On this lovely Friday, I have two awesome guests over on my Blog: Keith Melton, author of the sexy and action packed book Blood Vice and Lily, a fellow blogger from Lilium´s Realm who will be posting a review about Blood Vice and has also contributed questions to today´s interview.
Please welcome them both with me!!
KM: Karl Vance, a vampire working as a freelance hit man for a Boston-based syndicate, is pulled into a turf war between two competing crime families when he discovers a rival vampire working for the opposition. Things get even more complicated when the Boss’s ambitious daughter wants to defy tradition and make her bones in the crime family using Vance as her weapon…
Your book tells also a story about vampires, seemingly the most favorite creature in the supernatural world. How are your vampires different from others?
KM: My favorite vamps are the classic vampires with the classic rules. My vamps are pretty standard, rule-wise. They drink blood. Deep fry in the sun. I wasn’t really trying to be innovative about vampire lore. I just wanted to write about vampires tearing the hell out of each other and causing havoc.
Have you ever been afraid that the idea of vampires was overused while writing your book?
KM: Yeah, all the time. There has always been a core vampire-loving audience, but I wasn’t quite aware how prevalent vamps were in UF/PNR when I wrote Blood Vice. I was more familiar with them from the King/Rice/Stoker/Lumley end of things.
How many books have you planned for Karl Vance?
KM: There will be a total of three books in the Nightfall Syndicate series. Book two is complete and currently sitting with a beta reader. About twenty percent of book three is written so far.
What made you think Mafia + Vampires = Win?
KM: I wanted a paranormal creature who would work well in the crime underworld. Vampires seemed to fit best, since a vampire hit man could actually slake his/her thirst on the target. A criminal underworld and a paranormal underworld seemed like they would mesh well together. The violence. The secrecy. The betrayals.
KM: It’s basically a short, simple caper novella with a love story at its heart. Two werewolves are exiled from their pack and lose everything, but turn the tables and end up robbing one of the pack’s businesses to get enough money to flee the city. The pack gives chase. Mayhem and gratuitous werewolf combat follows.
Can you name the key ingredients of your books in short words?
KM: Action. Fire. Hungry monsters. Guns.
There are also complex character relationships, but I can’t describe them accurately with short words, so I’ll just be coy and hint about them here.
In September, I´ll focus mostly on male authors. Urban Fantasy however is a genre dominated mostly by woman. Are guys too cool to write it? J Why did you chose to write Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance? Or was it more coincidence?
KM: It looks as if more males are joining the fray as time goes on. On the one hand you have Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks, one of the lynchpin novels in the genre’s development, but you also have Charles de Lint, another very important writer who isn’t too cool to write it.
I like Urban Fantasy because it gives so many diverse toys to play with. An author can pull in elements from High Fantasy, mysteries, noir-stylings, use complex romantic elements, horror, thriller tropes, et cetera. So many shiny plot elements and devices mean a great deal of creative space and possibilities.
Did you find it difficult writing from a female POV when he was telling the story from Maria's perspective?
KM: No, but Maria is a character quite a few readers start the book disliking. She wants some questionable things—to run with the wise guys in her father’s syndicate and to make her bones by killing someone. She’s not very nice at first. In some ways she’s more blood thirsty than Karl Vance the vampire. Change, when it hits her character, is significant…Karma doesn’t play around.
KM: I read UF along with all kinds of genre fiction. I think one could make a quick case about the strong female characters that flourish in the genre and the intense romantic relationships which may appeal to female readers. That’s still a pretty simplistic, grab-all assumption, however.
A great many male readers I know really love the Harry Dresden series. Perhaps some male readers judge a book by its cover. Also, the subgenre is still relatively new. Give it time.
Would you say that your mood has an influence on your writing?
KM: That’s a complex question. In the very short run I’d say yes, to a degree. However, a book goes through so many drafts and revisions that the process tends to smooth out the writing until it fits what the scene requires regardless of what mood I was in when I wrote it.
How far ahead are you plotting your books?
KM: I tend to plot future books out in my mind, but not on paper. I do this when I’m waiting around in Limbo (aka the DMV, Post Office, traffic lights, waiting in line for coffee, etc). Events remain relatively fluid and this allows me to stay nimble, if necessary, in regards to plot/character arcs.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Music, books, TV shows or real life?
KM: All of the above and none of the above. By which I mean it all goes into the industrial mixer in my mind. Hopefully, after some churning, a new idea is formed or inspiration strikes.
