Her cozy vampire mystery series debut, A Taste of the Nightlife, made a great first impression on me and I am eager to read book two, Let Them Eat Stake.
I asked Sarah on to the blog and she was kind enough to answer my questions. The result is this interview, which I hope you will all enjoy! I also hope it will perk your interest in this lovely paranormal cozy mystery series and have you picking up a copy of the books sometime soon.
Oh and there is a copy of Let Them Eat Stake up for grabs! So make sure you enter the contest!
Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here as a guest! Could you start things off by telling us a little about your new book, Let Them Eat Stake?
Thanks so much for inviting me. Let Them Eat Stake is the second book in my "Vampire Chef" mystery series. Charlotte Caine is an executive chef in an alternate Manhattan where vampires are out of the coffin, and in need of a place where they and their human friends can sit down and have a meal without anybody getting hurt. Charlotte's not herself a vampire, she just cooks for them. In this book, she's hired to cater a wedding between a gold-digging vampire and a member of the powerful Maddox witch clan. This, as you might imagine, causes a few problems.
Amber - I really liked the debut in the Vampire Chef Series, A Taste of the Nightlife. It is a great paranormal cozy mystery. How did you come up with the idea?
Sarah - This came about via a twist that almost never happens. The publisher actually came up with the idea. I didn't hear about it until I got a call from my friend, the writer and humorist Esther Friesner. She told me she'd been approached about a project she didn't have the time to take on, and would I be interested? Of course, I asked what it was. She said, "Vampire Chef," and I said "I'm in." I didn't know what it was, or where it was going, just those two words, and I was hooked.
Amber - Why the paranormal? and why a cozy mystery? Are they genres you like yourself or just ones you wanted to try?
Amber - I noticed you have actually written quite a lot of books and the Vampire Chef Series isn't your first work. Can you tell us about some of the other books have you written?
Sarah - I came up through fantasy and science fiction. Before vampire chef, that's almost exclusively what I wrote. The science fiction is what gets called "space opera," lots of drama involving aliens and alien worlds. For fantasy, I wrote the epic Isavalta series, and a romanitc Arthurian series called "Paths to Camelot" which follows the adventures of four brothers who are also knights of the Round Table; Gawain, Geraint, Gareth and Agravain. Writing as C.L. Anderson, I also wrote the space adventure Bitter Angels, which won the Philip K. Dick award in 2010.
Amber - How long on average does it take you to write a book? Do you have a process you follow? or do you just start at page one and see what happens?
Sarah - How long it takes really depends on the book, and the deadline. I've written books in six months, and I've taken a full year. I always have an outline to start with (usually because the publisher asks to see one), but usually around page 100, the story has changed so much that I've thrown it out and am flying by the seat of my pants.
Amber - Will there be more books in the series? Will there be more Vampire Chef mysteries?
Sarah - I sure hope so. I've had a fabulous time writing them, and Charlotte and her peeps have a lot of stories yet to tell me. Talks are happening right now, so I should have news on that front soon.
Amber - Are you working on any other projects you would like to tell us about?
Sarah - I've got a new young adult book coming out in June; Dust Girl. This is also a paranormal (fairies this time), but set in Dust Bowl era Kansas. I got to play on my love of Woody Guthrie ballads, old jazz and classic Hollywood and had a fantastic time.
Amber - If the series was going to be made into a TV series or Film, who would you like to see playing the main characters?
Sarah - Wow. You know, I've never been good at this game. Let's see. For Charlotte, I think Megan Hilty, who's playing Ivy on "Smash" would be a good fit. If we darkened his hair a bit, Nathan Fillon would be great for Brendan Maddox. For Anatole? Hmmm...oh, I know. Again, a little hair coloring, but Dan Stevens, who's playing Matthew Crowley on Downton Abbey. Okay, now you all know what I spend my time watching.
Amber - How do you pick the names for your characters? Do they have any special meanings?
Sarah - Mostly I pull them out of the air. Name characters is one of the things that's hardest for me, right after picking titles. They seldom come easily.
Amber - And how about the titles for your books? Do you always go with the first title or is it hard to come up with the right one?
Amber - What kind of research have you done for your books? Anything interesting or is the research boring?
Sarah - Research is one of the best parts about being a writer. I mean, come on! I was writing about a Manhattan restaurant! Research meant going to the city to eat. I also read a lot of chef bios and restaurant histories, and of course, there's hours spent slaving over the TV watching Food Network (VBG). I also have to give a big thank you to Chef Alex Young and the folks at Zingerman's Roadhouse, who very kindly let me come into the kitchen and observe a Friday Night dinner rush.
Amber - Who has been your biggest inspiration in life?
Sarah - Again, wow. That's a tough one. At the risk of sounding all high-falootin', I see life itself as inspiration. Anytime you find something beautifully done, no matter how small, or someone giving their work their all, no matter what that work is, that's inspiring. Any time you come across genuine bravery or charity. There's always something new to inspire and you never know where the next one will come from.
Amber - What are you listening and watching lately? Is there any music or other media that influences your writing?
Sarah - I listen to music constantly as I write. A lot of folk, old and new, old jazz and blues, some country, some classic and 80s rock, because that's what I came up on, and some relatively new (love Adele). I am a huge, huge, huge fan of theater and movies, and it shows, especially in my YA, which has a lot of music and classic Hollywood in it. I don't watch a whole lot of TV, simply because I don't have the time.
Amber - Read anything good lately? What authors/series are your favourites?
Sarah - Let's check the shelf. Lots of history, mostly for research. Joanna Bourne is somebody I really love for historical romances. Julie James for contemporary romantic comedy. Not cozy, but I recently picked up Tanya French's The LIkeness, and that was very good.
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?
Sarah - I have never been able to make a collaboration work. I'm too much of a control freak and my ideas careen around too wildly.
Amber - What's your favorite paranormal movie of all time?
Sarah - Paranormal movie? Wow. Hmmm....does the musical Scrooge with Albert Finney count? It's got ghosts. I admit, I've got a huge soft spot for the Bela Lagosi Dracula. It's that classic Hollywood thing. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, movie and TV series, also excellent. The Haunting of Hill House, brilliant and scary. You know, it doesn't quite fit the definition of paranormal but almost. The very best movie, both for mystery and magic, IMHO, is The Prestige, with Hugh Jackman. It may be the most perfect mystery film ever, because it does in fact show you how the trick is done, you just can't see it.
Amber - If you could be any famous person, alive or dead, who would you be? and why?
Sarah - And there's one I've never been asked. Maybe Lauren Bacall or Mae West, brilliant, talented, tough women both of them, who lived their lives on their own terms.
Amber - Thank you for visiting Amberkatze's! I hope you will come by again sometime!
Sarah - It's been fun, and anytime!
Vampire Chef Mysteries
#1 - A Taste of the Nightlife
#2 - Let Them Eat Stake
Sarah's publishers, Penguin, are giving away a copy of Let Them Eat Stake
How To Enter
Tell us about your Favourite Food? or what you like to cook! Feel free to share some recipes ;)
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