Meow! My guest today is NYT Bestselling author Angie Fox, author of the popular “Demon Slayer” series.
Angie Fox is the New York Times bestselling author of several books about vampires, werewolves and things that go bump in the night.
She claims that researching her stories can be just as much fun as writing them. In the name of fact-finding, Angie has ridden with Harley biker gangs, explored the tunnels underneath Hoover Dam and found an interesting recipe for Mamma Coalpot’s Southern Skunk Surprise (she’s still trying to get her courage up to try it).
Angie earned a Journalism degree from the University of Missouri. She worked in television news and then in advertising before beginning her career as an author.
R: Hello, Angie and welcome to my hotseat!
A: Thanks, ROCCO!
A: I’ve love books, and paranormals in particular. In fact, I remember discovering the paranormal genre back in college. In my sophomore year, there were six of us, living in this tiny place. One night, my roommates started talking about Interview with the Vampire. They were shocked I’d never heard of it and, like the enablers they were, they managed to put together Ann Rice’s entire vampire series, which they stacked next to my bed the next day. I picked up the first book and wow. I was always a good student, but I skipped class for the next week and read the series straight through.
Ironically, when I decided to actually try and write a book of my own, I completely ignored my love of paranormals. Because, you know, that makes sense. I decided to write mystery/suspense with lots of science and research involved. I’d outline, I’d write pages and pages of character notes, I’d force myself to do those little note cards. And I hate note cards. In retrospect, I was fighting my voice. When I was about ready to go insane, I’d sneak off and read Kerrelyn Sparks, Lynsay Sands or Katie MacAlister, just to catch a break.
It took three unpublished books for it to click and for me to realize that hmm…maybe I should write the kind of books I love to read. I had this spark of an idea about a preschool teacher who is forced to run off with a gang of geriatric biker witches and The Accidental Demon Slayer was born. Instead of a 20-page plot outline, I had a 5-page list of ideas, one of which included “but little did they know, all the Shoney’s are run by werewolves.” Instead of following the rules, I broke a few. Instead of painstakingly writing over the course of a year, I grinned my way through the book and had a complete manuscript in five months.
The opening chapters did well in contests and caught the eye of Leah Hultenschmidt, who asked to see the whole thing. Leah bought the book less than a week after I finished it. And I didn’t write one single note card.
R: You worked in television news – how would you contrast reporting with writing fiction? And which do you prefer?
A: Ha. Well, with reporting, you have to stick to the facts (mostly). Fiction is all about creating new worlds. And I love fiction best.
R: You also rode with Harley biker gangs? Was that in the name of research?
A: Yes, I did ride with Harley biker gangs. Believe it or not, it was for book research. The first series I ever wrote is about a newly-minted demon slayer who has to run off with her grandma’s gang of biker witches. The biker witches ride Harleys, and I’d never been on a motorcycle before. Plus, the demon slayer has a dog, so I had to figure out how to get a Jack Russell Terrier onto a bike.
I went online and learned about the Biker Dogs Motorcycle Club, made up exclusively of Harley riders and their dogs. I ended up meeting some of them, along with a few other bikers along the way. These bikers were so great to me. They hoisted me onto the back of their Harleys (with dogs in tow). They took me to biker rallies (note to self: don’t wear pink). And they laughed at me when I tried to put my helmet on backwards (I still say I was distracted by the Pomeranian wearing a tiny pair of motorcycle glasses).
After a few outings with my new biker friends, I was able to make my geriatric biker witch characters a lot more realistic. And I took home some great pictures, too.
R: We all love your “accidental” demon slayer series – do you have any more books planned in that? How did the idea for that come about?
A: The Accidental Demon Slayer series started out as a kernel of an idea that amused me. What if a straight laced preschool teacher suddenly learns she’s a demon slayer? And what if she has to learn about her powers on the run from a fifth level demon? Ohhh and wouldn’t it be fun if she’s running with her long-lost Grandma’s gang of geriatric biker witches?
