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.
PLEASE NOTE: This is not a fixed time event, the post just goes live at 10:30 am CDT. You can stop by any time during the day or evening and leave your questions and chat.
PLEASE KEEP SPOILERS TO A MINIMUM. Not all of the readers today have read Erica’s book.
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 Erica’s newest book Shadowfae.
BBB: What are the most challenging and the most rewarding aspects of writing?
EH: The hardest part for me is that middle-of-the-book ‘bleh’ part, where it’s just not shiny any more. After two months or more of work, even the most exciting project will lose its glitter. The most rewarding parts? Typing THE END. Knowing I’ve got a nice juicy manuscript to revise — I love revising!
BBB: Do you consider your series paranormal romance or urban fantasy? and do you think it is important to distinguish between the two?
EH: I think for readers it’s very important to distinguish. People want to know what they’re getting. If a book is mis-labeled it can be very disappointing, especially if you’re expecting a happy ending to the romance and it ends badly, or there’s no ending at all.
My series is urban fantasy, but it has romance in it. Each book features a different heroine, and each heroine gets her happy ending in that book. But there are ongoing subplots and recurring characters, which means the romance isn’t always front and center. And sometimes the heroine tries more than one guy before she makes up her mind. Heh. Sometimes. Who am I kidding? Always!
BBB: Do you feel that your worldly travels help provide a particularly rich setting for your books?
EH: My books are set in Melbourne, the city I grew up with, so I hope my depictions of the streetscape and atmosphere are authentic. But I think travel gives you perspective, and when you’re creating and sustaining a paranormal world, you have to think outside what you’re familiar with. Travel also imparts a sense of wonder, or at least it does for me. Because the urban parts of my country are so new — we’ve only had Western settlement for 220 years — the place can be pretty sterile at times. But those old European and Mediterranean cities are brimming with secrets and shadows, thousands of years of culture and tradition, and you can just taste magic on the air. That’s the feel I’ve tried to create in my stories.
BBB: What is the most ridiculous thing that you have thought about doing to any of your characters but never did?
EH: Heh. When I think of a ridiculous idea, I tend to go right ahead and do it. My favourite crazy-idea-that-made-it is the fairy serial killer idea in book 2, Shadowglass. Don’t want to give away too much But some ideas are too off-the-page even for me. Anything that makes the characters irredeemable is a no-no, and I have to take care, even with the villains, because I never know who the heroine and hero of the next book might turn out to be!
BBB: We know that you have a second book in the Shadowfae Chronicles coming out next year. How many more books do you have planned for the series?
EH: I’m working on book 3, Shadowsong, about a banshee gangster hunting for her mother’s murderer. Don’t have a release date for that one yet, but I anticipate Fall 2010. I’m also contracted for book 4. After that, who knows? The series arc I’ve got planned would take at least a couple more after that.
BBB: How do you keep track of your world building?
EH: I use a Wiki for a series bible. In it, I keep notes on all the creatures, their appearance, powers, environmental effects and the like. I have different kinds of fairies with unique attributes that need to be kept consistent. But I’m not very good at keeping my Wiki up to date. Mostly I hoard it all in my head, and go madly flipping through manuscripts to check that elusive detail. Organisation would be a wonderful thing, wouldn’t it?
A few locations crop up in all the books — for instance, I have a nightclub called Unseelie Court that features a lot — so by now I can see those pretty well in my mind. Google Maps is a fabulous resource, and I have a little Google Map with various locations In Melbourne marked for my reference. I could show you exactly where Jade’s house is, which restaurants she eats at, where she does her shopping…
The trickiest thing is remembering what colour Kane’s fingernails are. I kid you not! Depending on his mood, his nails change colour, and I’m forever flicking back to see which colour means what. A small thing, true, but I like to get the details right.
BBB: What do you feel are the benefits of the new electronic readers such as Kindle 2 or Sony Digital Book Reader to the environment?
EH: To the environment? I’m not sure there are that many. We’re still printing the same vast numbers of books, and when the readers finally break down we have to dispose of them somehow. I think the real benefit is to readers, giving them flexibility and choice.
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?
EH: Oh, I couldn’t really say. But making more books more accessible to more readers seems like a good thing for everyone.
