Today’s Writer Wednesday guest is New York Times bestselling author, RITA nominee, and energetic lady of many talents — Angie Fox. She writes about biker witches, demon slayers and things that go bump in the night.
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How did you come up with the idea for the Monster MASH series?
I wanted to write something different. Plus, I love writing books that are not only about the hero and heroine, but also about the community where they live. A quirky, paranormal M*A*S*H unit sounded really interesting, and fun to write. The hero is a demi-god special ops soldier and the heroine is a surgeon who saves him (in more ways than one).
The MASH series definitely has your trademark humor. How natural is it for you to write “funny”? Is it ever a challenge to rein it in for the more serious parts?
One of the challenges – and the great joys – of writing this latest series was balancing the humor with the stark tragedy of war. Petra and her colleagues at the MASH 3063rd have been drafted until the end of the war, which is bad for Petra but even worse for people like her vampire roommate, Marius. They’re living in this quirky, ad-hock camp, trying to make the best of it while they work long hours in the OR, putting soldiers back together – knowing that they’re probably going to see them again and again – if they’re lucky.
The underlying tragedy brings the oddball personalities in the camp together. They develop ways to keep their sanity and to create the kind of relationships that offer a port in the storm. That’s where a lot of the humor comes from.
Can you go a bit more into the mythology of this world you’ve created – for instance, Petra can’t reveal to the gods that she speaks to the dead. Can you share other rules you’ve designed strictly for this world?
Yes, Petra has the ability to see the dead and to speak with them. It’s a tough ability for a doctor. She can see all too clearly what happens to the patients she loses. The soldiers she does save, she has to send back to the front lines.
Her ability has been outlawed by the gods, simply because they don’t think a mortal should have that kind of power. And the gods have a thing for strange and horrific punishments. They won’t just kill you for disobeying a law. They get all mythological. It’s like a divine version of The Godfather. Petra knows that the gods will damn her for eternity if she’s discovered. After all, these are the people that have, in the past; turned women into spiders, fastened “friends” to burning wheels for eternity; tied one of their own to some far-flung rock so he could have his liver pecked out by an eagle until the end of time. Of course she’s going to have to expose her secret if she wants to help end the war.
Where does your proclivity towards writing supernatural novels come from? Is that what you choose to write/read in your spare time? If so, what are some of your favorite novels and/or writers in this genre?
I’ve always loved paranormals. In fact, I remember discovering them back in college. In my sophomore year, there were six of us, living in this tiny place, and my roommates started talking about Interview with the Vampire. They were shocked I’d never heard of it and, like the enablers they were, they managed to put together Ann Rice’s entire vampire series, which they stacked next to my bed the next day. I picked up the first book and wow. I was always a good student, but I skipped class for the next week and read the series straight through.
Ironically, when I decided to actually try and write a book of my own, I completely ignored my love of paranormals. Because, you know, that makes sense. I decided to write mystery/suspense with lots of science and research involved. I’d outline, I’d write pages and pages of character notes, I’d force myself to do those little note cards. And I hate note cards. In retrospect, I was fighting my voice. When I was about ready to go insane, I’d sneak off and read Kerrelyn Sparks, Lynsay Sands and Katie MacAlister, just to catch a break.
It took a while for it to click and for me to realize that hmm…maybe I should write the kind of books I love to read. I had this spark of an idea about a preschool teacher who is forced to run off with a gang of geriatric biker witches and The Accidental Demon Slayer was born. Instead of a 20-page plot outline, I had a 5-page list of ideas, one of which included “but little did they know, all the Shoney’s are run by werewolves.” Instead of following the rules, I broke a few. Instead of painstakingly writing over the course of a year, I grinned my way through the book and had a complete manuscript in five months.
The opening chapters did well in contests and caught the eye of Leah Hultenschmidt, who asked to see the whole thing. Leah bought the book less than a week after I finished it. And I didn’t write one single note card. Oh, and by the way, The Accidental Demon Slayer is up for free right now on Amazon, Nook, Kobo and Apple iBooks.
How many books are you planning for the MASH series?
This is a trilogy and all of the books are out now. Immortally Yours is the first. That one was nominated for an RWA RITA award. The second book is Immortally Embraced. The third and final book, Immortally Ever After, is in bookstores now.
What’s next for you, writing wise? If you have brief description(s) / titles / release dates you can share, I’m happy to include.
Sure. The fifth Accidental Demon Slayer book, My Big Fat Demon Slayer Wedding, came out a month or two ago. The final book in the MASH series, Immortally Ever After, released last week. And right now, I’m working on the (still untitled) sixth book in the Accidental Demon Slayer series, slated to release in early 2014.
Thanks for having me!
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