We've all had that moment-’a crystalline realization that our lives have somehow spun way out of control. For Jackie Brighton, a docile museum docent who finds herself resurrected as a succubus in the middle of a vampire-angel showdown, that moment sounds like this: I'm in the basement of a club with a porn star and a bazillion vampires, and we're waiting for their queen. You tell me if I'm crazy.
Jill Myles may be experiencing another sort of is-this-my-life moment, with her first two novels releasing less than a month apart. Want to join the wild ride? Drop a comment for a chance to win a copy of Gentlemen Prefer Succubi-’Jill's bringing along plenty of goodies.
A six-word memoir for your protagonist, Jackie:
Immortality? A pain in the ass.
Your favorite line or moment in Gentlemen Prefer Succubi:
There's a scene at a club where Jackie (the main character) is sneaking in with Remy (her succubus mentor). The idea is for both of them to stroll in, be sexy, and get a little information on the local vampires. Problem is, Jackie's kind of terrible at being sexy, and even more terrible at being subtle. Naturally, things go wrong. She uses her succubus powers on someone-and realizes she doesn't know how to turn them off.
It was just a really fun scene to write. I'm not sure why that one is my favorite, but it kind of encapsulates the story as a whole – Jackie tries to fit in with the sexy immortals, epic fails, and then bad stuff happens.
We see Jackie developing a lot of strength and independence by the end of Gentlemen Prefer Succubi. What lessons does she have ahead of her? And does her museum job figure in much in the later books?
It’s going to be a struggle for Jackie to keep a ‘normal’ job. In book 2, she’s moved on to working at a university, and in book 3, you’re going to see her on an archaeological dig. She’s desperate to keep her job and her immortality separate, but sometimes the two intersect in painful ways.
As for Jackie, she’s going to continue to grow and adjust as a succubus. She hasn’t yet learned to play by the rules that everyone else has established, so she’s going to constantly challenge the way things are-which means more trouble! A lot of succubi tend to hide from their masters so they’re not forced to serve out their constant demands. Since Jackie is emotionally involved with both of hers, there’s going to be boundary issues. Things will be said. Deeds will be done.
It will be soooo much fun to write. :)
I’m always curious as to how fantasy/paranormal writers create the rules for their worlds. For you, is it more of a discovery process as you draft the story, or have you worked out the boundaries before you begin? And as a series writer, do you ever worry about creating a rule that works fabulously in one book, but might become a total pain later in the series?
Yes, yes and yes. The rules for my world came about pretty organically-’once I knew that I wanted everything to be based upon the concepts of angels exiled to the mortal plane (and all the variations that came with it), then I wanted to stick really closely to that concept. There is some spiraling-outward of the world in additional books, but that is mainly due to Jackie’s perception. Since we see the world through her eyes, additional elements come into play as she learns about them. We’re never going to see a werewolf or a fairy show up because that doesn’t fit the focus of the world.
That being said, I’ve created rules for the characters that I’ve come back later and more or less thought “WHY DID I DO THAT?” But it’s one of the boundaries set, and I have to run with it. Since my characters work off of the cycles of daylight, I’ve had to more or less trot out a calendar and map out the times of the day with each scene to make sure my vampire isn’t stomping around mid-day, and my angel isn’t showing up on the heroine’s doorstep at midnight, etc.
Tell us about having your books released so close together. Much pressure there?
YES! I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly anxious person (whiny, yes -’ anxious, no) until this book release. Now there’s constant Amazon checking, and running out to the store to see if the book has sold more copies than yesterday, and online interviews in which I try to think of a creative way to tell people why I wrote my story for the 19th time. It’s a lot of work and it’s stressful for any book release. I’ve been starting to wind down a little now that book 1 has been out for a few weeks-but it starts all over again on January 19 with book 2!
As problems go, it’s not a bad one to have, mind you. It’s just a lot going on all at once. But I’d do it again! (glutton for punishment = yes)
Length of time from page one, draft one to the "sold" call:
Let's see. I checked my records and I started Gentlemen Prefer Succubi in May 2005. I finished it in September or Octoberish, and spent a few months cleaning it up. Sent it out to agents in February 2006. Had an agent offer in March 2006. And then it lingered in submissions for about a year or so, and in the meantime I wrote new stuff to keep my mind busy. I got "the call' in March 2007.
A published author who helped you along the way:
Ilona Andrews, more than anyone else, has been my mentor. I completely forget how we started talking (It could have involved livejournal stalking. I confess that I'm a major fangirl of hers) but she's pretty much been there for me for the past three years. I give her a hard time and rib her (ALL THE TIME) but whenever I'm having a bad day or convinced the publishing world is ending, she is there to pick me up and set me back on track. She's seen me through three agents, multiple books, and more whiny emails than any person has a right to send to another human being. Strangely enough, she is still talking to me. Though she does laugh at me when I have my authorbeast moments (and that's okay, because I laughed at her when she had hers – it's my turn now).
The moment you felt like a "real author":
When I was at RWA this last year, I paused at one of the free book tables, and someone saw my name-tag and actually stopped me. She was an Australian bookseller (I think!) and the nicest lady, and she was quite excited about my books. That was a surreal moment for me – I kept thinking she'd mistaken me for someone else. :)
Your favorite book when you were 10:
The Laura Ingalls books were a staple in my house, for sure. Oh, and I totally totally loved D'Aulaires' Norse Mythology. I've read it dozens of times and never get tired of it and the pictures. I was also super into mythology and cryptozoology as a kid – I'd checked out every book in the school library on both. Unfortunately, the cryptozoology stuff scared the snot out of me and I had many a nightmare involving Bigfoot crawling through my bedroom window and chewing off my arms as I slept.
This probably explains a lot about me.
An author or book you recommend again and again:
I pretty much recommend Meljean Brook and Kresley Cole to everyone. I love a good, rich paranormal, and those two are writing some of the best ones around. I seriously have a fangirl crush on Meljean's characters because they are so layered and nuanced. I think I emailed her babbling about her books until she caved and started to email me back (success!). Kresley Cole writes some of the funnest, most entertaining books around and I hand-sell them to a bunch of people every time someone asks me for a rec. I tried stalking Kresley too, but she is wise to my ways. (alas)
You can find Jill online at www.jillmyles.com , where she keeps her blogs and a fun trailer for Gentlemen Prefer Succubi. If you'd like to contact Alyson H., who does the Intro Interviews for Dear Author, email her at DAintrointerview AT gmail DOT com.