Just when you thought you'd seen it all... The lovely ladies of I Smell Sheep blog interviewed me recently. They asked some entertaining questions!! Check them out and see how you can score a copy of Somnium!
Just when you thought you'd seen it all... The lovely ladies of I Smell Sheep blog interviewed me recently. They asked some entertaining questions!! Check them out and see how you can score a copy of Somnium!
It is my absolute pleasure to introduce Narcisse Navarre, author of steamy erotic novella, The Olive Grove. First, let's take a good long look at the stunning cover and the blurb: Seeking to escape her unfulfilling life in NYC, Gia impulsively books a vacation to Italy. Wandering lost in an ancient olive grove near the ruins of Hadrian’s Villa she is found by a mysterious stranger. Carried away to a secluded grotto, Gia is spellbound by Oviello, a lover beyond her wildest fantasies. Caught in a world between myth and reality, Gia wonders if her enigmatic captor is the man of her dreams or just a fantasy.
Continue reading to find out how YOU can score a copy of The Olive Grove!!
*stares dreamy eyed* ahem...sorry, phew! That cover is...hot. Now, if I can peel my eyes away from it for a moment, I'll get on with the interview.
First, Narcisse, you have such a mysterious presence on Twitter and Facebook, particularly your enigmatic poetry. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thank you for having me on your gorgeous blog Keri!
I was born in Havana, Cuba and grew up on a farm devoid of most major forms of media. I lived a relatively idyllic existence and was safeguarded from the scariest parts of Communism by my loving parents. From a very early age my father instilled in me a love of literature, magic and the fantastic. I didn't grow up with the constant noise of the television or radio or any of the incessant distractions many of the kids have today. I was pretty much a wild child. When I wasn't in school, I was climbing trees, playing make-belief in the woods, riding horses, swimming in the river, reading, and counting stars.
At age four, my mother taught me how to read and write and soon after I developed an interest in poetry. I would spend the days writing silly poems and drawing, tucked deep in the fruit orchards that bordered our stone farm house. My mother tells me I'd stand on the kitchen table and perform a new poem every night. Luckily, my artistic expression in all forms was encouraged and allowed to blossom. I'm fussy and can be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to editing and writing prose but poetry just flows. I don't try to bend the words or force it. I don't usually edit poems nor do I delete, erase or rearrange words. I think poetry is part of the most primal me–the wild and carefree soul that grew up in that tiny piece of heaven.
From my father I acquired a love of dreams. He dreamed of one day leaving Cuba and raised me to be self sufficient and critical of my surroundings. Years later, I realized just how hard he had to work to undo the brain washing of the Communist system. It took my father eighteen years to see his wish fulfilled but he did it. In 1984, with the Cuban Army breathing down our backs, we left our country. It was one of the most traumatic periods of my life but also one of the most formative.
Because of my family's courage, I was one of the first people in my family to go to college. Free to pursue my own dreams, I focused on my creativity. I went to school for film and art history, taught myself graphic design and now I'm pursuing a career as a writer and publisher. Needless to say, I have my family to thank for my appreciation of literature, my keen interest in science, travel, art and my indomitable love affair with freedom.
I am one of the most grateful people you will ever meet. If I seem a little strange it's probably because my context is slightly different.
Wow! Your story is incredibly fascinating. An example of resilience following a traumatic period, as you mentioned. And proof that with hard work and focus, dreams can be achieved. What inspired you to write The Olive Grove?
As you can surmise by now, my father is a very positive influence in my life. Growing up I was influenced by the fantastic stories he used to tell me about the Greek gods. A lover of mythology himself, my dad took time every night to point out constellations and weave the wondrous tales of the gods. I was spellbound by the struggles and the hubris of these formidable beings. It was in this climate that I developed a fascination with magic and fantasy that continues to this day.
I am not sure when it happened but somewhere along the way I developed a small obsession with Dionysus’s children–satyrs. I have scoured the web for erotic satyr fiction and have often come up empty. The few stories and novels I have downloaded have been interesting but have invariably left me wanting.
I didn’t set out to write The Olive Grove, the story sort of wrote itself. In June 2011, my husband and I went to Europe for two weeks. We started our trip in Rome and visited France, Croatia and Bosnia before heading back to Italy. Since we had already explored Rome, we decided to stay in the outskirts of the city and visit off-the-beaten path sights and small hill towns.
