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Archive for November 27th, 2009

Just out in bookstores near you!

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Divorced mother of one, Charlie Madigan, lives in a world where the beings of heaven and hell exist among us, and they aren’t the things of Sunday school lessons and Hallmark figurines. In the years since the Revelation, they’ve become our co-workers, neighbors, and fellow citizens.

Charlie works for ITF (Integration Task Force). It’s her job to see that the continued integration of our new “friends” goes smoothly and everyone obeys the law, but when a new off-world drug is released in Underground Atlanta, her daughter is targeted, and her ex-husband makes a fateful bargain to win her back, there’s nothing in heaven or earth (or hell for that matter) that Charlie won’t do to set things right

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NT: Hi Kelly — welcome to my little corner of the book world. 🙂 Can you tell us about yourself? How long have you been writing? When did you get “The Call”?

Hi Fatin! Well, I’m a writer, a mom, and your average book lover.  I’ve been writing with intent to sell since I was a teen, first with plays and screenplays, and then with fiction, so about fifteen years or *cough* so.  😀  I got the call in June of 2008 while I was visiting my sister for her nursing graduation. It was Friday the 13th, and I ran upstairs to take the call. It was really great because my family was there, and I got to share the news with my mom and sister.

NT: Your debut book, THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS, came out earlier this week, please tell us about it.

It’s an urban fantasy, featuring single mom cop, Charlie Madigan. The book is set in Atlanta about a decade after the Revelation, the discovery of Elysia (heaven) and Charbydon (hell), two alternate dimensions, which are home to the beings that inspired our myths of angels, demons, gods, and monsters. Now they live among us, and it’s Charlie’s job to police the off-world sector, but when a new off-world drug is released, an ancient threat emerges, and her ex-husband makes a fateful bargain to win her back, there’s nothing in heaven, or hell, for that matter, that Charlie won’t do to set things right.

NT: What inspired the idea for this story?

I was finishing up a young adult fantasy, and had the idea of this alternate Atlanta in my head for a while, but what really inspired me to write this story was the idea of the single mom in an urban fantasy world. I knew I could dig really deep and explore a lot of options with a character like that. And I thought, why not? Why can’t she be a mom and still kick butt?

NT: Do you have a writing routine? What is your average writing day like?

I don’t have a writing group, but I do have a CP. We tend to only share new material that isn’t contracted, or things we’re having issues with. I write Tue-Fri from about 9:30AM-4PM, mostly writing new stuff in the mornings and editing in the afternoons. It’s hit or miss, though, sometimes. Writing with kids means that nothing is ever set in stone.  I try to take weekends and evenings off, but if I’m under deadline then I work whenever I can fit it in.

NT: What aspects of your life have you found creeping into your stories?

Definitely my experiences as a mother. I draw from those emotions a lot when writing about Charlie and her relationship with her daughter.

NT: What was the most interesting thing you had to research and what was the hardest thing to research?

Most interesting were all the biblical myths. I love that kind of work! Angels, demons, creation myths…  I could read that kind of stuff all day, every day. The hardest thing to research was probably the setting of Atlanta. I wasn’t there when I was writing it, so I had to refer to what I already knew, as well as maps, photos, and guidebooks. The internet was a huge help, and so was the fact that I was creating a ‘new’ kind of city where parts of it only needed my imagination to set the stage.

NT: What was the most memorable reader reaction you’ve received about your book?

Probably my critique partner’s. I fed her chapters of the book while I was writing it, and her reaction was so positive that it really gave me the drive to keep writing and finish the story. After that, I’d have to say my editor. He has such enthusiasm and passion for this story, and he’s not afraid to show it. It’s one of the things I really love about him.

NT: Any advice to aspiring authors? What craft books helped you that you would recommend to aspiring writers?

Just keep writing. In the end, that’s all there is. Write. The more you write, the more you hone your craft, and the better your writing becomes. And keep moving forward. Don’t get stuck on revising that one novel for years and years. Write another. And another. It doesn’t mean you have to give up on the first, but keep creating new material, build your arsenal, and you’ll hit on something that gets you an agent and then a publisher. Might be with the first thing you write or the tenth.

As far as craft books, I love, love, love Joseph Campbell’s, THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES, and Chris Vogler’s, THE WRITER’S JOURNEY.

NT: Who do you enjoy reading when you have some down time and are not dealing with deadlines?

Oh, boy, that’s a long list! Love reading Janet Chapman, Karen Marie Moning, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Susan Donovan, Vicki Pettersson, Scott Westerfeld, Melissa Marr, Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole….

NT: What can your fans look forward to from you in the near future? What are you working on now?

Right now I’m finishing up revisions on the second Charlie Madigan book, THE DARKEST EDGE OF DAWN (Aug. 31, 2010). Then, I’ll be jumping into revisions on my new young adult novel that I just sold to Simon Pulse a few weeks ago, called DARKNESS BECOMES HER. I’m writing that series as ‘Kelly Keaton’, and it’s a very dark, lush, spooky novel set in a post apocalyptic-like New Orleans, where the city is sinking back into the swamps, has been forsaken by our government and much of its inhabitants, and is now run by creatures of the night.

NT: Thank you so much for blogging with us here at Novel Thoughts!

You’re very welcome! Thanks so much for having me here, and Happy Holidays to you and all your readers!

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You can learn more about Ms Gay’s work by visiting her website. Don’t forget to leave a comment to win a copy of THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS and some extra goodies from Kelly! 🙂

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