Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Author interview & giveaway! (plus learn your vampire name)

*UPDATE: Time's up! I'll notify the winner and post it later today!*

I'm thrilled to present an author interview with Chloe Neill, whose book SOME GIRLS BITE is making me a fan of vampire books. Chloe is super nice and a fellow Southerner (though she lives in the midwest now). She's got a sequel out in October and the first book in a new series out next year (anybody else a little bit jealous?!).

Read on to learn about her books, her passionate love of Diet Coke, how she landed her fab book deal and where she was when she got The Call.

...Oh, and did I mention a giveaway? Details on how to score a free copy of SOME GIRLS BITE and a "I Heart Cadogan" sticker at the end. (Also, you'll discover your very own vampire name. Mine is Angelique Coleridge, a.k.a. "Aradia of the Flesh." It's sexy...yet creepy. Yeah, baby, yeah.)

On with the interview!

ACV: You’re a Southern girl. What’s your favorite Southern food and why?
CN: How much time do you have?? I have lots, but I'll pick my top three--cornbread, fried okra, purple hull peas (I've never seen these above the Mason Dixon line, but they are delicious!). And, of course, a big glass of sweet tea.

ACV: Mmm, fried okra and sweet tea... *shakes self out of foodie reverie* OK, back to business! Tell us about SOME GIRLS BITE, in a nutshell.
CN: In SOME GIRLS BITE, our heroine, Merit, is faced with a life-changing proposition: She's been made a vampire and kicked out of her graduate program at the University of Chicago. She has to figure out a way to survive within the new (vampire) world order, and under the thumb of Master vampire Ethan Sullivan, who is a little too pretentious--and delicious--for his own good. The story takes place in contemporary Chicago, complete with Wrigley Field, Hyde Park, and fabulous hot dogs. What more could you ask for? :)

ACV: Not much--I love Chicago! And judging from blog gossip, I’m not the only one who LOVES the idea of Vampire houses. How did you come up with it?
CN: Thanks, Anna Claire! Everybody likes to have a "team" to root for (Go Cats!). I wanted to give Merit a "team," an organization behind which she could throw all her energies, but which also came with a set of pre-established rules and regulations and law. It's a profound adjustment, and not always a smooth one for Merit.

ACV: What can you tell us about your sequel, FRIDAY NIGHT BITES, and the first book in your new series, FIRESPELL?
CN: FRIDAY NIGHT BITES picks up about two weeks after SOME GIRLS BITE leaves off. Merit's had a month or so to adjust to being a vampire, and she's finally finding her footing. But just as she begins to figure out the rules and regs--and realizes that avoiding Ethan is a pretty good way of dealing with him--Ethan has a new plan. He wants to send her back to her chic-chic roots, complete with ballgowns, charity galas and weird appetizers. To add insult to injury, Merit has decided that it's time to move into Cadogan House. Add in a threat against Chicago's vampires from a mysterious source and the possibility of some awful publicity, and Merit has her hands full. (Again.)
FIRESPELL is the first book in my new young adult series, Dark Elite, and will be published in January 2010. In FIRESPELL, we meet 16 year-old Lily Parker, who's been sent from her home in upstate New York to St. Sophia's School for Girls, a snooty private school in downtown Chicago. As she's exploring her new surroundings, she realizes that there are strange things afoot . . . and things lurking in the dark. Magic abounds, and Lily might have more in common with the magical than she knows . . .

ACV: For whatever reason, I haven’t read many vampire novels, but the first chapter of SOME GIRLS BITE had me hooked. What is it about vampires, or about your main character Merit, that really made you want to tell her story?
CN: I've often thought that SOME GIRLS BITE is one of the least "traditional" vampire books out there. Merit is an average 28 year old who gets thrown into a completely bizarre situation. Who hasn't been there before? Thrown into a new town, new job, new boss, new friends, and you have to figure out a way to adapt to completely new surroundings. I think this part of Merit's adventure is something we can all relate to. And, although there's definitely an adjustment, she tries to deal with sarcasm and good humor, which I very much appreciate. (I am a very smart-mouth southern girl. Just ask my mother.)