On the third day of our Italian explorations we found ourselves in the dilapidated ruins of Hadrian’s Villa near Tivoli. While the ruined villa was beautiful, what captivated my imagination were the olive groves along its periphery. Everywhere we went were these ancient, gnarled olive trees that stretched in all directions. It was nearly ninety degrees on the day we visited and I had sweat pouring down my back. An hour into the visit I was soaked and perhaps the heat played a trick on me.
I could have sworn that I saw them–satyrs of old darting between trees. I imagined them frolicking, feasting, dancing in some other parallel world kept alive by the ancient magic of the grounds. Certain places have mystical energy that, I believe, transcends time. Hadrian’s Villa with it’s sprawling galleries and baths and three hundred acres worth of Roman greed certainly did. It was almost as if the blood and sacrifice of the slaves and workers that toiled on it had seeped into the earth. The feeling was uncanny.
Almost immediately after our departure I began writing. During the next few nights, as we sat drinking wine in the gorgeous, frescoed galleries of Villa Grazioli (our hotel) the story took shape. By the end of the third day I was possessed with the tale of Gia and her mysterious abductor. About eighty percent of the story was finished by the time we boarded the plane home.
Your father sounds like an amazing individual! I love Greek mythology and reading about the gods. And I can attest, the pictures of your travels to Hadrian's Villa, posted on your blog, are gorgeous. A must see for readers of this interview (see below). What was the most challenging part of writing this piece?
The Olive Grove just sort of happened. I didn’t have an outline or a structure or even a plan. I was sort of writing by the seat of my pants. As a result, it took me nearly two months after having written the bulk of the story to find an appropriate ending. Wrapping up the tale into a novella-sized piece that wouldn’t disappoint or short-change the characters was the biggest challenge.
I'm the same way when I write. I pretty much just dive right into the story without much planning. What have you learned by writing The Olive Grove?
The Olive Grove popped my publishing cherry so to speak. As my first published work it was very daunting to put it out there. I had no idea how it would be received. With the help of my co-author, Marzio Ombra, I had to learn all the steps associated with self-publishing an eBook across various markets.
The novella has been invaluable in terms of getting my ducks in a row for future works. I’ve had a few hiccups with the book in terms of timing, marketing and formatting but I’ve learned from these mistakes. What I would tell self-published authors from my own experience is:
As it stands I still have much to learn about self-publishing and The Olive Grove is certainly helping me do that. I’m always open to any and all advice other successful authors have regarding self-publishing.
Fantastic advice and I couldn't agree with you more. It doesn't matter how much you read on the topic, everything seems to fall together and make sense after you've published your first work. And I think the novella was a great introduction into your publishing career. Also, good advice about negative reviews. There isn't a product in existence that hasn't come without a negative review. Who is (are) your literary influence(s)? What book could you read over and over?
I have a never-ending curiosity when it comes to all things magical and scientific. Recently I’ve developed a keen interest in theoretical physics so I’ve been devouring books on the holographic nature of the universe, zero point fields and other oddities. I’ve also been reading my share of history books like The Dream and the Tomb, Guns, Germs and Steel, The Assasins and the history of Byzantium. As far as influences I have quite a few. I love the magical realism of Marquez and the heady thickness of Suskind. As you can imagine I’ve read Bram Stoker’s Dracula many times over as well as The Hobbit.
As I said before, a very intriguing mind... I happen to know that you are a fellow demon aficionado. What do you think makes these beings so enticing to some women?
Demons….Mmmm….where do I begin? The demons in the books Marzio Ombra and I are writing are more akin to the Greek daimons then they are to their cloven-hooved, satanic counterparts. They are a race of immortal beings of extraordinary beauty, power and grace lacking our Judeo-Christian values. Our demonic societies exist on planes bordering the prime-material world and tend to be extremely draconic. I really despise cookie cutter characters and so we’ve painted our demons in brilliant shades of gray. Dante’s Inferno is so last year! Who needs these unbendable concepts of good and evil? I think what makes our demons sexy, and ultimately irresistible, is the power they wield coupled with their humanity. Pure evil doesn’t turn anyone on. Give a supremely powerful character a dirge of a conscience and watch them draw the crowds!
Gray is a beautiful color! I love multi-dimensional characters that charm readers into falling in love with them by the end of the story. What is your writing routine? I noticed that you have a magnificent writing nook *jealous* Do you use music when you write?
