Sunday, December 12, 2010
Interview - Heather Kuehl
Thank you for joining us today. Before we begin, please tell our readers where they can find you.
HK – Thank you for having me. Readers can visit my website http://www.heatherkuehl.com or my blog http://heatherkuehl.blogspot.com. I’m also on Twitter (@heatherkuehl) and I have a Facebook fan page as well.
Now, let's get right down to business. Tell everyone a bit about your books including buy links?
HK – Here are blurbs with both Eternal Press ebook and Amazon print links:
Fade to Black: Book One of the Sarah Vargas Series, Eternal Press
Werewolf bounty hunter Sarah Vargas has only one goal in life; to kill the Were that attacked and changed her. However a slew of werecreature murders send Sarah and her partner, Jared Fontaine, on the mission of their lives, ending with a discovery about Jared’s past that might destroy them both.
Malevolent Dead: Book Two of the Sarah Vargas Series, Eternal Press
Werewolf Sarah Vargas thought all she had to worry about was the Blood Moon Corporation's retaliation. She never dreamed that another vampire would arrive, disputing Damian's claim over the throne to Charleston, SC. To make matters worse, he is no ordinary vamp; he's a vampire necromancer. He's exceptionally hard to kill, and Sarah will have to do what ever she can to keep those that she loves safe... Even if it means doing the unthinkable.
Blood Moon: Book Three of the Sarah Vargas Series, Eternal Press (3/7/2011)
After she broke her contract with the Blood Moon Corporation, Sarah Vargas knew that it was only a matter of time before they came for her. What she didn't know is what lengths they would go to to make sure that she had no where to run. Everyone Sarah has every relied on is in danger during a time when friends become enemies, and Sarah quickly realizes that the Blood Moon Corporation will never give up until she is dead. The Blood Moon Corporation is coming, and even Sarah doesn't think she can make it out alive.
Promises to Keep, Eternal Press
Starlette DeFore knows that her father is alive, even though her family buried him ten years ago. When a faerie confirms this she travels to Charleston, South Carolina to hunt down Sivad Night, the only person to have ever escaped from the hands of a power sorceress, the Dark Lady Dreashae. With help from a witch, Starlette travels into Verella a fantasy realm filled with dragons, centaurs, and magic. She is very close to finding her father, but first she must defeat Dreashae. Will Starlette, a mere mortal, have the strength needed to finish her quest and save her father?
Where did the concept for the book (or books) come about?
HK – I can honestly say that I don’t remember how the idea for Promises to Keep came to be. I started writing that particular book in 1999 when I was in high school. In 2006, during NaNoWriMo, I decided to rewrite the entire story, since I liked the plot and characters but not much else.
The Sarah Vargas Series, most namely Fade to Black, was inspired by a song lyric from Sublime during my college creative writing class; “Life’s too short, so love the ones you’ve got, cuz you might get run over or you might get shot.” After hearing that lyric, Sarah appeared in my mind. She was mad as hell for the hand she was dealt, and nothing but vengeance was on her mind. Before I knew it, Fade to Black was finished and I was starting to plan its sequel, Malevolent Dead.
Both Malevolent Dead and Blood Moon are based off of ideas presented in Fade to Black; the fact that Sarah looked like Damian’s dead wife and the Blood Moon Corporation’s retaliation for the events within Fade to Black.
How long did it take you to finish, from concept to final product?
HK – Promises to Keep took over ten years to finish, from that first draft in 1999 to its acceptance in 2009. I started writing Fade to Black in 2006. Once finished, I kept editing and tweaking it until its acceptance by Eternal Press in 2009. Once accepted, I started working on Malevolent Dead. That took only six months to write, and Blood Moon about three months. Ever since Fade to Black was accepted I’ve given myself due dates and stuck to them, hence the shorter writing time from concept to final product.
Are there any authors that have influenced your own writing?
HK – Oh yeah! That list could go on forever, so I’ll just name my top five; Brian Jacques (for his imagery), Kim Harrison (for her intricate plots), Charlaine Harris (for her use of setting), Anne McCaffrey (for her world creation), and Meg Cabot (for her fluff factor).
Do you have any favorite place where you feel your Muse is more apt to come and play while you write? Or perhaps you listen to music? If so, what do you listen to?
HK – I usually write on my desktop computer, however my Muse doesn’t care where I write as long as I do. However, my Muse craves music (depending on the character). My Muse for Promises to Keep didn’t want music, but my Muse for the Sarah Vargas series did. Evanescence and Avenged Sevenfold were favorites for writing about Sarah.
As a writer, what is your greatest fear?
HK – Getting too comfortable where I’m at. I have two goals, which are being able to walk into a bookstore and find my book on the shelf and becoming a New York Times Bestselling author. I worry that if I get too comfortable with small presses or ebooks that I will never reach that goal.
What normally occupies your desk while writing? Pencils? Coffee mugs? Breakfast crumbs?