BBB: What else do you currently have in the works? Do you have any other series or stand alones forthcoming?
EH: I’m working on more Shadowfae books for now. But we’ll see what the future brings. I have a few ideas for a post-apocalyptic UF with an SF twist. But that’s a secret
BBB: What made you decide to use Succubi in the first book?
EH: You mean apart from: “Wow, she can suck out a guy’s soul? Cool!” ?
I’d read other authors’ series about succubi and loved them. But I saw a sadder, darker side to a succubus’s story that wasn’t being told. It’s not all about fun and hot guys and great sex. In Shadowfae, Jade is a murderer — an assassin, in truth, using her hellish powers at the behest of her demon master — and it’s not as if she can keep distance from her victims. She’s right there, looking into their eyes as they go to hell.
After 150 years, all the killing is really wearing her down. Her self-esteem has evaporated from all these sordid encounters, and from constantly using her demon magic to make herself attractive. She’s still got 850 years of demon servitude to go, and then she’ll burn in hell forever. And as for relationships… well, sooner or later they all ask what you do for a living, and no one wants a girl who has sex with other guys to stay alive.
The idea of a heroine who thinks life can’t possibly get worse — but it can’t get better either, because there’s no escape — intrigued me. She believes she has both nothing to lose, and nothing to aim for. So I gave her a chance to escape — a forbidden ritual that involves damning the four most repellent souls in town — and let her run with it
BBB: Where do you see the urban fantasy genre headed? Can you see it slowing down in the near future, or do you think that the immediate future is pretty bright for it?
EH: I can’t see it slowing down any time soon. There’s so much great new stuff out there. Just when you think it’s getting old and boring, someone comes up with something new. And we’re educating a whole new generation of readers with all the great young adult UF that’s coming out. Even aside from the latest ‘hot thing’, whether it’s demons or angels or steampunk or whatever, I think readers still love a great story with the old staples: vampires, monster hunters, kick-ass heroines. I know I do!
BBB: How do you navigate the actual story writing, e.g. do you pre-plot it all out, get the main details and pantz it, divide up chapters, etc.?
EH: Heh. Remember, you asked I’m the pre-plot queen. I structure everything out, and I mean everything. I do goal and conflict charts for all the characters. I coax the plot into acts and turning points and scene-and-sequels. I know precisely where each character arc should be, at the beginning and end of each scene. By the time I’m finished, I have a twenty-page document that tells me scene-by-scene exactly what to do. And then I open a new document (landscape, please, Century Schoolbook 12pt single spaced) and start at the beginning, and write through to the end. I type THE END when I get there. And then I revise, but there’s not usually much to do.
For me, outlining to this extent doesn’t take the fun out of it, or stifle my creative thingies. It’s a safety blanket, really. I can change it if I want to, but I know that if I stick to it, at least the story will be solid. And the drafting process is where all the colour and excitement comes in. Until then, my characters are ideas, not people, and I love discovering their quirks along the way.
BBB: Do you have any plans for book signings/ readings anytime soon? If so, where can our readers find you? Any chance for a stateside tour?
EH: Ooh, I’d love to come to the US! I have vague plans to attend Romance Writers of America in 2010. Nashville, oh my!
BBB: If you could choose to be either a shapeshifter or vampire for eternity, which would you choose and why? Or would you be some other creature?
EH: Vampire, please! I’d choose vampire over shapeshifter any day. Full moons and packs and alpha males and all that running around naked… Actually, now that I think about it, it doesn’t sound too bad! But I love the idea of eternal youth and beauty. And hypnotism, to bend puny mortals to my will.
BBB: The cover on your book is absolutely stunning. It is foiled and read. Who did the cover art and are you happy with it?
EH: No, I’m not happy. I’m ecstatic! I have so much love for these covers. The design people done a truly awe-inspiring job, and from an author’s perspective, I think they’ve captured the flavour of the books perfectly.
The cover illustrator is Craig White, and you can see his portfolio here: http://www.craigwhiteillustration.com/
I’m sure you’ll recognise many of his UF covers there. Wonderful!
Learn more about Erica Hayes below:
Read Reviews of her work here.
To visit the author’s website go here.