No one said self-publishing was going to be easy right? Even with my formidable magical skills of accomplishment I have my hands full. The writing routine is something I’m desperately working on improving. I’ve built a nice escritoire that is quiet but the second part of the equation, of course, is time. Like most self-published authors just starting out, I have a career. Four out of seven days a week I get to the gym around seven, work out half hour and get home around eight. Between eight and nine thirty I get to shower, eat dinner and spend time with my husband. It’s only around ten or so that I sit down to write, blog, tweet, work on artwork and run my freelance business. Yes, I know, I’m insane. I usually get to bed around 1AM and try to sneak tweets and blog posts between the 9-5 hours.
Originally I had set a goal of writing 1000 words a day but this soon fell to the wayside. There are days when I can sit down and write 5000 words and some when I can only do 200. The 1000 word-a-day plan wasn’t working for me psychologically. I started giving myself a lot of guilt when I didn’t meet that goal in spite of the fact that I had accomplished a great many things that day (like launching web sites, doing blog posts, working on cover art, etc.).
On occasion I do listen to music but it’s not a constant. Unlike my husband who can’t fall asleep without the TV blaring, I prefer silence. I don’t seem to need background music or noise but if it’s there I can easily tune it out. Music is a source of inspiration but not always while I’m working.
To be perfectly honest, I need to develop a better plan for writing my novels. The Books of Lirios is looking like six books and I need to get cracking. Somehow, I need to find a way to do more. Now where did I put that portable pocket dimension thingamajigger? Hmmm. I sure do hope it turns up soon!
*slowly slips portable pocket dimension thingamajigger into pocket, careful not to rouse attention* Yikes! I thought I kept crazy hours. You're a machine! What are you currently working on? Do you intend to self-publish again?
The Khajj project has evolved significantly since its inception two years ago. Marzio and I wanted to present a radically different self-publishing experience. The trilogy will be accompanied by a musical soundtrack (Music of the Dreams) and an erotic coffee-table art book featuring scenes from the novels. We are still debating whether the art book will be interactive (iPad), print, or both. We've had incredible success working with extremely talented artists like Mark Blanton, Gary Martin, Lucas Pandolfelli and others in terms of capturing the essence of our dark fantasy.
You can listen to a short 30 second clip of Music of the Dreams here:
February 2012 will see the release of a vampire novella titled An Endless Hunger. It is not romance or erotica but a very deep and dark work of psychological horror. Following An Endless Hunger, towards the latter part of 2012 we are hoping to publish the first book in the Khajj series titled The Soulbinder’s Covenant. Assuming the world doesn’t end, 2013 will see the release of Z.H.E.N.N. a hard-edged sci-fi thriller and the second book in the Khajj series (as of yet untitled). Future projects in the pipeline include a Steampunk erotica book titled Nahja and more. We’ve been busy!
Amazing things happen when artists collaborate! I'm so looking forward to reading An Endless Hunger in February. And you can be sure the Soulbinder's Covenant will be on my TBR list. Where can readers get their hands on a copy of The Olive Grove?
They can find an excerpt at:
Inspiration for The Olive Grove and pictures of Hadrian’s Villa:
BONUS QUESTION: If you could create a portal that would transport you anywhere and to any period of time you wished, where would you go and why?
One of the joys in my life is the ability to travel. Knowing me, I’d like a portal to the portal maker so that I could finagle a few more. Since I have just one, however, it would have to be Veronica Franco’s Venice. I have been to Venice four times and each and every single time I am convinced I belong there. I would jump at the opportunity to see it in its heyday with the courtesans dangling their wares over the Rialto. By the 1500’s Venice was the most powerful and populous Italian city–a veritable stronghold of trade, art and culture. The pageantry and decadence of Venice at this period is something I can only begin to imagine. Experiencing it in person during a time of such prosperity would be the ultimate treat. My little black book would be filled to the brim with appointments. On my notable “to do” list would be posing for Titian, coffee with Giorgione, saucy debates with Franco, masked revelry with Dürer and sensuous feasting with Bellini. Look closely at Bellini’s Feast of the Gods. Just where do you think that satyr is taking that wine anyway?
