Fangtastic Friday – Interview with Laura Bickle
Please welcome author Laura Bickle. She‘s the author of EMBERS, coming in April from Pocket-Juno Books. Writing as Alayna Williams, she‘s the author of DARK ORACLE, from Pocket-Juno Books in June.
ETS – Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a bit of an odd duck. My educational background is in criminology and library science, and I’ve worked in and around criminal justice for the past twelve years. I live in the Midwestern U.S. with my husband and four semi-reformed feral cats. In my spare time, I enjoy belly dancing and amateur astronomy. Not at the same time, though. Shimmying can really screw up your right ascension.
ETS – Your novel EMBERS is releasing in April 2010. What can readers expect in this novel?
Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya—who is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern—suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon an ancient entity that will burn the city to cinders. By Devil’s Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya—with the help of the ghost hunters and her fire salamander familiar, Sparky—can stop it.
Anya’s accustomed to danger and believes herself inured to loneliness and loss. But this time she’s risking everything: her city, her soul, and a man who sees and accepts her for everything she is. Keeping all three safe will be the biggest challenge she’s ever faced.
Anya was a very challenging heroine to write. She’s got her roots in the myth of Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of war and sex. Ishtar’s love was known to be fatal to her lovers. Anya’s confused by her feelings for a fellow ghost-hunter, Brian, attempting to keep her distance. But the serial arsonist, Drake, tells Anya that she has the Babylonian goddess’s terrible gaze. He should know — he’s a fellow Lantern, the only other one she’s encountered. And he tells her that she has much more than Ishtar’s gaze…
Without giving too much away, Anya’s love life gets very complicated. She must choose between a man she loves because he’s ordinary, and a man she loves because he understands everything she is: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Anya must decide who and what’s worth saving.
ETS – When will the sequel, SPARKS, be released? What will the hero and heroine face in this book?
SPARKS will be released by Pocket-Juno Books in September. In SPARKS, Anya’s investigating a rash of spontaneous human combustion cases. With the help of the ghost hunters and a soul collector from the Underworld, she must track down the supernatural source of the fires and keep Sparky’s newly-hatched newts safe from a malicious psychic.
ETS – You also write under the name Alayna Williams. You have so many new releases this year! Under this penname the book Dark Oracle will be released. What is the difference between the two pennames? Different tone? Genre?
Same genre, and the release dates were close together – hence the use of a different name! DARK ORACLE has a slightly different tone. Tara Sheridan swore off criminal profiling after narrowly escaping a serial killer who left her scarred for life. By combining Tarot card divination with her own intuition, she must help an intense federal agent find a missing scientist who has unlocked the destructive secrets of dark energy. The agent, Harry Li, draws her out of her self-imposed exile and back into the world.
ETS – What is your idea of a perfect date?
My perfect date would be very low-key. My husband and I enjoy amateur astronomy, so dinner followed by a trip to the observatory would be my idea of a perfect summer evening.
ETS – What is your writing process like?
I start with a synopsis, so I know where I’m going. I keep a journal for each book. It contains my notes, research, and roadmap for where I’m going next. I can‘t plot by the seat of my pants…I wish I could. I do best with having scenes mapped out before me. That’s not to say that the map doesn’t change. It does, very frequently. But I like the security of having a plan.
I usually listen to music while I write. As odd as it sounds, I usually compile a soundtrack of sorts for each book that matches the mood and tone of the work.
ETS – When did you realize you wanted to write romance? What inspired you to do so?
I’ve always been interested in romance. Romance is usually a significant element in any hero’s mythic journey. For the journey of a woman who is also the hero, I think it’s even more important. In Victoria Lynn Schmidt’s 45 MASTER CHARACTERS, she describes how the hero’s journey for women is often an internal one. The heroine must conquer some aspect of her inner emotional landscape to complete her quest. Love is often part of that internal journey, and deserves to be explored every bit as much as slaying external dragons.
ETS – What would you do if one of your villains showed up at your door?
In EMBERS, a creature called a Sirrush is sleeping in the salt mine beneath Detroit. He’s the granddaddy of all fire salamander elementals, and is a dragon the size of a dinosaur. He’s got complete dominion over fire. And he wakes up cranky.
If Sirrush shows up on my doorstep, somebody better bring marshmallows, because everything I own is burning.
ETS – What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
The best advice I can give is to finish that manuscript. Finishing a work is such an incredible challenge, but it’s the first step to getting published.
To that end, I really recommend trying National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org), which challenges you to write a book in a month. It can be done! DARK ORACLE was a NaNoWriMo book. NaNoWriMo provides a wonderful community of support, plus a needed kick in the pants to get started.
ETS – Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us!
Thank you so much for having me!