Sunday, 18 January 2009
This week I am very lucky to have one of my favourite authors as a guest here on Amberkatze's Book Blog. Yasmine Galenorn is the writer of over 20 books and is the author of the amazing Sisters of the Moon series.
If you already know about Yasmine's books then I hope you enjoy the interview! If you haven't already come across her books then I hope this interview will encourage you to do so! At the end of the interview there is a contest so make sure you enter and tell your friends!
Amber - Yasmine! It is such an honour to have you as a guest on Amberkatze's Book Blog! Can you start things off by telling my readers a bit about your Sisters of the Otherworld series? I hope they all know about it already but just in case ;)
Yasmine - Thanks, Amber. The Otherworld (Sisters of the Moon) Series follows the adventures of three half-human, half-Fae sisters—Camille, Delilah, and Menolly D’Artigo, wild and sexy members of the OIA—the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. Camille, a witch, Delilah, a werecat, and Menolly, an acrobat extraordinaire turned vampire, are sent Earthside to keep them out of trouble by their superiors, who consider the girls nothing but a bunch of bumbling half-breeds. But the girls soon find themselves smack in the middle of Demon-Central when Shadow Wing, the leader of the Subterranean Realms, decides to attempt a coup on both Earth and Otherworld.
From their home in a seedy suburb of Seattle, the sisters must use every ounce of erratic power they have to thwart the havoc about to unfold. Together with Camille's lust-crazed and not-quite-human boyfriends, an FBH (full-blood-human) detective named Chase Johnson who has a penchant for spicy beef tacos and wild women, a gorgeous hunk of dragon flesh named Smoky, Iris the house sprite, and Maggie--their baby calico gargoyle, they must use all of their collective talents to prevent the demons from taking over as the three sisters attempt to save two worlds, one monster at a time.
Amber - How did you come up with the idea for the series? Was it a long process or something that just came to you?
Yasmine – This series came in a flash to me one night while I was watching TV—I think it was What Not To Wear, or some other show like that. I was sitting on my exercise ball and looked up at these large windows that stretch across the upper part of one wall in our house, and I saw three women jump through it (in my mind, of course, not in body) and land beside me. Camille started introducing herself and her sisters, and told me who and what they were, and I realized that I *had* to write about them—there was no question about it. They were ready to have their stories told.
Amber - Was it always intended to do a book from each sisters perspective? Did you want each sister to be different (Vamp, Werecat & Witch) or did the story need them to be different?
Yasmine – Actually, I hadn’t intended it to be that way. I thought I was going to write the whole series from Camille’s point of view. Then, after I turned in Witchling to my editor I mentioned that I was going to start on Changeling the next day. My editor at the time (she’s since moved on to another house) said, “Oh right, that’s from Delilah’s point of view.” And I stopped dead on the phone and then blurted out, “Say what?” She told me that’s one thing they’d loved about the idea—that the books would be round robin through the sisters, and I realized they thought that’s what I’d meant in my proposal. I wasn’t sure I could pull it off and told her so, but she encouraged me—she said, “Yasmine, you can do this. You’re a good writer, you can make it work.” So, I gave it a try and now am thrilled that I took on the challenge because I love writing the series this way.
And yes, I knew each sister was different in abilities—that was a given from the beginning when they first introduced themselves to me and the story began to unfold. I think it would be very boring for them all to be vampires or witches or Weres. At least, boring for me to write.
Amber - Is it hard for you as a writer to change characters each time but write in the same world? Does it ever get confusing? Have you ever made mistakes?
Yasmine - At first it was—with the first shift from Camille to Delilah, but after throwing away 200 pages of work and starting fresh, I found Delilah’s voice. Menolly and Camille come in strong, and now—so does Delilah. They’re really quite distinct in my head so I don’t make mistakes in terms of writing who’s who, but now and then I really have to go back through my research notebook and look up just what’s happened to the secondary characters over the series, and what has—and hasn’t—happened in the story arc. I really want a huge office with an entire wall I can cover with white boards so I can scribble notes to my heart’s content and chart out a timeline that I don’t have to create over a series of pages. ~grins~
Amber - Book #5 in the series, Night Huntress, is out now. This time we have the pleasure of Delilah's perspective. Can you tell us a little about the story this time around?