Do you have any new projects that you are working on? If so, what are they?
HK – I just finished NaNoWriMo 2010 *happy dance* and with that came Gray Magic. However, that story is no where near finished, as I have a lot of editing to do. Blurb: Tabitha Desdamona Drake is an Enforcer, the person that does the dirty work for the Conclave of witches. The Conclave orders T.D. to find the gray magic witch. A witch wielding gray magic would be able to use dark or light magic without cost, able to end the world with just a thought. The Conclave wants the gray magic witch. With it, they can rule the supernatural world with an iron fist. However, once she gets there T.D. finds that there are more pressing issues to take care of rather than the Conclave's agenda. Witches are being murdered and drained of their magic, and it's up to her to put a stop to it. Enter Dez, a vampire that works for the Lord of Charleston. As mysterious as he is annoying, Dez accompanies T.D. on her search for the witch killer claiming that the vampire Lord has ordered him to do so. But what does a vampire care about murdered witches? Dez's agenda mirrors the orders from the Conclave, and T.D. quickly realizes that she is in more danger than what she's bargained for.
I am also trying to finish Of Wolf and Man, a book I’ve been working on since 2008. Blurb: Juliet knows that Jensen has a dark secret, especially after he uses his super strength to fight three wolves and save her life. Imagine her surprise when she figures out that he's a werewolf. Imagine her greater surprise when she discovers that this knowledge puts her life in danger. The three wolves that attacked her were also Weres, and they want Jensen to themselves. Jensen has to do what he can to save Juliet, when she and her best friend are kidnapped by the Weres during Homecoming. Will he be able to get to Juliet in time, before the Weres change her into one of them?
What tip would you offer to a new writer who is just beginning their submission journey?
HK – Never give up! It’s going to be a long, hard road but it’s going to be worth it in the end.
Please include all the places the readers can find you. Blog, website, FB, Twitter.
HK – Website: http://www.heatherkuehl.com
How about an excerpt to tantalize the readers?
HK – Sure! Here’s an except from chapter one of my latest release with Eternal Press, Malevolent Dead.
When my phone vibrated at 2 am, I knew it wasn’t good.
As I rolled over to answer it, my mind ran through the list of people who could be calling me. Donavan? Nah. He was on his second honeymoon with his wife, Monique. They vacationed in the middle of the Caribbean. Jared? That thought immediately banished as I had to reach over his sleeping body to get to my phone as it crawled across the bedside table. That left only one person.
“What do you want, Damian?” I muttered as I snapped my phone open.
“Good morning to you too,” Damian said, his ancient accent sliding across my skin and slithering down my spine.
I crawled out of bed, doing my best not to wake Jared. Like I even could. He slept so heavily I doubted that Armageddon could wake him. I slipped into the bathroom and shut the door.
“Why are you calling me?” I asked as I flipped on the bathroom light. Damian rarely used the phone. When I did get a call, usually Dez relayed Damian’s orders. This was different and when it came to the born vampire on the other end of my phone, different was bad.
“I need you to come to the club. We have a visitor that would like to meet you.”
Several things made my spidey-sense tingle. One, I lived in one of the guestrooms at Damian’s club, Malevolent Dead. Damian made it sound like I lived somewhere else. Whoever was there, the born vampire didn’t want them to know I lived with them. Two, who in the hell would make Damian that nervous?
“Are you in trouble?” I asked. I heard Damian grunt.
“Immediate, no. Given some time, yes.”
“I’ll be right there.” I glanced at my pajamas in the mirror. “I have to change first. I don’t think ‘Hello Kitty’ will make a good first impression.”
Damian laughed. Even over the phone I could feel his laughter travel over my skin, making me shudder. I flipped my phone closed, disconnecting the call.
Grabbing my clothes from yesterday out of the hamper and my Walther P22 from the dresser, I quickly changed and combed out my black hair. My blonde roots were starting to show. I had to either dye it again, or do something to make it look good while I grew it out. I liked myself better with black hair, but it represented a part of me that I’d rather forget.
Six months ago I tried to kill Jared because I discovered he was the Were that changed me. No, not tried. Did. I threw the silver knife and delivered a mortal wound that only Damian could fix. I despised myself for letting my hatred go as far as to hurt the man I loved. I felt guilty whenever I saw the scar over his heart.
Jared still slept when I left the bedroom and headed toward a little known emergency exit. I cautiously exited the club, relieved to find no bad guys around. The only person outside was Nyesha, an ebony-skinned witch that sold her sweet grass baskets near the entrance of Malevolent Dead.
“Sarah, is everything okay?” She knew damn well I lived here and could easily exit the club from the front door.
I shrugged. “Don’t know yet. We’ll see.”
“And you’ll tell me, right?”
That woman just loved her gossip. “If it’s mine to tell.”
