Today I have the pleasure of chatting with Frankie “SM” Blooding, Author of The Demon Talker Series. Frankie writes for The Little Things Publishing. The first installment of her Demon Talker Series – DEMONS ARE JACKASSES, will be released on October 1st.
Here’s a brief synopsis;
St. Francisville used to be a quiet place. Until three bodies turn up dead with spells carved into their skin. Someone in Louisiana is ritualistically killing people to capture the attention of Detective Paige Ansley.
Dexx, a snarky yet incredibly sexy demon hunter, invites himself along for the chase. He knows she’s the demon talker, even if she doesn’t remember it, and he knows what kind of trouble that means. Especially since she has no idea how to control her gift.
The killer is after a demon’s soul, and who better to get that for him than a broken demon talker? In order for Paige to save herself, banish the murderer, and save Dexx, she must decide if she’s willing to give up the one thing that can hold everything together. And bring the quiet back to St. Francisville.
Hi, Frankie. Tell us about yourself and what drove you to write in the first place?
My last year in middle school, I met my first bosom friend. We latched onto each other like crazy. We were kindred spirits, but when I had to move away, and we did that a lot growing up, our friendship drifted. We were close because of proximity and need, I think. So, I created a character of her and started writing stories about her and all of her lovely, lovely horses.
What writer or writers inspire you?
Originally, it was Johanna Lindsey. I loooooooved her! And then I read her first book, and it didn’t meet my minimum expectations of her writing. I said, “Dear, if she could write a sucky book and succeed, so can you.” And I set out to write my ONE sucky book. I wrote…more than one of those. LOL!
When you finish a book, what effect does the completed work have on you? Is it relief, or is it a subject and theme that lingers on your mind?
First, there’s a feeling of euphoria. Like, typing that whole last paragraph, there’s triumphant music inside my head. And then the last sentence, I slow waaaaaaayyyyy down to savor the moment, and the last period always comes with a flourish. Sometimes, the euphoria can last a couple of days, sometimes a few months. And then I get this “Oh crap” moment where I realize that I forgot to tie up this ONE loose end and then I worry about all the other loose ends that this crazy brain of mine forgot and then…I stop.
And go to the next story.
The characters linger in my mind. I like people. I like connecting with people, talking to them, listening to them. My characters are my way of telling the stories of the people who can’t or don’t feel they need to. I meet some of the neatest, loveliest people and I like to share that. I’ve also met some people who are totally not neat or lovely, but is it because in that one moment, they were ugly, or because they were ugly and in that one moment, they were lovely?
I’m sure finished products affect each writer differently. Considering that, do you sometimes find an element in your last book something you may want to expand upon in the next volume, or in another title?
If it’s a series, yes. And *scuffs toes* most of my books are series because I lack the ability to just write one book *eye roll*. On the extreme rare occasion I’ve been able to write one book, it was a fight to keep it self-contained. “Don’t look for a thread. You’re writing this book and putting it down and you’re not picking it back up again.” *whimper, whine* “Okay, you big bully.”
Yeah. Usually, I do and it’s usually a character arc. The plot is fun. It lends entertainment, but I write stories about people. And I LOVE my supporting casts! Gad-ZOOKS!
Here’s something I struggle with. Maybe your answer to my next question can help writers who share this particular concern. When you write a story, what values do you adhere to? And if you adhere to any, do you sometimes want to break out and be chaotic? (E.G., not a happy ending?)
The only one I really adhere to is “Capture the real story. Don’t just write scenes because they’re fun.”
When I capture the story, I’ll break grammar rules – in a huge, big way sometimes. BUT! *like there* I try to do that rarely so that the reader gets a better, deeper understanding of the truly important scenes, portions, or moments.
I want the reader to feel what’s in the scene, to see it, to BE in it. If I did my job right, it should be an experience, not just a book.
How about characters? What method do you use to come up with character names and origins?
Uh, oh man! Wow. That is a loaded question.
Well, I have an arsenal of characters that I lug around with the hope that someday I’ll be brilliant enough to come up with a story for this character worth telling. And then usually, I just write it!
However! Sometimes, I find myself sticking a character into a plot line and the character – let me restate that – my perception of the character isn’t very deep. I’ve tried lists. Interviews. Lots and lots of questions. *shakes head* I’m visual and kinetic when it comes to this, which means I have to see them in action and commit the feel of their actions to memory.
That can go one of two ways. I can pick real people to model them after, or I can model them after TV characters. One has the possibility of landing me in jail or seriously in debt, while the latter is fairly safe. I doubt Spike is going to read my book and say, “Listen, love, that is totally me and I’m a total @$$ in this book and I don’t appreciate being put off in that light. I’m suing you *finger shoved in my face* for all you’ve got.” He’d probably read it, look at me, sarcasm dripping from his tone as he’s leaning against the wall and go, “Love, do you really think I’m that lame? I’m hurt.”
*biting lip and shaking head* Not to say that I used Spike anywhere in any of my books. But if I did, he’d approve of being an oobervillain cast as an oobervillain and would only complain if he wasn’t oobervillain enough. Whereas people might look at a character and say, “Hey, that’s me. Do you honestly think I sound like that?!” And there would be the suing and the friend and family gatherings and the dirty looks and the whispers and the snubbing. *shakes head* No. No-no.
