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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Interview With An Author - Marjorie M. Liu

1)Describe your creative process. Any rituals or specifications when you sit down to write? When do you prefer to write, and for how many hours daily? I think avid readers and aspiring writers are always curious about this aspect.

It varies from book to book, but I usually like to start early in the morning, before dawn, with me heading straight from the bed to the office. I sit down, work for a couple hours -- or until I get really hungry -- eat breakfast, check some email -- and then get back to work. I stop for lunch, then work for another couple hours, stop for dinner or a snack, work a little more, and then just sort of quit at the end of the day when I feel like it. It's a natural rhythm, but not set in stone. If I'm really on fire, I won't quit for anything, not even to eat. I just push through. But typically, I work anywhere from seven to fourteen hours a day, every day.No rituals. Just comfy clothes. Lots of water or tea. Anything to make me comfortable.

2)Maxine Kiss, the heroine of the Hunter Kiss series, is one of the most complex, dynamic, and interesting characters I have ever come across in Urban Fantasy. She has these incredible supernatural powers, yet is so relatable and realistic. Are there any autobiographical features in the character of Maxine?

That's very kind of you. Maxine is always fun to write, because she's so straightforward -- too much so, at times. Her social skills leave something to be desired, partially because she's been raised in a peculiar kind of isolation, always as an outsider. And because she hasn't dealt with that many people -- on a normal, human basis -- she's both shy and bold, confident in some ways -- and insecure in others.But as for autobiographical features...that's a tough question, in a way. I just write the characters as they come to me, without much conscious thought. I'm not as tough as Maxine, not by any stretch of the imagination, but we do have a shared fondness for cowboy boots, 80's music and pop culture, hot chocolate, and books.

3)How much of your life experience is woven into the Hunter Kiss series? How are your interests reflected in your writing?

I think that every aspect of our lives -- our experiences, no matter how small -- are woven into the fabric of our unconscious minds, and that's the place we draw from as writers. So if you want specifics -- I could say, for example, that I lived in Seattle for many years -- but the series as a whole has been developed organically, very much from the seat of my pants. I never intended Maxine to have a grandfather, for example, but Jack sort of...marched onto the page, for better or worse, and established himself in the thick of things.I will say this, though -- I've always been interested in science, and I minored in Bioethics in undergrad, with a similar focus in law school. Those kinds of issues are part of a long-running theme that can be found in many of my books, including DARKNESS CALLS.

4) In the novella, HUNTER KISS (available as an ebook), Maxine meets Grant and they begin to forge a relationship that is carried through into THE IRON HUNT. Can you explain the evolution of their romance and how it changes in DARKNESS CALLS?

As a romance author, I've always found it difficult to chart the evolution of a relationship in one book. Some writers manage it beautifully in a single go, while others set up characters over the run of a series until they receive their own chance to fall in love. The thing I find liberating about the Hunter Kiss series is that I can take my time with Maxine and Grant. Which might seem like an odd thing to say, as they meet in the novella, and are pretty much joined at the hip in THE IRON HUNT. But, as we all know, even if you fall madly and deeply in love with a person, that doesn't mean you both stop growing. It doesn't mean that what you have between you won't change -- for better or worse.For Maxine and Grant, I wanted to write something that was very quiet, a deep partnership between two people who share an intense friendship and trust. They love each other, passionately, but there's more to each of them than the other realizes -- and in DARKNESS CALLS I explore that further, especially in Grant's case. He's always known he was different from other people, but he's about to find out that those differences are far more profound than he realized. It's going to shake him up -- and Maxine, as well.

5) Anything else you would like to say about DARKNESS CALLS?

It was a blast to write. I go deeper into the mythology of the world, hopefully taking it in unexpected directions, and there's a little something for everyone -- time travel, genetic engineering, demons, psychic barmaids -- as well as that evolving relationship between Maxine and Grant, which is potentially...well...apocalyptic.

I also urge folks to check out the web-exclusive promo letter that I wrote to celebrate the release of Darkness Calls. It's a letter from Grant to the unborn daughter that he hopes one day to have with Maxine. Part three just went up, and can be found here: http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/index.php/weblog/comments/exclusive-darkness-calls-teaser-part-iii-of-a-letter-from-grant-cooperon-by/

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Summer Reading Recommendations from the TRRC Staff!!

In this post, you will find many different reading recommendations for this summer. Some are old favorites and some are new releases we are dying to read!! From our many varied tastes, there will be plenty for just about everyone!

