Deadly Ever After

The Writing Adventures of The Undead Duo–Julie Hutchings and Kristen Strassel

Archive for the tag “interviews”

Cover Reveal! (and so much more) PRETTY WICKED by Kelly Charron

 

TODAY’S BREW: It’s 95 degrees. I AM a cup of coffee

By Julie

SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK. I don’t tell you guys enough what I’m reading. I’ll do that soon, but for now THIS BOOK.

Pretty Wicked Printable 330 6x9

 

About PRETTY WICKED:

The daughter of a local police detective, fifteen-year-old Ryann has spent most of her life studying how to pull off the most gruesome murders her small Colorado town has ever seen.

But killing is only part of it. Ryann enjoys being the reason the cops are frenzied. The one who makes the neighbors lock their doors and windows on a hot summer’s day. The one everyone fears but no one suspects. 

Carving out her own murderous legacy proves harder than she predicted. Mistakes start adding up. And with the police getting closer, and her own father becoming suspicious, Ryann has to prove once and for all that she’s smarter than anyone else—or she’ll pay the ultimate price. 

Praise for Pretty Wicked: 

 

“This creepy novel places you inside the mind of a twisted teen killer, which is even more unsettling because of how familiar and normal she seems. Be prepared to leave the lights on and look at the people around you in a whole new way.”

 

-Eileen Cook | Author of WITH MALICE

 

 

“Dark and haunting, this witty thriller with its petite feminine anti-hero is an American Psycho for teens. Be prepared to sleep with the lights on.”

 

Lisa Voisin | Author of THE WATCHER SAGA

 

 

“Pretty Wicked is fresh, thrilling, and deeply haunting. I’ve never read anything like it! The story escalates from page one and will leave your pulse pounding as you wonder just how far Ryann will go. 5/5 stars.”

 

Tiana Warner | Author of ICE MASSACRE & ICE CRYPT

 

NOW I WILL LET YOU READ SOME, LOOK:

 

I heard the bell ring in the distance. Lunch was over. I leapt up to go when I was struck with panic. What if someone had seen me walk out there with Veronica? No one could know what I’d done. My breath hitched.

I ran as fast as I could back to the yard and to the first teacher I saw.

“Mrs. Hopkins! Come quick, Veronica’s really hurt!” I pretended to be hysterical so effectively that she couldn’t understand me the first few times.

She bent down so we were at eye level. “Where?”

“We went into the woods at the far end of the property. I’m sorry. I know we’re not allowed, but she fell and she’s not moving! You have to hurry!” I sobbed, shoulders shaking, snotty nose. I don’t know how I’d managed to look so distraught, but I nearly convinced myself.

Mrs. Hopkins turned to a kid named Austin, who was in the grade ahead of me. “Go get Mr. Chute. Tell him to call 911 and to come out and meet me in the woods.”

Austin, who was paper white, nodded and took off like his ass was on fire.

I ran back with Mrs. Hopkins to the rocks where I’d left Veronica. She was in the exact position I’d left her. Thankfully there was no miraculous recovery waiting for us.

After she was taken away in an ambulance, Mrs. Hopkins and Mr. Chute walked me back and called my parents.

My dad showed up to the school, hugged me, and told me how brave I was.

After my mother had finally stopped fussing and checking on me every twenty minutes, I sat on my bed and thought about Veronica. It would be weird not to see her in class every day or hang out with her at lunch, not that we hung out that much. I was usually with Bao-yu anyway, but sometimes she came along. Maybe now B and I would be better friends. She wouldn’t have to share me anymore.

I wondered what I was feeling—if I was missing Veronica. But I didn’t think that’s what it was. The twinge in the bottom of my stomach didn’t have the achy hollowness that people refer to as a pit. It was more like butterflies.

 

 

 

Link for Amazon: 

https://www.amazon.com/Pretty-Wicked-CharronKellyebook/dp/B01KAX8VLQ/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1471040176&sr=8-6&keywords=pretty+wicked#nav-subnav

 

Link for Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31394680-pretty-wicked?ac=1&from_search=true

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE WONDERFUL LADY WHO WROTE THIS SCARY-ASS BOOK!

