Wednesday, June 19, 2013

We welcome Gena Showalter & Kait Ballenger!

Today I have two authors in my hotseat - the co-authors of AFTER DARK, debuting June 25th, NYT Besteselling Author Gena Showalter and debut author Kait Ballenger!

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today best selling author of the White Rabbit Chronicles, Otherworld Assassins, Angels of the Dark, Lords of the Underworld, and several of other series.  She has written over thirty novels and novellas.  Her books have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazine, and have been translated in multiple languages.

Kait Ballenger is a full-time paranormal romance author, wife, professional bellydancer, graduate student, and soon-to-be-professor. She is the multi-published author of the Execution Underground paranormal romance series about an international network of supernatural hunters who fight to protect humanity alongside the powerful women they seduce.

And now, in the hotseat: Gena and Kait!
R:  Welcome, girls! Gena and Kait: Tell us a bit about yourselves and how you became interested in writing.
Gena: I usually put this question off, answering all others first LOL  Talk about myself?  Shudder!  Um…I guess I am quirky and driven.  Definitely trying to kick a Vanilla Birthday Cake Oreo habit.   Animal lover.  Wife.  Mom.  (Perhaps here is a good place to mention these facts aren’t in any kind of special order.)  Day dreamer.  Split end hunter/slayer.  And forever trying to tame curly hair into something sleek and straight.  As for writing, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I ended up dropping out of college three times.  And quitting multiple jobs soon after I started.  And being voted “Worst Employee Ever” three years running—by my mom.  I sat down and had a heart to heart with myself about what I could truly see myself doing for the rest of my life.  Writing was the only answer that fit.

Kait: I’m a wife, mommy to three fur-babies, and graduate student just working to make a name for herself in the crazy publishing industry. I finish grad school in November with an MFA in Writing. After I graduate I hope to find a part-time position as a professor while continuing to write. Currently, writing is my main job, though I work as an activities director at an assisted living facility for Alzheimer and dementia patients on the weekend. I’m also a paid tutor for high school level English students. My undergrad degree was in English and I earned it from Stetson University, which is where I met my husband—the dean’s son. DH works as a bartender, but is also a screenwriter, so you’ll be seeing his movies on screen hopefully in the near future. I was the first in my family to go to college. I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, but moved here to Florida when I was fifteen. I’m the oldest of three daughters. I’m 22 and will be 23 in September. I like to name my pets after fictional characters and I hope someday that people love my characters enough to name their pets after them. I admire Gena for her mission for sleek and straight hair, because my hair is SO curly I couldn’t get it all the way straight even if I tried (the one time I did, it took over three hours just to get it even remotely straight). I love big sparkly jewelry, particularly earrings. I have my nose and belly button pierced, and I really love the sunshine even though I burn to a crisp when I’m in it for more than five minutes =)



R: Gena, you write so many varied series! Do you have a favorite?  
 I love different qualities about all my series, so it’d be difficult to pick a favorite.  I love the Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark for the alpha heroes, the White Rabbit Chronicles for the snark—and alpha heroes—and the Otherworld Assassins for the rush—and alpha heroes.  Okay, you got me.  My favorite thing is the men.  I am a proud book boyfriend slut.

R: Gena, I and the HUMAN loved BUFFY! Tell us about your White Rabbit series, which features a “zombie-slayer!”
 White Rabbit Chronicles is loosely inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and features a sixteen-year-old girl (named Alice/Ali) who wakes up after a car crash to learn the world is filled with zombies hungry for human souls.  Ali needs the help of sexy bad boy Cole Holland to become the slayer she was born to be.

R: Kait: How does it feel to make your debut with Gena?
The opportunity to debut with Gena is something I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams to be possible. It's phenomenal! Sometimes, I still can't believe that it is actually happening to me.

R:  Kait:  I’ve heard that you are also a professional bellydancer? How did that come about?
 I bellydanced as a hobby, just for fun, for several years before my then-instructor asked me to teach beginner’s level classes at her studio. After teaching for a year, by chance I ended up with a position working as a performer for an Arabic restaurant. I performed there professionally for nearly two years. I specialize in Egyptian Caberet style bellydance, though currently I’m not working any gigs or performing regular. With my writing schedule, it’s become more of a hobby for me again, though I’d certainly love to get back into performing at some point.