ACV: We're dying to know: what was your path to publication like?
CN: I started writing in 2005, wrote the first book in a paranormal romance series that was a bit odd (non-traditional topic), and then got the idea for Merit's books (mainly in the form of a mental image of Ethan--not the worst thing to wake up to in the morning). I wrote and edited the book for about 12 months, then sent it off to one publisher. That was Penguin, and they bought books 1 and 2 in January 2008. I didn't yet have an agent, but I sent a couple of inquiries after I signed the contract. I got one "no, thanks," and one "heck, yes," from the agent who was my first choice. I consider myself to have been incredibly lucky to reach publication so quickly.

ACV: Tell us about getting The Call. What was that like?
CN: I don't remember much about my phone call with the agent, but I will always remember The Call from my editor. I was in Kate's Paperie in Manhattan, perusing gorgeous notebooks and such. My editor called, which I was expecting, believing that we'd chat about my dropping by her office to say hello, as I was in NYC on other business. But, in a completely shocking turn of events, she made the offer on the phone. I was absolutely ecstatic. One of the best moments of my life, hands down.

ACV: I read somewhere that you used to hate writing. What changed and when?
CN: That's a great question, and I'm not really sure. I think, largely, that I lost the *fear* of it. I went to grad school, then had a couple of jobs (and a little more grad school) in which writing absorbed the majority of my time. I got used to doing it, to putting sentences together and editing them down. That practice was absolutely invaluable. That's not to say there aren't moments now where the fear comes back. Finishing FIRESPELL was a challenge--lots of concerns of the "Will this be good as the first thing/last thing I wrote" variety. But with four complete manuscripts under my belt, I've reached one conclusion--no matter how good or bad the sentence/paragraph/conversation/scene is, get it out on the page. You can fix it later and, yes, you will figure out how. For now, just get the manuscript done.

ACV: You also run the author inspiration blog, {Write What You See}. Where do you look for writing inspiration?
CN: So much can inspire me--a funny phrase, pithy comment, evocative image, a song, the weather. I'm a very visual person, so images are particularly inspiring. I try to clip them, draw them, write them so that I can evoke that same imagery on the page later on. So much of writing novels is, I think, giving a "movie" to readers (albeit in written form). Giving them the tools, including the setting and scene description, to build the movie set in their minds. I'm mixing metaphors there, but you get the idea. :)

ACV: Best piece of writing advice?
CN: See above re: "Get the manuscript done." Seriously. It's hard, and some days it feels downright impossible, but you can absolutely do it. It's your personal marathon. Take it one mile (or 500 words) at a time.

ACV: Best piece of getting-published advice?
CN: I'm not sure if this will work for everyone, but it worked for me: Target your submissions. Think about what you've written and how it fits into the genre over all. (i.e., Male heroine? Female heroine? Contemporary setting? Historical setting? Dark mood? Light mood?). Instead of blanketing publishers and agents in the field (i.e., ALL fantasy pubs/agents), pick a couple that publish/agent the kind of books you've written. A publisher of dark, gothic fantasy may not appreciate your charming, Christopher Moore-esque romp. But someone else might. Find that someone, and start there.

ACV: What’s one surprising, weird or otherwise unusual thing about you?
CN: Hmm. Lots to choose from here. :) I'll offer two: First, I love Diet Coke, but I'm a Diet Coke snob. Fountain Diet Coke from McDonalds is *the best* of the best. Second, I imagine myself to be a fabulous singer. Which is why I never do karaoke (or any other activity that involves singing in front of other people), as I have no desire to discover that I'm actually a horrible singer. The fantasy is perfectly fine for me. :)

ACV: I'm with you there; I love singing in the car, but not so much in front of others. Ok, if you had a vampire name what would it be?
CN: I'm pretty fond of Merit. :) But my vampire generator name is Anne Green, aka "Madame of Gypsies." Thanks, Anna Claire, for having me today and good luck to the contest entrants!!

