Author Lauren M. Roy joins SciFiChick.com to talk about her urban fantasy debut Night Owls!
Can you tell us a bit about Night Owls in your own words?
Bookstore owner Val wants to forget the monster-hunting life she left behind on the west coast. It ended badly, and she’s quite done with monsters, thankyouverymuch. Until a girl named Elly makes her way to Edgewood with the monsters on her tail, forcing Val to dust off her combat boots and let down her fangs.
What is the relationship between the two main characters, Valerie and Elly?
I think Val and Elly play off of each other very well. They’re wary of one another to start, but each is aware of how capable the other is. Where Val wants to be done with hunting, Elly embraces it. Val’s trying to redefine herself without that part of her past; Elly can’t see any other future. I’m not sure they’ll ever be best friends, but they come to respect each other quickly. It’s a start!
One thing other reviewers have been pointing out is that there is little romance in this urban fantasy. Is that to focus more on the mystery? Will it be changing in the future?
I wouldn’t quite say I set out to write a book that didn’t have much in the way of romance, but whenever I checked in to see if one might fit into the plot, I got a big ol’ resounding nope from both my writerly instinct and the characters. They were too busy with the Creeps, or navigating the changes in their lives, to pursue anything. Buuuuut that doesn’t mean their minds never wander in that direction. I dropped some hints in Night Owls about where at least a couple of their hearts are at.
Will it be changing in the future? Let’s just say there’s a chapter in book two that I did not want to send to my dad after I finished writing it. (He’s one of my first readers. Everyone say awwww.)
This series has all manner of mystical creatures – vampires, shapeshifters (Creeps), demons, etc. How did you go about developing this world?
The Creeps were, for the longest time, these sort of menacing figures whose faces I could never quite see. Until one night I had a doozy of a nightmare about these shapeshifting creature terrorizing people at Park Street Station in Boston. I woke up spooked and knew I had to write down what I could remember. My handwriting reflects how freaked out I was – I normally have this teeny-tiny, very neat script. That page is full of this weird, broad scrawl. Still recognizable as my writing, and returning to normal the more I woke up, but by the time I was done, I finally had my Creeps.
I tend to do my worldbuilding in broad strokes. I know the most important things about the setting and the people in it, and I ponder big picture questions (a good chunk of which ends up in a file called Stuff the Author Knows. That info might never pop up in the books, but it’s there if I need it.) I also leave plenty of room for neat details to present themselves. Sometimes what seems like a throwaway line open up all kinds of possibilities.
How many books do you have planned for this series?
Does “as many as people want to read” count? I don’t have a set number in mind, but book two is written, and three is percolating. With an ensemble cast, I have lots of people whose stories I’d like to tell, so hopefully this crew will be with me for a while!
What’s next for you? Any other stories on the horizon?
The first draft of book two is done. I’m about to dive into editing that. I have a fantasy novel in the works (faeries! pirates! assassins! Oh my!), and a pile of short story ideas I keep promising myself I’ll get back to.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in writing.
I’ve been a bookseller since high school, and now I work for a publisher selling books to bookstores. Can’t get me away from the stories.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. There are stories I remember from junior high and high school that are cringe-worthy, but practice is how you improve, right?
A few years ago, a friend and I co-wrote a YA paranormal. It won us an agent – sadly, it didn’t sell (yet!) – but she and I have both sold solo projects, and are collaborating on a horror novel (yep, another project in the works…)
In 2012, I finally got up the courage to apply to Viable Paradise, a week-long writers’ workshop I’d been wanting to attend for years. I was over the moon to be accepted.
I’ve also done some freelance writing for tabletop RPGs, including Dragon Age, A Song of Ice and Fire RP, and Trail of Cthulhu.
Somewhere in there I find time to breathe and occasionally sleep.
Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?
That’s a dangerou question. We could be here for years. I’m a big fan of Stephen King, Christopher Moore, Seanan McGuire, Chuck Wendig, N.K. Jemisin, and Scott Lynch. I want you to understand I could keep typing for another hour and still be going “Oh! And this person! Oh! And that person!” But I’m going to behave and stop there.
I love books that make me care so much about the characters that, when the author inevitably does terrible, terrible things to them, I’m left a sobbing wreck. Yes please, tear my heart out, kick my teeth in, and I’ll love you forever.
What do you do when you’re not writing? In your spare time?
Spare time is a rarity for me right now, but when I can snag some I’m playing games (video, board, pen and paper RPG, you name it.) Or else I’m baking, practicing guitar, and of course, reading. When springtime rolls around, I get it into my head I can grow things, and I attempt to garden. It does not always go well.
Thanks for your time!
Thank you for hosting me!
Courtesy of Ace Books, I have a copy of Night Owls for one (1) lucky winner!
Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends March 21. I’ll draw a name on March 22, and notify winner via email.
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