To visit the author’s blog go here.
CONTEST: PLEASE NOTE THE NEW CONTEST EMAIL ADDRESS TO SEND YOUR ENTRIES TO BELOW. There are also revisions to the rules for this contest, please read them all carefully. Also, PLEASE LEAVE YOUR FIRST AND THE INITIAL OF YOUR LAST NAME in your comment/post so we can give you the proper credit for your entries.
Readers, here’s how to enter the contest. You can do just ONE or ALL of these things, and each thing you do will give you additional entries at a chance to WIN. REMEMBER you have Until 10/22/09 at 11:59 pm PDT to do the different things that YOU choose to do.
She will be giving away an amazing prize! The contest is open to readers worldwide!
Apple iPod touch 8 GB (3rd Generation)
1. The easiest way to enter is by purchasing copies of Erica’s books.
From Barnes & Noble:
Good for 300 entries per book you purchase by using the links above.
OR you can use the Barnes & Noble search banner on the right hand side of the site or this link HERE to make your purchase of ANY kind of merchandise during the contest. You can also use the Amazon search box or this link HERE to shop as well. Good for 100 entries to the contest for EACH item you purchase. Not valid on past purchases.
It is NOT mandatory to purchase anything to enter the contests, there are plenty of other ways to enter and win. Just email us a copy of your purchase receipt to bittenbybooks.contests @ gmail.com (no spaces). Sorry no faxes or snail mail copies.
2. In order to be entered into this contest the ONE thing you ALL have to do is ask Erica a question or leave a comment. It can be ANY question you like. No questions/comments = no entries! You can come by through 10/22/09 and ask Erica your questions. Good for 10 entries. (max 2 questions that count towards entries)
3. Spread the word! Use this direct link to the event: http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=12078 on twitter, at another blog, website, Myspace, Ning Group, Facebook, Yahoo Group, Goodreads, Shelfari (any group where it is appropriate). You MUST come back here to this interview and post those links in one response here in this thread so we can verify your entries. Good for 100 entries per place you post the event link.
NOTE: if you post multiple links here, your post will not show up right away. If you don’t see it, don’t keep posting it, we WILL approve your entry later on in the day.
4. Be friends with Erica by joining her here:
Good for 100 entries per place you friend. Please send proof of friendship to bittenbybooks.contests @ gmail.com (no spaces).
5. VOTE in the The Vampire’s Assistant Movie Giveaway here: http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=11315 and leave a comment. Good for 50 entries.
6. VOTE in the 2009 Favorite Paranormal Fiction Author of the Year – Round 4 here: http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=12045 and leave a comment where you heard about the poll. Good for 50 entries for each one.
7. Make a purchase in our Bloody Cafe store here: http://www.cafepress.com/bittenbybooks. We are all volunteers so your continuing support is deeply appreciated. Email us a copy of your purchase receipt to bittenbybooks.contests @ gmail.com (no spaces). Sorry no faxes or snail mail copies. Good for 100 entries.
8. Be friends with Bitten by Books here:
SUBSCRIBE to the Bitten by Books newsletter by clicking here or use the box on the top right hand side of the site. Be sure you VERIFY your subscription, an email is sent with the verification link. Unverified subscribers will not be entered and will be deleted from the mailing list. If you are already a subscriber, just let us know and you will get entries too.
Join The Blood Bank the Bitten by Books Community! Here: http://bittenbybooks.ning.com/ then come back here and tell us your user name and leave the link to your page.
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Add Bitten by Books to your blog roll or links page: http://bittenbybooks.com if you leave our link up permanently you will always be entered into our contests automatically. Just be sure to stop by each contest we hold and leave the link to where it is so we can give you your entry! Email us a copies of ALL of your verification emails to bittenbybooks.contests @ gmail.com (no spaces). Good for 150 entries each place you add us.
RULES AND LEGAL DISCLAIMERS
The contest ends on 10/22/09 at 11:59 pm PDT and the winners will be contacted via email. You will receive your prize bag directly from the author. 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.
1. 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.
2. You have THREE days from the day the we 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. Bitten by Books has the option to re-award it or not.
4. Contest is open to USA readers except where noted. The prizes are shipped directly from the author.
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