Friday, October 22, 2010

Interview with Chris Marie Green

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Chris Marie Green. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called The Path of Razors, Vampire Babylon, Book Five. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Yes, thank you! This release is actually a mass market reissue of the trade edition, which has already been on the shelves. Ace, my publishing imprint, is re-releasing all my Vampire Babylon books in anticipation of a new series I’ll have out in 2011. It’s a “post-apocalyptic western urban fantasy” series called Bloodlands, and it’ll be released during three consecutive months: August, September, and October. As for the Vampire Babylon books, they’re straight urban fantasy, with a vampire hunting team taking down bloodsucker undergrounds in Hollywood and London during the course of two different trilogies.

The Path of Razors is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

The second Vampire Babylon trilogy—the London trilogy—has deep fairy tale themes and imagery running through it. There’s some big bad wolf and wicked stepmother stuff going on, as well as a lot of references to Red Riding Hood. This particular book focuses on the consequences of straying from the “good path,” or the path you should be traveling in life, but everyone from the main heroine, Dawn Madison, to the teen girl vampires make choices that lead them off of those paths and far into dangerous territory. In some versions of Red Riding Hood, the heroine has the choice of traveling either the path of needles or the path of pins—The Path of Razors is where my characters chose to go….

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’ve always been fascinated with vampires in general. I grew up a horror movie and book lover, so it was only natural that I ended up here. : ) Urban fantasy encompasses everything I love to read—horror, action/adventure, some romance, and twisty noir.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

Since I use trilogies to tell Dawn Madison’s story, The Path of Razors is an extension of the initial book in the trilogy, A Drop of Red. It’s The Empire Strikes Back of the trilogy, LOL. The London adventure ends with Deep in the Woods, Book Six.

My vamp hunting team had already dealt with those Hollywood vampires in the first trilogy, so it was time for them to move on to another underground. At the same time, Dawn is facing the fallout from being a vampire hunter. Can you imagine what it would be like to be a normal person who’s thrust into that kind of life? Of course, she’s not so normal now—especially not after what happened to her in the previous book, Break of Dawn. That title is very literal, because Dawn is still on the edge, fighting for her sanity and soul in London.

What are your favorite paranormal research books or sites, and why?

I love the Vampire Encyclopedia. It’s fascinating and makes for some fun, informative reading. I’ve also read about Vlad the Impaler from various sources—he plays a part in the formation of these vampire undergrounds that Dawn and her team fight. This sounds odd, but I actually do more research out of the paranormal arena for these books, since it’s important to ground the stories in reality. For instance, I traveled to London so I could get inspiration for certain scenes, block them out, and record all the sensory details I could manage. What a job, huh? ; )

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I love Dawn—I think in a lot of ways, she’s my dark twin. Kiko, her psychic associate, is always a lot of fun; I hear him talking to me when I write his scenes, LOL. In this particular trilogy, though, I very much identified with the point-of-view teen vampire, Della. She brought back all the pain of growing up, but Della is the worst-case scenario of teen angst. She became a vampire because it helped her to belong in school and because an older man made her a lot of promises—of love, of being appreciated… Too bad that man was a master vampire who made all those promises to a lot of other girls, as well.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and/or world affect your character development?

I do have character interview questions that I like to think about before I start writing chapters. Basic things like how they grew up, what their fears are (and you can bet those fears always come true during the course of the trilogies), what their high school yearbooks said about them. With these Vampire Babylon books, though, I find that character development and plot go hand in hand—they both affect each other. I love that, because I think that’s an organic way for things to develop.

How do you go about building your world if you use one? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?

My most important world-building tool is the story bible. It’s so important to keep track of details, such as what the vampires are capable of, etc. I build the world off of that, and it helps me to keep everything straight in my mind!

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I devoured Stephen King’s short stories in middle school, and they taught me a lot about planting details in a story. I was also addicted to V.C. Andrews, as well as John Saul. And I love romance, especially Maggie Osborne. Donna Tartt’s The Secret History is a big favorite of mine, too—I re-read that book every so often because it’s that fabulous.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I think having web sites are crucial. I write under two pen names—Chris Marie Green and Crystal Green. One is for urban fantasy, one is for romance (Silhouette Special Edition, Harlequin Blaze). Each name is a different brand because there are certain expectations for each kind of story. Romance has to have that emotionally satisfying ending, whereas urban fantasy can be darker. I want readers to know what they can expect from each name.

What do we have to look forward next?

There’s the Bloodlands series later in 2011 (and I’m on Twitter and Facebook under Chris Marie Green if you want updates!). I’ll have a new Special Edition out under the Crystal Green name in January, but in March, there’ll be a new Vampire Babylon short story in an anthology called Those Who Fight Monsters.

Thanks, Chris!

Thank you!