So I have story boards with pictures of the actor who portrayed said character and there’s no mapping, outlining, questioning, analyzing, anything. I do, however, go to dinner and invite them along for conversation and I do talk to them ALL the time. It’s important, however, that if you do this, you make sure to keep the non-verbal expressions to yourself OR bring a pad and pen so it looks like you’re just…eclectically brilliant.
Okay, let’s talk about ‘Demons Are Jackasses. Having read it myself, I think quite highly of it, as you well know. Tell us where the idea came from and how it all came together for you.
When I started this book, I was a mouse. I’d allowed myself to be beaten. So I turned to Paige. I said, “Now, Paige, I’m going to break you into a million pieces, and you and I are going to figure out how to A.) put yourself back together and B.) how to stand up for yourself.” To which she gave me the finger and attempted to run very quickly, and while there’s a very wide expanse inside this brain pan of mine, there is an invariable limit – the skull. So I was able to catch her and then…well, beat her up.
I figured that if she could stand up for herself, I could. It’s been a fantastic process. I saved some money on therapy, which, you know, as a writer, that’s a GOOD thing. And I think I have a story worth telling and worth reading.
Is Rachel, who was the catalyst to Paige’s downfall, a real person?
No. Originally, Rachel’s character was an archangel, and it worked for the short term, but didn’t work for the long term. I tried to make the archangel into Paige’s husband, but I’d already killed him off in a car crash before her daughter was even born. So, who else has the right to take a child for safety reasons? *sigh* The list is small.
You should be paying attention to Sven. He has a crush on Paige, in a creepy, “Frankie almost married a vampire” kind of way, only…grosser. *scared chuckle*
When writing Demons Are Jackasses, did you just sit down and churn out the words or did you work from an outline?
This was back when I wrote all my books off of outline. And I would get very cranky with my characters if they did something off-outline. However, that changed through the revisions. Now, I find it’s nice to let the characters do a little of the work for me.
So, what’s the perfect writing environment for you?
Unless it’s a crazy scene with lots of people, then total and complete noise.
Or if I’m trying to write a particular character, then it’s that person’s music. Paige is country and a little new age. Dexx is hard rock – the OLD stuff. The younger characters drive me a little batty cause they like music that drives me nuts. Lady Gaga? Seriously?
Although, really, I can write anywhere – UNLESS I’m also expected to converse. I cannot talk and write at the same time.
Is anything in your book based upon real life experiences or is it purely imagination?
The emotion is based off of real life. The people are fictitious. The plot elements are all make-believe. The only real truth is Paige’s loss of her child and how that affected her.
What has been the toughest criticism directed toward you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Toughest criticism? Hmmm…There was a person who read it and said that Paige was “high maintenance”. O_o I took another look at it and decided that Paige is decidedly single. If she wants to drive to the coffee shop to pay for a toffee nut, extra shot, soy, no foam, extra hot latte, she can…and does, and then takes it home to enjoy it in a bubble bath. But the bath is a rare treat.
I love to hear when people read the book and love the characters or were taken away or “lived the moment” with my characters. I pat myself on the back and say, “Awesome, try not screwing this up in the next book. Okey-dokey?”
How about that first call from TLT? What was your response?
*long pause* “Come again?”
Randi: “Um, do I have the right Frankie?”
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Everyone hates hearing this, but it is SO true! Keep writing. Keep trying. The writing world is changing drastically. Change with it. It’s moving in our direction. This is a good thing.
And, it’s okay to write crap. Just don’t try to publish it when it’s still crap.
What’s next for you?
All kinds of stuff. I have the second book in this series into the editors right now. *keep your fingers crossed* I have to finish book 3 – which reminds me. I should see when I need to have that done…Yeah. And I have a few previously published books that I’m going to dust off and get back out there through me, myself and I. And I have a couple of other books in different genres that I’m working to complete and try to get out there. I love sharing my stories with the world.
Finally, tell us about relationship building, as it pertains to marketing in this new era of e-publishing. For example, the importance of peer reviews and reader reviews, as well.
OMG! When I sit down to “write”, I spend most of my time doing this. I spend most of my time reading – everyone’s Tweets and Facebook posts, blog posts, articles, interviews, reviews, etc. I have to admit that I’m not really good on replying to people.
I’m an introvert.
I get tickled beyond belief when others talk to me. So! I’m going to try and do a better job of talking to others. LOL! We’ll see how that goes.
However, I have to find a happy medium because for awhile, the only thing I was doing was social networking and I got zero writing done. Ouch.
In this new era, tho, everything is dependent on what other people are saying about you, and what they think about you, and it’s very important not to blow up on Twitter. Sorry! To my Twitter followers: HOW many wires are in a four-wire dimmable ballast? As soon as the Blogging world and the Tweeting world and the Facebooking world and the Goodreads world stop talking about you, is when people stop caring about your books. People don’t meet face to face anymore. We don’t get into RealWorld scrapes (watching hippies shower in the car wash). We’re afraid to talk to people at the grocery store because they might be a stalker.
We meet here, in CyberWorld. And we’re still social creatures. We still just want to be friends with everyone and be liked.
Thanks for chatting with me, Frankie.