First up, I’d like to thank Patti for providing these thought-provoking questions. I’m a newbie at all this so it’s a scary prospect being interviewed about my writing, but these questions made it an absolute pleasure.
June is a special month for me: it’s the month my debut book is released. Coincidentally, it’s a pretty darned special month for my publishing company, too. Happy 15th Anniversary, Red Sage! (And believe me, at Red Sage they really know how to celebrate with their readers, so please check out their official anniversary statement at the end of this interview.)
1. Tell us about your newest release.
I took a punt and entered Red Sage’s Alpha Male Novella Contest last year and when I finalled, Senior Editor Robin Lawson, made me an offer for my novella. It’s called Even Demons Get The Blues and it’s a June 1st Red Sage Presents release.
My heroine, Leisa, was inspired by Holly Hunter’s lead role in the TV series Saving Grace. Leisa might look like an angel, but she sure doesn’t act like one. She’s a bad girl who’s done some pretty questionable things and guilt is eating her alive. Alcohol and casual sex are her chosen methods of self-destruction and she’s embracing both with a vengeance.
And what better hero for a bad girl, than a badass demon? Rez was the demon king’s lieutenant for four thousand wonderfully gory years. But even the most badass demon in Hell can get a bit jaded, so Rez quit and took up beguiling humans. The only problem is that now he’s been beguiled by Leisa, a mere human, and he’s so obsessed that he watches her every move.
When Leisa picks up one loser too many, Rez just can’t stand it any longer and he’s provoked into showing her what a real man—uh, make that demon!—can do. Of course, fate intervenes and the two end up bonded. So there’s Hell to pay. Quite literally!
2. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
A few months before my youngest started school, actually! (He’s now 11.) I figured why not give writing a book a go? And after a truly tragic attempt at chick-lit—and please believe me when I say that first page was a complete disaster!—I ended up writing a fantasy trilogy. On a dare from a friend, I entered the first two manuscripts in a full-manuscript contest called The RWNZ Clendon Award. When I finalled in the contest and was also highly commended, I was hooked! And now I just can’t quit writing...for which I apologize profusely to my long-suffering husband and very understanding kids.
3. Where do you get your information or ideas for your stories?
Historical author (and fellow RWNZ member) Helen Kirkman, and I recently gave a workshop at our local RWNZ chapter meeting on just that topic. It’s called: Sources of Inspiration, or, how the heck did you come up with that idea? (If any of your readers are interested, they can find a full transcript on my website: www.mareeanderson.com.)
For me, as a paranormal and fantasy writer, any source has to inspire some twisty weirdness for me to want to write about it. I find ideas in magazine articles, from watching TV or movies, books, snippets of conversation—the list goes on. If I may, I’ll refer to a few examples I talked about in the workshop.
My Crystal Warriors manuscripts were inspired by a book about crystals. Some of the crystals had such wonderful masculine-sounding names—wulfenite, kyanite, malachite—I thought it’d be fun to write about warriors named for their crystals and ultimately imprisoned inside them by a spell.
In a weekend newspaper, I happened upon a travel article which stated that Utah has the second highest incidence of lightning strikes in America. This led to a manuscript called When Lightning Strikes, featuring aliens who ride lightning and prolong their lives by healing and using the bodies of people who’ve just died in a lightning strike. I thought, what would happen if the victim didn’t die and the alien was stuck sharing her body?
I also cut out magazine articles which catch my eye. One had a photo of a woman cuddled up to a guy, completely blissed out on his scent. The article was about men’s fragrances: “In a world of equal opportunities, men are smelling as good as women—well, nearly.” So that inspired a manuscript called Scent Of A Man, featuring a hero who exudes pheromones which make him irresistible to women. And I’m talking all women—even his mother and sisters—so there’s definitely a horror element to that story.
The notice board in my office is covered with notes and bits and pieces which I can’t bring myself to throw out because I know I’ll use them…one day, LOL.
4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Umm.... My warped sense of humor? Which I’m told does contribute to my “strong voice”. One of my author friends says I have a “delightfully twisted” mind. I think that’s a compliment?
5. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That I was quite a versatile writer. I started out writing epic fantasy. Then I switched to 1st person POV sexy paranormals. I’ve also written a paranormal with a Sci-Fi twist and a Regency inspired fantasy. Oh, and a YA paranormal because my daughter was bemoaning the fact she wasn’t allowed to read any of my manuscripts, so I wrote one specifically for her. And with Even Demons Get The Blues being erotic romance and novella-length, I guess I’m pretty much up for giving anything a go...so long as there’s a paranormal or fantasy aspect ;-)
6. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
An afterword by sci-fi and fantasy author, Stephen Donaldson, was the inspiration for my very first manuscript. Angela Knight has had a huge influence on me, too. I love her books and she’s just an incredible lady!
At the very first RWNZ chapter meeting I ever attended, I remember being quite overwhelmed by talk of writing for specific markets and researching what editors were specifically looking for. Heck, I didn’t even know what a category romance was back then! Barbara’s Books owner Barbara Clendon set me on the right track when she commented that authors should “write the book of your heart”.
RWNZ also has some amazing published authors: Nalini Singh, Shelley Munro, Amanda Ashby, Helen Kirkman, Tessa Radley, Abby Gaines, Sophia James, Yvonne Lindsay...honestly, there’s too many to list. I’ve found everyone to be incredibly generous with their advice and mentorship. And now I’m a member of the Red Sage family, too, I have access to their mentoring and the extensive networks they’ve made available to their authors. I’m truly blessed!
7. What does your family think about your career as a published author?
Well, I’m just starting out as a published author, so my husband isn’t allowed to quit his job just yet. He’s ever hopeful, though, and there’s talk of me eventually being able to keep him in the style to which he’d like to be accustomed, LOL. Seriously, I’m very lucky to have a husband who understands my need to write and despite the financial burden, allowed me to quit work and give full-time writing a go.
And my kids think it’s pretty darned cool—especially my daughter, when her teacher attributes her talent for English to the fact her mother is a writer. Unfortunately, my kids can hardly show their mom’s very first published book to their friends because of its genre. Paranormal erotic romance? I don’t think so!
8. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you writing-wise?
I’ve just finished Let Sleeping Demons Lie featuring a heroine called Naamah—she’s the felinoid demon who had a huge “thing” for Rez. Thanks to the demon king’s machinations, Naamah ends up in a truly hellish situation with a leonine Lycan prince named Brennan. In a nutshell, it’s kitty vs lion with some truly heinous hyenas thrown into the mix...mwah hah hah! I also have plans to give my demon king his own story since he soooo needs to get his comeuppance!
At the moment I’m working on a paranormal featuring immortal Spartans who’ve had their souls stolen by a dryad. And just for something totally different, I’m trying my hand at a novella-length “Space Opera”.
Feel free to drop by my website—I love it when people visit and leave a comment!
Even Demons Get The Blues, Red Sage Presents, June 1st
Visionaries. Risk-takers. Just plain wild.
These are some of the words reviewers have used to describe Red Sage authors, the Secrets anthologies, and the Red Sage Presents line of e-books. Featuring best-selling paranormal authors such as Angela Knight, MaryJanice Davidson, Emma Holly, Larissa Ione, Cynthia Eden, and many more, Red Sage books have earned a place on many readers’ “keeper” shelves.
This month, Red Sage celebrates its 15th anniversary with a month-long sale and celebration.
Visit the Red Sage website, www.eRedSage.com, and Red Sage Revealed (http://redsagerevealed.blogspot.com) throughout the month of June for the sale, special surprises, and maybe even a giveaway or two!
Red Sage. Read Dangerously!
Learn more by visiting Maree's website at www.mareeanderson.com
You can purchase Maree's ebook at www.eredsage.com
Now...for the giveaway.
Post away and I'll choose one person to win a copy of Maree's ebook EVEN DEMONS GET THE BLUES.
And here is the fun part. You can enter more than once. Ask Maree questions and she'll pop in to answer them for you.