MaryJanice Davidson Q&A and Giveaway!

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author MaryJanice Davidson joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about Superheroes and her latest release Undead and Underwater. And keep reading for a chance to win a copy of the book!

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“Super, Girl!” one of the novellas in your new anthology Undead and Underwater, features a brand new protagonist, Hailey Derry. Where did your inspiration for her and her unique powers come from?

I’ve been a comic geek since I was 13, and I’ve always wanted to write a superhero story. But as I do with my paranormal characters, I wanted to tweak the tropes; I didn’t want a fiercely hot superbabe with giant boobs and a costume the size and density of a doily who constantly agonized about Her Responsibility To Do The Right Thing. So Hailey’s not especially sexy or outgoing (as an HR exec as well as a superhero), doesn’t spend much time searching her soul, and has a power that irritates the hell out of her and grosses people out. She can eat anything and not die no matter what she ingests. She can then use what she eats to make herself stronger, quicker, and more durable. So if she sucks down a meat lovers pizza with a side of thumbtacks and a glass of glass, she’ll be stronger and quicker and hard to hurt—temporarily. But there’s nothing sexy about being able to eat all the ashes out of a fireplace. When the hero remarks that he thinks it’s great she’s got a cool power, her brittle response is, “It’s neither great nor cool. Because my power isn’t to make things taste good; it’s to be able to eat anything. So a tree branch tastes like a tree branch and bricks taste like bricks and yogurt tastes like yogurt. God, I hate yogurt so much.”

Will we be seeing more of Hailey, do you think?

Oh, I hope so! I really loved indulging my inner comic book geek and would love to do more with Hailey. She’s the product of IVF—her mother donated dozens of eggs; four were fertilized and then implanted, and Hailey was the one that “took” for want of a better word. But her mom saved the other eggs…and then they disappeared. So there’s a strong possibility that Hailey’s got up to a dozen siblings out in the world. Where are they? What can they do? What will they do?

How do you feel about the superhero trend in Hollywood? Do you have a favorite superhero of your own?

I love the superhero trend! Who knows, maybe superheroes are the new vampires. I’ll watch any superhero movie, from the great (Avengers) to the yucky (Eric Bana’s Hulk). My favorite superhero was always Illyana Rasputin (Magik of the New Mutants). She was kidnapped as a pre-schooler and fell into a demonic realm where she was taught hand-to-hand fighting and black magic. She killed to survive. So I loved that she was a badass even without her powers, and that she had a huge dark side to her that could at any moment turn her into a villain. I loved how conflicted she was. I won’t lie: I occasionally rooted for her to be evil.

In “Super, Girl!” there is a lot of office culture, with most scenes taking place at Hailey’s work where she is responsible for HR. How would you characterize various departments? Do you imagine an epic battle between them?

Yes, I do. And so does anyone who has ever worked in any office anywhere ever. Also, imagine? I don’t have to: interoffice epic battles go on all the time, but like Fight Clubs, it’s off most people’s radar. I promise you, wherever you are when you read this, there’s an epic office battle going on right now. And IT is probably winning it. Describing Hailey’s job came easily to me because before I could write full time, I worked a number of office jobs. It was great fun to pull some of my past work experience into my writing. I had just as much fun plotting Hailey’s work life as her superhero life.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Telekinesis! I hate having to get up and shut off lights.

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MaryJanice talks books and writing tomorrow, March 13th,
at darkfaerietales.com!

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Courtesy of Berkley/NAL, I have a copy of Undead and Underwater by MaryJanice Davidson 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 29. I’ll draw a name on March 30, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

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Exclusive Interview: Debbie Viguié

About Author Debbie Viguié:
Debbie Viguié is the New York Times bestselling author of two dozen novels, including the Wicked series and the Crusade series, both coauthored by Nancy Holder. Debbie also writes thrillers, including the Psalm 23 Mysteries and the Kiss trilogy. She has a degree in creative writing from U.C. Davis. Debbie grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She and her husband Scott live in Florida with their cat, Shrödinger. Her newest book, The Last Grave, is the second installment in the Witch Hunt series.

Can you tell us a bit about The Last Grave in your own words?

The Last Grave is about Samantha beginning to understand that there’s a lot more going on in her world than she ever guessed, that wherever she runs magic is going to find her and she’s going to be forced to confront her past. I set the book in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I grew up. I was thrilled to be able to use some places that I went to a lot as a kid as background for some pivotal scenes.