Must-Read Mysteries for Summer by Angela Etheridge:

As a teacher, I love summer for many reasons, but additional “reading time” is the best reason of all! A new Lisa Gardner book, THE NEIGHBOR, is coming out this June, and Ms. Gardner is an automatic purchase list. All her books are absolutely gripping, intense, and highly original. Also highly recommended is Kelley Armstrong’s MADE TO BE BROKEN; this unusual tale follows the experiences of a female contract killer. Neither of these books are light, summery reads, but they are sure to keep you reading late into the night! For lighter summer fare, Cynthia Baxter’s MURDER PACKS A SUITCASE really fits the bill—with a tale about a travel writer exploring Florida . Highlighting the kitschy parts of Florida , this lighthearted mystery packs an unexpected punch. If you are like me and hope to lose a few pounds this summer, consider reading Kathryn Lilley’s Fat City mysteries series, starting with DYING TO BE THIN. With characters as real as you and I, Ms. Lilley’s books are fun and believable. No matter where you go or what you do this summer, don’t forget to pack a mystery!

From Sarah Siversmith:

Must reads for this summer, there are a bunch of books coming out this summer that I think are must reads for those who like paranormal books and romantica.Emma Holly has a trilogy coming out in her Upyr series. These revolve around Edmund St. Clare and his family. Kissing Midnight, Breaking Midnight and Saving Midnight. Nalini Singh also has a new book coming out in her psy series, Branded by Fire, which is highly anticipated. Laurell Hamilton's newest Anita Blake book - number 17 is out, Skin Trade. Of course there is J R Ward's Lover Avenged, which came out last month, but still a must read for this genre. Karen Marie Moning's newest Fae book, Dreamfever comes out in August. Jeaniene Frost's fourth Night Huntress book, Destined for an Early Grave comes out in August as well. Who can forget Lora Leigh's next Breed book? Bengal's Heart comes out in August. All in all, a banner summer for HEAT books!

From our Paranormal Coordinator - Lori Sears:

Summer reading at it's best can be found in the paranormal genre with my following choices for June and July releases.
Alyssa Day has a duo of books scheduled for release in The Warriors of Poseidon Series with ATLANTIS UNLEASHED in June and ATLANTIS UNMASKED in July. Both books are fantastic and very sensual.

Brenda Joyce releases her next book in The Masters of Time Series in August. DARK LOVER was absolutely awesome and my favorite Master's book so far.

Carolyne Jewel has MY FORBIDDEN DESIRE coming up in June. It is the follow up to MY WICKED ENEMY and is perfect for poolside reading.

Let us not forget one of my favorite authors, Lara Adrian and her Midnight Breed Series. ASHES OF MIDNIGHT is due out in June as well. This particular series has continued to grow with each installment and the latest story kicks butt!

Last but not least, my newest discovery in the paranormal genre is a book that actually came out in April and was a really fun and intriguing new series. Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampire Series Book 1 is titled SOME GIRLS BITE. It has a refreshing and contemporary feel and I totally loved it.

Livia, our Editor, sends her Young Adult recommendations:

ELEVEN, TWELVE and THIRTEEN by Lauren Myracle, the adventures of Winnie Perry as she experiences life begining in the sixth grade.

CAMP CONFIDENTIAL SERIES - Books 1 thru 21 by Melissa J. Morgan
A fun series for girls ages 9-12 featuring the members of summer Camp Lakeview,
Bunk 4C. This series is definitely about summer camp years but also extend to the school years.

From Monica:

This summer I have decided to catch up on a few series that have been piling up. While, I have many books in that wonderful tbr pile I have found myself picking titles where the men are dangerous and the women are more than up to the challenge.

With that said, I am recommending Cindy Gerard's Black Ops Inc. series for those of you that must have your romance with a twist of suspense. Three books have been published so far and they are all outstanding. The first book in the series is, Show No Mercy and is followed by Take No Prisoners and Whisper No Lies. Reading these three will definitely be a primer for the next installment, Feel The Heat due out later this year.

Now, for those readers looking for a little more heat, Lora Leigh's Nauti series is sure to ignite a few fires. Four titles have been released each one should come with a warning. Nauti Boy is the first title, followed by Nauti Nights, Nauti Dreams and Nauti Intentions.

Happy Reading and I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I did.