 

Questions about Pretty Wicked:

 

  1. What inspired you to write such a dark character?

 

I’ve always been fascinated with psychology and human motivation. Whenever I read a novel or watched a movie or television show, I was drawn to the villain. I wanted to understand what made them act the way they did––delve into what happened in their lives or minds to make them the person they had become.

 

When there was the odd story from the “villains” point of view, it seemed to characterize them as “misunderstood” and usually spun them into a likeable character who was the hero of that new version of the story. I wanted to write something unique and portray the villain realistically. What would the story look like if they were a true villain? I got the idea for a teenage serial killer who was unapologetic about who she was and what she wanted and thought it was really interesting to explore what her point of view would be if she drove the story and the “villain” was the detective trying to stop her.

 

  1. Is this your first novel?

 

Pretty Wicked is the second book I wrote and the first to be published. I have been writing for ten years. My first book was a YA urban fantasy that took me seven years to complete because I kept stopping for huge chunks of time while I completed my degrees (English Lit and Social Work). I finally got serious about writing in 2013 and have just completed my fourth novel.

 

  1. Why did you choose to self-publish?

 

I did query it to literary agents and received a lot of positive praise for the book. In the end I kept hearing the same feedback: it’s a fascinating concept, the writing and voice are great, but we don’t think we can sell such a dark book to a publisher. I completely understand this. I know this book is going to be very polarizing. People will either love the concept of hate it. So far I have had overwhelmingly encouraging feedback from readers who understand that this is a fictional story that is trying to do something different from most novels. There was some interest from small publishers but the wait times were longer than I was comfortable with. I decided if I wanted to see this book out in the world I was going to have to do it myself. It was an intimidating process, but luckily I have an amazing and brilliant support group who helped me along the way.

 

  1. What genres do you write in?

 

Psychological thriller, urban fantasy, and horror. I have two YA urban fantasy books, though one may never see the light of day. It’s my first book and would need to be rewritten before I decide its fate. The second (currently titled Wilde Magic) is the first in a planned series that I am very excited about.

 

Here is a short blurb:

 

The novel follows fifteen-year-old Ainsley Davenport as she moves from her life in Maine to attend a prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts after her widowed mother marries a wealthy man that she can’t stand. At Ashbury Academy, Ainsley meets a group of students whom she finds more sophisticated and exciting than any kids she’s ever encountered. Ainsley is pulled into a world of wealth and extravagance, but it isn’t long before she realizes some things aren’t adding up and there is more to Ashbury than meets the eye. One of the oldest covens in history, The Wildes, is hidden beneath the school grounds. Magic is alive and well, and the coven is actively training new witches in this secret enchanted society. Ainsley soon recognizes that she may be in over her head when she uncovers secrets that she was never meant to know. The magical kind. The deadly kind.

 

  1. Is Pretty Wicked a standalone novel?

 

The Pretty Wicked series will continue with adult books. The sequel, Wicked Fallout, is currently going through editing and the third book in the series is brewing in my mind. I have some very fun ideas for Ryann.

 

Wicked Fallout takes place twelve years later when Ryann is 27 years old. That’s all I can say right now as to not reveal spoilers.

 

  1. Ryann is not a very likable character. Do you like her?

 

I actually do. I really enjoyed writing her. I don’t agree with anything she does at all! In that sense, Ryann is deplorable! But what I like is her humor and wit and the way she owns who she is. She was a fun character to write because she is so different to most characters out there. It’s like when you see a Hollywood actor discuss their favorite roles. Often they say the villain roles were their preferred because it was more fun and exciting to play. There are forbidden elements that make it a bit more exciting than the standard hero. It’s no different for me as the writer.

 

  1. What is your writing process?

 

I have a day job so writing usually happens in the evenings and on weekends. I work in a school so I am fortunate to have shorter days, two vacation break periods, and summers off which really help me carve out the time needed.

 

On a writing day (Saturday or Sunday) I will get up, shower, eat breakfast, procrastinate with some TV and then get to it. I’ll make a coffee and park myself on my couch (even though I have a beautiful desk in an actual home office). I’ll write for about 2-3 hours (about 1500-2000 words on average). I may do another session later that evening if I’m really inspired. I watch a lot of television and read widely to inspire my creativity and ideas.

