Exclusive Bitten by Books
Interview with Author Sunny
A big welcome to our readers today! Be sure to read to the end of the interview to find out how to WIN the fabulous prizes being offered up. The contest runs for an ENTIRE WEEK!! From today through 11:59 pm PDT time 3/29/09. Open to readers in the USA!
NOTE: This is not a fixed time event, the post just goes live at 8:30 am CDT. You can stop by any time during the day or evening and leave your questions and comments.
Welcome to Bitten by Books, we are excited to have you here today!
I would like to thank you taking the time to join us for the question and answer session with our readers. It has been very interesting to get to know more about you and what makes you tick as a writer! Readers, if you haven’t done so already please stop by and get your copy of Sunny’s latest release Mona Lisa Darkening.
BBB: What do you find the most challenging and the most rewarding aspect of writing?
Sunny: The most challenging is coming up with a story idea that zaps you with excitement and anticipation. One you’re itching to write. After that, it’s finding the time to write it, LOL. The most rewarding aspect of writing was finding that I could indeed write a book. And get it published, too.
BBB: Your books seem extremely well researched. Do you enjoy this part of writing? What resources do you find most helpful?
Sunny: I think I did the most research on my first several stories. I almost filled out an entire composition notebook with my ideas, characters, and world-building for Mona Lisa Awakening, and spent about a month doing so. Did the same for my “Chinatown” novella in THE HARD STUFF-several weeks and many books and online sources researching illegal Chinese human smuggling practices; that story, by the way, was what first got me sold. Another half-month researching Indonesia for the story the Skin on Skin anthology. Hardly any research, though, for my other books, which had all been either in the Mona Lisa series or the spin-off Demon Princess Chronicles about Lucinda.
Sunny: I don’t know about benefit to the environment, but darn if the convenience isn’t tempting. I’ve also been a book-in-hand kind of reader. It’s how I relax and enjoy myself, like other people watch TV. Sitting in front of a computer usually equates work or taking care of business to me, not relaxation. I tried the Sony Digital Book Reader once but wasn’t happy with the lighting, rather dim I thought. And some of the e-books I purchased didn’t have the larger font option available so I ended up reading them on my computer anyway. Must confess, though, I’ve been real tempted to give the Kindle 2 a try but haven’t had any opportunity yet to lay hands on one and check it out.
BBB: What impact do electronic readers create on the bottom line for authors in the end? Do you feel they have a negative impact or positive, or no impact at all that you can see?
Sunny: For myself, e-book sales are a relatively small percentage of my total book sales. The market is a small but definitely growing, however, and may even get a boost in this period of economic downturn since it’s cheaper to buy an e-book than a paper-printed copy. I tend to see e-books as being generally positive for everyone. The only aspect that disturbs me it the frequent illegal online sharing.
BBB: Your books are thoroughly sensual, how did you decide to do such a matriarchal take on your books? What was the inspiration for such strong yet feminine characters?
Sunny: The sensual part of it was quite a surprise to both me and my family. You have to understand that I came to writing much later in life, when I was almost forty. The other things-coming up with characters, and a fantasy world-were not easy for me; I was never considered, or thought or myself, as a creative, imaginative person. But when I hit the love scenes I just sort of soared-and they got hotter and hotter and blushingly hotter. The matriarchal take just evolved from the heroine, which for me had to be both very strong and yet vulnerable: male verve coupled with feminine softness.
BBB: I like that Monère are the basis for vampire and shifters alike. How did you come up with that concept?
Sunny: It actually came from collaboration with my husband, Da Chen. He was the author first in our family, seven years before I tumbled into it. We were crazy ambitious parents-still are, I guess-and drove our kids every Sunday to Connecticut (we lived in New York) for kungfu lessons, which was a four-hour roundtrip drive for us. We did this for a whole entire year, and came up with the concept of a supernatural race of people descended from the moon on one of these long weekly treks. My husband thought of maybe using the concept for one of his young adult novels, but never actually found time to write it. I, on the other hand, couldn’t stop thinking about this “Children of the Moon” idea. It continued to intrigue me, so when I took a stab at writing my first book several years later, that’s what I used.
BBB: Can you tell us what your next release (s) will be? And do you have stand alone titles forthcoming? What’s in store for the Lucinda and her series?
Sunny: My next release will be Lucinda, Dangerously, the second book in the Demon Princess Chronicles, coming out in October 2009 by Berkley. That will probably be the last book set in the Monère and the Demon Princess world for awhile. I have a contemporary fiction and possibly a new fantasy series I’d like to write; the ideas for these new stories and characters had been percolating in my brain for a couple of years now. Though I may eventually come back and continue my Mona Lisa series.