The synopsis states that Samantha Ryan is a homicide detective by choice and a witch hunter by necessity. Why is she forced into being a witch hunter?

In the first book a dark coven in Salem began sacrificing young women. Her police captain knew that she had been raised as a witch in a dark coven before escaping that life and ultimately forced her to go in undercover since no one else could. She hadn’t used magic in years before those events, but now the floodgates are open and magic seems to be finding her regardless of what she wants.

How many books do you have planned for Witch Hunt series?

Currently I have 3 books planned for the series. Circle of Blood is going to be the title of the third one.

What’s next for you, besides your Witch Hunt novels? What other stories are you currently working on?

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Guest Post and Giveaway: James K. Decker

I WANT TO BELIEVE by James K. Decker

One of the themes in The Burn Zone is ‘how much can people be made to believe?’ In the book, this concept is taken to an extreme, but it began with me wondering how hard (or easy) it would be to convince a large number of people something was true, even when it clearly was not.

I mean sure, you could convince a small group of people that black was white – a sliver of the population could be made to believe just about anything – but how about, say, an entire nation? It’s easy to say ‘people are sheep and can be made to believe anything’ but there’s a caveat buried in that statement, which is that the person making it is not one of the sheep. Even if you could get a lot of people to believe something patently untrue, wouldn’t there be at least a subset of free-thinkers who would see through the lie? Wouldn’t they share information, and get validation that proved they were right in spite of what everyone else claimed?

In The Burn Zone, an alien race called the Haan crash land in the fictional city of Hangfei, wiping out a quarter of a million people in the process. That would seem reason enough to dislike and distrust them, and yet fifty years later, human surrogates are caring for haan young and eighty percent of the nation’s food supply is being funneled to the haan, even while the rest of the country, and the world at large, starve. Even as poorer nations push at their borders, attempting to take what they need to survive. The people of Hangfei seem to accept that things need to be this way, and will even defend it, but what could possibly convince them that this arrangement was in their best interest? Even if it was, could you ever convince them of it?

I decided that, given human nature and the way we form opinions that you could, under the right set of circumstances. People of every country have historically traded freedoms for security, and the people of Hangfei have a lot to fear. The haan offer wealth, technology, power and protection. The people are hungry, but they’re also scared. They’re scared they’ll be overwhelmed by the desperate barbarians at the gate, and scared that even if they’re not they’ll succumb to the same decay that the rest of the world has – that even if they are the last to fall, they will still fall.

Add to that the fact that, although they consider themselves free, the people of Hangfei don’t really live in a free society. The city is under martial law. Information comes from strictly controlled sources, and those who dissent tend to disappear. Attempts at contact from the outside are blocked, and attempts to contact the world beyond their borders get you labeled a spy and thrown in prison. The haan have the support of the government, and in turn, the government has the support of the haan. Together they control the flow of information, for better or worse, in support of a larger plan which will, they promise, benefit the greater good. Given the alternative, most opt to believe in a plan they know little to nothing about. You can see those dynamics in effect in the real world, even now.

Like the real world, things in The Burn Zone are never absolute. It’s difficult in Hangfei to point your finger and say ‘those are the bad guys’, but it becomes even more difficult when you don’t, at the outset, know the full truth about the world you live in. Before you can know what you believe, and whose side you’re on, you first have to be able to distinguish what’s true from what’s false. Even when, with a nudge from the highly advanced haan, you might be compelled to truly believe that black is white. Finding the truth would be very difficult, and very risky, and for Sam Shao, it is both. I’ll leave to you to discover what it is along with her.

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About the author:
James K. Decker was born in New Hampshire in 1970, and has lived in the New England area since that time. He developed a love of reading and writing early on, participating in young author competitions as early as grade school, but the later discovery of works by Frank Herbert and Issac Asimov turned that love to an obsession.

He wrote continuously through high school, college and beyond, eventually breaking into the field under the name James Knapp, with the publication of the Revivors trilogy (State of Decay, The Silent Army, and Element Zero). State of Decay was a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and won the 2010 Compton Crook Award. The Burn Zone is his debut novel under the name James K. Decker.

He now lives in MA with his wife Kim.

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Courtesy of the author, I have a copy of The Burn Zone by James K. Decker 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 22. I’ll draw a name on March 23, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Read more

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