write. Lately it's been Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Apocalyptica, and Disturbed. I also build playlists specifically for various characters and for various types of scenes. Fight scenes get very action oriented dramatic music, while more tender scenes wind up with lots of strings and love songs.
Amber - What have you been reading and watching lately?
Amber - What's your favorite paranormal movie of all time?
J.F - Hmmm.... that’s a difficult choice. I’d probably have to go with something sappy like Brigadoon, The Enchanted Cottage, The Dark Crystal, or Labyrinth. I'm a big fan of musicals and effects movies with great soundtracks.
Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be and why?
J.F - I'd be a Mouser (like Talbot in the Void City series). As for why, well, they look cool when they transform, they're functionally immortal, and when the going gets rough, they can either stay to help out or decide they have somewhere more interesting to be. Of course, that's only if my wife, who is allergic to cats, wouldn’t be allergic to me. If she was, I'd have to be a True Immortal instead.
Amber - A huge thank you for being a guest! I hope you will come by again!
The lucky winner of this giveaway will get a signed copy of Crossed! (US/CAN Only!)
How To Enter
Just answer the question!
What's your favorite paranormal movie of all time?
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!
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 contest will stay open until Wednesday 9th 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.