I let the story evolve based on the characters and that central issue of what happens when a reluctant heroine is thrust into a series of extraordinary situations. And I knew the story was working when I couldn’t wait to get back to the keyboard every day.
There are now four books in that series, and the fifth book, My Big Fat Demon Slayer Wedding, is coming out in spring 2013.
R: If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
A: This is a tough question for me because I rarely think in terms of movies. For the Accidental Demon Slayer series, I’d most likely cast Reese Witherspoon as the heroine, Lizzy, and perhaps a young Harrison Ford as Dimitri.
For Immortally Yours, the heroine is a no-nonsense surgeon who is actually quite vulnerable at times, so perhaps Keira Knightley. And then for Galen, the special ops soldier, Channing Tatum.
R: Tell us about your latest series, Monster Mash. What can we expect from that?
A: The new series is about a group of paranormal M.A.S.H. surgeons who are stuck in the middle of a great supernatural war. I wrote it because wanted to do something different. Plus, I love writing books that are not only about the hero and heroine, but also about the community where they live. A quirky, paranormal MASH unit sounded like a blast to write. Plus, I love books about special ops soldiers. They are too sexy. So I made my hero a tough-as-nails wounded warrior and my heroine is the doctor who saves him (in more ways than one).
The only thing she’s not prepared to deal with, it seems, is the hero, who bursts onto the scene first as a critical patient on her operating table and then as the only man who knows her secret ability. He discovers it while she’s saving his life. Unfortunately, her secret ability is forbidden by the gods and could get her killed – or worse. She’s survived so far by keeping her head down and now Galen is threatening that.
But he isn’t interested in hiding. Galen is a hardened special ops soldier, who has risked everything time and time again. He’s focused on his duty and determined to bring an end to the war.
and her ability will give him a means to do it. He’s not just an alpha, though. He’s very charismatic. And either by charm or by force, Galen will bring her onto his side. He needs to convince Petra that a) she can make a difference and b) she needs to trust him enough to risk eternal damnation. I mean really, it’s hard to talk a girl into that. But Galen isn’t one to give up. And like they say, all’s fair in love and war. Petra
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A: Just call me a plantser. I like to know where the story is going, but not too much because when I’m creating and having fun, that’s when the story itself takes on a lot more energy.
R: What is a “must have” for you that aids the creative process?
A: My dog(!!!!!), a spot on the green couch and a Coke Zero.
R: Is there anything in particular that inspires you.
A: Yes. I think it’s important to push the envelope. The best ideas come when I’m dancing on the edge. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed moments of panic during enlightenment. For example, when I sold Immortally Yours, I was very excited because the series has a definite edge and was going to make me grow as a writer.
And then…panic. I remember calling my critique partner about a week after I’d sold the book and asking her, “What did I just do? I told them I could write a book about an immortal war. I write funny. How am I supposed to pull this off?”
Once she calmed me down, and talked me into a bit of therapeutic chocolate (thank you, Kristin), I realized that the underlying drama of war could serve to bring the oddball personalities in the MASH camp together. These doctors and nurses don’t have much, but they do manage to find ways to save their sanity and create the kind of relationships that offer a port in the storm.
It forced me to learn about myself and my abilities, it made me push the story to places I’d never gone before. Yes, it was scary, but it was really cool too.
R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)
A: I’m a huge reader. My favorite genres to read are paranormal, mystery and historical. I’m also trying to learn yoga (even though I do tend to fall over at least once per class) and other than that, I like getting together with my friends and going to baseball games.
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?
A: Check me out online at www.angiefox.com
R: What one thing would your readers be surprised to know about you?
A: Even though I made my husband install a chandelier in my office for inspiration (and hey, because I always wanted an office with a chandelier), I still prefer to do most all of my writing on the green couch in the living room.
R: Do you have any advice for other writers just starting out?
