Michelle: Firstly I want to congratulate you on the ‘Downside Ghosts’, series. I stumbled across your books at my local library last year. I knew nothing about you as an author, or the books. I picked them up as I could actually get the whole 3 books at once and thought I would give them a read.......WOW!!! I know I’m not the first to say it but this is truly a different, awesome, gritty, dangerous, tough series of books. I congratulate you on your totally flawed characters that are soooo impressive to read, it’s refreshing to ‘feel’, such love and emotion as you are reading the series for Chess and Terrible. You did not give these characters a pity party, they are damaged, use drugs, take a beating, not handsome but at the same time utterly gorgeous and memorable. I have wanted to interview you since I read them, I was truly in awe of your complex characters. I highly recommend this series, but they are not YA genre. So young chickens , eyes off until you are old enough, when you are old enough, come a knocking .
Stacia: Oh, thank you so much, I really appreciate that! And lol, no, it's not necessarily appropriate for younger readers. I was always a very advanced reader, and I hesitate to say anyone shouldn't be reading it, of course--it's not that I think teens couldn't "handle" it at all--but I definitely want people to be aware that it deals with some very adult subject matter. (I actually had a friend tell me that she found it in the YA section at her local library; I almost had a heart attack and begged her to go tell the librarians that it is NOT written for a teen audience and to please reshelve it!)
Michelle: I did a lot of research before I even wrote my interview questions to see what you had already answered. I learnt a lot about you which helped me prepare. Hello , December Quinn, erotic writer.
I would think writing erotica and doing it well would be quite difficult, but your urban fantasy just has so much grit and depth. What do you find easier to write, erotica or gritty , urban fantasy? I need to get my hands on a book by your pen name ,December Quinn and have a read.
Stacia: Oh, hmm. I wouldn't say one is easier than the other, really; they both have their challenges. I do think I enjoy the UF more, or rather, I put more of myself into them and I really enjoy the freedom that comes with UF.
I did have a lot of fun writing the erotic romances, though.
Michelle: Your series , the ‘Downside Ghosts’, has a gritty, dangerous, very dark, challenging world for your characters. Chess Putnam, your female lead in this series would have to be my all time favourite female lead from any genre I have read. Purely because she is so flawed, not whingey, quite selfless in many ways ,tough and even though she is an addict she gets on with her job, doesn’t slack off. I have such emotion for her when I read and feel the pain that is below the surface of her upbringing which you haven’t delved too deeply into. In book # 4 ‘Sacrificial Magic’, is the reader going to find out more about the personal demons Chess struggles with daily as an explanation for her need for her drug use, her need to keep herself in nips and cepts?
Stacia: Well, I think--I like to think--that in every book we get a more complete picture of what Chess's life was like before she entered training at the Church, but I also try to be very careful with how much is revealed, if you know what I mean. Because I think it's very clear that she had a pretty horrific childhood, and I think there's a fine line between mentioning it and exploiting it, or mentioning it and dwelling on it.
I do think that SACRIFICIAL MAGIC--and book 5, CHASING MAGIC--show us more not necessarily about what happened to her, but about what the consequences have been beyond her addiction. It's very difficult after a childhood of abuse--it's difficult for someone left with the feelings of guilt and self-hatred and fear and all of those emotions childhoods like that engender--to trust people even when they claim to love you; it's very difficult to let them in, to accept them, to allow yourself to feel worthy of that. You know, we're aware of what Chess does to try to cover up her pain and keep herself from dealing with her past, but there are some aspects of that--aspects of herself--that she can't hide from, not when there's another person in the picture and she's having to make herself vulnerable in ways she never has before.
So I think readers are going to see more of the effect that had on her, and more about how she sees herself and what damage has been done to her, absolutely--at least I hope so, because otherwise I won't have done a very good job. And yes, there are a few other memories or flashbacks or whatever that expand on what we already know. But in the main we're just seeing her trying very hard to somehow reconcile how she sees herself with how others see her, and how she struggles with accepting even the smallest bit of happiness.
|Megan Chase # 1|
Stacia: I definitely am, heh. But I realized about halfway into the book that I just loved him too much to be able to do that, really; when I started inventing plots in my head like "He comes back as a ghost and lives in her apartment with her" I knew I just couldn't let him go.
He was a big challenge for me, actually. I specifically wanted to play with the idea of a hero and what a hero was supposed to be, and wanted to write one who wasn't rich and handsome. I mean, I like rich handsome heroes as much as the next girl, but I wanted to do something different; I wanted the hero not to be the handsome guy everyone instantly assumes is the hero. I wanted him to have to work for it.
Then, too, I wanted to make the point that everyone deserves love and happiness, not just handsome/beautiful people or whatever, and that there's someone out there for everyone. And that sometimes who a person is can make us see them differently.
Like I said, it was a challenge for me to see if I could make him a character readers would love and root for despite his flaws, despite the fact that he's not handsome or educated. And seeing if I could show what kind of person he really is, and that while he may not be perfect--of course, who is--he's perfect for Chess.
|Megan Chase # 2|
Stacia: Hmm. I don't usually read anything out loud, no. It was a bit difficult--or it can be--keeping everyone's specific verbal tics and dialects straight, since everyone talks a little differently. But in general it was a blast, coming up with Downspeech. I find it very hard these days to write characters who don't speak some kind of dialect, actually, I'm so used to it now!