R: Kait:   Tell us a bit about your debut novel, and what inspired you to write it.
 Shadow Hunter is a prequel novella to my Execution Underground paranormal romance series, which is about an international network of supernatural hunters. Shadow Hunter tells the story of vampire hunter Damon Brock and how he came to establish the Rochester division of the Execution Underground—which is the division the series focuses on. It’s hard to say I was “inspired” to write Shadow Hunter, because I never had any plans of writing Damon’s origin story, until Harlequin contracted me to do it for the anthology. So I guess you could say the contract “inspired” me haha.

R:  Ladies, tell us a bit about your dual release, AFTER DARK!


GS: Mine is The Darkest Angel (which was a blast to write!):

Winged warrior Lysander has been alive for centuries, and yet he’s never known desire-until he meets Bianka. Spawned from the bloodline of his enemy, the beautiful but deadly Harpy is determined to lead the untouched Lysander into temptation. He may try to evade her attempts, but even the most iron-willed demon assassin can resist for only so long.... 


KB: My part of the anthology is Shadow Hunter (which was my first experience writing under deadline and I had to finish it within only one month!)

Vampire hunter Damon Brock's first assignment with the Execution Underground is Rochester, New York, a city crawling with the undead. But he isn't the only hunter in town gunning for vamp blood. Tiffany Solow is fierce and ruthless when it comes to slaying the monsters that destroyed her family-and she works solo. But being alone is no longer so desirable when she meets the mysterious hunter who wants more than just her turf. As they work to massacre the local covens, the line between good and evil blurs when they are forced to decide between their lifelong beliefs... and their newfound hearts.

R:  Gena and Kait:  What future projects are each of you working on? Anything else new this year we can salivate over?
Gena:  I’ve got three!  First up is The Darkest Craving, releasing July 30th.  

Having endured weeks of torture in the bowels of hell, Kane wants nothing to do with his beautiful rescuer, Josephina Aisling. The half-Fae female threatens to awaken the demon of Disaster inside him—a beast he’s determined to kill, no matter the price.  


Josephina is hunted by a brutal enemy—her royal family—and Kane is her only source of protection. He’s also the only male to ever set her aflame, and even he succumbs to the heat. But as they navigate the treacherous world of the Fae, will the love they are building be torn apart?

Then comes Through the Zombie Glass (September 24th):
“Zombies stalk the night. Forget blood and brains. These monsters hunger for human souls. Sadly, they've got mine...”
Alice Bell has lost so much. Family. Friends. A home. She thought she had nothing else to give. She was wrong.
After a new zombie attack, strange things begin to happen to her. Mirrors come to life, and the whispers of the dead assault her ears. But the worst? A terrible darkness blooms inside her, urging her to do very wicked things.  She's never needed her team of zombie slayers more, but ultra bad-boy Cole Holland, the leader and her boyfriend, suddenly withdraws from her... from everyone. Now, with her best friend Kat at her side, Ali must kill the zombies, uncover Cole's secret and learn to fight the darkness.
But the clock is ticking...and if she fails at a single task, they're all doomed.

Then, it’s the second Otherworld Assassins novel, Black and Blue (Oct, 22nd)!

                                  HE IS EVERY WOMAN’S FANTASY. . .
Corbin Blue is a man of many talents. One of the most powerful otherworlders ever born, he is wealthy, a professional football star, and a legend in the bedroom. But only a select few know he is also a black ops agent...and there is no better killer. When he and his crew are attacked and separated, he’s forced to turn to his boss’s daughter for help―a woman with even more secrets than Blue.
                                 …SHE BECOMES HIS ONLY OBSESSION
Evangaline Black has always been wary, guarded. No man has ever breeched her walls. Until Blue. He has never been denied something he wants, and now, he’s decided he wants her. As he sweeps her into his double life of seduction, intrigue, and danger, he helps her see beyond the darkness of her past. But as an enemy closes in, Blue will have to let Evie go to keep her safe—even though he'd rather die than live without her…


KB: The next thing up for me is Twilight Hunter, which is the first full-length novel in the Execution Underground series, releasing on August 27th.

