Scorched is your second book in The Dark Forgotten series. Did the writing process feel different this time? Easier? Harder?
Every book is different. Every one feels at some point like the most brilliant thing ever, and at another point like the worst piece of drivel ever committed to paper. The one thing that made SCORCHED easy was Mac. He’s a very nice character to work with—funny, solid, practical, and a problem solver. If you’re going to have voices in your head for months on end, it’s better if they’re cheerful.
What made it hard was working in the amount of detail I wanted about the setting without slowing the story down. There’s a lot of world building in SCORCHED, but I worked very hard to make it feel seamless, so there aren’t gobs of description in the way of the story. Thank heavens for the delete key.
The Castle is a place we discover in Ravenous but it really takes center stage in Scorched. At what point in the planning process did you think of the Castle? Can you give us some insight into creating it?
I came up with the Castle when I was walking down one of the historical alleys here in Victoria. It looked like the sort of place where an alternate dimension could be, as if a different time was just on the other side of the smoke-streaked brick wall. Then Constance came to me, and then I had the Castle almost in one heartbeat of thought.
I started coming up with the Dark Forgotten stories in a very different order than the way they were written. The first story was meant to be Lore’s, but that hasn’t happened yet. At the time, I had most of Ravenous on paper and then thought—oh, well, now I know how they find the door ….
As a side note, I worked in the administration area of a secure youth jail for about four years. While it bore no resemblance whatsoever to the Castle—the staff there were incredibly caring people—some of the questions a place like that poses did work their way into the story. Plus, there’s nothing like the sound of a prison door shutting behind you, even if you have keys to get out!
I really enjoyed that Alessandro and Holly’s story was continued in Scorched. Do you have a set number of books planned in the series? Will we keep seeing Alessandro, Holly, Mac and more?
The characters from previous books will keep appearing as needed. They all know each other and live in the same place, so that’s natural. Different ones will pop to the forefront at different times. In Unchained, Holly and Alessandro appear, but not as much. Instead, we see quite a bit of Perry the werewolf. (<-----oooh, I'm intrigued!)
It looks like Unchained is going to feature Reynard, a guard in the Castle and Ashe, Holly’s sister. I am so interested to read their story – they both are more darker characters. Any hints from Unchained?
I finished Unchained about two days ago. The leads are angsty characters, but there’s plenty of humour as well. I have to have that—otherwise the story gets to be the consistency of cold molasses: dark, stiff and hard to work with. Both Ashe and Reynard are fond of beating up monsters and that exhausted me sometimes. More than ten pages without staking something, and they get all twitchy. I’m rolling my eyes and wondering if the Save the Monsters Coalition is going to show up and start arresting my characters. (LOL!)
What was a bit different in this book is that there’s more of a whodunit factor. It’s not a detective story, but there’s a mystery to solve. So far no one has figured it out before the end.
I think your covers represent the books well – how much input do you have with them?
I am asked for suggestions, and the art department does follow the character descriptions pretty well. The heroes approved of the covers very much. The heroines, well, they asked me how I’d like to appear on a book cover in my underwear.
You have some great secondary characters. Do they ever demand page time? Please tell me we get more of Lore, the hellhound in Unchained. Pretty please? :)
Lore makes a brief appearance in Unchained. I do have a book planned for him down the road. I’m fascinated by the culture of the hellhounds and really want to explore it.
I try and flesh my secondary characters out as much as space permits, because there’s a lot you can say about the world as a whole by the type of people who are in it. However, some of the smaller players do take off and start doing their own thing. I have a fairy prince who was mentioned a few times in Scorched who kept fascinating me. I kept thinking “who IS this guy?” He comes back with a large role later. Think Dracula by way of Captain Jack Sparrow.
Since you are in Smexyville, I must ask:
What fictitious character do you lust after the most?
If you could trade places with any heroine, who would it be?
I always wanted to be Red Sonja. Kick those barbarian butts, yeah!
Hairy chests – smexy?
Context is everything. I don’t say no to any good-looking chest!