And yeah, it's completely overwhelming! I worry about it a lot in the next books, whether or not I'm handling the relationship the right way and keeping true to his character; it's a different side of him and Chess both, and really neither of them have a lot of experience with it, so... I can only hope, really.
|Megan Chase # 3|
Stacia: Lol, I don't know about "incredible creative," but thank you! I have, yeah. I originally had a nine-book arc but I also have plans for how to take it to twelve if that happens. I'm not counting on it, though. I hope, but I'm not counting on it.
|I GOT TERRIBLE FEVER - Goodreads Group|
Stacia: Actually, that's something I'm working on, yeah. Not a whole novel but a novella, from his POV. I'm not sure yet if it will be basically the events of UNHOLY GHOSTS told from his perspective or a different story, one that happens between UG and UM.
Michelle: Are you able to give me 2 quotes from ‘Sacrificial Magic’, from Chess and Terrible that don’t give anything away?
Stacia: Hmm, let's see. You mean like two quotes from a scene with them together? Okay. Here's one:
His eyes fastened on her, waiting for her to continue. When she didn’t, he said, “Ain’t needing the lashers, aye? Causen I got—”
“No, no, I’m fine, I have money, I just…it’s depressing to lose, you know? I don’t like it.”
He smiled, and even in the middle of her misery, in the furious tangle of her mind, she was able to see it, feel it all the way down her body. “Oh, aye? Never would guess that one.”
Her own smile couldn’t compete with his, but hey, at least she was able to make the attempt. “Yeah, I guess that’s not really a secret, is it?”
“Ain’t to me.”
Chess handed Terrible her keys. If it made him trust her less, fine. At least he’d be alive to do it. “Have fun driving my car.”
That earned her a sort of half-smile, a semi-laugh. “Aye. Be all cool in it, maybe get myself one.”
It's really hard to find scenes that give *nothing* away!
Michelle: Can you give me 5 words that describe Lex in ‘Sacrificial Magic’, where he is at now?
Stacia: Hmm. Where he is in the beginning of that book and where he is at the end are very different, so some of these may only apply to the beginning or the end, but... Frustrated. Planning. Waiting. Amused and unamused.
Stacia: I will, yes! And I'm really excited about it. But it would be kind of a big spoiler to give any more info. So I'll just say I hope readers like the new character.
Stacia: Oh, man, this is hard! I really think readers would be better at this than me. So I'd love to see your/their suggestions!
Stacia: Determined. Scarred. Lost. Addicted. Smart.
Michelle: Selfless, Hurting, Lonely, Tough
Stacia: Also determined, also scarred, also smart. Tough. Loyal.
Michelle: Lonely, Hurting, Forgiving, Protective, Dangerous
Stacia: Arrogant. Clever. Sneaky. Careless. Troublemaker.
Michelle: Sex, Addictive, Ego, Games, Trouble, Seducer
Stacia: Horrendously dressed. Arrogant. Powerful. Sly. Sleazy.
The Church of Real Truth
Stacia: Scary. Omnipotent. Cruel. Protective. Harsh.
Stacia: Poor. Dirty. Rough. Dangerous. Creepy.
Stacia: All over the books!
Michelle: I am a mum of 3 kiddies and you have 2 . Do you keep any sort of keepsake, scrapbook of your author life to show your children when they are older. Or anything that you can show to the ones you love?
Stacia: No, I never thought of that, actually. Hopefully it'll all still be around when they're older, so...
Michelle: Do you do anything special on the day your books are released to the public?
Stacia: I generally have a really nice little routine of puking and panicking, yes, with some hysterical crying and the absolute certainty that everyone will either hate or ignore the books thrown in. Release days are not fun for me.
Michelle: How does it feel knowing bloggers are spreading the word of your books and really loving what you are writing? Has there been a particularly memorable instant of a passionate reader?
Stacia: Oh, there aren't even words to describe it, really, it's amazing. To see how much people love them and how much they understand them is just incredible. I never even dreamed people would like them half as much as they do.
But they're all memorable, honestly. Every single one who emails me or send me a message through Facebook or Twitter or comments on the blog or seeks me out at a con...it's always amazing and unbelievable.
Michelle: Thank you Stacia for taking the time to answer my questions.
Stacia: They're great, thank you so much!
I hope you all enjoyed this interview as much as I enjoyed doing it.
Check the left side bar for my reviews on the Downside Ghosts series.
"Stacia Kane has upped the stakes for all those writing in the urban fantasy genre — UNHOLY GHOSTS is gripping and brilliant." --FantasyLiterature.com
"taking paranormal fantasy to another level right before our eyes." --Barnes & Noble Explorations
"UNHOLY MAGIC spits on gritty and calls its mother names." --Fiction Vixen
"The ultimate Bible of badassery." --
Ann Aguirre, National Bestselling Author of SKIN DEEP