Monday, July 30, 2012

GIVEAWAY and Author Interview: Kate SeRine


Happy Monday, everyone! Hope you all are having a great week. Today we have an interview with urban fantasy romance author, Kate SeRine, about her soon-to-debut novel, Red, book one of the Transplanted Tales series. Enjoy the interview!

Welcome to Nocturnal Readings, Kate! Let's go ahead and get started.

Red is your first published novel, how did it feel to find out it would be published?

Unbelievable! Publishing has been my dream since I was a little girl, so when I found out it was finally going to happen, I was elated! And then I think I went into shock for a little while, because it was so hard to believe that something I’d wanted so badly for so long was finally within reach.

What was your inspiration and how long did it take you to write Red?

My eldest son and I like to have what I call “What if” conversations where he asks me a question that’s totally out there as a prompt. Sometimes the questions are very profound; sometimes they’re silly and irreverent. One day he asked, “What if fairytale characters were living next door to us?” When I asked who he thought would make a cool neighbor he said, “Little Red Riding Hood. But she wouldn’t be wearing a hood. That’s stupid.”

A few minutes later when he asked me how I thought the fairytales got here, I heard in my head like the voice-over narration in a movie, “What do you get when you cross an egomaniacal fairy godmother, an arrogant genie, and a couple of wandering plagiarists whose idea of cultural preservation is stealing the stories of unsuspecting villagers and passing them off as their own?”

That ended up being the opening line of Red. I was so taken with the idea, I wrote the first six chapters in just a couple of days. But I was working on another project at the time and knew if I set that one aside I’d never finish it, so I put Red away for a few months. When I picked it back up, it only took about three months to finish and another month to edit.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who did you create first?

The first character was Tess “Red” Little—a/k/a Little Red Riding Hood. Since being freed from the confines of her story, she’s been working as an Enforcer for the Chicago branch of the Fairytale Management Authority (FMA) and trying to shake her past, especially her scandalous and tragic love affair with Seth “Big Bad” Wolf. Red’s all about living life on the edge and not getting too close to anyone, but when she’s assigned to investigate a series of grisly murders, her emotional duck and cover routine is put to the test by her new partner, Nate Grimm—the FMA’s lead detective and part-time Reaper.

Speaking of Nate Grimm, he was the next one I created. I knew I wanted Tess’s partner to be a detective who also was a part-time Reaper, but I hadn’t originally intended Nate to be the hunky hero. When I finished writing the first scene between him and Tess, though, I knew he was guy.

Nate came over in the 1940s and has hung onto that post-WWII vibe, right down to his Humphrey Bogart-style overcoat and fedora. He’s definitely meant to bring to mind the film noir detectives of the forties. As Tess says of Nate, Let’s just say if he’d suddenly faded to black and white and started doing his own voice-over narration in that world-weary raspy voice of his, I wouldn’t have been entirely surprised.” He’s dark, mysterious, and sexy and has a very imposing presence—not surprising, considering he’s Death and all. He has a few secrets he’s hiding and a past of his own to shake, but he has it bad for Tess.

Which characters were the hardest/easiest to write and why?

The easiest was Tess, no contest. Her voice was so strong it was like she was looking over my shoulder dictating the story. And she was such a blast to write, it didn’t even feel like work.

Dracula was tough. The character Stoker wrote and the Dracula we see in the movies—and apparently will be seeing in the upcoming TV series with Jonathan Rhys Meyers—are very different. I couldn’t really just gloss over that, so I ended up using it in the story. He doesn’t get a lot of page time, so that made it even tougher to do him justice.

What was the biggest challenge for you in writing Red?

I’d never written anything in first-person before, so that was definitely new territory for me! All the other manuscripts I’ve written have been romances, where I could delve into the emotions of both my protagonist and her hunky hero, but this time I had to convey the romance completely through Red’s eyes and still help the readers understand the way the other characters feel about her.

If you could tell us one fun fact about any of your characters, who and what would it be?

Tess really hates the fact that her nickname “Red” has hung on in spite of all her efforts to leave her past behind. But her one nod to her fairytale is a pair of cherry red combat she always wears.

As Tess puts it, Hey, if I’m going to be saddled with the moniker anyway, I might as well rock it right.”