A question that I am always curious about (but could be kind of personal) is: are your characters based on people you really know or maybe even a little bit about yourself or are they all purely fictional?
How did you choose the names of the characters in your book? Do they have a special meaning?
KM: I usually run with how the name sounds when read and whether or not I have many characters with similar-appearing names in the same book. If the character is of a specific ethnicity, I’ll give them an accurate surname. Sometimes I’ll pick a name because of its meaning—it just depends.
What do you like most about being an author? And what annoys you?
KM: I’m probably pretty standard. I love creating new worlds, new characters. Also, I like interacting with readers. They’re always fun.
Nothing really annoys me except crafting query letters and writing the synopsis.
Did you ever have a writer´s block? If so, what did you do to deal with it?
KM: I switch projects. Go in a different direction with something completely new. Seems to work for me if I become bogged down with a work in progress.
Tell us something about your favourites:
KM: Jonathan Kellerman, Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, Patricia Briggs, Elmore Leonard, Fritz Lieber, Clive Barker, Shirley Jackson.
favourite paranormal creature?
KM: Hmm. I’m fond of ghosts. In fiction, not real life, because the concept of a real ghost creeps me out. <looks around nervously>
I rather like Mad Max from The Road Warrior. Also, Ripley from the first two Alien movies.
favourite all time villain?
KM: Yeah, I’d have to go with an old standard: Darth Vader. Maybe Pinhead from Hellraiser. Or, on the lighter side of things, Dr. Evil. Wait, was I supposed to pick just one?
favourite vampire movie?
KM: Probably Let the Right One In.
Which one do you prefer, book or e-reader?
KM: Honestly, I love them both. I read both, though the e-reader is increasingly more convenient for me.
KM: That would have to be my kids. You could even reframe the question as: “Favorite CONSTANT distraction?”
Is there a book you love above all? One that had a great influence on you or your life?
KM: I routinely re-read The Shining and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Oh, and Dune. And Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Wait…was I supposed to pick just one again?
Was being an author something you´ve always wanted or did it just happen?
KM: It was something I always wanted. I wanted it even more when I was trapped in a cubicle trying to keep my coworkers from stealing my office chair…
Hey, you aren’t eye-balling my chair are you?
Is there any question you´ve always wanted to be asked? And if so, what would be the answer?
KM: Let me switch things up and start off with the answer….
The answer would be NO.
The question: Does Area 51 have enough public restrooms?
A question that is inspired by another interview I did with an author: If you would be Superman, what would be your kryptonite?
KM: Gelatin of any flavor. I hate it. It wobbles with an insidious and malevolent evil. Don’t even get me started on Jell-O shooters.
What are you reading at the moment/planning to read/waiting for to be released?
Will you continue to use forks in nonstick pans? (greetings to the author of my next guest post, Lily!)
KM: Once upon a time I used a fork on a non-stick pan. Never again. Four weeks in an intensive Respect Your Wife’s Cookware reeducation camp cured me of that ailment.
I’m one hundred percent reformed.
Now I only use knives on the non-stick.
And finally: Is there anything you want to say to your/my readers?
KM: Whoohoo! Free-play time! First I’d like to say hello to all the readers and wish them the best.
Then I’d like to use this opportunity to wallow in a bit of blatant and mildly embarrassing flagrant self-promotion. I know readers secretly love that more than anything! So here goes:
I’ll have at least two novels coming out in 2011.
The first will be 9mm Blues, a UF thriller about a Thorn knight (part of a modern day knighthood which uses state-of-the-art weapons against the monsters preying upon humanity) fighting to rescue a young boy who has been kidnapped by ghouls.
The second will be an Urban Fantasy parody titled The Zero Dog War, which releases February 15th, 2011. It’s a story about a group of misfit mercenaries fighting to stop the corporate zombie apocalypse, where factory workers are replaced with the shambling undead. Yeah, and the book can safely be described as both zany and absurd OR critically injured in the stupidity department. Honestly, it could go either way.
(As you can see, both books contain quite a bit of fighting, since I’ve used that word twice in two consecutive paragraphs.)
Thanks again for the interview!
And HI! to Lily!
Thanks so much to both Keith for giving an awesome and hilarious interview and Lily for her questions! It´s been such a great pleasure for me! If anyone of you would like to come back to my blog anytime, I´d love to have you over again!