Hahaha! And I should have set some rules...like no creating portals to the portal maker! I've never been to Venice, but you have effectively made it sound like a place where I'd like to have a secret portal - not merely meant for visiting, but experiencing!
Want to know more about this fascinating author and her writing?
Check out her website at http://www.khajj.com/
Now if you'd like to win a copy of The Olive Grove, Narcisse has generously offered 3 copies to give away!
**WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO WIN?**
1. Sign up to her blog. Just click on the link below and enter your email address (easy peasy):
2. Leave a comment below. Tell me what sexy supe you'd like to frolic in the olive groves with...vampire, werewolf, satyr, demon?
Be sure to include an email address when posting your comment.
Winner will be drawn at midnight on Monday, February 6th.
I was recently interviewed by the wonderful ladies at Bitten by Paranormal Romance. If you stop by today and leave a comment, you'll be placed in the running for an autographed copy of Somnium. Open internationally!
You can see the post by clicking HERE
Thank you for participating!!
I’m delighted to introduce a writer friend of mine, Angela Addams, author of The Temptress, Assassin and Ghost Bride. She just recently released a new title, Going the Distance. First, a quick glimpse of the book and its cover:
Here is the blurb for the book:
He’s been in love with her since they were teenagers, Steph Randall, the most wanted woman on the planet. Pierced by Cupid’s arrow as teens, Ronan fell hard for Steph, he had plans for them, even bought a ring, only to discover that her ambition was stronger than their love. Cupid had failed to win her heart and join the couple. Now Cupid needs to fix things, an incredible boon if he can succeed. All he has to do is show Steph what she is missing.
As an award-winning actress, Steph has a mind of her own and is blinded by her ambition. Yet, for all her money and fame, the only time she truly finds peace is when she is in Ronan’s arms. She thinks that all she needs is a friend with benefits, but with a little Cupid intervention, Ronan suddenly finds that he can’t tolerate it any longer and Steph is forced to choose. What will she risk losing for her ambition? And what is Ronan willing to give up to get his girl?
Angela is giving away an ebook copy of this beauty...continue on to find out how YOU can enter to win it!
Now, to get down and dirty with some questions...er, not dirty...just down. Ok, nevermind. Here is my interview with the lovely Angela:
First Angela, I follow your blog and came across a recent post where you and author Anne Michaud discuss being goth. In it, you mentioned the movie, The Crow. I nearly spewed the sip of water I’d just taken when I read this. I believe this movie was a turning point for me. I’d always written dark poems and stories about death and vengeance, but at such an impressionable age, this movie put it out there and made it cool. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like a freak about my love for the dark and twisted. What influenced your love for goth or do you feel it’s always been an inherent part of your DNA?
Thanks for having me on your blog, Keri!
I have always been interested in the paranormal, from the time that I was a little kid until now. I devoured Anne Rice’s Witching Hour series as a teen and immersed myself into vampire lore and literature soon after that. I can’t say I’ve always written paranormal stuff because that didn’t really come until a friend pointed out that that’s what I really should be writing…and then I had this light bulb moment where I was like, “Duh! Of course that’s what I should be writing!”
I was a goth as a teen, still am one at heart ;-) Loved being different in my small town and sending out that creepy vibe to all the normal folk. There was an element of danger, and of course a big eff u to the “cool” (boring), normal looking, popular groups. It was awesome!
Haha! Flipping the boring cool kids off...Why do you think women are drawn to paranormal romance? What is it about these books and movies that make being seduced by a vampire, werewolf or demon so much more appealing than the average Joe Schmo?
I think what draws us to these creatures is partly the element of danger, and partly the fantasy of an exotic, feral, wild alpha male who is usually characterized as being intensely passionate, possessive, and protective. It’s the allure of eternal life and venturing into the unknown. These heroes are the epitome of bad boy and you know how we all love the bad boys ;-)
Oh God…excuse me while I collect myself. You just used ‘exotic’, ‘feral’ and ‘wild alpha male’ in the same sentence…the power of words. Must stop fantasizing about running naked through the woods with this sexy beast! *cough* Ok Angie, I have a feeling I’m going to know the answer to this question before I even…finish…typing it. Your female characters – tough as nails or sweet and demure? Why?