She nodded, her head dropping back down to the basket in her lap. With patrons coming in and out of Malevolent Dead until the early morning, Nyesha made a killing on our corner. The chilly Charleston air sent shivers up my spine, and I wished that I had thought about throwing on a jacket. I walked around the corner to the main door of the club.
From the outside, Malevolent Dead didn’t look like much. There wasn’t even a sign out front, just tinted windows and a heavy bass pounding from the inside. Humans who came here to dance slowly left as I walked through the coffin encased foyer and upstairs. I heard them grumbling about it closing early. I didn’t blame them. Most nights, Malevolent Dead stayed open until 5am.
I crossed the dance floor and opened the door marked, “Employees Only.” Everyone in the room looked up as I entered.
Damian leaned against the wall, his arms crossed over his bare chest. He wore a pair of dark-washed jeans tucked into black leather boots. A Celtic knot necklace hung around his neck. When his eyes caught sight of me, he smiled and held out a hand.
“Phaedra, my love. Look who’s come to visit us.”
I was careful not to let my confusion show as I took his hand. He guided me into his arms. I looked up into his plum colored eyes, waiting for some kind of explanation.
He said nothing. Instead Damian turned me to face his guests. A man sat on the couch across from us, backed by five Necrovamps. Icky, disgusting Necrovamps. They were the product of a vampire transformation gone wrong. Their bodies slowly rotted, exposing muscle and bone. Gore leaked from them, creating a kind of snail trail on the ground behind them. The worst part of all were their fangs. Super long, the Necrovamps couldn’t even close their mouths because of them. They were mindless killers and took orders from only one type of creature.
“Marcellus, you remember my wife.”
The man in the chair nodded. “Of course. How could I forget such beauty? But as I heard it, she died.”
Damian laughed. “Does she look dead to you?”
Marcellus shook his head. “Not at all. How is it that she’s still alive?”
“I changed her.”
Marcellus laughed. “I can hear her heart beat, old friend. I’d say she’s human, but she reeks of Were.”
I huffed. There was something important about Marcellus thinking that Damian’s wife still lived. I decided to just go with it and hoped to God that Damian explained it to me later. “Shows what little you know, Marcellus.” I turned to Damian. “How much longer will you be, baby? I’m ready to go home and the bed is so cold without you.”
I stood on tiptoe to place a light kiss on his lips. Damian smiled as he rubbed noses with me, his hand sliding down to cup my ass.
“Not much, my pet. Marcellus was just about to tell me the reason for his visit.”
Marcellus grinned. “I know you killed the Skyner twins, Damian. Only a fool would believe the lies floating around. Only a fool would believe that two Weres from that dreadful corporation did the deed. You know that it’s against our laws to kill another vampire. I’m here for that reason.”
Our laws? I took a deep breath through my nose and finally picked up the scent I hadn’t noticed earlier; vampire. Marcellus wasn’t only a necromancer, but he was a vampire to boot. This didn’t bode well.
Damien’s voice turned to ice. “Excuse me?”
Marcellus stood and slowly walked over to us. “Since you murdered the twins, I’ve been sent here to be the new lord of Charleston. Your position is forfeit.” He drew a sword out of a sheath on his back. “As is your life.”
Damian laughed. I felt his power flowing out, wrapping itself around Marcellus. Damian’s hand cupping my ass moved up and unholstered my Walther P22. He held the gun up, aiming at Marcellus’s face. The gun wasn’t loaded with wooden rounds, but the shot would still hurt Marcellus. It would slow him down enough for Damian to get the upper hand.
“You are no longer welcome here, old friend. Leave and take your rotting scum with you.”
Marcellus hissed as he backed away. I narrowed my eyes as they left, realizing something important. Marcellus had no intention of killing Damian today. He wanted to draw it out. After all, it wasn’t every day that a vampire was allowed to kill one of their own.
Damian sagged against the wall once they left, dropping my gun onto the polished marble floor. “Dammit,” he growled as he raked a hand through his ebony hair.
I sat in the chair Marcellus had just vacated, waiting for Damian to collect himself. “What the hell?” I asked when he finally did. I didn’t need to go further than that. Damian could read my mind like a book. He knew everything I felt curious about. Damian shook his head.
“Not here. I don’t trust it.” He stood up and walked over to a large black door that led away from the club. I stood and followed him, hoping he wasn’t going to keep me in the dark about all of this. I mean, he was the one that dragged me into this.
“I’m not,” Damian said. “We’re going to my study to speak about this.”
Damian’s study was a small room with a bookcase and desk tucked in the corner. A large decorative curtain hung on the wall, and I assumed it covered a window.
The moment we entered Damian’s study I tore into him. “What’s going on? I thought you were safe? Why is Marcellus after you? How can he be both a necromancer and a vampire? And who the hell is Phaedra? And why did he think I was her?”
Damian sighed. “I hope this will answer your last question.” Damian walked over to the far left wall and pulled the decorative curtain aside.