HOLLA everyone! It’s me Tori and I’m here with Allison Pang to talk about her debut novel A Brush Of Darkness, hello kitty, smexy incubuses, and life in general.
Welcome Allison! So glad you could join me here at Smexy Books. Word on the street is A Brush Of Darkness is THE urban Fantasy book to get your hands on this year. Will you tell us a little about it?
Wow. I’m so totally flattered. I’m not sure if it’s *the* UF to read this year, but I’m perfectly happy to have people think so! In a nutshell, BoD is the story of a normal girl thrust into a magical world that overlaps our own. Before she has the chance to grasp all the intricacies of this otherworld, her Faery employer disappears, leaving Abby in charge. When other magical beings also start to disappear, Abby is forced to join up with an sexy incubus in search of his missing sister. And of course, there’s a small, pervy unicorn as well.
I really like the cover for this book. It just screams dark and snark. Did you design or have any input on it?
No, I really didn’t. The most I was able to insist on was that Abby not be holding any sort of weapon. She’s not a vampire slayer or anything and I didn’t want to provide that sort of misconception. Everything else was done at the discretion of the artist.
I have to say, I REALLY like Abby. She has that special snark about her that had me laughing and snorting throughout the book. And speaking of snark, smexy Brystion has his fair share and more. Is he based on anyone you know? Enquiring minds want to know.
Thanks so much! I’m not sure where Brystion came from. Of all the characters I’ve written, he’s one of the hardest – he definitely has a mind of his own. (And he’s terribly stubborn.) I certainly didn’t base him on anyone that I’m aware of.
Where did the idea of a mere mortal mixing it up with the Fae come from?
Only that I haven’t seen it done very often. I just like the concept of someone normal being forced to deal with issues that aren’t part of the everyday. I mean, she’s not a trained fighter. She doesn’t carry a gun. She’s crippled and jaded and sort of broken inside. Even the fact that she discovers that she’s a Dreamer (by way of a certain smexy incubus), doesn’t really have any practical application in the real world. At the end of the day, I wanted her own sense of integrity to lead her into doing what she thought was right – not some sort of forced destiny.
I see you are working on book 2. Do you have this planned as a series? If so, do you have an idea of how far it you’d like it to go?
BoD is the first of three sold books to Pocket. I would love for there to be more, but as of right now, this initial story arc should span those three. My original idea was to have seven books – one for each year of Abby’s Contract, but things have changed up a bit in the second book so that may not work as well as I would have liked. Even so, the books have some really fascinating secondary characters and I’m itching to do some with Melanie (the violin playing girl.)
Let’s talk about you now. I see you lead a very interesting life. What took you from marine biologist to writer?
Wanting to make more than $7k a year. And eating. Or really, eating more than just Ramen for the rest of my life. In truth, after I got my initial degree I was having serious second thoughts as to what I wanted to do. (I flirted with going to grad school for English at one point.) I ended up working at Ocean Spray doing scientific research (there’s a lot of counting in science, by the way. Counting cranberries. Counting the mites on the cranberry leaves. Counting the parasitic nematodes inside the grubs we’d just beheaded. Yeah.) At any rate, four months later the grant wasn’t renewed and my position was removed. I hated the idea of working at a job that could be dismissed so easily so I immediately moved into the tech industry and haven’t looked back since.
Writing wise – I only wrote a little bit in college, but was pretty disillusioned by the literary tone of the classes. I knew I wanted to write genre, but that wasn’t really what they taught. So I stopped writing all together for the next 12 years. About three years ago, I was in some online role playing/writing games and decided it might be nice to write a book for publication (Yes, that’s as naïve as it sounds). I researched on how to go about that (i.e. joining writing groups, learning how to pitch and query, etc.), and wrote A Brush of Darkness. And the rest is history, I guess. :)
Have you always had stories to tell?
Yeah…but they were always private sorts of stories. Nothing I really wanted to share with anyone for a long time, anyway.
What drew you to the Fantasy genre? What other genres interest you?
It’s what I’ve always read, so it’s all I’ve ever wanted to write. There are plenty of other genres I like to read, but I have no desire at this point to write anything that doesn’t have at least some sort of fantasy aspect to it.
What are your “must have” things to write?
All I need is my netbook. I don’t use any other tools except for Mindola’s SuperNoteCards once in a while – everything else is just a distraction for me. Music is always nice as well, as a good way of blocking out external noise, but it’s not a requirement.
Where do you picture yourself 5 years from now?
Hopefully making enough money from writing to either quit working or at least go part time. The practical side of me likes eating, so I’m just going to see how it goes. I mean, sure, I’d love to hit the New York Times list, but that’s a bit of a pipe dream for me and I can’t count on that happening.
I see you are a hello kitty connoisseur. Me too. And a former jewel thief. ME TOO!! OMG-we are soul mates. Have you ever been to this site? www.kittyhell.com. I want Hannibal Lector kitty.
Yes. Kitty Hell is on my blogroll and pretty much a daily read. I adore the completely random HK stuff, like the appliances. I totally want the floor buffer. So useless. So cool.
What authors have a permanent spot on your bookshelf?
Pretty much anything by Jacqueline Carey or Anne Bishop. Or Robin Hobb. Or Charles de Lint. Or Lynn Flewelling. Or Kate Elliott. Or Diana Gabaldon. Gah. I have a lot of books. And many bookshelves.
What big thing do you want to do that you haven’t done yet?
Actually have a clean house? I don’t know. Getting published was such a big thing that I haven’t really given much thought to anything else down the road. I’d like to do some more traveling, but I don’t think that qualifies as “big.”
Now for the quick responses:
Coke or coffee?
Big breakfast or a donut on the run?
Donut on the run. (Or protein bar is more like it, but small and simple.)
Do you agree that Starbucks is THE evil empire that must be destroyed?
Well. I don’t drink coffee. And I’ve only been in a Starbucks maybe four times ever. Never bought anything. So, sure. Whatever you like. Amusingly enough, Abby drinks at Starbucks apparently. LOL.
Dead tree books or e books?
Either. I’m not picky. Keepers I’ll buy twice – I’m impatient enough that I’ll buy the ebook just to get it right away, but I’ll definitely buy it a second time if I want it on the shelf.
Mac or Windows?
Windows – though it depends on the OS. Vista was terrible, but I like 7 well enough. I was a hard core gamer for a long time, and most of the games I was playing weren’t available on the Mac, so there was never any chance I would own one. That’s not the case so much these days, but I’m still not interested in them.
Where can we find you on the web?
Yeah, I’m all over the place. LOL.
Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?
I loved being here and I really hope they enjoy A Brush of Darkness!
Well, we loved having you here too! Thank you so much for the interview. I look forward to a seeing more of Abby, Phineas, and the oh so smexy Brystion.
Today, Allison is offering up one copy of A Brush of Darkness to one lucky commenter.
To enter, just leave a comment and a valid email address. Contest open to US/Canada through February 5th.