I’m completely and totally psyched to welcome Christine Warren to the blog today. I absolutely loved her book and gushed appropriately over it when I reviewed it HERE. So, please, give Ms. Warren a fantabulous welcome!
1) How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first short story when I was in the second grade. Oddly enough, it was a paranormal, though sadly lacking in romance. I wrote a story involving an intrepid heroine and a haunted house, and I suppose the rest is history!
2) How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually), (ball = work, writing, family, etc.)
The juggling act is much easier now that writing is my full time job. When I first began to seriously pursue trying to write for publication, I was working two jobs and for a while at the beginning of my writing career I was working those two jobs, writing, and taking college classes at night, so that was a challenge. Honestly, I can’t imagine now how I did it, but I’m thinking sleep deprivation and an utter lack of a social life had something to do with it. These days, it boils down to writing, family, home, and animals, mainly. Thankfully, my family (and I include my closest friends in that designation) is incredibly understanding and supportive, so when I have to ignore them for days at a time to get the writing done, they don’t complain. And even my animals are used to me holing up in a small room with a laptop and a metric buttload of coffee and other caffeinated beverages. They come in, say hi, and go about their business. Having that sort of support and understanding is really what makes everything else possible.
I’d love to say I have some esoteric secret of time management, but honestly, I’m terrible at time management (almost as bad as I am at every other kind of management), so my advice here is worthless. For me, it boils down to taking each thing that needs doing in the order of most urgent first and then just plowing through them. And apologizing later to the loved ones I’ve neglected in the meantime.
3) What can you tell us about your new release, Heart of Stone? What I’m looking for is the story about how the story came to be, not just the blurb and what not. After all, gargoyles are not a very commonly used hero species. Secondary, yes, but not the heroes.
It can probably all be traced back to my addiction to the Beauty and the Beast story. When I was a teenager, I stumbled across Robin McKinley’s novels Beauty, and then Rose Daughter, and I became utterly enchanted by them. There’s just something compelling about the idea of a man who can be monstrous on one hand, and yet loving and tender and generous on the other. I think it ties in to why people love romances featuring vampires and werewolves; knowing that love can in effect tame something fierce and deadly is an incredibly seductive idea.
Gargoyles just seemed like a natural expression of those concepts. I mean, what is more monstrous than something that looks like our very definition of a monster? You take that kind of creature and make him fall in love, and the juxtaposition of his outer appearance and his passionate heart just fascinates me. Plus, I’ve always loved the idea that gargoyles and grotesques in medieval art and architecture were not created to scare people, but to scare off the evil spirits that might harm people. The unexpected is so much more fun than the expected.
And then, of course, there was the old animated television series, Gargoyles. I was a huge fan back in the day! (TM – ::snort:: Heh – yeah, I know what you mean. I still mourn the loss of that cartoon)
4) You write paranormal romance. What is it about the genre that you like so much?
Fangs. Fangs are sexy.
No, seriously, I’m not sure why I write paranormals other than that the first book I ever published was paranormal and since then, my characters have held me prisoner, allowing me no opportunity to escape! When I write, the seed for any book always come from a character popping up in my head. The story develops from the character for me, and not the other way around, so for a long time, I just kept writing paranormals because every time I wrote a book, a secondary character in the previous paranormal would try to steal every scene and start demanding his or her own story. It was basically out of my control. Now, I embrace that paranormal is what I’m know for, and I want to keep my readers happy. I have a career because of them, so giving them new paranormal characters and stories they can enjoy brings me incredible satisfaction. I have also come to really relish the endless possibilities that are built into the paranormal genre. If I can think it up, I can do it in paranormal romance. There are very few barriers there, which for a writer is incredibly freeing.
5) Do you think you’ll end up trying another genre outside of paranormal romance?
I actually have written other things. I have two futuristic/sci-fi romance novellas published by Loose Id (those are listed on my website), and over the years I’ve experimented with a number of genres.
I would eventually like to try publishing in some of those other areas, but a lot of it is a matter of that time management I’m so bad at. I’m not the world’s fastest writer, so finding time to write outside of my current series is not easy.
Someday, it will happen, but I can’t say how or when.
6) How did getting published happen for you? Did you hit the jackpot with your first time out, or did it take several tries?