Thanks, Chloe! Now, to enter to win the free copy of SOME GIRLS BITE, visit The Vampire Name Generator, plug in your name and then leave a comment here with your new vampire name and an e-mail where I can contact you for your mailing address. Or you can leave your own vampire name if you've already got one :) Contest is open until midnight Sunday, June 7, CST (or is that technically Monday midnight? Ok, I mean the midnight that happens Sunday night...). I'll announce the winner Monday morning, June 8, and contact him/her then. Good luck!


Lilibeth Ramos said...

Persephone Choiseul
Nemesis of The Howling Wolves
Hot of blood and running wild with the hungry wolves.
Lilibeth Ramos

Anonymous said...

Hi, Anna Claire! What a great interview :) SGB is a great book, and I'm so glad Chloe shared some details about Friday Night Bites!

It appears my vampire name is Sorceress of The Orient (AKA: Death of The Tormented
A soul in torment and tumult - hell of their own making!). I sound scary!

Thanks much for a great post :)
-Sorceress of the Orient ;)

delitealex said...

Great interview. I can't wait to read some girls bite.

vamp name Guinivere Ruthven
Semirais of blood
thirsty unstoppable and vicious

Eliz S. said...

Can't wait for Some Girls Bite!

my vamp name is...
Princess of Moldovia

also known as...
Lodemai of The Beltane Feasts

One of ritual and pleasure- presiding over the gluttonous feasts of the wickedest night of the year.

Joyce Wolfley said...

Giselle Shakespeare

Cerridwen of The Steely Moon
A child of the Moon Goddess - Cold, determined, but of the light in the night.

Joyce Wolfley said...

forgot to leave my email.

WindyA said...

Tsarina of All Russia
a.k.a. Lioness of the Gibbet Crossroads
Shudder! Shudder! Fear what you cannot know!

Wow, way more intense than I expected.

Indigo said...

That was actually cool!

My vampire name is:
Claudia Choiseul

Know as:
Demon of Maramures

The Great Archives Record:
Born of Blue blood, drinks only from the bluest throats. Imagines itself sophisticated.

Thanks for the opportunity! Indigo


Becky aka StinkyLemsky said...

Hmm, my name is very unique!
Iolanthe Vigée-Lebrun
Known in some parts of the world as:
Leto of The Nosferat

Something about "Nosferat" makes me giggle. :)

Email is rma910{at}gmail{dot}com

Jessica said...

I am the Empress of Moldovia
aka Haunt of the Highway Thieves

The Great Archives Record: Takes more than gold from the rich on the highway-takes blood too.

Looking forward to FNB! Loved SGB!

Sara said...

The Great Archives determine you to have gone by the identity:
Poppy Keat
Known in some parts of the world as:
Mother of The Tormented
The Great Archives Record:
A soul in torment and tumult - hell of their own making!

Very interesting...

Anyway, SGB looks awesome and I can't wait to read it!

Sara M
silentalibis AT yahoo DOT com

Chloe Neill said...

Hmmm. What exactly is a "gibbet crossroad"? :)

Anonymous said...

Great Interview.I can't wait to read SGB & FNB and Firespell.I'd love to win a copy.
thank you

My Vampire Name:
The Great Archives determine you to have gone by the identity:
Agnes Black
Known in some parts of the world as:
Bitch of The Beltane Feasts
The Great Archives Record:
One of ritual and pleasure - presiding over the gluttonous feasts of the wickedest night of the year.


Anonymous said...

Vampire Name:Rani of Moldovia
Known is some parts of the world as: Haunt of The Storm Riders

Real Name:Kristianna S.

Crimogenic said...

The books sounds interesting. I haven't really been into vampires books still I was a kid, but sounds like a good time to get back into them.

my name:

Maharaja of The Ghastly
Known in some parts of the world as:
Scourge of The Cursed

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Love the interviw. I hadn't known too much about the book before but I really want to read it even more now. I love vampire books and this one sounds unique and fun.