Yasmine – Well, the war against the demons is getting more involved and Karvanak, who was their foe in Dragon Wytch and who escaped, is back to raise more havoc. This time, he goes after Chase—knowing it will give him leverage with them. Delilah, coping with fallout from a big mistake Chase made that basically makes her question their entire relationship, has to take the reins and try to save him, all the while wondering if they’ll ever have anything together again. Meanwhile, the Autumn Lord reveals his long-term plans for Delilah, who is his only living Death Maiden. And there are revelations about the civil war back in Y’Elestrial, about Trillian’s disappearance, and the Earthside Fae Queens reveal more of their plans.
Amber - How many more books are there going to be in the series? Do you see an end in sight or will you keep going until someone says stop?
Yasmine - I love long running series. But—and this is a caveat for all my work—if I feel my books sliding, and that’s by my own standards, that’s when I call it quits. I was growing so bored with writing the cozy mysteries—I was proud of them, but I’m so not geared that way in nature and if I’d kept on, they would have declined in quality. A writer has to love what she’s writing or it will show.
I am still so psyched about this series, and once the Spirit Seal story arc wraps up, there are other story arcs in the making that will take over. So—as long as I feel my books are living up to the quality of the past ones, and as long as readers continue to love and buy the series and the publisher supports it, for the foreseeable future, I’m thrilled to keep writing it.
Amber - What else are you working on at the moment? I heard something about a YA series?
Yasmine – Not a YA—there were thoughts it would be a YA series but that shifted before I signed the contract. But yes, I am contracted for three books (to start) in a second urban fantasy series that is tentatively called the Elemental Magic series. As soon as I wrap up a novella I’m working on right now, I write the first book in the series—Wind Scar (tentative title). My tag line for the series is: Two cousins. Four Elements. All Magic. The first book in that series will be released in April, 2010.
I recently turned in an OW novella for an anthology that comes out in January 2010 (anthology called Inked, novella called Etched in Silver), and that’s the story about Camille and Trillian’s first meeting. I’m also working on another OW novella right now for a project that I can’t talk about just yet.
At present, I’m writing three books a year, plus side projects—two OW novels, and one EM book.
Amber - You also wrote a great mystery series 'Chintz'n China'. Do you miss the series? Will you write any more mysteries?
Yasmine – I know some people will be disappointed to hear me say that no, I don’t miss writing it. I loved the series, am proud of it, but could never take it to where I wanted because it was placed in the cozy category. When I turned it in, I didn’t turn in quite the cozy novel Ghost of a Chance turned out to be—it was a lot harder core in some ways. I loved the characters but I just don’t relate to the cozy mystery genre even though I read a few series. As far as I can foresee now, no, I won’t be writing more mysteries, not in the way I did before. But there is mystery in all my work. You see, I always wanted to be a fantasy/SF writer, from the time I was very young, and now that I’m there—I have no intention on shifting genres again! ~grins~
By the way: Berkley is repackaging the Chintz ‘n China series (though it won’t be called that anymore)—no new books, but all new covers (beautiful ones, I might add), and they’re bringing Legend of the Jade Dragon back into print so now readers will be able to order new copies of it without paying 20-80 bucks on eBay. The first one comes out in March, and they’ll be released every other month until all the books are out new. You can see the new covers on my site.
Amber - Do you have any favourite characters from your books? Any you would like to be? Are any of the characters like you or people you know?
