So who is my first guest? Well it is the author who starts off the anthology with his story about Marla Mason. T.A. Pratt has been a guest here before and I hope you will enjoy reading his interview.
Also make sure you enter the contest! Maybe you will win a copy of 'Those Who Fight Monsters'!
T.A - Marla Mason is the heroine of an urban fantasy series I started publishing in 2007 with Blood Engines. That and the next three books (Poison Sleep, Dead Reign, and Spell Games) were published by Bantam Spectra. My publisher dropped the series after that, but since Spell Games ended on a cliffhanger, I felt bad -- and my fans complained -- so I self-published the fifth book, Broken Mirrors, online and in e-book format in 2010. (There's a small press print edition from Merry Blacksmith Press too.) There's also a short prequel novel, Bone Shop, available as an e-book, and assorted short stories.
Marla's a sorcerer, and a sort of combination crime boss/superhero, who protects the city of Felport from nightmare kings, crazed religious zealots, various gods, her own messed-up family members -- and even a dark doppelganger of herself.
T.A - There's a story called "Mommy Issues of the Dead," set early in Marla's career, in the anthology The Way of the Wizard, which came out late last year. A story called "Shark's Teeth," set after the events of Broken Mirrors, is due out from Daily Science Fiction sometime this year. So she's still keeping herself busy.
Amber - Marla fans will be pleased with the short story in the anthology Those Who Fight Monsters. What was it like working on the book? Did you meet up with the other authors involved? Have wild parties? Or is it all emails?
Amber - Is it hard writing a short story? Do you have limits set to you by the publisher or do you just write a story that you think is long or short enough?
T. A - Some stories are hard, and some are easy! (This one was pretty easy, as I'd had the idea for Marla to fight the Beast of Felport for years -- I even alluded to the battle in one of the novels, long before I wrote the actual story.) There are often word limits, but I'm pretty good at telling how much space a story will need -- some stories feel like shorts, or novelettes, or novellas. I'm fairly adept at estimating word counts, despite a tendency to write long.
Amber - Marla has seen a lot of action so far. How do you decide what to throw at her in each book/story?
T. A - I read a lot, and anything that catches my interest goes into the mental compost heap, and eventually, it turns into stories. I've written Marla stories about mythical underworlds, sleep disorders, Aztec mythology, mirror universes, con artists, shark gods, and evil twins. All stuff that fascinates me.
Amber - Have you read Those Who Fight Monsters? Which stories did you like in the collection?
T. A - I haven't, yet! I will when I get a contributor copy.
Amber - What comes next? More Marla? More anthologies? Any other projects?
And there are always short stories coming out. With my friends Greg van Eekhout and Jenn Reese, and my wife Heather Shaw, I wrote a series of 26 short-short stories we're publishing at Daily Science Fiction, one story per week, as The Alphabet Quartet. You can read those as
they're published here: http://dailysciencefiction.com/genre/alphabet-quartet
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?
T. A - I get names from the credits of movies, from phone books, from census data, from lists of baby names, from mythology -- all sorts of places. (But I rarely use the names of people I know.) It's a very intuitive process -- I can usually tell when I have the "right" name, though sometimes it takes a while.
T. A - Well, having my series dropped by my publisher was a definite "down." The series sold okay, but not great, and when my editor was laid off and my imprint reorganized completely, that was the end of the road for me and Random House. But I got to do 5 books total with Random House, which was great, and between small-press passion projects and fun work-for-hire books, I'm keeping myself gainfully employed and entertained. And my short story writing career is going marvelously.
Amber - A lot of authors are writing now in both adult and YA genres. Have you considered writing a YA book?
T. A - I wrote a middle grade science fantasy adventure called The Nex, which went around to publishers, but no one wanted to buy it. I still liked it, though, so I self-published it as an e-book and serialized it online. I recently wrote another middle grade book which is -- maybe -- more commercial, and my agent will be sending it out soon. So we'll see.
Amber - What are you listening and watching lately? Is there any music or other media that influences your writing?
And everything influences my writing. I've written whole stories inspired by one or two lines in songs! Everything I read, watch, and listen to goes into the mental compost heap, where magic happens and stories grow.
I'm reading a lot of comics lately. I like Robert Kirkman's Invincible(and his The Walking Dead), and Joe Hill's Locke and Key is marvelous.
Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be and why?
T. A - I recently read a bit of folklore about a kind of vampire who transforms into a werewolf when you kill it. That works for me -- the best of both worlds!
Amber - Thanks for visiting Amberkatze's Book Blog again!
One lucky person will win a copy of the anthology 'Those Who Fights Monsters'.
How To Enter
Which Occult Detective from the anthology 'Those Who Fights Monsters' is the one you want to read about the most? (see list below)
No answer = No Entry
Who are Those Who Fight Monsters?
Danny Hendrickson - from Laura Anne Gilman's Cosa Nostradamus series.
Kate Connor - from Julie Kenner’s Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series.
John Taylor - from Simon R. Green’s Nightside series.
Jill Kismet - from Lilith Saintcrow’s Jill Kismet series.
Jessi Hardin - from Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series.
Quincey Morris - from Justin Gustainis’ Morris/Chastain Investigations series.
Marla Mason - from T. A. Pratt's Marla Mason series.
Tony Foster - from Tanya Huff’s Smoke and Shadows series.
Dawn Madison - from Chris Marie Green’s Vampire Babylon series.
Pete Caldecott - from Caitlin Kittredge’s Black London series.
Tony Giodone - from C. T. Adams and Cathy Clamp’s Tales of the Sazi series.
Jezebel - from Jackie Kessler’s Hell on Earth series.
Piers Knight - from C. J. Henderson’s Brooklyn Knight series.
Cassiel - from Rachel Caine’s Outcast Season series.
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The contest will stay open until Sunday 13th of March 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.