My name:

Enid Drown
Known in some parts of the world as:
Scourge of The Howling Wolves
The Great Archives Record:
Hot of blood and running wild with the hungry wolves.

Hmm....very interesting! LOL

lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

donnas said...

Sounds like a great book. Cant wait to read it.

My vampire name is:

The Great Archives determine you to have gone by the identity:
Guinevere Beau Pre
Known in some parts of the world as:
Lodemai of The Underworld
The Great Archives Record:
Of the world below, creeping amongst the catacombs and sewers of the city.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Kate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate said...

I haven't read the book, but I find the Vampire genre intriguing.

Vampire Name: Rosalind Beau Pre
AKA: Lodemai of Sewer Rats (that is quite unfortunate)
Great Archives Record: This one sinks low and is prosperous. Breeding many times out!

Jacqueline C said...

The Great Archives determine you to have gone by the identity:
Empress of The Arctic

Known in some parts of the world as:
Minerva of The Steely Moon

The Great Archives Record:
A child of the Moon Goddess - Cold, determined, but of the light in the night.

Great contest!

Kiersten said...

Ah, dang, can't resist. My name is Rani of The Far East, also known as Cerridwen of Sewer Rats.

Odd, if I were a vamp, I think rats would be the last thing I'd be worrying about.

Elizabeth McKenzie said...

Princess of Scandanavia
Known in some parts of the world as:
Leto of The Beltane Feasts

I like it.

Brandon said...

Lord of The Ghastly
Known in some parts of the world as:
Gawain of Slaves In Chains

I cant wait to read about some of the history between Bell And Sullivan. I have to believe there is quite a story there.

writtenwyrdd said...

Whoa! I find I'm "Lana Fey, Succubus of Blood" who is "thirsty, unstoppable and vicious."

*taps fingers* Now, who's been giving my secrets away? That's just a little too close to the truth there, you know? Especially that "thirsty and vicious" bit.

RachaelfromNJ said...

The Great Archives determine you to have gone by the identity:
Musette Spenser

Known in some parts of the world as:
Concubine of Austria

The Great Archives Record:
This one returned to revenge the death of its children. Stay away, it is vicious.

Gwen said...

Cressidea Oleander

Succubus of the Ghast

Can't wait for the book!


Kimberly B. said...

Great interview and a fun contest! Here's my vampire name:

Rosalind du Coudray

Known in some parts of the world as:
Venus of The Storm Riders

The Great Archives Record:
The Riders come with the rain clouds, you will hear the thunder of their hooves in the sky.
beax0002 (at) umn (dot) edu

Anonymous said...

LOVE THE BOOK! It's awesome. A great new addition to the genre!
My Vamp name is Aurora Spenser; known in some parts of the world as Aphrodite of Winged Harbingers and have a third sight for foretelling doom and disaster. That's helpful.
Valerie DesRoches

LadyVampire2u said...

My results:

The Great Archives determine you to have gone by the identity: Angelique Papillon
Known in some parts of the world as: Hero of Wallachia
The Great Archives Record: Died and rose again in the name of eternal love.

Love it!


Anonymous said...

The Great Archives determine you to have gone by the identity:
Marion le Boursier

Known in some parts of the world as:
Lioness of Gypsies

The Great Archives Record:
A traveller of travellers, of good humour but dangerous.

I like Marion le Boursier as a name, funny my vampire name is French since i AM French

Great interview =)


Ashley said...

You've got me wanting to read this book now, Anna Claire, so great job with the interview!

I have a question, though, and I'm not sure if you can answer it or not.

I've done research on this sorta thing and most publishers claim they will never accept unsolicited queries, only if said queries are submitted through a literary agent. So my question is not only for Chloe, I guess, but for any author who's landed a book deal by sending his/her MS straight to the publisher.

How did they do it???