 

I also have an amazing group of friends who are writers as well and we meet up to have writing and brainstorming sessions, which is fantastic!

 

kelly charron

 

Kelly Charron is the author of YA and adult horror, psychological thrillers and urban fantasy novels. All with gritty, murderous inclinations and some moderate amounts of humor. She spends far too much time consuming true crime television (and chocolate) while trying to decide if yes, it was the husband, with the wrench, in the library. She lives with her husband and cat, Moo Moo, in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

 

Connect with her:

 

Sign up for her mailing list or check out upcoming books at: http://kellycharron.com

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KellyMCharron

 

Facebook: https://goo.gl/UNkH3g

 

Goodreads: https://goo.gl/rf4NlM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ellie Di Julio Doesn’t Pull Punches

TODAY’S BREW: Nantucket Something or Other Breakfast Blend

By Julie

I’m taking a breather from my war on the acceptance of antiheroines, and letting someone else talk today. It won’t last. Today you get to hear the brutal and distressing honesty of my good friend Ellie Di Julio, author of THE TRANSMIGRATION OF CORA RILEY and it’s spanking new sequel, SWORD OF SOULS.

You’ve said that SWORD OF SOULS has been your hardest novel to write. Tell us a little about what troubled you. *expects you to lie down on leather couch*

Okay, honesty time.

I have never hated a book like I’ve hated this one. It wasn’t just a complicated storyline or an uncooperative muse; it was real existential pain. Between the explosion in my personal life, this being my first true sequel, being away from home for two months, the grand failure of Cora Riley’s launch, and general author-growing pains, I felt like a hack. I nearly quit three times. I cried so much. If it was so hard, maybe I wasn’t cut out to write novels. If it was so hard, maybe there was something wrong with me. I just couldn’t fathom how to continue.

Thank God for Stephen Blackmoore and Karina Cooper, though. I didn’t know either of them before I started writing Sword of Souls, but I stalked them (in a good way) on Twitter long enough that we got to know each other. They talked me down from so many trees, shared my pain, encouraged me, and kicked my ass. Having them to run to when I was in writerly crisis and needed mentorship was/is incredible, and I’m deeply grateful to both of them.

How will we see Cora grow in SWORD OF SOULS from THE TRANSMIGRATION OF CORA RILEY?

She’s more confident in herself. Where she started as this unsure, distressed girl in Cora Riley, Sword of Souls has her finding her feet, learning what she’s truly capable of, and coming to terms with her powers and their ramifications. She’s always had that tenacity and strength, but only now that she’s out of her small town and able to make real change in the world is it coming to the surface where she can use it.

Sequels are hard, yo. If you could give a word of advice to new authors writing sequels, what would you say?

DON’T DO IT.

Uh… I mean…

Make sure you know your story. Like, re-read the previous book(s) to reacquaint yourself. You probably think you’ve got all the details stored up in your memory banks, but you don’t – not like your readers do. As a writer, you’re thinking ahead all the time, not behind. Having a “plot bible” or running organization system for your characters, events, settings, and storylines is invaluable and of prime importance when doing a multi-book series. I sure wish I had one…

I’ll do to you what you did to me. What’s the message in this book? Has it changed since the first FORGOTTEN RELICS novel?

Joke’s on you: I have an answer!

Sword of Souls is all about not letting your past define you. Jack confronts the woman who enchanted and enslaved him as a young man; Cora learns her true heritage, and it’s not awesome; Sofi has to release her best friend’s death. Everyone’s got skeletons in their closet, and if you let them keep their bony fingers around your wrists, you’ll never be able to move forward.

As for how it differs from Cora Riley, I’m not sure it does (or should) by much. That book’s message was essentially “you’re special, you just need to find out how,” but every book in this series has an underlying theme of hope – you can overcome, you will make a difference, you are stronger than you think.

Aw, man, I made myself all mushy. Excuse me, I have something in my eye…

SOS-Cover-500

Second chance at life? Check.

a-rare magic powers? Check.