From Geri:

If you've never read them, I highly recommend the four books that make up Nora Roberts Chesapeake Bay stories. They are about family and relationships and romance and are delicious. I've read them each at least 2-3 times over the years. The titles are: Sea SweptRising TidesInner HarborChesapeake BlueMore recent recommendations would include the very quirky but excellent new book by Erica Orloff, FREUDIAN SLIP, about guardian angels and the devil. ONE RECKLESS SUMMER, by Toni Blake, is a steamy romance with a good girl and a bad but misunderstood boy. Lovely, lovely romance that I highly recommend. If you want to go off to a foreign land and intense, passionate writing, get a copy of Olivia Gates' THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING. The first in a new trilogy, this one will be fun to keep reading. Finally, for Tori Carrington fans, their newest, BRANDED, is an outstanding and hot category romance with a western theme. Yum!

From Jasmine:

Well the summer months are considered beach months. Hence, my first recommendation in the Inspirational genre is Beach Dreams - a story centered around a beach house that has been instrumental in a lot of relationships and lives. While this is the fourth book in the series, it is not necessary to have read the other ones. Another recommendation is A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist. A historical read, it is sure to transport you to a different place and time if and when the heat gets unbearable. Ms. Gist is an exceptional author and pens the story of Anna Ivey and Joe Denton. Anna is tricked into a bride wagon and is handed off to Joe Denton, without her knowing that she is supposed to marry the man. And a final recommendation from the Inspirational mystery/suspense genre The Justice Game by Randy Singer. The story deals with a murder and its aftermath. I ensure you that you won't go wrong with Randy Singer. His writing will captivate and keep you on the edge of your seat. Have a good summer and hope you enjoy the recommendations.

This summer must read by Gloria Gehres:

An old classic THE BRIDE by Julie Garwood, is an excellent Highland romance. Alec Kincaid must take an English bride. She is headstrong and challenges him at every opportunity. For a laugh out loud funny book, I would choose, FINGER LICKIN FIFTEEN by Janet Evanovich, due out later this month. Is the next installment in Stephanie Plum's complicated life. SAVED BY THE MONARCH by Dana Marton is a romantic suspense, where a royal wedding is more a duty to ones country, or so he thought. KNIGHT OF DESIRE is a fast paced historical romance by Margaret Mallory, due out In July. She brings history, intrigue, romance, all together in one amazing book. Contemporary Romance, VISIONS IN WHITE by Nora Roberts, four friends combine their talents and create the perfect wedding planning company. But will they find love themselves? This is definitely the summer, for relaxing, grabbing something to drink, and reading a good book.

From Deb, our Regency Goddess:

If you're looking for a delightful beach read that's perfect for the sun and sand, then I recommend the Harlequin Historical anthology, THE DIAMONDS OF WELBOURNE MANOR, Regency-set with three related stories by Diane Gaston, Deb Marlow, and Amanda McCabe. You'll fall in love with the Fitzmanning family and cheer when the three heroines find their happily ever afters. Also, if you haven't read Jane Porter's single title FLIRTING WITH FORTY--a real beach book indeed, then you've missed a wonderful novel with Porter's exquisite voice about second chances and love with a younger man in Hawaii. The Lifetime Channel made FLIRTING WITH FORTY into a tv movie, so after reading the book, head over to the Lifetime website and view exceprts of the movie and an interview with the star, Heather Locklear...later, check back to see when Lifetime will re-broadcast the film...

and, now, my two cents worth:

Summer is here and I am looking forward to time to relax and unwind. One of my favorite ways to do that is by reading! I love a hot romance and I have several on my plate. Fyre Brand by Lora Leigh is the first! This Ellora’s Cave release is about a woman with an elemental talent for fire. She is one tough cookie and it will take two special men to tame her! After that, I am looking forward to perusing their stock to find some new hot reads! Also, I think I may read back over some old favorites, like Lora Leigh and Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down! Emma Holly is giving us three new books this summer Kissing Midnight, Breaking Midnight, and Saving Midnight, featuring Edmund Fitz Clare from her Catching Midnight and Courting Midnight – both of which are excellent reads for vampire and erotica lovers, alike! Other than these reads, I will be exploring the YA genre with my daughter who has just discovered the fun of reading romances! Sci-fi will be on the menu with my son – rereading Harry Potter. Yes, Twilight will most likely be one of my picks for my daughter, but who can resist a hunky vampire and all his teen angst!

Happy Reading!