Twilight Hunter (Aug 27th)
Hunters of the supernatural, the Execution Underground are an elite group tasked with protecting humanity…but what happens when danger collides with desire?  
Jace McCannon has one loyalty: the Execution Underground. Despite his mixed blood, his hatred for the werewolves he hunts is legendary. But in his search for a sadistic killer, Jace finds himself face-to-face with a stunningly seductive packmaster…and longing for a night with his mortal enemy. 
Nothing can stop Frankie Amato from defending her kind—or catching the rogue responsible for killing women in her territory. For that, this alpha female needs Jace's skills more than she wants to admit. But as their investigation exposes evil truths, need burns into a passion that dare not be fulfilled. For to do so will have deadly consequences for them both….

The second full-length novel in the series, Immortal Hunter, releases in late January 2014. I also have a YA urban fantasy series about to go out on submission.



R:  Do each of you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share?  How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?

GS: (side note: this happened so long ago, my timeline may be off, but this is how I remember it as of today lol)  I had written six books in roughly three years when I received my first offer of representation.  I asked for time to make my decision because the manuscript was with other agents.  I called the others to let them know there’d been an offer.  Only one was interested—my ultimate dream agent—and she asked for a few days to read the book, and I agreed.  A few days later, her offer came in and I didn’t hesitate.  I agreed, and let the other agent down easy (I promise!)  I’ve been with Deidre Knight of the Knight Agency my entire career, and I can tell you I’m more in love with her now than I was in the beginning.  She’s a champion for her authors!

KB: I'm represented by Nicole Resciniti of the Seymour Agency (whose super agent!) and she offered me representation after reading my third manuscript, which is now what readers know as Twilight Hunter (releasing August 27th). I managed to secure representation with Nicole through a cold query. She requested the full manuscript and less than 24 hours after I sent it to her, she called and offered me representation. After we polished up the manuscript some, we sent it out and only a few short months later we received several offers. Ultimately, we choose Harlequin. Getting the call to find out that my books had sold to Harlequin is it pretty much indescribable. On phone with Nicole, I literally collapsed in the middle of my living room, bawling my eyes out from happiness and thankfulness. I still feel very blessed.

The below questions can be for both, or you can take turns:
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?GS: Music.  Or white noise of some sort, like a fan.  Also, my dogs have decided I need them to work, so they’ve taken to napping in my office and farting constantly.

KB: I’m pretty versatile, so I don't think there's any must-have for me. I'm used to writing on the go, so I can easily adjust. But, ideally, I like to be comfortable when I write, so if I had to choose a must-have it would be either my PJs or sweat pants to lounge around the house in.

R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
GS: I don’t know about most surprised, since there’s so much info out there about me (some true, some false), but I’ll go with…I can do the Elaine dance better than Elaine. (anyone who watched Seinfeld will know what I’m talking about LOL)
KB: That I'm only 22 years old...seriously lol.

R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
GS: Pure enjoyment.

KB: That magical human connection that happens when you really fall in love with a book and the emotions in it resonate with you. That's what I hope for =)

R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
GS: I’m a mix of both, though I lean more heavily toward pantser.
KB: I'm a little bit of both. I naturally lean more toward panster, but I find my books are structured better if I force myself to plot beforehand, so I’ve been doing that more frequently as the years progress.

For both authors:


Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  

GS: Night
KB: Night

Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  

GS: Um…even though I have three dogs…cat?
KB: Dog, but I own both.

Beach or Pool?  

GS: Neither.  I burn. 
KB: Depends on my mood. But like Gena, I burn easily, so I need loads of sunblock and an umbrella to cover me from the sun, even though I'm a Floridian. ;-)

Steak or salad?  

GS: Steak. (Suck it, salad!)
KB: Steak. I'm not a fan of most vegetables.
Favorite Drink?  

GS: Water (seriously--I go nutso without it)
KB: Milk (0%)

Favorite Book?  

GS: Right now I’m head over heels for MacRieve by Kresley Cole and Barefoot in the Sun by Roxanne St. Claire.  These women are beyond talented.  
KB: The Harry Potter series but the first book is my favorite.

Favorite TV Series?  

