Please join me in welcoming Christina Henry here today to Dark Faerie Tales to talk about her Madeline Black urban fantasy series. Black Howl is the third book in the series and it’s already available. Want to know our thoughts on the series? You can read our review of Black Night and Black Howl by clicking here and here.
Thanks to Penguin/Ace Books, one lucky commenter will have a chance to win a copy of Black Howl. As always, details are listed at the end of the post.
CHRISTINA HENRY is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and enjoys running long distances, reading anything she can get her hands on and watching movies with samurai, zombies, and subtitles in her spare time. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.
Want to read more from Christina Henry?
DFT: Could you start things off by telling us a little about The Madeline Black Series?
Christina: Madeline Black is an Agent of death, which means that she ferries the souls of the dead to a place called the Door. She’s got an overweight gargoyle who ostensibly guards her house but mostly eats popcorn and makes smart comments. She’s also got man-troubles galore. I like to give my characters lots of angst.
DFT: Black Howl is the third book in your Madeline Black series. For readers new to the series, can you give us a quick overview of Black Wings and Black Night?
Christina: In the first book, BLACK WINGS, she discovers she is also the daughter of a fallen angel. Naturally, a whole host of complications springs from this knowledge, not least of which is that her newfound father wants her to become heir to her court (a thing she has no interest in). He’s also provided her a bodyguard that she can’t fall in love with but does, and an arranged marriage that she does not want in the least. While all this is going on she’s also being hunted by a monster terrorizing Chicago, and she’s the only one who can stop it.
In BLACK NIGHT Maddy has been asked by Lucifer to act as ambassador to a faerie court. She doesn’t want to get drawn in angel politics any more than she has to, but no one refuses Lucifer. There are mysterious werewolf deaths occurring at the same time and Maddy is trying to find the wolf-killer. Her love life is also more complicated than ever.
DFT: Can the books function as a stand-alone or do we need to read the series from the beginning?
Christina: BLACK HOWL really builds on events that happened in the first two books, so I think it would be difficult for a reader to jump in without reading BLACK WINGS and BLACK NIGHT.
DFT: Can you tell us a little about the main characters in Black Howl?
Christina: Maddy and Beezle are joined by J.B., her grumpy boss; Gabriel, her bodyguard/unrequited love interest; Nathaniel, her unwanted fiancé; and Jude, the second-in-command of the wolf pack. We also meet a few new characters along the way that may be recurring.
DFT: If you could describe your main characters with only 3 words, what would they be?
Christina: Maddy: Strong, vulnerable, sarcastic
Gabriel: Silent, tormented, stoic
J.B.: Noble, impatient, annoyed
Beezle: Hungry, hungry, hungry
Nathaniel: Arrogant, tricky, layered
Jude: Earthy, short-tempered, unexpected
DFT: Tell us something about your research process and the choices you make when creating the story.
Christina: I am not much of a researcher. When I wrote BLACK WINGS I went to Wikipedia, looked up some fallen angels names and basic info about the Grigori and then I got out of there. I don’t want to be overly influenced by exisiting mythologies. I try really hard to create a unique mythology for these books.
DFT: Do you have a long-term plan or goal for this story universe? What happens after book 3, Black Howl?
Christina: There are some major changes to the world in BLACK HOWL, and BLACK LAMENT will be dealing with the fallout as well as setting up some new storylines for future books. I like it when things really change from book to book. I never want the world to be static.
DFT: Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?
Christina: Lucifer. He plays a small role but a significant one, and he is just so fun to write.
DFT: Do you have a favorite scene or line from Black Howl?
Christina: My favorite scene in BLACK HOWL takes place in a warehouse on the north side of Chicago. A mysterious aura is emanating from the warehouse, and Maddy decides to investigate. A lot of unexpected things happen in this scene.
DFT: What is your favorite part of writing this series?
Christina: I am now writing the fifth book, so writing these characters is a lot like spending time with friends. I know their quirks and their layers, and it’s fun to revisit them over and over.
Christina: I have a couple of ideas for other projects but they are still in the planning stages right now. Hopefully I will have time to write them this year!
DFT: What books/genres do you read when you have the chance? Any must read authors or series?
Christina: I really like to read everything. I read a lot of nonfiction as well as fiction in all genres. Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Stephen King, Joe Hill, Jane Austen, Richard Russo, Bill Bryson, Jayne Ann Krentz and Sherrilyn Kenyon are some of my favorites.
DFT: What is your definition of a “bad writing day”? How do you deal with bad writing days?
Christina: My definition of a “bad writing day” is one in which I don’t hit my page goal, usually because of time constraints or other responsibilities. I don’t get writer’s block. I’ve always got something in mind to write when I sit down, mostly because the story is usually working in the back of my head as I go throughout my day. Sometimes the writing doesn’t flow as easily as it does on other days, but I’ve always got something to work with. I’ve never had a day where I’ve written nothing at all.
DFT: Do you have a particular writing process or any writing rituals?
Christina: I’ve tried very hard not to adopt rituals, because then that means if everything isn’t just “so” you can’t get your writing done for the day. I try to write as much as I can in the time that I have. Sometimes I write at home, sometimes in a coffee shop, sometimes on a bench at the park while my son plays in the sandbox. I do make up a playlist for each book, but if I don’t have my iPod with me I can still write without it. I try to be flexible and just concentrate on the story, not external things.
DFT: If you weren’t writing, what would you want to be doing for a living?
Christina: My master’s degree is in teaching writing, so hopefully I would be helping the next generation fulfill their dreams of becoming published authors.
DFT: If you could be any paranormal creature, which one would you be and why?
Christina: A shapeshifter. I love the idea of being able to change into something else.
DFT: Thank you very much for stopping by and chatting with us about your series! It was a pleasure, and we look forward to reading the next installment.
Christina: Thanks so much for having me here!
This giveaway is provided by Penguin/Ace Books
One winner will receive a copy of Black Howl by Christina Henry
Available on February 28, 2012 from Penguin/Ace Books
About the Book:
Something is wrong with the souls of Chicago’s dead. Ghosts are walking the streets, and Agent of Death Madeline Black’s exasperating boss wants her to figure out why. And while work is bad enough, Maddy has a plethora of personal problems too. Now that Gabriel has been assigned as her thrall, their relationship has hit an impasse. At least her sleazy ex-fiancé Nathaniel is out of the picture–or so she thinks…
Click HERE to read an excerpt
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