Yasmine – Oh, Camille and I are a whole lot alike. Yeah, I just wish I had her figure. I wouldn’t mind playing footsie with her men, either (kisses to my husband—he knows they’re not real! ~grins~). I think there’s a little of me in all the characters, even the villains. She’s not a Mary Sue character—gods know, I don’t want demons pounding on me and while I am a shamanic witch, I’d rather not have my magic backfire on me like hers does to her. But my taste in clothes ended up in her character, and my taste in men, and the fact that I’ve always kind of been an anchor for a number of friends and family.
I do take some inspiration from people I meet, but it’s more attributes or qualities/characteristics than the person themselves.
The only other character actually ‘based’ on someone real is Maggie the gargoyle, and she’s based on my friend Mark’s cat Maggie. We’re members of a pet forum together where I’m volunteer staff, and he was joking one day that I should put his Maggie in my books, and somehow, the thought stuck—this was just when I was starting to write Witchling. I knew Camille wanted a ‘pet’ and she couldn’t have a cat thanks to Delilah, and somehow Maggie the tortoiseshell cat just evolved into Maggie the calico gargoyle.
Amber - You always have playlists to complement your books. Does music play a big part in your writing process?
Yasmine – It never used to but now it does. The OW series opened up my ability to write to music. Now, I don’t 100% of the time write with it on, but I have to have my playlists and they are selected to fit the mood of the book. I am very oriented toward music—I feel it in my body, and it affects my moods, my outlook, and—yes—the way I write.
Amber - Do you have to do a lot of research for your books or do you keep to what you know?
Yasmine –Because of my metaphysical background, I have a strong body of knowledge re: magic, mythology, legend and lore, etc.. I’m also a trivia nut so know a lot of potentially useless facts that sometimes play in. My books are regional so the only research I have to do re: setting is to hop in the car and go for a drive, or to hop on line to fact check where a building is or a street. Sometimes, for a specific scene, I’ll have to do a bit of digging, but I’ve got a wide variety of friends with a wide body of knowledge between them and it’s not all that hard to grab the phone, call someone, and ask something. I’ve been known to phone the cops for legal info (though I’m always nervous they’ll think I’m committing some crime) or—for example—to call the zoo to find out about bat guano (that was for Murder Under A Mystic Moon). Experts are ready and willing to help if you explain why you need the information and don’t take up their time with useless questions.
Amber - How did you become an author? Is it what you always wanted to do?
Yasmine – When I was three, I was learning to read. One day—and I do remember this day—it suddenly occurred to me (maybe my mother told me, I don’t know) that people made the books I loved to listen to and was learning to read. And right then, I knew I wanted to grow up and ‘make books.’ I never let anything interfere with that goal—so yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer and always worked toward it as a career. Though I did major in theatre in college—stage direction and management.
Amber - What books do you like to read when you have time? Any favourite authors or series?
Yasmine – That’s one of the hardest things about being a fulltime author—there isn’t much time to read. It’s a cruel irony for almost all the authors I know. By the time I finish my work for the day (I work 50-70 hours a week), I’m too tired to read most of the time, so either read on short breaks, or sometimes take a day off and just read but that’s pretty rare. So my reading time has gotten very tight.
Having said that, yes, I do have a number of favorite authors. Of the ones that inspired me as I was growing up and learning my craft: first and foremost: Ray Bradbury. Then, Daphne du Maurier, Richard Adams, Pearl S. Buck, the Brontë sisters, George Elliot, and Jane Austin. And of course, all the SF/Fan greats as I grew up and grew into adulthood: Frederick Pohl, Isaac Asimov, JRR Tolkien, Arthur C. Clarke, Clifford D. Simak, Anne McCaffrey, Joan D. Vinge, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Ben Bova, and so many others. As the years have gone by, I’ve added Michael Crichton, Amy Tan, Greg Bear, Guy Gavriel Kay, Olivia Goldsmith, Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, JA Jance, Tad Williams, and others to the list. Most recently, I’ve been a hardcore fan of PC & Kristen Cast’s House of Night Series, and Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampire Series. I also like Kelly Armstrong, Cathy Clamp & CT Adams, Jeaniene Frost, Linda Wisdom, Annette Blair, and a number of other authors.
