Today Chris Marie Green is stopping by to answer a few questions, and she’s kicking in a copy of First Blood, an anthology with a Vampire Babylon novella by Chris, plus stories by Susan Sizemore, Erin McCarthy and Meljean Brooks! Leave a comment on this post to be entered. U.S. addresses for shipping only. Contest ends midnight December 11th.–Lori
Author of: Vampire Babylon series (Night Rising, Midnight Reign, Break of Dawn, A Drop of Red)
Favorite Candy: s’mores
Favorite Cartoon Character: Disney’s Sleeping Beauty
Super Power Most Covets: Batman’s smarts (although that’s not really a superpower, I suppose)
Favorite Vampire: Dracula’s brides
Q.) First can you tell us about the Vampire Babylon series?
C.M.G.) Sure, thanks! The series centers around Dawn Madison, an ex-stuntwoman who returns to Hollywood when she discovers that her father has gone missing. She finds that he was involved with a strange firm of vampire hunters, and that leads her to delve into a lot of things about her past that she was trying to outrun. The series itself is told in trilogy arcs, which basically means that there are mythology/character arcs that are tied up in the 3rd books of each trilogy while each individual novel solves its own basic mystery. The second trilogy starts in March and it continues the adventures of Dawn and the team.
Q.) What about your take on vampires, do you stick with tradition or tweak it a bit?
C.M.G.) It depends on which book I’m writing, LOL. I’ve used more traditional vampires in a couple of Harlequin Blaze books, but otherwise, I do some tweaking. I’m a fan of the wilder vampire whose loss of a soul equates to death, and with Vampire Babylon, an individual’s strengths come out when a person sacrifices that soul to become a vampire. They can use their talents any way they see fit to survive in a world that would hunt them down if they knew of their existence.
Q.) You also write contemporaries for Harlequin, and I discovered you when you wrote for Bombshell (a great vamp book by the way). What if anything do you think the books have in common?
C.M.G.) Thank you, Lori! THE HUNTRESS (Bombshell) had some fun vampires for me—I based the feral female tribe of bloodsuckers on Dracula’s brides, my favorite vamps of all time. But vampirism itself was the villain in that story. I think most of my vamp books—one of the Blazes, the Bombshell, and Vampire Babylon—focus on how vampirism affects the hunters most of all. Why do these people dedicate their lives to this cause, and how does it make them into something more powerful—and maybe more dangerous—than what they were before?
Q.) Why vampires?
C.M.G.) I used to love the old Hammer films because they were really evocative. And long ago, I saw a clip of NOSTERATU on that program, IN SEARCH OF… It scared the tar out of me, so I developed a combination of fascination and fear for vamps.
Q.) What would you do if you met a “real” vampire? Would you be a vamp groupie or would you dash for the nearest stake?
C.M.G.) I think I’m really into blood imagery—how artful and symbolic it can be. I like the adrenaline rush you get from being scared, too. So depending on the vampire, I wouldn’t rule groupiness out (although there’d have to be a distinct lack of dead-flesh smell from that vampire!). But, truthfully, my instincts would be to grab that stake.
Q.) Who makes the best hero–slayer or vamp?
C.M.G.) I’d lean toward slayer. There’s something so interesting about someone with a crusade, and let’s face it—vamps can be great villains. I look at slayers as gunslingers of a sort, and I’m hoping to build toward that with my Dawn Madison character in Vampire Babylon. How does a gunslinger get made?
Q.) Ultimate fighting challenge, you have a choice of a vampire, a werewolf or a witch/wizard as an opponent. Who do you choose?
C.M.G.) If I had to fight anyone, it wouldn’t be a witch/wizard (unless they’re in their first year at Hogwarts). Way too many talents and powers there. Same with a vampire; depending on whose vamp you’re fighting, they can have some serious magical-based powers and they can probably mind screw you. That leaves the werewolf, who’d probably rip me apart unless I had those silver bullets handy. Yeah, the werewolf increases my chances of survival, I think.
Q.) Are you a plotter or a pantser? Character-driven or plot driven? Ever try to be the opposite? Do you have a set method you use when starting a book?
C.M.G.) Plotter. Definitely a plotter. And I’ve had books that started with a character and some that have started with a plot, so I’d have to chalk up both for that. Depending on the book, I do try different ways of working my way through it—whatever feels good and whatever I need to do in order to sell it. For instance, if I don’t have to write a synopsis in order to get an advance check, I’ll use a “stickie method,” where I arrange scenes on my closet door and write detailed scene sheets as I go along. This way I have the big plot/character elements set up but there’s a lot of freedom to move around. However, even with a synopsis, I feel that there’s still freedom, a lot to flesh out and discover.
To plot, I use the “Goal, Motivation, Conflict” chart from Debra Dixon. Then I “interview” my characters. Lastly, I use the Hero’s Journey.
Q.) What is the smartest thing you’ve done so far as advancing either your writing or your writing career? What is something you wish you had done differently?
C.M.G.) Back in the day, I was a teacher, and I wrote while doing that. I promised myself that, if I ever sold three books in a year, I’d have to quit and pursue writing full-time, no whining, no excuses. So I did. I figured time was an investment—a risk—I had to take in order to further my career. As for doing something differently? I’m actually pretty happy with everything, but I could change my mind. You never know!
Q.) Can you describe three things in your writing area that tell us something about you?
C.M.G.) My writing area is spread out all over my house, LOL. I write my chapters on a laptop while sitting in bed (Yes, I can do my work in my PJs—how cool!). So I would name my bed as one of those three items. It’s really cozy with one of those pillow-top mattresses. I do revision work and business in a study with a big old desk that has every sort of paper sticking to it. This is “organization” in my world—deadlines, schedules, ISBN numbers. That’s my desk, and that would be item number two. Item number three is a little Japanese Pullip doll I keep nearby just because it’s super cute. She’s a goth girl with platinum hair, purple lipstick and eyes like one of the characters from a Tim Burton stop-motion movie.
Q.) Any new projects on the horizon? What would you like to try next? And where can readers find you on the web?
C.M.G.) There’s something very cool happening that I can’t really talk about now…. Let’s just say that it has to do with the gunslinger thing, LOL. I talk about my projects on my blog and in my newsletters, so maybe I’ll have something to shout about soon!
Note from Lori: I stole the following from Chris’ blog, I hope she doesn’t mind. You can still drop by her blog and check out her newest, rocking cover. :) (Congrats, Chris!!)
Penguin has contracted me for another series in addition to the Vampire Babylon books!
I haven’t written the novels yet, but the series is tentatively entitled BLOODLANDS, and my pitch (which was announced in Publisher’s Marketplace) said that it’s a paranormal “Shane meets Mad Max.” I’m really excited about this, and even though I don’t have a release date just yet, I’m eager to get started….
Thank you so much!!!