I’m one of the lucky ones. (TM – Awesome!) The first book I ever completed is the first book I ever published. That was a book originally published by Ellora’s Cave as Fantasy Fix, and later expanded and republished as One Bite With A Stranger by St. Martin’s Press. Receiving that acceptance was a huge moment for me, literally a life changing one. I went on to publish several more books with EC, and those brought me to the attention of my editor at St. Martin’s, who asked if I would be willing to submit a story to them. That became Wolf at the Door.
Now if only I could have that same kind of luck with lottery tickets…
7) I know you have the second book in the gargoyle Guardian series coming out in August (AUGUST?! C’mon, you’re torturing me!). Do you have anything else in the pipeline? Am I correct in believing you’ve got 7 books planned for this series? Do you know all the stories yet?
I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but I actually think August is early. I think it will be Fall/Winter of next year. Like I said, I’m not a very fast writer! (TM – sigh. I’ll let you off the hook about that one. I know the feeling all too well of writing slow. Last year was the first time I’ve managed to write two full books in a year.)
Right now, my focus is on these gargoyle books. (TM – yes. Focus on the gargoyle books. Focus on nothing but the gargoyle books. :P) I’m currently working on the second book. In my head, yes there will be seven books, one for each of the Guardians. I have an idea of the main story arc and each of the Guardian characters in my head, but the full plots of the upcoming books are not yet complete. I can barely plan what to make for dinner, let alone exactly what’s going to happen five books form now!
8) Got any advice for those still struggling through the trenches?
Write. Write, write, write, and then when you think you can’t possibly write any more, sit your butt back down and do it all again. Any time that you don’t spend writing, spend reading.
Honestly, that’s the best advice I can possibly give. The only way to perfect your craft is to practice it as much as possible, and that means writing as much and as often as you can. Find the authors who really grab you, who make you bounce up and down in anticipation while you wait for their next books to come out. Study them. Try to figure out what makes them resonate so strongly with you. Don’t try to copy it, because a) that’s plagiarism, and b) the key to success as a writer is to make yourself distinct from every other writer. But if you can identify that you really love a certain writer’s voice, for example, figuring that out can help you to better develop your own.
9) Sweet or sour?
Spicy. Closely followed by salty.
10) Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate chip. I know, I’m a contrary little thing, aren’t I? LOL!
How can people contact you (email)?
People can always email me at Christine@ChristineWarren.net, but I tend not to answer emails when I’m writing. I save them up and deal with them when I hit a rest period, so don’t fret if I don’t respond right away. If I get your email, I will respond eventually! (TM – then I’m even happier that you got back to me as quickly as you did. I really hadn’t expected it and you’re awesome!)
CHRISTINE WARREN is the author of the Novels of the Others, including NEW YORK TIMES Bestsellers Big Bad Wolf, Walk on the Wild Side, and One Bite with a Stranger. Born and raised in coastal New England, CHRISTINE WARREN now lives as a transplant in the Pacific Northwest. When not writing (as if that ever happens), she enjoys horseback riding, playing with her pets, identifying dogs from photos of their underbellies, and most of all reading things someone else had to agonize over. She has been assimilated by Twitter (as @ChrstineWarren) and Facebook, where you can follow her thoughts and witness her being ridiculous firsthand, and she always enjoys hearing from readers via email sent to Christine@ChristineWarren.net.
A thrilling new series about a young woman caught between a rock and a hard place—between gargoyles and demons…
Ella Harrow is trying to carve out a normal life for herself. Well, as normal as an art geek with psychic abilities can hope for. As museum docent and gift-shop manager, Ella is able to keep her distance from people—and her powers in check—while surrounding herself with the artifacts she loves. But how on earth is she supposed to act normal when a thousand-year-old statue on the museum’s terrace suddenly comes to life?
HEART OF STONE
Not your ordinary gargoyle, Kees has been asleep for eons, waiting for a portent of evil to wake him from his slumber. Kees isn’t a vision; he’s a bat-winged guardian created to protect the world from the seven demons of the Dark. Somehow, Ella triggered his reawakening. Maybe the demons have been unleashed? Maybe his heart is finally ready to be chiseled open? The fate of the world isn’t carved in stone… yet.