This week's Speculative Fiction Writer is paranormal author, Vicki Keire. She's visiting us all the way from Central Florida.
Hi, Vicki. Thank you for stopping by my blog today. Pull up a seat and grab yourself a refreshing drink. Here we go:
Q: Are you a morning or night person?
I’m a night owl by nature. I love the feeling of the world being asleep, and that there’s nothing but me and the stars.
Q: If I were to visit you, what would you cook me?
I make killer pancakes from scratch. You can choose your own add-ins, like chocolate chips, pecans, strawberries- whatever’s on hand.
Q: If you could eliminate one thing from your daily schedule, what would it be?
Okay, that’s a bit broad. Cleaning things. I hate that. I don’t mind cooking, and there’s something wonderful about sheets fresh from the dryer.
Q: What unique or quirky habit do you have?
I’m really good at reading people. I can usually tell right away if a person is trustworthy or not.
Q: You've published six books, three of them in a series. How important do you think writing a trilogy or series of books is to a writer's success?
When I first started writing, trilogies were all the rage. I think they’ve fallen a bit out of fashion since then. My very first book was pretty successful, to my complete surprise! I had a lot of fan pressure to keep writing, so turning it into a trilogy seemed natural. In retrospect, I think the series would have been better off if I’d let the story dictate how many volumes I wrote. I think it’s much more important to write your story in as many or as few books as it calls for, rather than try to fit it into some trend.
Q: Would you like to share an excerpt from The Chronicles of Nowhere with us?
Chapter One: Cinema Apocalypse
That night, as she so often did, Chloe Burke dreamed of fire.
In her dream it was not the fire itself that was frightening. Rather, it was the sensation of burning noxious metal ripped from deep within the earth and stretched thin as air, hot as supernovas. The acrid heat threatened, at any moment, to coalesce back into metal, trapping her and crushing her lungs, making it impossible to run or scream.
In her dream, there was also the boy.
He came to her, moving low to the ground. Her first vision of him was always of wild dark hair and a pale, determined face peering up at her from the side of her bed. Moving slowly, with a feline grace that made him seem older, surer, than he must have been, he slid into her bed with blankets like strips of jewels stitched together. Pinning her firmly with one arm, she could not move at all, even though the smell of fire crept slowly but surely across her senses.
“Stay still, Chloe, and do not speak,” he whispered. “My uncle will come for us soon, he told me so. We are to remain as still as possible, so as not to attract their notice. The wards will hold until he gets your mother out.”
She wanted to speak. She wanted, badly, to scream and thrash, but for some reason, in the dream, she could not. His command, his hand upon her, made it impossible.
She turned to him, mute and frightened. His eyes shifted colors, flecks of greens, blues, and even gold boring into hers. She never forgot his eyes, not ever, not even as she grew up and learned to agree with her parents, that it was just a very bad, recurring nightmare, the result of a childhood fever. She never forgot the eyes too vivid, too desperate to be called hazel. Sparks. His eyes were sparks in the void of her nightmare, waiting to catch and burn.
“Chloe,” he whispered, and the room around them exploded into a ring of fire. There were shapes in the fire, of people who were wrong, who were stretched too thin and who undulated with the flames. Their hands were flattened and sharp with fingers and teeth like razors, and she knew they had to get out. There were no adults to save them now. She did not cry out as the boy dragged her out of her bed. His slim body blocked her from the flames, his hands a strange alchemy of object, motion, and light. He cut through blood-colored flames with a single flare of gold, with a strength and steadiness that did not match his age, and walked through them, past razor-sharp hands that reached for them. He brought her to a place thick with the smell of forest and river where her mother waited, catching her up in the smothering embrace frightened parents reserve for their children. As she looked over her mother’s shoulder, she saw, through what looked like an arched, open door, a world engulfed in flames. There were tears on her cheeks, and she didn’t know why, except that a world was burning, her world, and there was nothing she could do.
Q: You recently published a standalone paranormal novel, Daughter of Glass. How different was the process of writing it, given it was a standalone book?
Daughter of Glass started out as a spin-off novella set in the same universe as my trilogy. It quickly grew into a novel in its own right. The world was already built, and there were characters who “visited” from the trilogy. I found it a lot easier to write because the story arc, being a stand-alone, was much tighter. Also, I approached it as a chance to expand the already-established universe, and that was a lot of fun.
Q: What is the most useful piece of writing advice you've been given?
Don’t focus on marketing your novel until it’s written. Unless you have a finished novel in hand, or at least something you’re comfortable showing to beta readers, your total focus should be on writing that novel and improving your craft. Otherwise, it’s very easy to let the hunt for agents, presses, or Indie publishing distract you from finishing your book.
Q: What is your next project?
Currently I’m writing a new adult romance tentatively titled “Broken Compass, Bright Stars.” Being me, there’s a dark twist to it, of course. Love and madness- that’s the best way to describe it.
Vicki Keire grew up in a 19th Century haunted house in the Deep South full of books, secret rooms, abandoned coal chutes, and plenty of places to get into trouble with her siblings. She holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in English Literature, and is A.B.D. with specializations in Eighteenth Century British Literature, Romanticism, and Postcolonial Theory. She spent the last decade teaching writing and literature at the university level while slipping paranormal fiction in between the pages of her textbooks.
When not reading and writing about all things paranormal, she indulges in her eclectic musical tastes, enjoys other people's cooking, keeps vampire hours, and adds to her massive stockpile of quirky t-shirts and designer notebooks. She'd rather burn the laundry than fold it. She believes that when an author wins the Newberry, he or she gets a secret lifetime pass to Neverland. She is fond of odd jewelry, bottle trees, and lost causes. She still lives in the Deep South with her husband, two children, and pets, but is pretty sure her house isn't haunted. A person can't be so lucky twice.
Thank you, Vicki. It was wonderful having you here today. Those pancakes sound delicious. Your number one piece of writing advice is spot on. We can promote ourselves as writers all day long, but none of that matters unless we've written the books.
Well that's it for this week. After the madness of last month, I'm trying to limit my blogging schedule this month. Time for writing. I'll be back on Monday. Until then, happy reading and writing.