Please join us in welcoming author Kelly Meding here today to Dark Faerie Tales. The fourth book in Kelly’s Dreg City urban fantasy series, Wrong Side of Dead, hit shelves in January. You can read an excerpt from the book here.
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DFT: Could you start things off by telling us a little about Wrong Side of Dead?
Kelly: WSOD is the fourth book in my Dreg City urban fantasy series. The books feature twice-dead former-bounty hunter Evangeline Stone as she tries to stay alive in a city full of shifters, vampires, goblins, trolls, and other supernatural creatures. In WSOD, the human organization that Evy used to work for has been destroyed and replaced by a joint effort with humans, vampires, and shifters. An old nemesis of Evy’s is back with a plan to wipe out all vampires, and a creature long thought extinct shows up to cause a lot of damage. There is suspense, drama, a little bit of humor, and a helping of romance to temper the violence.
DFT: Could you tell us about your main characters in the Dreg City series?
Kelly: Evy Stone is the narrator of the series. In the first book, Three Days to Dead, she is resurrected into a new body with no idea how she died, and she has to solve her own murder while preventing some serious inter-species violence. Over the course of the series, she not only has to deal with the external elements of her old life (her former colleagues, the creatures she used to hunt who still want her dead), but also with adapting to life in a brand new body–which comes complete with new emotions and limitations. Her partner and sometimes-lover is Wyatt Truman. He paid a price to have her resurrected because he was in love with her–a bond which only deepens after her resurrection. He has a pretty sordid past, a lot of skeletons he’d rather leave in the closet, and he has a very life-altering experience in WSOD. And even though he didn’t show up until the second book, Phineas el Chimal has become a secondary main character in the series. He’s an osprey-shifter, and one of the last of his kind. Initially he and Evy were enemies, but they are now extremely close friends and would do anything for each other.
DFT: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
Kelly: In Wrong Side? That’s a hard one, because I really got to play with the supporting cast more in this book than in previous books (at least, I think so). If I had to pick one, I think it’s Phineas. We really got to see a new side of him in this book–the dangerous predatory side. He loses something very precious to him, and nothing stands in the way of him getting them back. He acts with vengeance, but it’s all motivated by love. He was a lot of fun to write in this book.
DFT: Do you have a favorite scene or line in Wrong Side of Dead?
Kelly: Too many! Okay, I’ve got one. It’s a flashback scene from Chapter Eleven. Nothing flashy or intense. It’s the sequence of scenes with Evy, Milo and Felix going together to the hospital. I love this scene because it’s kind of understated. It’s all about these three people, who are really only in their early twenties, and how violently different their lives are from other people their age. We learn a few new things about the characters, as well. It’s just a fun bit of character development that ties into the tragedy happening in the current time line.
DFT: How much research went into creating this series?
Kelly: Define research. *grin* Quite a bit, actually. I knew that I wanted to write a series that utilized a large number of paranormal elements, more than just the basics of magic, vampires and shapeshifters. I also wanted the lesser known creatures, like gremlins and gargoyles. I read different mythologies and histories of these creatures, and I pieced together the elements I wanted in order to create *my* versions of them. Even my vampires are a bit different from the standard variety. I also had to draw a map, which was fun–the actual city this series takes place in is never named, and it’s a completely fictional place.
DFT: What is your favorite part about writing this series?
Kelly: My favorite part of writing this series is that it truly keeps surprising me. While I have a few major story beats planned out, I don’t outline these books. I put Evy in a situation, and I let her get herself out of it. So many of the “OMG!?” moments from the different books came as a surprise to me, as well. Characters don’t always do what I expect. Plots change on a dime. And there is so much left to explore, so many characters to play with, that never feels stale.
Kelly: Yes. I know how Evy’s particular story is going to end, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the universe is done. Everything is up in the air at the moment, or I’d be more specific. Unfortunately, I can’t.
DFT: How do you maintain a story arc though the course of a series while still delivering a conflict and resolution in each book?