Can you tell us about what you’re currently working on?

I’m currently working on Book #3 in the Transplanted Tales series, Along Came a Spider, which features Trish “Little Miss” Muffet and Nicky “Little Boy” Blue. I’m having a lot of fun telling their story, revisiting a few familiar faces from the first two books, and introducing new Tales I’ve been anxious share.

I also have another couple of projects waiting in the wings. We’ll see what happens. J

Without giving too much away, what’s your favorite scene in the novel? How did you feel when you completed that scene?
Of course, I love the scenes between Nate and Tess, especially in those instances when you see beyond their defenses and witness the tenderness they’re both capable of. And the verbal sparring between the two of them was a lot of fun to write!

But one of my favorite scenes in the novels actually involves Tess and Lavender (Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother). The conversation that takes place between the two of them really gets to the heart of the Tales’ struggle with being transplanted to the Here and Now. Lavender’s so filled with guilt because of the part she played in the Tales’ relocation that her life has spiraled out of control. And Tess’s reaction to Lavender’s pain is very revealing. There’s truly a heart of gold under her gruff exterior.

I originally planned to write the scene just to put Tess in a comical situation where she had to listen to Lavender’s drunken ramblings to try to get some information out of her, but it took on much bigger significance. I was really proud of how it turned out. This was also the scene that convinced me Lavender had a compelling story to tell and that she should be the protagonist of Book #2.

Would you mind sharing a short snippet from that scene as a teaser?

Sure, here’s a little snippet for you. This is toward the end of the scene (sorry—everything before that is full of spoilers!).


            “Dear God,” I breathed. “It all makes sense now.”
            Lavender pulled a disgusted face. “Glad it does to someone! Nothing in this freaking place makes any sense to me.” She met my eyes, her own filled with sadness and heartbreak that went far deeper than the maudlin ramblings of drunkenness. “I’d give anything to go back, Red. To put things right again. Wouldn’t you?”
            I stared at her for a moment, considering the question. “No,” I said finally. “No, I wouldn’t go back to my story. I like it much better when I can write my own.”
            Lavender’s eyes glistened with unshed tears. “I want to write my own, too,” she confided. “But I don’t even know where to start.”
            I stood up and offered Lavender my hand. “Come on. Why don’t you start by sleeping this off?”
            Lavender allowed me to pull her to her feet and put her arm around my shoulders as I led her from the sitting room and into the hall. “Then what?” she asked. “When I wake up in the morning and am still trapped in the same shitty story?”
            “Then you scrap it all and start over.”

What’s your favorite line from the story?

I have several favorites, but this one is probably at the top of my list. It’s so very Tess:
“I’d always imagined that I’d come up with something clever and pithy when it came to my last words, but as I stood there staring at those horrifying green eyes, I settled for a little startled profanity. How embarrassing.”

If you could go back to when you were first writing this novel, what advice would you give yourself?

“Don’t try to fit every single Tale into this book. There are two more books coming; you’ll have time!”

I had loads of other characters I’d wanted to include in Red, but they just didn’t fit into the story. I even cut out a couple of characters because it was getting too crowded and they really served no purpose other than my own amusement. I agonized over getting rid of them, but my gut was telling me they had to go.

Which authors have most influenced your writing?

I think I’ve probably learned a little something from every author I’ve ever read, even the ones who didn’t impress me. One of the biggest influences, though, is Katherine Mansfield, a writer from the early twentieth century who primarily wrote short stories. What really struck me about her writing was that Mansfield always managed to convey so much while saying so little. There’s deliberateness about her writing, which really spoke to me. Some of her stories are only a few pages long, but every single word has a purpose.

I keep that idea of deliberateness in mind as I’m writing and try to make every word count. And when I’m editing, that’s something I look for.

Favorite book?

Oh, man… I don’t know if I can pick just one! How about my recent favorite? I read Lara Adrian’s latest book in the Midnight Breed series, Darker After Midnight, and actually wept at the end. So amazing! The whole series is fabulous, but I really loved this last one. Can’t wait for the next.

Favorite author?