I’d have to go with tough as nails…for the most part. In The Temptress, Assassin and Going the Distance, my female leads are strong seductresses who know what they want and go after it. That doesn’t mean that they all carry swords and kick ass, but each has her own way of getting results. In Ghost Bride my female lead is softer, more innocent…although she does kick some pretty serious ass in her own way at a certain point. I respect strong women and I can guarantee that all of my mc’s are going to have, or discover that they have, strength in some way. I was raised to believe that a strong woman is a worthy woman and that girls can do anything. That doesn’t mean that I write my characters as stone cold females, but I do give them an edge so that they don’t take things lying down…or at least they don’t for long.
Girls rule!! *clears throat* Sorry for that. What is your writing routine? Any odd habits or rituals that you simply must perform in order to kick start your muse or do you just dive right in?
I don’t have a muse. Sorry, it’s just not something I believe in. I control my writing process and refuse to allow the notion of needing some outside influence in order to get to work. I treat writing as I do my day job. I outline, I set my word count target and I write. Period. Not very romantic, I know, but that’s the way I am. I’m very goal oriented and efficient. With an idea of where I’m headed via my outline, I can pump out what I need. I have never missed a quota target that I’ve set for myself. (Usually 10K a week when I’m working on a project).
Oh man…the second I try to outline, it’s over. You’re a machine! Of all your published titles, which character is your favorite and why?
Oh, no, nope, won’t fall for that one! I love them all!!! Equally, just like my kids ;-)
I will say, just between you and I, that I love Ronan and Steph from my newest release, Going the Distance. They aren’t picture perfect, in fact, they both have some hurtles to overcome, but their chemistry is incredible! I love reading their story (and not just because I wrote it ;-)
Imperfection is what makes a great story, IMO. Who is (are) your biggest literary influence(s)? What book could you read again and again?
I have to say that without the amazing, Kelley Armstrong, I wouldn’t have made it as far as I have! She not only opened the doors to urban fantasy in Canada, but she is also one of the most helpful, personable and talented writers I’ve had the pleasure to interact with.
I will also say that Anne Rice, Kresley Cole, D.B. Reynolds, Rhyannon Byrd and Karen Marie Moning are all incredibly talented storytellers who inspire me to write sexy erotic romance. Any of their books are ones that I will read repeatedly.
Wonder if chains are on sale at Home Depot this week? *straightens in seat* Ahem, my apologies, you mentioned Kresley Cole…just having a Rydstrom moment. Moving on. Are you a coffee, latte or tea drinker?
I’m a coffee and latte drinker. I love the flavored coffees, Caramel Macchiato, Peppermint Mocha…yum! But on a day-to-day basis I brew my own at home!
Mmmmm…Peppermint Mocha. My favorite! Of all the supernatural beings (vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons, zombies, shifters, etc), which is your favorite to write about? Why?
I love to write about witches actually, although I haven’t yet published a novella about witches ;-) I’ve been working on an urban fantasy with my agent that deals with my love of witches quite well though!
For my erotic romances I love vampires, werewolves, ghosts…oh my! Do I really have to pick just one? They’re all so yummy! Strong alpha males with delicious, hot bodies, mmmmm…yeah, do you really have to ask why I’d love to write about them?
Well, I was actually asking why you preferred a certain species over another, but since you love them all, think I can guess why ;)…hahaha! For me, its those lovable badboy demons. Oooh. Incubi. Or angels with a dark side *winks* Sexy as hell… What is the release date of Going the Distance and where can readers purchase the book?
Going the Distance was released on Dec. 28 and you can find it at Evernight Publishing
BONUS QUESTION: Lestat de Lioncourt or Eric Northman?
Ohhhhh, that’s a tough one. I think I’ll have to go with Eric simply because he is so masculine and sooooo sexy! Lestat is great and all, but he’s not savvy with the times like Eric is, and I don’t think he’s quite the alpha that I need ;-)
Eric is pretty yum, though I must admit, I'm 100% Team Alcide.
I HAD to post this because I don’t know that I’ll conduct another interview where I’d get the pleasure of throwing in a Trent Reznor song at the end of it.
Ahhh….one of my favorite NIN songs:
Want to know more about this talented writer and her 'exotic', 'feral' and 'wild alpha males'? Check out the links below!
Thanks for letting me pick your brain, Angela. I wish you success on your newest release, Going the Distance!
WANNA WIN AN EBOOK COPY OF Going the Distance???
Simply leave a comment below. Winner will be randomly drawn next week!!
