I am so excited to welcome author, Kelly Meding, here to DarkFaerieTales.com to talk about her debut urban fantasy novel, Three Days To Dead, which officially releases on November 24, 2009.
Kelly has graciously offered to give one lucky commenter a chance to win an autographed copy of Three Days To Dead, as well as some other awesome SWAG. Details are listed at the end of the post.
Note: Kelly hasn’t received her author copies yet so there will be a slight delay involved for the winner to receive their prize!
DFT: Could you start things off by telling us a little about the book and the sequel?
THREE DAYS TO DEAD is about Evy Stone, a bounty hunter who wakes up in a morgue, in a stranger’s body, with no memory of how she died, who brought her back, or why. She soon learns she only has three days to solve her own murder and stop a potential alliance between vampires and goblins—an alliance that could devastate humans and their dominance over the paranormal food chain. In the sequel, AS LIE THE DEAD, Evy must accept the consequences of her actions, and outside influences force her to make an impossible choice between loyalty and friendship.
DFT: What motivated you to write Three Days To Dead?
Before TDTD, I’d written several other kinds of contemporary fantasy, but I’d never done anything that was, to me, straight paranormal. I’d hadn’t written the tropes yet—vampires, shape-shifters, and other creatures of the night. When I decided to do it, I chose to toss in everything, including the kitchen sink, so you’ll see (besides vamps and shifters) gargoyles, goblins, trolls, gremlins, fairies, sprites, and gnomes. But I also wanted mine to be a little bit different, so I have non-traditional vampires, a matriarchal goblin society, and a very specific source for the magic that permeates the world. The world-building was crazy fun. And when Evy came to me, everything started falling into place.
DFT: Tell us something about your research process and the choices you make when creating the story.
The majority of my research involved reading up on traditional folklore and myths surrounding certain races, such as goblins, trolls, fey, etc… I wanted to know what was out there, so I knew how to twist it and make it my own—when to say this is what history recorded, but this what really happened. A chunk of this research was done ahead of time, but a lot of the world came alive as I was writing the novel. I let it unfold around the story, instead of forcing story and world to mesh.
One of my very conscious creation choices was with my vampires. I love traditional blood-sucking, night-walking, vampires (huge Buffy/Spike fan, right here!), but a lot of amazing authors are already writing that vampire. I chose to make my vampires a distinct race of creature, instead of cursed/bitten humans. These vamps have specific physical characteristics, their own structured society, and they live quietly among humans. They are also forbidden to bite humans, because their saliva carries an infectious parasite that causes a half-transformation that often drives the victim insane. Neither fully vampire, nor ever again completely human, these Halfies are a crime to create, as well as ruthlessly hunted by both sides.
So there won’t be any sexy, neck-biting vampires in this series (but that doesn’t exclude other types of future sexy neck-biting).
DFT: What influences and inspirations (both literary and non-literary) did you draw from while writing Three Days To Dead?
I’m an unrepentant Joss Whedon fan, and I adore what he created with the Buffy-verse. I love a strong heroine with attitude, and Buffy Summers was, for me, one of the first and still one of the best. While the strong UF heroine was already brewing in books at the time Buffy was on the air, I didn’t actually discover the genre until a few years ago and am still hopeless trying to catch up. I adore heroines who can take care of themselves, but aren’t too proud to ask for help when they are in over their heads.
I am a huge Stephen King fan, too, and also a horror film lover—slasher, thriller, torture porn, you name it—so there are certainly aspects of horror in my work. Characters get hurt. Characters die. There are monsters lurking in your closet/under your bed, waiting to eat you. The idea that these monsters do exist and live alongside humans, unseen and unacknowledged, became a large part of my series. Someone needed to hunt these monsters and keep them in line—this is where Evy and the other Hunters came into play.
DFT: Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?
Oh, that’s hard. As much as I want to say Evy, or even the novel’s hero, Wyatt Truman, I think my favorite character in THREE DAYS TO DEAD is Alex Forrester. He’s the best friend of the dead woman whose body Evy inherits when she’s resurrected, so Evy and Alex’s paths cross pretty early in the novel. He was so fun to write, because he was the “WTF is happening?” character—thrust into Evy’s world, completely clueless as to the things that go bump in the night, and trying to reconcile having a complete stranger in his dead friend’s body. There was a lot of humor in the character, as well as a depth of tragedy to his new circumstances.
DFT: Do you have a long-term plan or goal for this story universe? What happens after As Lie The Dead?
I do have a long-term goal, yes. The events during and even before THREE DAYS TO DEAD set off a chain reaction among the various paranormal species that is destroying the fragile peace (and control) humans have maintained for a decade. A power shift begins, and Evy ends up torn between old loyalties to the people she once worked for and doing what she believes is right.