BadUltrass new job? Check.

Saved world from evil goddess? Not so check.

Cora Riley assumed when she joined the FBI’s Supernatural Cases Division that she’d be dismantling Otherworld treachery alongside Jack Alexander, the storied Agent 97 who guided her through the underworld. Instead, she’s filing reports for Sofi Strella, a smart-mouthed agent ten years her junior.

When Jack finally does make contact, it’s not for sidestepper training, a quiet drink, or even an apology; it’s to investigate a magical narcotic that’s boosting supernatural belief to dangerous levels.

The case leads to the realm of Faerie, where Jack encounters an old flame and an even older enemy, both demanding his allegiance. As he battles the entanglements of his past, Cora continues the mission, ultimately facing the eerily-familiar Queen Mab, who wields a legendary blade in the name of Eris, the mad goddess of chaos.

Book Links

Destructo Girl And Julie Make This Happen

TODAY’S BREW: So much coffee. Any I can get. My mind is spinning and I need to fuel it.

By Julie

My sister in sarcasm, who goes by the name Destructo Girl, is one of those few tweeters whose time line I read every day. So when she asked me to interview for her blog, I jumped on it. I drank some stuff, and answered her hilarious questions. I highly suggest you follow this brilliant mind on twitter @sk_sophia for constant entertainment. But first, go check out the interview she granted me. See what a girl who would do THIS comes up with:

TO READ OUR INTERVIEW, CLICK HERE: http://t.co/DlKa1rvwAw

 

J. Liz Hill Is The Best Now Go See Why Because I Said So

TODAY’S BREW: Pumpkin is as pumpkin does. I have no idea what that means.

By Julie

If you’re all up in my face on Twitter, then you know that I talk to J. Liz Hill all damn day. I adore her. One of the kindest, most generous and thoughtful people on the planet, and she will destroy you with her writing habits. I mean this girl writes all the time. And never complains that ughgh my muse has been kicked in the face and can’t get up or I’m just too tired from living life to create as I am supposed to do. She is an inspiration and a half.

AND YET SHE NEVER TALKS ABOUT HERSELF AND NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT HER BOOK, BOUND, AND NOW THE SEQUEL IS UPON US ALMOST AND YOU NEED TO KNOW.

So first, this:

http://t.co/TPAOhxcNQC

1. Give us a quick few lines to sum up Bound and Possession.

BOUND

Faylanna graduates from the academy where she learned magic only to find her father has made some sort of deal that involves her, though she’s never been apprised of this. When she flees from his men rather than go along with this, she meets Tavis, who’s on the road himself in search of his long-vanished mother. They help each other through difficult events, and all the while, Faylanna wonders whether she should at last give in to the pressure to make a choice that will be with her for the rest of her life: To bind her magic to that of another.

POSSESSION

Faylanna and Tavis face new challenges, each learning things about themselves that have been kept secret from them by everyone around them. The truth changes the nature of their lives. When Tavis’ mother is kidnapped in an effort to resurrect old plots they both thought finished, the race is on to save her. As the secrets pile up, their weight might destroy Faylanna and Tavis.

2. What’s your favorite supernatural/mythological species to write about and why?

Angels, hands down. I love anything with wings, really, but the idea of angels has always fascinated me, especially the fall from grace that they’re capable of. Come to think of it, that might explain my next project.

3. Tell me your favorite line or paragraph from Bound or Possession.

This is one of my favorites that doesn’t give anything away. It’s from Possession, part of a scene between Tavis and Faylanna.

The light from the hall had ruined his ability to see in the darkened room for the moment, but he heard her cross to him. When she was close enough, he reached out, put his hands on her slender waist and pulled her closer. His own relief was overwhelming as he slid his arms around her. Laying his head on her chest, he listened to her heartbeat and it reminded him that there was still one constant in his world. She tangled the fingers of one hand in his hair and her other arm went around his shoulders. He loved that no words were necessary with her at that moment.