Today I'm on the very lovely Aimee Laine's blog, discussing some important topics like how I'd like to be prepared by cannibals, why spiders scare the hell out of me and my most embarrassing moment. This is your opportunity to ask a question! Leave your question in the comments section :) :) Come check it out!! Click HERE.
The very awesome Colin F. Barnes, author of The City of Hell Chronicles, interviewed me on his blog and asked some very interesting questions... Curious to know why I decided to self-publish? What 5 books I'd like to have if stranded on a desert island? Where I plan to be in 5 years?
Click HERE to check it out! I'd love to know your thoughts, so feel free to leave a comment.
Please take a moment to stop by the very lovely J.A. Belfield's blog! I'm giving away a SIGNED print copy of my upcoming release, Somnium, AND a bookmark. All YOU have to do is leave a comment and you are automatically entered into the drawing! But you only have until December 11th, so hurry on over!
Stop by and check it out! Just click HERE
The very kind MC has interviewed me on her blog as well! Leave a comment and you'll be in the running for a FREE ebook (Kindle or epub format)!!!
The deadline for this contest is December 15th, so get your comment posted before then!
You can find MC's blog by clicking HERE
Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author J.A. Belfield, and she’s brought along the sexy Holloway brothers from her novel Darkness & Light. *gives Sean and Ethan a once-over* So excited to have y’all here. Was that said too breathy? It was. Chillax, Keri...
Ethan, I do believe I’ve met you before. Hehe When you took over a certain someone’s blog a while back. Ring a bell?? The English accent is still hot as hell, by the way. *winks*
Ethan: *stares hard* So which intelligent question did you ask then? Actually, don’t answer that.
*grins* So let’s get down to business, shall we?
Ethan, your brother’s woman, Jem, has recently returned to the pack. It’s been a while, how does it feel to have a shot of estrogen in the Holloway household?
Ethan: Weird … to begin. She’s not bad, though. For a female. She’s fun to wind up—which keeps me entertained. *smiles*
Any chance you might be looking for a lady wolf of your own? *toys with necklace and bites lip*
Ethan: You mean an unwed or unattached one? Not really.
Right! Right. *cough* An unwed one…as in definitely not me. *shifts in chair* Okay moving on…
What is your idea of a perfect date? *rests chin on palm with a dreamy stare*
Ethan: Date? You asking about venue and activities or personality? ‘Cause I’m only willing to answer the latter. *shrugs* Someone unafraid to be themselves, I guess.
Oh me! *clears throat*
Sean, we know you’re spoken for. What is it that you find sexy in your little lady? Make us swoon, honey.
Sean: *glances at Ethan before taking a deep breath*Jem smells amazing. She has a scent that can cut through a crowd even during rush hour foot traffic. And she has this way of gazing at me when we kiss. I don’t even think she knows she’s doing it. But, damn, it is enough to make a guy har—melt … make a guy melt. *cough*
Ethan: Yet again, too much information.
Hahaha! Melt. Right. *shakes head* I don’t know how Jem manages to keep her paws to herself. You’re smokin’ hot!
Sean: *another glance at Ethan, eyebrow arched*
And speaking of Jem, she seems to be quite the popular catch…particularly among other packs. It must be incredibly frustrating trying to keep her safe. How do you do it without tying her…up? *shivers*
Sean: The only way to keep Jem safe from other packs is to take them out. End of story.
As for tying her up? Tell me: Do you really think she’d stand for that? Would you like to deal with her after the fact? Try it … and then let me know how that turns out for you.
Ethan: You can let me know before hand, though. Some things’d be worth watching. *smiles*
True that. She’s seems quite the little pistol!
*Both brothers snort and exchange a glance*
And your love spans centuries, as detailed in the upcoming release, Instinct. How do you keep things fresh and fun in your relationship?
Sean: Wouldn’t you like to know. *chuckles* Okay, more seriously. When you lead the kind of lifestyle we do, there is no time—no reason—to claim boredom. We have our jobs, we have our family, we have extended kin in the rest of the pack, we have the forest a stone’s throw away … and I have Jem on top of all that. See? Every day is a fresh day, and every damn second is fun.
Ethan: And if all else fails, there’s Movie Premiere and Snickers.
I want some dirt, boys. Any secrets you wanna spill on J.A. Belfield?
Ethan: She’s a pain in the arse. Bloody female drives me crazy.
