Posted on February 28, 2011 in Fantasy
, Urban Fantasy
with 6 Comments
I recently asked the lovely Suzanne McLeod, UK author of the Spellcrackers series, if she would answer a few questions for me, and she graciously agreed! She has also generously offered a copy of The Cold Kiss of Death (Spellcrackers #2) to one lucky winner!
**Giveaway is now CLOSED**
Please welcome Suzanne to the blog!
My Bookish Ways: Genny is a very strong, complex character, and we get tantalizing glimpses of her mysterious past in The Sweet Scent of Blood. Will there be more revelations in upcoming books?
There will! Okay, I could be a tease and leave it at that … or I could tell you that both the readers and Genny find out more about her past in The Cold Kiss of Death. All of which means that Genny has to reassess what she thinks happened, and what actually did happen, at a point when her life changed dramatically for her. It ends up being a very emotional time for her as she tries to come to terms with it all … particularly as she’s on the run from the police, and trying to find a murderer before they can kill again.
MBW: Do you have a set direction that you want the series to go, or do you let the story sort of tell itself?
Genny’s story is currently outlined up to the end of book 6 (which is the number of books my UK publisher has contracted me for). But I outline in fairly broad strokes, and concentrate more on the plot aspect of each book. So I know who the ‘baddies’ are, what external problems my ‘evil author’ will give Genny to deal with, and I have an idea of how that might impact on her personal life. But, as to how her relationships with her friends, fre-enemies, and other folk who appear in her life are going to work out … well, that’s a little more up in the air (and spoilery) … and quite often I’m as surprised as anyone what my characters (a.k.a. my subconscious muse) do next. *g*
MBW: What type of research did you do for this series?
Well, I do different types of research:There’s the daydreaming type … er, sorry, serious thinking about the Spellcrackers world, how it works and how it all fits together, both from an overall viewpoint, and how it affects the characters and their interactions with each other.There’s the practical type, which is where I research locations: frex. In The Cold Kiss of Death, London Bridge (with the 14th century plague pits in its foundations), plays a big part. So once I’ve got my locations, I read up/google/visit so I can find out everything about them. All of which info finds its way into the story as bits of description, atmosphere and plot.Then there’s the mythological type, which is where I research everything I can find about say vampires, faeries, ghosts etc., or whatever new supernatural creature appears. Then I decide what parts of the myths and legends I’m going to use, tweak, or abuse to make up the rules of the Spellcrackers world.
MBW: Are there any authors who have greatly influenced your work, or inspired you to write?
I’ve always been a voracious reader, and love reading across all genres. Everything I’ve read has probably had an influence on my own writing, either by a sort of subconscious osmosis, or more directly. But it wasn’t until I found authors like Charlaine Harris, Neil Gaiman, Kim Harrison, Emma Bull, Charles de Lint, Laurel K Hamilton, Tanya Huff, Jim Butcher . . . and the list goes on :- ), that I discovered I loved the mix of genres that make up urban fantasy. Then when I decided to have a go at writing urban fantasy was the obvious choice.
MBW: On a more personal note, is there anything that you absolutely need in order to write?
Not really. I prefer quiet, no distractions, plenty of tea and the odd bit of chocolate. But if I need to (i.e., if I’m heading into Deadline Hell) I can write anywhere.
MBW: I saw in your website bio that you’ve had a very interesting and varied employment history! Did you always want to be a writer?
Short answer: No. I never considered writing, other than giving it an odd passing thought, until I decided to give it a go about seven years ago. Then I started off by buying a couple of ‘how to’ books, but quickly found I needed more help, so I joined a local, council-run ‘Writing for Beginners’ group. Which obviously worked out great for me :- ).
MBW: What was the last book you read, or are reading currently?
I’m currently reading The Fallen Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood, and Blue Daiblo by Ann Aguirre. Both are favourite authors of mine, and the books are fab :- )
MBW: What is your favorite part of living by the sea?
The weather! We lived in Glasgow for eleven years and while we enjoyed our time there, there’s a reason it’s called the Wet, West Coast of Scotland *g*. And it’s great to be able to take our geriatric Hound for walks on the local beaches.
MBW: Finally, for those of us that live in the states and are eagerly awaiting The Cold Kiss of Death, can you give us a bit of a teaser?
In The Cold Kiss of Death, Genny ends up on the run from all sorts of folk who all want her for their own reasons. Here’s a teaser which for me encapsulates a lot of what Genny goes through in the book. (note: spoiler’ish parts removed :- ))
Extract from The Cold Kiss of Death – chapter eleven: Fedora’s mouth gaped open in surprise. I took the rest of the steps in a leap, bent forward and head-butted her hard in her stomach. She fell back, landing with a spine-cracking crunch on the pavement, a whoosh of air whistling from her open mouth. I jumped over her trouser-suited legs and ran.
I went right, racing past the shocked face of the two Beanies, and jinked to one side, only just evading the grappling arms of a giant oak-sized guy with a purple-patterned bandana tied low over his mahogany-skinned forehead. I picked up pace and sprinted along Clink Street. The cobbles were still wet from the earlier rain, the air chill with moisture and the early evening greyness was fast dissolving into streetlamp sodium.
My heart beat a rapid tattoo and adrenalin pumped through my veins as I stretched my legs, sucked air into my lungs and felt my body settle into a familiar fast-run mode. One good thing about running regularly, I could keep this pace up for a good few miles. But I could hear the dull boom of feet behind me and the rhythm sounded as practised as mine. I was almost sure it was the guy in the bandana chasing me; the others had looked too stunned to react that quickly – and Bandana Guy had been the only one who’d tried to stop me. I didn’t check; I was either faster than him or not and looking back wasn’t going to change that.
The buildings on my left ended abruptly and the bulk of the Golden Hind filled the gap, its tall masts rising into the star-spiked sky. A crowd of City types heading for post-work drinks at the pub beside the boat spilled across the narrow street in front of me. I waved my arms, grinning like a lunatic, and shouted ‘Whoo hoo! Girl coming through,’ and they laughed goodnaturedly as I dodged between and past them.A few seconds later I heard irate shouts of ‘Watch it’ and ‘Hey, man!’ and ‘Getoutheway!’ from behind: sounded like Bandana Guy hadn’t managed to dodge quite as quickly. I raced on – but trouble was, I could keep running, only I needed somewhere to run to, somewhere where a dryad couldn’t go . . .
Thanks so much to Suzanne for joining me today and for the awesome giveaway!