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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Author Interview with T.A. Pratt (Contest Included)

It is 'Those Who Fight Monsters' month here on Amberkatze's Book Blog! Every one of the four authors who will be visiting me this month have a story inside the anthology 'Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives'. If you haven't already gotten yourself a copy then make sure you do. I usually hate anthologies but this one gets a big thumbs up from me!

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'!


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

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.

Amber - What has Marla been up to recently? I caught sight of her in Those Who Fight Monsters but otherwise nothing in print.

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?

T.A - Ha. No, generally for an anthology like this, the editor just invites you to submit, and you send them the story by e-mail, and work with them on it. No overarching collaboration, usually, and all done from the comfort of our respective offices.

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?

T. A - Oh, lots of things. Let's see. I have a standalone fantasy novel called Briarpatch coming out this August or September from ChiZine Publications. I'm doing a couple of roleplaying game tie-in novels, one for Wizards of the Coast and one for Paizo publishing, which will be out sometime, probably in 2012 or 2013, I imagine. And while I'd intended Broken Mirrors to be an end point for the Marla novel series, it was so successful that I'm thinking about doing a sixth book as an online serial next year.

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.

Amber - I am sure that being an author has its ups and downs. What experiences have you had so far?

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?

T. A - For the Marla books I listened to a lot of Cake and Rilo Kiley. For my first novel, The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, I listened to a lot of alt-country and cowpunk music. Every book gradually evolves its own soundtrack as I find music that sets the mood.

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!


Contest Time

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.


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 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.


Pamk said...

would have to be Tony Giadone from Camp and Adams. Love their Sazi series.

odo said...

Marla Mason is a personal favorite of mine.

Calliope said...

Difinitely Pete Caldecott from Caitlin Kittredge’s Black London series. Especially if Jack is there...

Sharon S. said...

John Taylor - from Simon R. Green’s Nightside series

I have heard so much about Simon Green's work. I want to check his stuff out.

Barbara E. said...

Since I haven't read much from anyone else, I'll pick
Jessi Hardin - from Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series. I've really enjoyed the Kitty books. I would love to get a chance to read the anthology, because it would give me a chance to check out a lot of new authors (new to me that is).

Vickie said...

I cannot wait to read Jackie Kessler's Jezebel case. Love her!

Anonymous said...

Marla Mason. She just edged out John Taylor (though I think she actually knocked him on the head and bundled him into a trashcan to take him out of the running).

Stephanie said...

I'd like to read Jessi Hardin's story because she's one of my favorite characters from the Kitty Norville series.


elaing8 said...

I want to read Pete Caldecott from Black London series

tweeted http://twitter.com/elaing8/status/44547144501301248

Magaly Guerrero said...

I would love to read about Quincey Morris - from Justin Gustainis’ Morris/Chastain Investigations series.

Unknown said...

I want to read about John Taylor from the Nighshade series. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

debbie said...

I would say pete caldecott would be a favorite.

SandyG265 said...

Jill Kismet.

sgiden at verizon.net

Andra Lyn said...

John Taylor most definitely :) I wanna check this one out the most ahah
hense1kk @cmich.edu

Anonymous said...

Kate Connor from Julie Kenner’s Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series.

Dovile said...

I'm most interested to read about Tony Foster.

spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

Rita M said...

Marla Mason from T.A. Pratt's Marla Mason series.

Jenn S. said...

Tony Foster - from Tanya Huff’s Smoke and Shadows series.

jas8929 at gmail dot com

mverno said...

my choice is dawn madison

Rosie said...

It has to be Julie Kenner's Demon Hunting Soccer Mom, Kate Connor.

Audra said...

Jill Kismet

Anonymous said...

Close call for me between Tony Foster and Jill Kismet, but I have to say Tony. I love him.
I also tweeted the contest here: http://twitter.com/Parakiss25
and blogged here:

faefever25 AT hotmail DOT com

Good luck to everyone ^_^

buddyt said...

Please enter me in the giveaway if it is open worldwide.


I would like to read more about John Taylor - from Simon R. Green’s Nightside series.

I have read the first two books in the series and have the rest on my wishlist.


Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

dwarzel said...

Danny Hendrickson

dwarzel at hotmail.com

katzkids by Kathy D. said...

John Taylor for sure:)

Anonymous said...

That would be Jessi Hardin - from Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series.

A'lina said...

I want to read Jill Kismet and Pete Caldecott the most. Thanks for the giveaway!

Unknown said...

Quincey Morris and Tony Giodone the most, that's for sure.

SiNn said...

hands down

Cassiel - from Rachel Caine’s Outcast Season series

tho they all sound awesome tho so is a hard choice


Nickolay said...

I would most like to read about Tony Foster - from Tanya Huff’s Smoke and Shadows series.


Shelbycat said...

I'd love to read any one of these short stories but if asked to pick it would have to be Jessi Hardin.

donnas said...

What a great set of authors and characters. I think the first would be Kate Connor. Looking forward to seeing what happens to her next.

tweet - http://twitter.com/#!/DonnaS1/status/46453094812356608

bacchus76 at myself dot com

BookMarc Blogpants said...

Jezebel. Love that character.


saturdaynightfever said...

Dawn Madison


AEKZ2 said...

I want to read about John Taylor.


nhmoose99 said...

Kate Connor.

nhmoose99 at yahoo dot com

Cynthya said...

Lots of my favorites here, so it's hard to pick one, but I'll go with Cassiel - from Rachel Caine’s Outcast Season series. This anthology looks great (and unlike you, I love anthologies.)

Storm Safety Blog said...

I'm most interested in reading the Jill Kismet stories.

goofyme said...

Dawn Madison (because of...vampires).

Finegal50 AT sbcglobal DOT net

Deborah Wellenstein said...

I most want to read about Jill Kismet - from Lilith Saintcrow’s Jill Kismet series. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I would have to say Dawn Madison


Unknown said...

I want to read about Cassiel-from Rachel Caine's Outcast Season Series. garrettsambo@aol.com

Roseann K. said...

I love Marla Mason's work. thanks!

dvice12 said...

I'd like to read Dawn Madison

Anonymous said...

I would like to read about Quincey Morris


Gail said...

I have a tie: I want to read about Jill Kismet and Marla Mason.
These two female detectives are ready for anything.