Sean: She’s not that bad. You’re just fed up with being in the sidelines.
Ethan: Actually, I’m fed up with being disturbed at stupid hours to listen to her mumbling out conversations that haven’t even happened yet. Not all of us sleep like the dead, Sean.
I’m with Julie on this one, guys. When inspiration strikes, ya gotta go with it.
Ok onto the next question…How does a female…er, one, not necessarily me per se, become a member of the pack? Just curious. *dodges eye contact*
Ethan: They don’t. That’s all there is to say on the matter.
Sean: Even Mum wasn’t a pack member when she was still around. Jem’s special circumstances.
Ethan: And an accident.
Sean: Definitely an accident.
Ethan: Even if it was an inevitable outcome.
Julie, how do you keep these boys in line? I’ve heard whips are quite effective.
Julie: Hehehehehehehe. Whips and threats of bad stuff happening to them. They usually forgive me for all the c*** I put them through, though, so long as I promise a happy outcome at the end.
Yes, I found my boys are very forgiving as well. Promise a little happiness in their otherwise tormented lives and they suddenly succumb to our demands…well. You know what I mean. *cough*
What’s your drink of choice?
Julie: If you want my favourite I’d say cappuccino but when I’m writing throughout the day, I allow myself three cups of coffee (preferable before lunchtime) and then switch to clearer drinks for the rest of the day in the wonky hope of flushing out the intake of caffeine.
Oooh! Whiskey! You are a tough guy, aren’t you?
Ethan: Actually, I’m just a male with good taste.
Sean: If you say so. I’d much rather treat myself to a decent mug of coffee
Julie you are much more disciplined…I’ll sneak a Starbucks late in the day from time to time.
Boxers, briefs or commando?
Ethan: Mind your own damn business.
Oh I could ask you a million more questions…just to stare at your perfect, chiseled faces, but I know you’ve got places to go and people *winks at Sean* to see. Thank you Sean, Ethan and Julie for a super fun interview. I look forward to seeing you again. *tries not to stare at Ethan’s tight backside as he rises from the chair*
Craving more of these fine-looking brothers (and I can attest they do look fine), or the very talented J.A. Belfield? You can find them here:
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Colin F. Barnes, editor and one of seven international authors for the City of Hell Chronicles (CoH), to be released on December 1st. Before I plunge into the interview questions, here's a quick look at CoH:
There is no god, no angels, no redemption; only suffering. The Ant-headed Old One ‘The Great Maurr’ has risen and brought hell to earth. The land is scorched and the human race decimated, eaten or tortured. Only three cities remain, a crumbled dying version of their former selves: London, Moscow and Hong Kong.The Great Maurr’s own City of Hell dominates most of North America. Its diabolical influence has turned ordinary citizens into torturers, debased slaves, lunatics and zealots.
With an eruption at Yellowstone, the likes of which humanity has never seen before, The Old-One tore apart the land, and ascended to rule, aided by its faithful army of acolytes. From the core of the earth it crawled up on to the land, spreading disease and insanity to all corners of the globe.
The City of Hell Chronicles tell the tales of survival, death and debauchery.
So, without further delay, let's dig into this interview...
I happen to love the dark and twisted, so I’m very curious about City of Hell – particularly The Great Maurr. He sounds about as cuddly as a Cutco knife…dipped in acid with a jagged edge and a hook for gutting. What exactly is he/it? A mutation?
Colin: Well, the Great Maurr is an old god risen. You can think of it/him as the Satan figure, an Antichrist, although he doesn’t bring a religion with him as such. Maurr is the central figurehead for this new dominant species on earth. Think of him as the ultimate queen ant, only completely amoral and malevolent. The Great Maurr won’t be inviting the vicar round for tea. In future City of Hell releases, I fully intend to explore Maurr in great detail.
Tell me the significance of the title as it relates the story?
Colin: The actual City of Hell is where Maurr resides. I set it in the Yellowstone Caldera – Maurr and his minions rose up through the volcano from their slumber under the earth. As for as ‘Chronicles’ goes, it’s to tell readers that this is part of an on-going series of tales from the few survivors of Maurr’s dominion. Throughout the ages, in great conflicts, people have written journals and accounts of their experiences. I wanted this to be the same, but in story form.