My modern-day favorite is Lara Adrian (could you guess?). ;)  I go total fan-girl over her books—they’re incredible! Dark, sexy, romantic, and edgy—love them! I also really like J.R. Ward, Alexandra Ivy, Lisa Jackson, Lynn Viehl, (early) Dean Koontz, Jim Butcher… The list goes on and on. And there are so many new and exciting voices debuting in 2012 and 2013, I have a feeling I’ll be adding some other authors to my list! (*wink, wink, nudge, nudge*)

If you want to take it back to the classics, my faves are Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Katherine Mansfield, Edgar Allan Poe, Jane Austen, the BrontÑ‘s, Mark Twain… Okay, so I guess I’m incapable of picking just one favorite of anything!

What are you currently reading?

I just finished reading Blooded, the prequel to Amanda Carlson’s debut novel, Full Blooded. Should be an awesome series! The book before that was Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. Up next is Julie Ann Walker’s Hell on Wheels. And I’m usually reading non-fiction of some sort, but I’m between non-fiction books at the moment.

Favorite Red character and why?

Well, I love Tess and Nate, of course, but if I had to choose someone other than those two, I’d go with Nicky “Little Boy” Blue. He’s that sexy bad-boy who can charm good girls into doing very naughty things, but he’s also intensely loyal to the people he loves and will do anything for them without thinking twice. You’ll really get to know him in Along Came a Spider.

And just for fun: Red is the first in the Transplanted Tales series, give us a small teaser for book two.

Here ya go! A little excerpt from The Better to See You as told by Lavender Seelie:

from Chapter 3


The scream that erupted from deep in my gut burned my throat and set off an explosion of light in my head. I tried to drag myself forward but collapsed before I’d gone even a couple of feet.
            It was over.
I was going to be torn apart here in the middle of nowhere by some winged demon dog. I’d never have the chance to start over. I’d never have the chance to prove I was more than just a colossal failure in every regard—as a daughter, as a woman, as a fairy.
I couldn’t believe my unbelievably shitty luck.
Shaking violently from the pain wracking my body, I lay there, the raindrops mixing with my tears as I sobbed and watched helplessly as pine needles gathered together, creating a thick rope that wound itself around my arms and torso, pinning me to the ground.
Briefly, I wondered how people would remember me after I was gone. Would they speak the name Lavender Seelie and think of the fairy godmother who’d once wielded almost unparalleled power and skill? Or would they remember only the screwed-up fairy who’d ruined their lives when that same power betrayed her?
            After several agonizing moments, I finally heard the creature leap across the ravine and snapped out of my last-minute pity party, fear and panic once more flooding my veins.
There was no point in trying to summon my magic now—it had deserted me, that was pretty freaking clear. I just hoped like hell my death would be quick.
            The creature prowled toward me, its massive bulk a mercifully indistinct silhouette, and I swear I thought I heard it chuckle, the sound sending chills down my spine. Then from behind me came the whisper-soft padding of paws on the underbrush. In the next instant, a great white wolf leaped over me and slammed into the shadow-creature. The two rolled end-over-end in a tangle of claws and teeth, coming to rest with the wolf on top, its lips peeled back in a vicious snarl.
            I turned my head for a better look just in time to see the wolf grab the creature’s throat in its teeth. The beast’s howl ended abruptly as the wolf gave a powerful shake of its head, tearing out a large section of demon dog’s throat.
The wolf flung the chunk of flesh into the underbrush then cautiously padded toward me, its head down between its shoulders, sizing me up. As it came closer I realized it wasn’t an ordinary timber wolf. This animal was easily twice the size of any wolf I’d ever seen and had a distinctly human intelligence shining in its eyes.
I didn’t stand a chance.
It bit through the pine needle rope and shook its head, scattering the needles all over the ground. The rest of the needles instantly fell away and the trees halted their brutal assault.
I raised a bloody, trembling hand, not sure if I’d just exchanged one predator for another. “Please,” I managed to gasp between the quick, shallow breathes that were all my punctured lung would now allow. “Please…”
In response, a soft shimmering light encased the wolf, and where the beautiful creature had stood, now crouched a man, his ice-green eyes still glowing. As he gently lifted me into his arms, I cried out, pain engulfing me.
“It’s all right,” he said softly, cradling me against him. “You’re safe now.”
I looked up into the grim face of my rescuer, now recognizing him. How could I not when I’d seen his face on Wanted posters and in the Tale news so often over the centuries?
As pain and nausea sent me careening toward a dark abyss, his name drifted to me:
Seth Wolf.


