Joining me today is the wonderful Merrie Destefano! Merrie is the author of Afterlife, and also the upcoming Feast: Harvest of Dreams. Also up for grabs is a copy of Afterlife to one lucky winner (please see giveaway details at the bottom of this post.)
Please welcome Merrie to the blog!
Merrie, you have 20 years of experience in the publishing industry! Did you always plan on eventually writing a novel?
I’ve loved writing for as long as I can remember. But as far as writing a novel, that desire first came to me when I was in my early twenties. I remember being over-the-top excited when I got an electric typewriter for my birthday one year (does that give you a hint how long ago this was?) So, I guess the answer is yes—I’ve always wanted to be an author.
For those unfamiliar with your novels, can you tell us a bit about Chaz Domingue, the hero of Afterlife?
Chaz was the main character in my first novel, Afterlife. His family owned the rights to the world-wide, billion-dollar, resurrection empire, even though they were all morally opposed to the process itself. Chaz and his family were One-Timers, people who chose to live one life, amongst a world of Nine-Timers, people hungry for as many lives as they could get. Chaz worked as a Babysitter, or someone who served as a guardian for people during that delicate and dangerous first week after resurrection.
What made you decide to write an urban fantasy, and what do you love most about the genre?
There are two things that I love about urban fantasy. One, the setting is familiar enough to be believable, yet different enough to be intriguing. Two, it has strong women characters. For years I’d read suspense and thrillers, but always hated how women were often used as victims to increase plot tension. In urban fantasy, women are rarely painted as victims. In fact, they often end up being the hero, the one with the ability to save the day.
What supernatural power would you like to have?
I’d love to be able to heal people, whether their illnesses were physical, mental or spiritual. I hate to see others in pain and I wish that I could take it away with a touch.
What kinds of things do you like to see in a good book?
Oh, great question! I love reading and I’m always delighted when I discover a new author or a new book. Things that I look for are:
1. Extraordinary writing
2. Captivating voice
3. Excellent story-telling ability
4. Realistic characters
5. Believable world-building
6. The magical ability to make me forget that I’m reading a book
7. A story or character that takes me to a new world
8. Well-crafted metaphors and themes
9. Moral value
10. An ending that lives up to the beginning
What makes you want to toss a book aside in frustration?
I must confess, if a book doesn’t hold my interest, I stop reading. I’m limited in how much time I have to read, so I try to read only the best books. Some things that will make me stop reading are:
1. If I can’t connect with the main character
2. Sloppy storytelling/poor writing
3. Plot threads that don’t lead anywhere
4. Meandering plot
6. And this one will cause me to not buy the author’s next book: an ending that wasn’t as phenomenal as the beginning.
Can you tell us something about yourself that not a lot of people know about?
Wow, that’s a tough question! I’ve had so many unusual things happen and they don’t often come up in conversation. Let’s see, which one to share…how about the fact that I’ve had a gun pulled me on twice—once when I was a runaway teenager and once when I was in the grocery store with my husband. Then recently I went to a gas station down the street and I was almost instantly surrounded by five men with guns who were taking down a young man who walked in front of my car. I didn’t know until later that they were undercover policeman. They didn’t identify themselves and I only happened to see a badge on the belt of one of the cops. That situation was pretty scary. For some reason, the first two—which were much more dangerous—didn’t frighten me.
Is there any news you’d like to share with us about upcoming events or projects (teasers always welcome)?
Yes! My second novel with Harper Voyager titled, Feast: Harvest of Dreams, comes out later this month, on June 28. It’s an urban fantasy set in a small mountain village in Southern California. The main character, Maddie MacFaddin, has gone on a little retreat and suddenly finds herself the target of a dangerous hunt, hosted by creatures from another world who feed on human dreams. The story combines supernatural intrigue with forbidden love and offers a new take on our ancient legends of vampires, werewolves and fairies. You can read the first chapter HERE and you can read more about the book itself on the HarperCollins site HERE
Kristin, thank you so much for inviting me to My Bookish Ways! I had a great time chatting with you.
Visit Merrie at her website!
*Giveaway is for one copy of AFTERLIFE to one winner
*To enter, leave a comment for Merrie along with a way to contact you!
**GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED**
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