Kelly: One thing that always helped was to keep a primetime TV series in mind, and in particular, “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.” For example, in season three, there was an over-arcing story involving the Mayor and opening the Hellmouth. This was touched on in various episodes throughout the season, but each episode throughout was still a complete story in itself. With my books, I need to give Evy a goal at the start. In Three Days to Dead, it was finding out who killed her and why. In As Lie the Dead, it’s finding out who is really responsible for the slaughter of Phineas’s shifter clan. In Another Kind of Dead, Evy is up against a mad scientist who forces her to make an impossible choice. But even as she’s dealing with these individual issues, there is always the larger scope of what’s happening in the city, who’s reining in the monsters, and how will this all shake out in the end?
DFT: Do you have a particular writing process or ritual?
Kelly: Not really. I don’t believe in rituals, because they can become crutches and excuses. Sometimes I’ll reread the last few pages of what I’ve written the day before, but I generally just jump into writing.
DFT: What influences and inspirations (both literary and non-literary) do you draw from while writing?
Kelly: I never know how to answer this question. I’m influenced by everything–the books I read, the movies I watch, the people I interact with on a daily basis. As writers, we have to open to external stimuli, because so much of writing is an internal process. I need things to come inside in order to produce stories.
DFT: Which genre do you prefer to read? Do you have any favorite authors or series?
Kelly: I like to read a little bit of everything–romance, suspense, urban fantasy, SF, YA, nonfiction, biographies. I read along with my mood. Right now I’m on a bit of a biography/memoir kick. Some of my favorite authors are Stephen King, James Ellroy, Gena Showalter, Jeaniene Frost, Victoria Dahl, and Julia Quinn (quite the disparate list, I know). I love them for different reasons, but I have tons of their books.
DFT: What can you tell us about any other projects you are working on?
Kelly: I’m currently working on Tempest, which is the third book in my MetaWars series with Pocket. MetaWars is an original superhero-meets-urban fantasy concept, and each book is narrated by a different member of a group of superheroes. The first book, Trance, is out now. Book two, Changeling, comes out June 26, 2012, and Tempest will release sometime next year.
DFT: What creature are you afraid of the most? Why?
Kelly: That’s a tough one. There are very few things that really scare me. I’ve been a fan of horror movies since I was in kindergarten. I remember watching Freddy Kruger and “Tales from the Crypt” in elementary school. But I do work in retail, so is it cheating to say I’m afraid of angry customers? I hate confrontations of any kind, so those particular “creatures” scare me.
DFT: What is your favorite faery tale? Why?
Kelly: I’ve always loved the original version of “The Little Mermaid.” Not the happily ever after version that Disney did. I like the original tale because it’s about self sacrifice. The mermaid chose to die, rather than kill the man she loved. I remember watching an animated version of the original story when I was very young and it made me sob. And it made me very angry at the man because he never realized how much she sacrificed for him, the big jerk. LOL!
DFT: I want to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.
Kelly: Thank you so much for having me!
Available on January 31, 2012 from Random House Publishing
About the Book:
Monster hunter Evangeline Stone woke up on the wrong side of dead this morning—and now there’s hell to pay.
Barely recovered from her extended torture at the hands of mad scientist Walter Thackery, Evy can use a break. What she gets instead is a war, as the battered Triads that keep Dreg City safe find themselves under attack by half-Blood vampires who have somehow retained their reason, making them twice as lethal. Worse, the Halfies are joined by a breed of were-creature long believed extinct—back and more dangerous than ever. Meanwhile, Evy’s attempts at reconciliation with the man she loves take a hit after Wyatt is viciously assaulted—an attack traced to Thackery, who has not given up his quest to exterminate all vampires . . . even if he has to destroy Dreg City to do it. With Wyatt’s time running out, another threat emerges from the shadows and a staggering betrayal shatters the fragile alliance between the Triads, vampires, and shapeshifters, turning Evy’s world upside down forever.
Click HERE to read an excerpt
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