4. Tell me a little about your writing process, and how you maintain such a rigorous schedule.

My writing process. Well, it usually starts with an idea or a character and I make notes as more of it comes to me. I write everything down, no matter how crazy it seems or unlikely. Eventually, the idea feels more like a story than disconnected notes and at that point, I organize the notes in a program called Omni Outliner. Once I’ve done that, I outline the whole story from beginning to end, covering all the major events. These things often happen while I’m editing other things and making notes on other stories by the way. Note-making never stops.

Then I start writing. Well, I start the first draft. Everything else (except the occasional note) stops at this point. Everything is about writing the draft. I put in long days (5-6 hours after my day job, all day on weekends) of writing. Over time my average words per day has increased, but these days, it takes me about 20-30 days to write that draft.

After that, I leave it alone for at least a couple months before I start revisions. I typically go through three rounds of revisions. One for major story stuff, one for wording and continuity and a final one that I do out loud. It’s good for catching repetitive wording and anything that’s leftover from previous edits (I call them the ghosts of edits past)

How do I keep it up? I never stop. Momentum is a key part of this whole thing, and that’s easier to maintain than have to rebuild, so I just keep rolling from one thing to another. Don’t ask how many novels I’m juggling through this process. The number scares me if I think too much about it.

5. What’s going to make readers fall in love with Bound and Possession?

I think readers will love how Faylanna and Tavis negotiate their relationship, not to mention how they each try to cope and help each other cope with the trials they both face. For them, falling in love with each other is just the beginning in many ways.

6. Now you. Tell us your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing. Twitter doesn’t count. 😉

Playing video games. I love anything with a good story, so I mostly end up playing roleplaying games, but I loved the storyline in the Halo series. I find there’s a lot to be learned from them anyway, on a craft level, but I just plain enjoy them as a way to get my mind off working.

7. What’s the thing you’ve never done that you wish you had and/or plan to do?

I’ve never been on a vacation to anywhere tropical and beachy. I’d love to stand on the beach with the sand in my toes and the ocean lapping at my feet. That’s not in the current budget, but maybe in the next couple of years I can do that.

8. What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?

The problem is that I rarely think the things I do are cool. I mean, it’s just me doing them, right? I guess going to Norwescon earlier this year was pretty cool. I did it all on my own, without knowing anyone else who was going. It was scary and I may have ended up texting a friend in a panic at one point (I totally did), but I went and participated in stuff. I ended up having fun and I’m going back next year.

9. Dinner party, and you can invite 6 people, living or dead. Who are they and why?

Anne McCaffrey – Because she was the author who inspired me most to start writing myself.

Carol Berg – Because she’s my favorite living author. I met her briefly at Norwescon and she’s fabulous. (I somehow maintained my dignity and didn’t turn into an brainless fangirl)

Julie and Kristen – Because we really do need to hang out. Seriously. IRL.

(Side note: We eat a lot. This may be something the host of any dinner party may want to rethink.)

Trent Reznor – My all time favorite musician. How could I not have him there?

Keanu Reeves – For a long list of reasons, particularly that I find him fascinating and would love to have a conversation with him.

10. Describe your perfect day.

It’s going to sound kind of corny, but writing. A day where the story’s flowing like a torrent and it’s raining outside. Good music playing. A hot coffee at my side. That’s perfect to me. Since I live in Vancouver, you can imagine, I get these from time to time. 🙂

 

 

Wait, You’re Not Done?: Personal Interviews on Our Second Novels

TODAY’S BREW: Woodchuck Hard Cider for Julie.  Pumpkin Spice coffee for Kristen.

by Julie and Kristen

Without trying to explore All The Feelings in this blog post, Kristen and I wanted to take our super-emo blog post run from earlier this month and link it to how our feelings link to our new novels.  Again, we find ourselves working at the same pace on our newest novels, but with much different results and much different processes.  Not working on our first novels is a major change! And with change comes growth.  We decided to interview each other in 5 questions as to what makes our second books our second books with a life of their own.

FIRST KRISTEN!

1)What’s new in your second book?

There is a lot more Tristan, my smokin’ hot rockstar vampire main character, in Immortal Forever, which should make everyone happy.  A lot more Talis too, much to Callie’s dismay.  Talis wants Callie, our protagonist, out of the Immortal Dilemma picture.   Callie has a mentor to show her the ropes in the Vegas vampire world, to which we get more of a bird’s eye view.  Of course, there are new conflicts and challenges for them to face and overcome.  Not everyone gets out alive, but do they make it to the afterlife?