I’m going to grow broke buying books. Seriously, my TBR pile probably tops 200 right now and I keep adding to it!
Amber - How do you relax? Any hobbies? Favourite TV series or Movies you like to curl up and watch?
Yasmine – I take it we’re talking PG-13 rated? ~grins~ Relax—I’m not good at relaxing. Backrubs help, exercise but I’m so bad at keeping on a regular schedule. I love video games (Dungeon Siege 2, Sims 2, Diablo 2, especially) and puzzle games on the computer (Bejeweled, Drops, Peggle, Tetris, stuff like that). Playing with the cats relaxes me and never fails to make me laugh. Going out for coffee, for a bite to eat where I’m forced to just sit there and not be at my computer. I love being outside but have cold sensitive asthma so in my area, can’t be out for too much most of the year because of the damp and chill. I love, love, love being by the water—the ocean/inlets, not a lake—where you can feel the energy of the water mother roll in as she kisses the shore. There’s nothing quite like the call of the gulls and the scent of seaweed and brine. I love it.
Favorite movies/TV? Oh yeah…this season I’m watching Bleach, Fringe, Reaper, Medium, Bones, and Desperate Housewives. Still watching What Not To Wear, Project Runway, and I love the Food TV Network challenges. I love to cook and watch a lot of cooking shows. My all-time favorite series include: InuYasha, Buffy (the first five seasons, didn’t like the last two), the first three seasons of Supernatural (stopped watching this season), Clean Sweep (laugh if you like, but I loved that show—it’s a reality show about cleaning house). I love shows like Sex and the City, I Love Lucy, Mary Tyler Moore, Frasier, MASH, Murder She Wrote…a lot of those older sitcoms were really well written.
Favorite movies? LOL, I’m a movie nut so that could be a long list, but at the top, Rebecca is my favorite movie. I’d have to include: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien and Aliens, Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park (though I prefer the book) Terminator and T-2, Tremors, Fargo, Queen of the Damned, the InuYasha movies, all of Hitchcock—especially Rope, Rear Window, Vertigo, the Birds, and Psycho. Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion, Heathers, Breakfast Club, Weird Science, are on my list. Also just about every b-grade SF flick made during the 50s and 60s—I collect them, and some were brilliant like the (originals) of Day The Earth Stood Still and War of the Worlds. I’m a Godzilla fan. Sleepy Hollow, Pirates of the Caribbean 1 & 2, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Others, Lord of the Rings—I could go on and on.
Amber - You are stranded on a desert island. What 5 things do you hope to have with you?
Yasmine – Hmmm…a motor boat that’s gassed up, a life jacket, food reserves, water, and a satellite communications device. *grins* Well, you asked! Okay, if I were stranded without those things…a guide to the plants/animals on that island so I’d know what was safe to eat. A large, sharp, multi-purpose knife. A tent. A laptop that can contact the net via satellite. And MacGyver (the character, not the actor).
Amber - Thank you so much Yasmine for taking the time to answer my questions! I hope you will come back again sometime soon!
This week you can win yourself one of the Sisters of the Moon books. So if you haven't started the series yet or are missing one of the books, this is your chance to win one!
So if you win you get to pick your prize and I will get it off to you via Amazon or BookDepository.
To enter just let me know which sister of the Moon you would like to be and why? (if you haven't read the series then pick - Vampire, Werecat or Witch). No answer = No entry!
You can earn yourself an extra entry by posting about this interview and contest somewhere on the net. Make sure you post a link so I can confirm your entry.
The contest is open until Sunday 25th of January 4pm CET. All entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not chase down winners and will pick a new winner if a prize isn't claimed within 7 days of contest closing.
Enter away and if we are lucky Yasmine will pop in and say hello! (if she has finished celebrating her Birthday!)
posted by Amber Katze at Sunday, January 18, 2009 |