Thanks again, Kate, for stopping by! We're glad to have you any time!

My pleasure! Thanks for having me by for a visit! J

For more information on Kate and her work, or where you can purchase a copy of her novel, you can find her at the following places:

Website: www.kateserine.com

Twitter: @KateSeRine



Publisher Website: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/finditem.cfm?itemid=21275

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

The RED Giveaway opens today (7/30/12) and closes August 6th, 2012 at 8AM EST!!!
U.S entrants only please!
Simply leave a comment on the interview or review of Red in order to enter.
Tweet about the RED Giveaway and it's link for an extra entry! Only one extra entry per person!

LIST OF GOODIES TO WIN:
A basket of RED-themed goodies, which includes:
A tote bag
Bath & Body Works lotion and shower gel
Coffee samplers and a $5 Starbucks gift card
A copy of one of the books that inspired characters in RED
An eKensington sampler booklet signed by Kate SeRine
...and other fun goodies to enjoy!

 
Lots of good stuff to win, so please enter! Don't forget to check in on Wednesday to see my review of Red

29 comments:

  1. Wow, Kate, great interview. I absolutely love that favorite line!

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    1. Thanks, Liz! Tess was loads of fun to write!

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  2. That was an awesome interview!! I'm SO pumped to read the series. Can't wait!

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    1. Thanks, Amanda! I hope you enjoy it. :)

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  3. Great interview. Kate, your Transplanted Tales sound original, action-packed, and fun. What a creative concept. I am so excited about this series!

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    1. Thanks, Cecy! I hope you enjoy the series! Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

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  4. Hi,

    Hopping on through from the feature and follow!
    
Hosted BY Parajunkee & Alison Can Read.
    New Buddy, Please…. Cyber stalk me back! 

    Thanks,

    http://dawnandwinniebookreviews.blogspot.com

    
PS
    
My Summer Read was…Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe (Author) it was interesting ☺

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  5. Thanks for commenting, everyone! Kate's book is absolutely fabulous! Make sure you check out the review on Wednesday! And all of you are entered into the giveaway for commenting on this post! Kate's giving away a swag bag with all sorts of Red themed goodies!

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  6. Greatt interview! I love learning more about an author, and the samples from RED are amazing

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    1. Thanks! I appreciate you stopping by! :)

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    2. Thanks for stopping in Anon ;-) If you'd like to enter the giveaway, please reply with your email address. I can't contact anyone who doesn't have an established screenname.

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  7. Clearly, Kate is ridiculously talented and will have everyone begging for more of her tales! Lovely interview. ~CNO

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    1. Thanks for stopping in CNO ;-) If you'd like to enter the giveaway, please reply with your email address. I can't contact anyone who doesn't have an established screenname.

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  8. Great interview!

    Looking forward to reading RED :)

    I tweeted about the contest, too. (https://twitter.com/AJCattapan/status/230142156885614592)

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    1. Thanks, A.C.! Hope you enjoy RED! :)

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  9. Sorry I'm just now stopping by, Kate. Yesterday was insanely busy. WONDERFUL interview! I'm so excited for Red to be released. I'm going to order as SOON as it's available on the Nook. Congratulations! So well-deserved.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Alicia! I hope you enjoy the rest of the story! :)

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  10. Great interview! Looks awesome. Here's the tweet link: https://twitter.com/meganm922/status/230344988758777856

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    1. Thanks, Megan! I hope you enjoy it! :)

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  11. Great interview! I've already pre-ordered Red on Amazon and can't wait to read the entire series!!

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    1. Thanks! I hope you enjoy the rest of the series! :)

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  12. WOW! What an awesome interview!!! Can't wait for the release on Thursday!

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    1. Thanks, Marisa! I'm so glad you stopped by. :)

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  13. I didn't think I could any more excited about this book, but this interview has me counting down the hours until my pre-ordered copy pops up in my Amazon library.!!

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  14. Thanks so much, Melissa! I hope you enjoy it! :)

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  15. Great interview!!! It sounds so good :)

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  16. Kate - So excited to read your book. I'd love to overhear those conversations with you and your son. Such and insightful kid.

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