GS: New Girl
KB: Supernatural

Favorite Movie?  

GS: Eek!  The horror of picking just one.  Shakespeare in Love, maybe.
KB: It's hard to pick just one. Emotionally: The Notebook. For sheer screenwriting genius: Fight Club.

Favorite Actor:
GS: Ryan Gosling (my husband tells me I giggle like a schoolgirl every time he appears on screen)
KB: Jensen Ackles—specifically Jensen as Dean Winchester *le sigh*

Favorite Actress:
GS: Zooey Deschanel (she makes me smile)
KB: I wouldn't call her my favorite, but I think Jennifer Lawrence is really talented. I liked her in both Hunger Games and Winters Bone.

Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? 

GS: Pina Colada
KB: Piña colada
Hawaii or Alaska? 

GS: Alaska
KB: Hawaii

Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be 
GS: Jesus___________________
KB: I agree with Gena's answer. That was my first thought as well. Jesus.

If I had just one wish, it would be
GS: More wishes.  What?  I can’t go there?  Fine.  To eat whatever I want and never gain a pound.  No, no, to have more money than I could ever spend, so that I can eat whatever I want and have the pounds sucked off no matter how much it costs.
 _________________________________________
KB: It sounds morbid, but if I had one wish in the world it would be that my husband and I die at the exact same time—once we’re well into old age, of course. The reason I say that is just the thought of living without him just seems unbearable. Gena’s answer is much more fun than mine haha. 

If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be 
GS: I couldn’t leave my family.  I’ll stick with me.  
KB: I agree with Gena. I enjoy my life and I'd miss my family, so I wouldn't want to trade places with anyone else.


Gena and Kait will give away a copy of AFTER DARK to one lucky commenter!

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:


* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link: https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck!

Next week:  Nancy Gideon!

11 comments:

  1. Oh thanks for new and interesting people again,Rocco...even if they don't seem to be OUR type:Cat People!(I will forgive a Jensen Ackles fan,(oh, to be 22!)
    I love Anthologies.I know they don't pay as well, but they are fun for the reader.
    I've won lately, but I am a friend,I do follow and I will promote of FB. Best of luck to both of you.

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  2. I can't wait to read this book, that was a great post. I do want a good steak and a piña colada for dinner now, but you can't go wrong with those.
    I follow on GCF, twitter, and like on Facebook
    I tweeted and posted on my Facebook
    Ann(dot)sheiring(at)gmail(dot)com

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  3. I love them both sooooooooooooooo much....
    Name: Sofia T.
    Email: sofia_torosian(at)hotmail(dot)com
    I tweeted:
    https://twitter.com/RoseVAcademy/status/347745816116592640

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  4. LOVE LOTU and Angels of the Dark! And I am excited to start reading Execution Underground series! Sounds amazing! Misty Swearingen: mistybee7@yahoo.com

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  5. I can't wait to read this book thank you for the giveaway. bluepooh1(AT)hotmail(DOT)com
    Follow my blog (+ 1 point)email bluepooh1(AT)hotmail(DOT)com
    Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point)@bluepooh1
    Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point)Heather Langley

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  6. Great interview. Thanks for sharing it. Mary Kennedy-Smith Email is mary_beth1130@hotmail.com.

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  7. Great interviews, Rocco! Love learning about authors. Kait, you got it girl, Jensen all the way. (although I'd take Ryan as a nice second too) :)
    Susan P
    farmygirl at hotmail dot com

    Follow blog
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  8. Awesome interview :) I really enjoy Gena's books. I haven't read anything by Kait yet but look forward to reading this book.
    Thanks,
    lorih824 at yahoo dot com

    I also follow:
    1.) FB lorih14 at bellsouth dot com
    2.)twitter @loriharvey3
    3.) follow your blog by email lorih824 at yahoo dot com

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  9. Great interview! kait supernatural all the way!
    Tracy kilgore
    Dtk070305@yahoo.com

    I also follow on
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    Blog tracy kilgore

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  10. I love all your books Gena. Great interview
    I Follow the blog
    I Friend you on Facebook
    Mention the contest on Facebook
    Liked on facebook

    KristineLR23(AT)gmail(dot)com

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