Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tell us about your book. What is it about and where will it be available?
Hoodoo and high magic are on a collision course.
Roxanne Mathis isn't like everyone else. Not only can she see auras and spectral entities, she can mix herbs and roots for spells to do good or ill. She can even light a candle without the benefit of a match. But when she’s hired to exorcise a demon from a young girl, she discovers the limits of her powers.
With her vampire cousin at her side and a sexy sorcerer chasing her on the rebound, Roxie sets out to send that evil entity back to where she came from.
Nothing is as it seems and Roxie’s in over her head. It’s not going to be enough for her to just be a paranormal investigator and old school root worker – to defeat this demon, she’s going to have to be the Mojo Queen.
Mojo Queen will be available from the publisher, Lyrical Press, as well as Amazon and other digital book retailers. It's a sexy urban fantasy with plenty of hoodoo and magic, a determined paranormal investigator, a slightly flaky vampire sidekick, and a dangerously tempting sorcerer.
What were your inspirations for your book? What sorts of thing inspire you as a writer in general?
The very first version of this story came from the question: why would someone choose to be possessed by a demonic entity? Since that question gave me a villain, next I had to figure out who my protagonist would be and I knew I didn't want her to be the typical urban fantasy heroine. No leather pants or tramp stamp, no kicking a**, none of the usual stuff. I wanted to create a character with different strengths to work with. Roxie sees auras and spectral entities and I knew magic would also feature heavily. That only got me half a book though, and it seemed to be missing something. To try to break the writer's block I wrote a short story about Roxie and her cousin working a case. Since it was partly just for fun, I gave Roxie my love of Mississippi blues. That led to her using a little hoodoo. My editor Nerine Dorman read the short story and basically said, ""how about more like this?"" Letting Roxie have that piece of myself helped me to connect with the story in a new way. I rewrote what I had and finished it, and Roxie turned out to be not only a paranormal investigator but a hoodoo root worker.
I tend to draw inspiration from different things. I've learned that if I don't know what kind of music a character listens to then I don't really have a handle on them. When I start figuring that out the music can have an influence on the character, everything from what they wear to their speech patterns to deeper things like their emotional tone. For instance Roxie's vampire cousin Daniel - who is actually her ancestor - has a fondness for classic country. It's easy to snicker about him singing old Conway Twitty songs at the top of his lungs, but the truth is there's plenty of darkness in a lot of those old country songs, all those cheating songs and murder ballads. It really helped cement what I wanted to do with him as a character. Daniel is an atypical vampire - how often is the vampire the sidekick? - but he is still a vampire.
Let's talk about your process. How do you approach a story, do you start with outlines or something else? Where did you work when writing your book? Do you think it was the optimal writing environment for you?
To be honest, my process is not always very organized. Usually I start with an idea and try to build an outline from it. Outlining doesn't work very well for me at first, I have to just dive in and get to know the characters and the story. Then I usually get stuck and wander around for awhile, trying to figure out how to get unstuck. This can last for days, weeks, months even. Then out of nowhere what I need to finish - whether it's plot points or whatever - will fall into my head and the writing will go much smoother. After I rewrite what I already had, that is. I've tried various methods of outlining but they do nothing for me until I know my characters. When I say ""know my characters"" I don't mean tally a bunch of stats about them - I have to write them. This is not a method I recommend, as it can make for slow writing. :)
My husband built me a desk and that's where I write. I'd have to say that's about as optimal as it gets. :) The clutter I've accumulated sometimes gets in the way, but occasionally the Magic 8 Ball is helpful.
Tell us about your "story of getting published."
I had a book that I've worked on for some time that was never finished and I finally trunked it in frustration. Then I wrote something radically different (though still paranormal) and wound up with a hundred thousand word novel. It was a mess though and also wound up trunked. After that I wrote an urban fantasy novella. This time I felt like I had a good story but didn't know what to do with it. I started researching places that accept novella-length work and discovered digital publishers. I decided to submit to one (Lyrical Press), figuring the worst that could happen is they reject me. In fact I was fully prepared for rejection, pretty zen about it, even. I was astounded when they accepted that first book, Bring On The Night. And then again when they accepted Mojo Queen. It's pretty amazing.
What are the publicity plans you have coming up?
I've got a few guest blog opportunities and always looking for more. I try to use social networks too and of course I'll be talking about Mojo Queen on my blog www.sonyaclark.net. I might even work up the nerve to talk to someone at the local paper. Promotion is tough for introverted writers like me. I have to take inspiration from my character Roxie. She gets really scared dealing with scary demons and such, but she jumps right in and does it anyway. :)
Posted by Sue London at 7:00 AM