Header Menu

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Interview & Contest with Author J.F. Lewis

Author J.F. Lewis has visited Amberkatze's Book Blog a few times over the years and he was the second author guest I ever had here on the blog. So I am really happy to have the Author At Large back here again to talk about his latest release, Crossed.

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.

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

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.

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

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?

J. F - Hmmm. I don't see why not. It would just have to be the right project. Something with alternating first person chapters where I wrote one and then the other author edited it and vice versa seems like the most natural way to me. There are several folks in the 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?

J. F - Lately I'm digging Young Justice, Castle, Bones, Doctor Who, The Big Bang Theory, and Community. Of course, movie-wise I love rewatching old films starring Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, or Toshiro Mifune. Novel-wise, Mark Hodder's debut novel The Strange Tale of Spring-heeled Jack was just phenomenal, as was Mary Robinette Kowal's Shades of Milk and Honey.

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!


Contest Time

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!

Amberkatze's Book Blog

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

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 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.


cheesygiraffe said...

It sure isn't the Twilight movies. I like horror movies if you consider that paranormal. Like old school Stephen King ones. The Shining, Carrie, Pet Cemetery, Cujo, Christine...

Sharon S. said...

holy crap, best of all time? I can't do that . But I do love the Underworld movies.

I like JF Lewis' sense of humor in his books .

debbie said...

I would say the shining.

donnas said...

It. Really I cant explain it but I have to watch it when its on.

tweet - http://twitter.com/#!/DonnaS1/status/32915148574298112

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Barbara E. said...

That's a hard question because there are a lot of really great ones. I think I'll pick Interview with a Vampire, although I loved Underworld as well.

tina werner said...

oh the lost boys!!! love that movie!
thanks for the chance to win!

Stephanie said...

I would have to go with the John Carpenter movie, Halloween.


justpeachy36 said...

Interview with a Vampire is definitely mine.

Please enter me in the giveaway.


Anonymous said...

I love the Twilight movies but I also love The Stand by Stephen King and Fright Night. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Daelith said...

Thank you for the interview and contest. Great to see the next book in this series being released. And I love the cover art.

I'm with Cheesy on the Twilight movies...definitely not.

I'm going to say Ladyhawke is my favorite...they do shape shift into a hawk and wolf.

If we're going to go strictly monster type paranormal, I'm a classics Dracula fan. Love those old black and whites with Bela Lugosi.

More modern day favorite - Underworld.

Okay really, who can just pick one?

cheleooc at yahoo dot com

Posted a link on my blog - http://daelith.blogspot.com/2011/02/win-copy-of-crossed.html

Katie said...

I have always loved the Francis Ford Coppola's version of Bram Stoker's Dracula.

bigferret at email dot com

Chris J. said...

Thank you Amber, for always bringing new authors atleast to the readers, if not truly just starting. :)
I really like the covers and the storyline just hooks you and makes you want to run out and start reading them. :)
As to fave paranormal movie, I have to go with "Pratical Magic", witches count as paranormal right? Every time it is on I have to watch it, the closeness of the sisters and then when all the women come together to sweep his bad self away, Awesome!
If that doesn't count then I will go with Underworld movies, they rock.

Julie S said...

My favorite paranormal movie is Interview with the Vampire.


Anonymous said...

My favourite paranormal movie is Van Helsing. Hugh Jackman and Dracula are both sexy as hell, and it's just entertaining and funny.

I also posted about the contest here:

Bethany C. said...

Right off the top of my head I thought of Underworld, but I'll probably think of something better the second I hit 'submit.' Hey, there are angels and demons in Dogma, I think that should count!


Margaret said...

Oh that's a tough one. Definitely I'd have to put down the Twilight saga movies as my first choices.
I'd love to watch Interview with a Vampire though. Yum, yum, Brad Pitt :D I loved Anne Rice's book.Thank you for the chance!!! :)


Andra Lyn said...

wow thats a tough one!...I think it's a tie between Underworld and Interview with A Vampire..Underworld was pretty badass, but Iw/V like...revolutionized the modern concept of vamps...lol anyways thanks for the contest Amber!

hense1kk AT cmich DOT edu

Amy said...

