I’m very happy to have the husband and wife writing team of Ilona Andrews at Smexy today talking about their newest release and one of my favorite books of the year, Bayou Moon.
I was so excited to hear William would be the hero of the second book in your Edge series. William is more of a broken hero, and struggles socially. Did you have his journey planned out from the beginning or did he surprise you in this book? Give us some insight into writing his character.
William has been kicked by life so many times, any normal person would’ve long ago decided to stay down. He’s too stubborn, and the more rocks life throws at him, the harder he fights back. The challenge with William was to write a man who has never been a part of human society.
Because of their ability to change into animals, changelings like William have a harder time controlling their emotions and, consequently, they struggle with acquiring intuitive social skills most of us learn in childhood. In William’s case this lack of understanding is especially severe. William was raised in a military school, in an almost prison-like environment. His handlers never meant for him to become a part of human society. He was supposed to be a soldier, an elite killer who killed until he died.
People are a mystery to William. He wants someone to understand him. He wants friendship, and companionship, and love, but he has no clue how he should go about getting all these things and given his life, his outlook is pessimistic. William naturally expects the worst of people. But he is also loyal and kind, and once you earn his trust, you will have a friend for life.
Writing him was difficult, but a lot of fun.
One of my favorite things about fantasy books are the villains because you are able to take so many liberties with them. Was Spider a fun character to write? Do you enjoy writing the evil parts?
Spider is a villain only to his enemies. To himself, he is a patriot who sacrifices a great deal to ensure the survival and prosperity of his country. In his own eyes, he is a hero, a true believer, and he was incredibly fun to write. He’s smart, suave, urbane, inhumanly cruel, and curious. In a sense, if Spider could have been a changeling, he would be a cat. A wicked, lethal, playful cat who walked on soft paws hiding razor sharp claws.
Do you like being able to wrap-up the Happily Ever After with your hero and heroine in this series, as compared to the ongoing sexual tension in your Kate Daniel series? Or is it more fun to torture your readers?
I wouldn’t say it’s torture. In real life relationships take time to develop; very few of us see an attractive man or woman and instantly fall for them. Most of us take time to get to know the other person, and the more lonely we are, the longer we take to trust someone because most of us are aware that we might get hurt. It would’ve been unrealistic for Kate and Curran to jump into the sack together in the first book. Both of them are cautious and both have secrets and trust issues.
While on the surface, The Edge books have a HEA, the relationships are far from finished. After all, Rose only knew Declan for a few days, and Cerise and William never had the luxury of not having to fight for their lives. It will be interesting to see how the two couples deal with everyday life.
I’ve already read a review that says William is being added to their book boyfriend list, and I know for a fact that many of my blogger friends lust after Curran. Do you think about this when you write your male leads?
Not really. I was kind of surprised when Curran got such a great following. The first time I realized it was when we had a guest appearance on RT forums. I remember trying to point out that the books had a girl in them too. I gave up when people starting asking what sort of underwear male characters wore.
Your blog is a very personable, open space where you talk not only about your writing experiences but your kids, pets and the hassles of daily life. Do you set boundaries about what you will talk about? Is it hard to keep up with your blog, website and Twitter, or do you consider it part of your day?
There are definitely boundaries. I have a very difficult temper and Gordon is the same way. Our kids have inherited all of our snarkiness, and there are times when I lose my cool and send everybody to their rooms with a huge lecture that can probably be heard by the neighbors across the street. We’re not perfect parents and our children are not perfect kids. I think that there is a price for everything. All four of us are capable writers and we pay for that creativity with terrible temperament.
We have long ago agreed as a family that nothing embarrassing or hurtful would ever be made public. This rule extends to the blog, twitter, and especially Facebook, where all of us have separate accounts. I might whine about failing as a parent in general terms, but I would never make a serious post criticizing my children or Gordon, and I know they will extend the same courtesy to me. We’re mindful of our privacy, because it is so easily lost. If you can’t trust your immediate family to have your back in public, who can you trust?
That said, the blog and Facebook are definitely a part of the job. Both Gordon and I credit the online community of readers for a lot of our success. It’s amazing how many people take time to recommend our books to their friends. We’re very grateful, and we try to release free content as much as possible as a thank you. If someone asks us a question, we try to answer. I also noticed that a lot of people depend on the blog for a quick "pick-me-up". If we don’t post for a few days, we start getting emails asking if we’re okay. So we try to keep it up.
Your covers for both of your series are beautiful. What kind of input do you have?
Minimal. We’re usually asked what we want on the covers, but we know that no matter what we say, Kate titles will have a girl and a lion. We can influence the color scheme occasionally and for MAGIC BLEEDS I really wanted snow on the cover, so I asked for it and got it.
What’s in store for 2011 from the Andrews team? Are we going to be seeing more “Edge” books? Any hints on Magic Slays? *bats eyelashes*
We’re probably looking at a June 2011 release of MAGIC SLAYS, where Kate will struggle to balance her new business and being the Pack’s female alpha. Her relationship with Curran takes an interesting turn. On one hand, they are both independent and have to adjust to sharing a life. On other hand, they’re very attracted to each other and trying to find privacy in a Keep full of shapeshifters chronically unable to mind their own business is an adventure.
As far as The Edge, we should see the release of yet untitled novel #3, which will most likely feature Kaldar and a woman who is more than capable of giving him a run for his money. We should also see a lot more of Gaston, George, Jack and Lark.