2)Have your main characters changed since book one?

Callie is no longer the naïve girl who started college in September.  She’s back for her second semester to battle a world she wouldn’t have believed existed just five months ago.  She’s not exactly sure what she wants, but she’s ready to fight against what she doesn’t want.  Callie is not a girl to put up with a lot of crap. Her attitudes towards Tristan and Blade, her love interest, have changed as well.

3)How have you changed since book one?

My life got completely up ended between the start and finish of Immortal Dilemma.  I lost my mom, I l had to give up my house, I lived in a hotel.  Last year at this time was the scariest time of my life.  But I got through it, and landed on my feet. A lot of people would have given up.  I think of it every time I pass someone at an intersection with a cardboard sign, asking for food or money.  That could have been me.  It made me stronger, and made me fight harder for everything I have.  There is no lay down and die.  I think that is reflected in my writing, and my characters.  They don’t give up.

4)What’s harder about the second book?  Easier?

Technically, Immortal Forever is the third book in this series.  I also wrote a prequel starring Callie and Tristan called Seasons in The Sun, which covers the backstory of their relationship.  When I began writing Immortal Dilemma, never did I imagine I’d have a literary agent when I started to write it’s sequel.  In fact, when I started Immortal Dilemma, I thought the whole story would be told in one book.  But as the story unfolded, I realized it need a To Be Continued.  Having an agent means people are paying attention.  This can’t suck. I’m probably being way too hard on myself, but that’s how I roll.  The characters have chosen their paths, and I need to follow it.  It’s not such an anything goes format anymore.  On the other hand, now that I know the main characters so well, their personalities are come through very easily now.

5)Do  you have a new soundtrack for your second book?

Seasons in the Sun had more of a country soundtrack.  Immortal Dilemma has more of a glam metal soundtrack.  Immortal Forever so far has a bit more of an industrial/alternative soundtrack.  It has a bit of a darker feel than the other two books, and the music that compliments it reflects that.

NOW ME, NOW ME! (JULIE)

1) What is your second book (Running Away) about?

Eliza and Nicholas find their comfortable New Hampshire world, and are forced to go to the Japanese temple where Ellie will commit herself to becoming something else.  Not to give too much away.  There are lots of new vampires in Japan, a lot of new interactions and relationships, and the characters you know from Running Home are put to the test in every way possible.

2) What are your biggest challenges in writing the second novel?

Taking my characters from a place that I personally know to a place I have never been from the get-go—Japan.  Making that setting real, both beautiful and frightening for my girl.

3)What is the most exciting part of your new novel?

I love the new characters we meet!  Human and vampire, forced to live together in this secluded place, full of aggression and newness and different feelings, temperaments.  And seeing the changes in Eliza.  She completely reinvents herself, and the outcome is something nobody will expect.

4) What is your writing schedule like?

Early! With the majority of Running Home I wrote after a long night of retail, into the wee hours of the morning.  Now I set my alarm for 5AM to write with the support of the 5AM Writer’s Club on Twitter.  It’s the only time I am truly alone and awake and fresh minded.  Much different!

5) How are you reflected in the new novel?

Aw, Jesus Christ. Ellie is experiencing a detached rawness in the face of a great loss much like I have.  She is emotionless, simultaneously trying to feel and not feel.  She pushes away the one person she loves because she just can’t give him anything, she has nothing to give.  She is void of life.  And she seems strong, but she’s at her most vulnerable, when she needs someone the most, and knows no way to ask for help.  It’s very similar to how I felt after my father’s death when I was 16.  That kind of inner change determines how you react to things for the rest of your life.  Ellie doesn’t become your typical hero, she has a lot of flaws, a lot of choices that are wrong, and she makes no apologies for them.  It’s real, and imperfect.  But I absolutely love the outcome of both of us!

There you have it!  I hope you all are looking forward to the end of the second novel journey the way we are.  But in the meantime, enjoy the ride.

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