I like the Underworld movies!
Thanks for the giveaway!


tetewa said...

I enjoyed the Resident Evil movies! tWarner419@aol.com

Suzanne Johnson said...

This sounds like an amazing series--can't wait to read it. I guess my favorite paranormal movie of all time has been the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Does that count? Not urban fantasy, just fantasy. In urban fantasy, sadly, there are more bad examples than good.

wade2121 said...

Underworld movies are my favorite

BrigidsBlest said...

For me, favorite paranormal movie is a toss-up between Scanners and Let the Right One In. (The original, not the American remake.)

BrigidsBlest @ yahoo dot com

Sweet Vernal Zephyr said...

The mustang on the cover sucked me in!

My fav movie of all time in the paranormal category is Legend. *sigh* The young Tom Cruise.

mdwartistry at yahoo dot com

All This Silence... said...

Man... Good question, and great interview. I think I'm going to go with Thirteen Ghosts.

Dawn said...

the exorcist ,,,, the original... love it.

Karen said...

I think my favorites change based on what kind of mood I'm in.
I love Blade: Trinity for the fighting, Resident Evil for the zombies, Practical Magic for the romance. The Birds is a great old classic. I'm a huge fan of Vincent Price movies and pretty much anything with vampires, werewolves or zombies.

(I'm loving Crossed. Greta is - shudder - scary/funny/awesome! And Erik, well he ought to be dislikeable, but he's so aware of that himself that you can't help but love him. Its thoroughly enjoyable.)

heatwave16 said...

It has to be Underworld...well, only the first 2 movies. I didn't really like the third one.


GALENA said...


Taffy said...

Loved Ladyhawk! I had one in mind until I read the others, now I can't remember...

Desmond said...

The Shining

dwarzel at hotmail.com

KMichelleC87 said...

I really love the roswell series with jason behr but i don't think that counts as a movie so the first underworld

Gail said...

I think my favorite paranormal movies have to be the 'Creature Feature' movies from years ago. I loved Lon Chaney and Lon Chaney Jr. as the reluctant werewolf.

Another fav which I haven't seen in years is Bell, Book & Candle with Kim Novak. My first paranormal romance:-)

Pauline MIlner said...

My favourite paranormal movie is The Amityville Horror (original version).

I tweeted about this giveaway:



Bella said...

I loved the Twilight series -- mostly for Robert Pattinson as Edward! I also love Interview with the Vampire -- that one really scared me!

Thanks for the contest! :)

I tweeted:


Audra said...


Meredith said...

Van Helsing or the Underworld series.

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Michelle M. said...

It'd have to be Interview with a Vampire I guess. Carrie was pretty good too. I'm not a movie person though, much prefer books.

mdmartin076 at bellsouth dot net

clynsg said...

One of the earlier ones that I liked was Ladyhawke--it had so many good elements to it.

cgclynsg0 at gmail dot com

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

Oh, Interview with a Vampire by all means, although S King's Carrie, Cujo, and Christine scared the crap out of me too.



alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

AEKZ2 said...

My favorite is The Mothman Prophecies


Calliope said...

QUEEN OF THE DAMNED. If you've read the book and compare the movie to it...sure, the movie sucks. But taken on its own the movie is beyond awesome. And, you know, Stuart Townsend makes a great vampire. The way he MOVES! Yum!

Shelbycat said...

My favourite paranormal book and movie of all time is Practical Magic!

lingeorge said...

I really enjoyed the Highlander Movies, especially with Adrian Paul as Connor MacLeod. Is Matrix in that category? I really liked the origionas, hated #2, so didn't bother with #3.
troublelore at gmail dot com

SiNn said...

paranormal hands down was IT scary and clowns r creepy but if i had to pick something else would have to say John Carpenters Vampires is awesome and btw

VAMPIRES DO NOT SPARKLE sorry had to be said tho all the other movies mentioned r in my tp 100 except twilight

Jenn S. said...

Tough choice. I will go with Underworld.

jas8929 at gmail dot com

saturdaynightfever said...

"The Sixth Sense"!


Anonymous said...

The Amityville Horroe is my favorite. garrettsambo@aol.com

susansmoaks said...

i loved the blair witch project
susansmoaks at gmail dot com