A: It’s important to write a world that is different from anything you’ve read before. Add your own twist to it. And whatever you choose to write about, make sure it excites you. If you’re anxious to see what happens next, then chances are, the book has energy and your readers are going to feel it too.
Also be sure to be open to unexpected character twists along the way. Sometimes, the characters you don’t plan, the characters that rise up organically from the story itself, are the ones that truly make a book stand out.
A great example of this is Pirate the dog. When I sat down to write the Accidental Demon Slayer series, I had no notes about a sidekick for Lizzie. But right away, in those opening chapters when Lizzie learns she’s a demon slayer and there are some very scary, very angry creatures on her tail, she takes comfort in her dog. As I was writing, I thought, “who knew she had a dog?” Certainly not me. But she was the type.
And then as I wrote more, I thought, ‘this girl-hugging-dog is a sweet moment. Now how do I throw her off?’
I made the dog say something to her. Nothing big. After all, he’s only after the fettuccine from last week. And he knows exactly where Lizzie can find it (back of the fridge, to the left of the lettuce crisper, behind the mustard). It amused me, so I did it. Thanks to her unholy powers, Lizzie can now understand her smart-mouthed Jack Russell Terrier.
It was weird. It was unexpected. But I ended up having a ball with it. Pirate can say and do things that Lizzie can’t. He’s such a kick to write. That dog is one of the most popular characters with my readers and he didn’t come from an outline or a note card, he came about because the story needed him.
And maybe that’s the key: I didn’t know Lizzie overly well at the start of the book, but I knew why the book needed her. Pirate was unplanned, but he stayed because I knew why the book needed him.
R: You love to make up fun quizzes – give us an example of one.
A: Sometimes I don’t know when to quit when it comes to expanding the worlds I create. For example, the Accidental Demon Slayer series is about a demon slayer who runs off with her grandma’s gang of geriatric biker witches. All the bikers have nicknames, and the names were so much fun to create. So I developed the What’s Your Biker Witch Name? Quiz (LINK: http://quiz.angiefox.com ) It was an offbeat extension of the books. Plus, you haven’t lived until you get emails from physicists in
telling you that their biker witch names are things like Wino Wally No Brakes and Two Date Tessa Hard Rider. China
For Immortally Yours, I’m doing a viral program that is cracking me up right now because it is getting slightly out of control (which in my world, means things are going well). I’m going to offer readers an interactive experience that centers around the news network that is covering the war.
In this new series, PNN is the paranormal version of CNN. So I’m basically setting up the “official” PNN website to be like The Onion, only paranormal. It allows me to have a blast, while giving readers a taste of the series. Check it out at www.PNN-Network.com
Just for Fun:
Movie: The Shawshank Redemption
Author: Charlaine Harris
Book: Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson
Tv show: True Blood, 30 Rock
Tarot or Tea Leaves: Tarot
Sorcerer or Warlock?: Warlock
Detective or Demon?: Demon
Cat or Dog (Careful, now!): Dog. My chocolate poodle, Moxie, sits next to me every day while I write. (R: no cat, eh? Me-OWR!)
Folks, here's where to check out Angie and her latest release:
Website Links: www.angiefox.com
And now, Angie will be giving away a signed copy of Immortaliy Yours to one lucky commenter!
Just leave a comment below with your email address (comments without email addresses will be disqualified, sorry L) For extra entries you can:
Friend moi or the Human, Toni LoTempio, on Facebook
Follow me on twitter @RoccoBlogger
Follow Angie on twitter or on facebook
Tweet, FB or blog about this interview and contest (gets you 3 extra entries).
Be sure to mention all you've done in your post so we can give you credit. winner will be chosen at random using random.org.
The contest is open to US residents only and closes midnight, September 23, winner announced Sept. 24th
and the winner of our Dakota Cassidy giveaway is: Nikki! She will receive a digital arc of The Accidental Genie from Dakota!
and the winner of our Dakota Cassidy giveaway is: Nikki! She will receive a digital arc of The Accidental Genie from Dakota!
Next week: Penny Warner!