To celebrate her book release, Chris is offering a free book of A Drop of Red, Vampire Babylon, Book Four, to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Chris Marie Green is the author of the urban fantasy Vampire Babylon and Bloodlands series from Ace Books. Until about five years ago, Chris was an eighth-grade teacher, but she became a full-time author who has published over thirty-five books under this name as well as the pseudonym Crystal Green.

Check out author’s website at www.chrismariegreen.com and http://www.crystal-green.com/.

Buy http://www.mystgalaxy.com/search/apachesolr_search/chris+marie+green.

14 comments:

Kim Watters said...

Good morning Chris. Thanks for joining us today. Your book sounds intriguing and I love the blend of Urban Fantasy, Vampires and fairy tales. Sounds like an updated, more contemporary Brother's Grimm. Since you write in two completely different genres with your Harlequin releases, how do you keep yourself straight? Enjoy your day.

Linda Andrews said...

Great interview Chris!

Your new books series sound great as do the Urban Fantasy series.

Are there other creatures besides vampires in the London series and will there be in the new Wild West series?

Crystal Green's Blog said...

Hi, Kim--thank *you* so much!
Since the stories I write are so diverse, it's pretty easy to keep things straight. I guess you could say I even have a different attitude when I'm writing different genres. When I'm writing a book, I totally immerse myself in that world; it's a little like method acting and really living a role.
: )

I have one thing about the blog that I messed up, you all--the mass market version of PATH OF RAZORS is out in late November, but A DROP OF RED is out now in mass market, along with the first three books in the series. *All* of them are out in trade format though! So sorry for the confusion.

Thank you, Linda! The London series concentrates on vampires...but the vampires are pretty different than your traditional ones. : ) The Bloodlands series will feature *many* different creatures as the stories develop. It was fun to go out of the "vampire range."

I appreciate the questions and interest--keep them coming!

Siobhan said...

Lovely interview! I'm a longtime fan of Vampire Babylon and I'm definitely considering buying the Bloodlands series now.

I have a question about names; how do you come up with your names? Do you take them from books, people you know or do you just come up with them as you're writing?

Thanks in advance! And I hope to read more books by you in the future.

Crystal Green's Blog said...

Hey, Siobhan! Thank you so much! Hope you enjoy BLOODLANDS, too. :) As for the names...it varies. I named Dawn Madison after one of my best friends (I do tend to use my friends' names, but I don't tell them. I leave them to discover that themselves, LOL. I also slip a STAR WARS reference into every book, just for an inside joke for those who know how geeky I am.). "Kiko" just came to me fully formed, with a name, a motormouth, and a personality. I'd heard the name "Breisi" while I was teaching, and I knew I had to use it.

Basically, I try to "vibe" the names with the characters. "Frank" had a good blue-collar feel to it. "Eva Claremont" just sounded so "movie star-ish."

In BLOODLANDS, you'll meet the heroine, "Mariah" (and her name is very purposeful--it rhymes with "pariah."). The hero is "Gabriel" because I wanted something mythical for him.

Great questions, you all! Keep 'em going. : )

KristyJo said...

Hi Chris, I find it interesting to read how authors manage their characters, stories and muses. I personally couldn't do it, so it is awesome there are authors like you that do.
What exactly is the story line for Badlands? Is it a para-normal western or something similiar? I am sure your readers,along with myself, would love to hear more about this new series of yours. Keep the books coming :-)

Crystal Green's Blog said...

Hey, KristyJo! Thanks!
I call BLOODLANDS "a paranormal SHANE meets MAD MAX." That's to say it's a western post-apocalyptic urban fantasy. I haven't seen or read PRIEST yet, but it's probably in a similar vein. So fun to write!

The basic storyline involves a stranger who arrives in a place called the New Badlands. He's looking for the whereabouts of his lover, and he's heard that she was seen here. He's been badly wounded, and one of the community members finds him and takes him in. That's when stuff hits the fan.
: )

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

Oh, gosh, I just saw who today's guest was -- Chris, if you're still reading messages, here's a big hello from Phoenix. It's such fun to see you here!

Crystal Green's Blog said...

Laurie, I miss you! Hope all is well. : )

Crystal Green's Blog said...

Laurie, I miss you! Hope all is well. : )

catslady said...

This is definitely a new to me type book but it sounds very exciting. Are your books stand alones or do you definitely have to read them in order?

Crystal Green's Blog said...

catslady, hi! Like the Harry Potter books, these are mythology-based, so they're best when read in order. NIGHT RISING is the first one. : )

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

Chris, it's so cool seeing you're still responding to comments...and yet it's not a surprise at all; you're still every bit as nice as I remember you in the early days!

Crystal Green's Blog said...

Aw, thank you Laurie!

And congrats to KristyJo, the winner! It was fantastic to chat with you all. Thank you so much for participating. : )