You’re not only the editor of the CoH anthology, but you also wrote the first story, Genesis. The short blurb on the site is intriguing, described as ‘…grisly, insane and a little bit twisted.’ What inspired you to write this gruesome tale?
Colin: I have thing about clockmakers. When I was a freelance web developer, I used to work in residence a few days a week with a traditional clockmakers, and the main guy who repaired these ancient clocks was such an amazing character. These old guys with skills that aren’t taught anymore just have something special about them, and that inspired the character ‘Franklin Garrett’ in the story. I also needed something to kick off the series with. I needed there to be a catalyst for Maurr to rise and claim the earth. I didn’t want to have readers hit the book without a solid foundation of why it happened. So the idea started to evolve, and I just went with the character as he descended into madness.
There are eight stories in the anthology. What is the story behind each of the stories?
Colin: Well, all the stories are quite apart and distinct from each other. Although they do fit well together and share the same world, they explore the experiences of various groups of survivors. Each tale is a glimpse into a different situation and looks at the effects of survival in the face of insurmountable odds. We have a nice range of tales; some are based on individuals, while others are of groups. We even have a family story, and a couple that explores the role of feminine reproduction in such an environment as the City of Hell.
Who is your favorite character and why?
Colin: This is like asking a father who their favourite child is. I’m naturally swayed towards Franklin because he is based on someone who I knew, but to be honest, all the stories have really strong characters. I like Victoria Griesdoorn’s character in Sanguine, and ‘Jin’ in Ren Warom’s The Door From Below is bonkers fun, but really I could name all the main characters, I love them all equally.
In the story, only three cities remain after the ascension of The Great Maurr and enslavement of the population: Hong Kong, London, and Moscow. Without giving away anything significant, can you tell me why these three cities?
Colin: I wanted to frame the stories to help keep cohesiveness to the anthology, but at the same time, I wanted to give my wonderful contributors plenty of scope for creativity. I chose those particular cities because of their differences from each other. As the City of Hell itself is set in and dominates the vast majority of North America, I wanted to have a few spots around the world that we could play in. I might add more locations in future volumes though, to keep the locales fresh.
What can readers take away after reading City of Hell?
Colin: Life is short, and there is always something bigger and badder than us, so enjoy life. Also to never trust a clockmaker, especially around edged weapons.
Who are your literary influences?
Colin: I’ve got loads. I get inspired by good stories all the time. In terms of authors, I love Clark Ashton Smith, Lovecraft, Bradbury and Lumley above all others. King and Phillip K.Dick come in close, along with Albert Camus. But then there are others recently like Ryu Murakami, Jeff Vandermeer, and even some of our contributors (I won’t name them as that is creepy, I’m honestly not stalking anyone. Really. That wasn’t me who hacked the web cam. Stop looking at me like that.)
What does your writing routine consist of?
Colin: It changes quite a lot. I’ve a very busy life so I go through periods of being organized and periods of clutching at words as and when I can find the time. At this present moment I get up about 6:30am and write until about 8:00 when I head for dayjob hell. I usually write during my lunch break, and then again in the evening. I’ve stopped drinking and watching TV these days, so that’s freed up a lot of time. I’m quite productive at the moment. It doesn’t always last though, and I sometimes go through periods of only writing a few hundred words a day. I do write everyday though, even if it’s something small.
Where can readers purchase your City of Hell Volume 1? Will it be available in paperback as well as ebook?
Colin: City of Hell will initially be available on Amazon (US, UK Germany and France) as an ebook. The paperback is produced through Lulu and will be available from there on launch. Eventually though you’ll be able to get the paperback from Amazon as well. It will also be available as an eBook through Apple’s iBookstore and Barnes & Noble.
Has a book or movie ever creeped you out to the extent that it stuck with you long after you’d read/watched it?
Colin: Not really creeped me out – I’m mostly desensitized to horror these days, but there are certain stories that stay with me for their sheer brilliance. Clark Ashton Smith’s ‘Vaults of Yoh Vombis’ and Lumley’s ‘Necroscope’ are stories that really stayed with me for being so brilliantly written that I was completely absorbed. Murakami’s ‘In The Miso Soup’ is a recent story that I’ve read, and I just know that is going to stay with me for a very long time. So atmospheric, so brilliant.
Thank you for the interview, Colin!
Be sure to check out the City of Hell website for more information about the CoH authors and for updates!