BBB: If you could be a “Mona Sunny” what type of Queen would you be? More humane or harsh in your rulings or just totally into the harem of guys?
Sunny: I’d probably be very similar to Mona Lisa. I think a lot of authors put pieces of themselves into each character they write-the good and the bad ones. So while I can be nice and sweet, and am generally quite even-tempered and giving, I can also be a totally ruthless and nasty bitch if I need to be-or am driven to it. Taking care of the people I love comes first with me: making them happy. And, like the doctor I was trained to be, I try to do no harm. Build up; don’t tear down.
BBB: How did you come up with the idea of the give and take of powers from sexual encounters? Was it based off of the succubus mythology?
Sunny: That idea I came up entirely on my own without any input from my husband. I liked the idea of a society of powerful and abusive Queens, but then had to give them a reason why they were so powerful, why they ruled. You build a world and then try to support it with believable facts and rules. I made these Queens the only ones able to draw down the essential life-renewing energy that these Monère children of the moon needed to survive. The ability of male warriors to gain power from their Queens through sex was conceived to explain why some of these males had to turn rogue: because they had gained too much power this way, and became a threat to their Queen. The blood-drinking demons in my world actually have more succubus-like powers; along with the blood, they drink down their donors’ orgasmic blast of energy as a, well, energizing side dish.
BBB: If you could shapeshift, what animal would you be? And would you want to be able to take the half form? If so why?
Sunny: I’d love to be tiger or a leopard, more so than a wolf-odd because in life I’m more of a dog-person than cat-but large cats blend beauty and grace with dangerous threat. As to being able to shift into half-form-half animal, half human, like a werewolf-yes, I’d definitely want that because you can still speak and communicate in that form; and standing upright, you’re even more intimidating.
BBB: What is your all time favorite paranormal/urban fantasy book?
Sunny: My favorite book, I would have to say, is The Host by Stephanie Meyer.
My favorite series is Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga. Both have everything I love-great heart, thrilling action, and wonderful imagination.
Readers, learn more about Sunny here:
Please pick up your copies of Sunny’s books here:
Books in the Monére, Children of the Moon series in the order they should be read:
Mona Lisa Awakening
Over the Moon – Anthology story “Mona Lisa Three”
Mona Lisa Blossoming
On the Prowl – Anthology story “Mona Lisa Betwining”
Mona Lisa Craving
Mona Lisa Darkening
Readers, here’s how to enter the contest. SEVEN lucky participants will win an copy of Mona Lisa Darkening. Contest is open to US readers.
Please note, the prize stated IS the prize you will receive, there will be absolutely no substitutions or changes the prize is non-transferable. If you don’t want the prize being offered, please don’t enter the contest. If you ever win an electronic copy of a book, please note that it is ILLEGAL to forward, give away or copy it in anyway once you receive it. Doing so violates copyright. If we find out that it has been done, you will no longer be eligible to win any of our contests.
1. In order to be entered into this contest the ONE thing you ALL have to do is leave a comment or question. Feel free to start a discussion or ask as many questions as you like. No talking = no entries! You can come by everyday through 3/29/09 and comment for more entries. Good for 10 entries per day.
GENERAL CONTEST INFORMATION:
The contest ends on 3/29/09 at 11:59 pm PDT and the winner will be contacted the following week. You will receive your prize directly from the publisher. PLEASE LEAVE YOUR FIRST AND THE INITIAL OF YOUR LAST NAME as well as a valid email where we can contact you. REMEMBER the more things you do, the more entries, the greater the chances of winning.
IMPORTANT CONTEST RULES:
1. If you aren’t interested in receiving the prize, offered please do not enter the contest.
2. You have THREE days from the day the I contact you to claim your prize by sending your name/mailing address to me. Failure to contact me will forfeit your prize. BBB can at that time, choose either to re- award the prize to another entrant or not.
3. The prize stated IS the prize you will receive, there will be no substitutions, trades or changes. No exceptions. Please do not ask. If for some reason you do not wish to claim your prize, please let me know as soon as possible. We have the option to re-award it or not.
4. Contest is open to readers in the US. The prize is shipped directly from the publisher.
5. Bitten by Books is in NO way responsible for the prizes being offered in any of the contests. If for some reason a contributor does not honor their prize, there is nothing we can or will do about it. We are not worried that this will happen, but we want to be very clear that WE are not offering these prizes, the contributor is and it is their responsibility to fulfill their prize obligations.
6. These rules are subject to change or be modified without prior written notice.
7. Contest is void where prohibited.
8. By entering this contest you are agreeing to our terms of entry