As for what comes after AS LIE THE DEAD… I’ll be vague for fear of spoilers—the monsters lurking under your bed aren’t always inhuman. And if I may quote from “Weird Al” Yankovic, “Everything you know is wrong.”
DFT: What other projects are you working on that you would like to tell us about?
I’m currently working on some short pieces in the Evy-verse, featuring minor characters who keep begging to have their say. I also have a new series in the works, so keep your fingers crossed.
DFT: If you could choose only one, which would you choose: for Three Days To Dead to be award-winning, or for Three Days To Dead to be bestselling? Why?
If I say award-winning, does that mean I can also have at least moderately good sales? *g* Honestly, that’s a difficult question to answer. I’d love to say both, but there’s also a chance it will be neither. Award recognition is awesome and fulfilling, but best-sellerdom is a better guarantee that my editor will continue buying books. I know it’s sort of a non-answer, but I’ll take whatever helps me sell enough books to properly tell Evy’s story.
DFT: What was the path to publication like for Three Days To Dead? Was it difficult to find an agent and a publisher?
The path to publication for TDTD was amazingly fast and easy. But it was also the third novel I queried to agents, so the path prior to TDTD was long and agonizing. I’d queried two other novels over the course of about two years, with a few requests and no real bites.
With TDTD, I initially queried nine agents at the end of February 2008. Those nine queries resulted in four requests, three rejections, and two non-replies. One of those requests turned into a rejection/referral to another agent who I had not queried. He received the manuscript on a Friday, read it that weekend, and (since it was Memorial Day) emailed to offer representation that Tuesday. I admit, I sort of screamed. I also had my best friend read the email just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming it.
We did some revisions—a few major, a few minor—and went on submission in mid-July to six editors. Within a month, we had three rejections, and then the first offer. In late August, it went to auction with three editors involved, and I signed with Dell in two-book deal.
After watching writer friends struggle to sign with an agent, and agented friends sit through long, agonizing waits with editors, I am so grateful for how quickly things went for me with this book.
DFT: What books/genres do you read when you have the chance? Any must read authors or series?
The majority of my TBR pile right now is Urban Fantasy and paranormal romance, with a smattering of erotic romance and a few biographies. I mentioned before that I came into this genre pretty late, so I feel like I’m still playing catch-up with the long-running series and most popular authors.
My must-read authors: Gena Showalter (always sexy, always funny, with awesome Alpha heros), Patricia Briggs (if you haven’t read her books, Do It Now), Megan Hart (the only contemporary author I currently follow, and I bow to her ability to suck me emotionally into her books), Jeaniene Frost (super-hot vampire named Bones—’nuff said), Jackie Kessler (sex and succubi and incubi, oh my!), and Ilona Andrews (her Magic series is amazing). I’ve also recently discovered Rachel Vincent’s Shifters series, and am completely hooked.
DFT: What is your definition of a “bad writing day”? How do you deal with bad writing days?
For me “bad writing day” is better described as “can’t concentrate for sh!t day.” Some days I just cannot get my brain to focus on one thing, so I end up bouncing around the internet, rereading old scenes, playing with story aspects, or just generally procrastinating. Fortunately, when I’m hip-deep in a novel, these are very few and far between. They tend to occur more often between novels, when I should be editing, or working on shorts, website, or promotional stuff. When I know I’m having a CCFS Day, I have to pull myself off the computer completely—usually I’ll watch a movie or read, maybe take a walk. It tends to job my brain back into concentration mode.
DFT: Do you have a particular writing process or any writing rituals?
Nope. I’m actually somewhat against rituals, because they can easily become a crutch/excuse for not being productive. “I’m out of my favorite tea, so I can’t write.” “My coffee shop of choice is too full for me, so I can’t write today.” Blah. The best ritual/habit a writer can develop, in my opinion, is to fire up the computer, park their butt in a chair, and put their fingers on the keyboard. Everything else is window dressing.
DFT: If you could be any paranormal creature, which one would you be and why?
Definitely a shapeshifter. Specifically, I think I’d like to be one of my own shape-shifting birds of prey. They have a special ability that you’ll read about in AS LIE THE DEAD and (near-extinction of their species aside) are a unique and powerful race among my other paranormals.
DFT: Thank you Kelly for taking the time to stop by.
One lucky commenter will have a chance to win an autographed copy of Three Days To Dead and some lovely SWAG.
To enter, leave a comment below answering the following question:
If you were a bounty hunter, what special abilities would you like to have?
1. +1 entry for answering the question (required).
2. +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter.
3. +3 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc…(please tell me where!).
4. Giveaway is open to everyone.
5. Please include your email address in your comment.
6. Giveaway ends Friday, November 20th at 11:59 PM EST.
7. The winner will be picked with the help of Random.org.
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