Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Over the Moon with Jenn Bennett

Hey all-

I’m really excited to welcome debut Jenn Bennett to my Blog. Her debut novel KINDLING THE MOON is the bomb. Not kidding, I got to read this last year and it is a very different twist on Urban Fantasy. Here is a little blurb about it...

Meet Arcadia Bell: bartender, renegade magician, fugitive from the law. . . .

Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn’t easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia “Cady” Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she’s carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge.

But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires. Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can’t clear her family name soon, she’ll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time.

Sounds awesome doesn't it? It is! Go get it now.

Hey Jenn, thanks for coming round, especially since the tables get turned this time. You see I am so lucky to have Jenn as my blog editor. She gets to read all the stories first, and make them readable for you guys. She does a fantastic job, and is a pretty damn awesome person too. So lets just get started shall we?

How did the original idea come about?

JB: First I'd just like to say how cool it is to be interviewed after Bono! But seriously, thank you for having me, and everyone should know how much I adore you and all of your incredible stories. I remember when I first started following you on Twitter, I had no idea about your past lives or your multi-talented nature. I just thought you were
an awesome jewelry maker (and I still wear the badass necklace I bought from you, just for the record). You are probably the coolest bookseller on the planet—you know that, right?

Ok I swear I didn't pay her to say that! Hugs to you, my dear and backatcha...(blushes )

JB: But to answer your question, almost two years ago, I was watching some random TV show about serial killers. I wondered what it would be like to have a serial killer in your family. Talk about the ultimate black sheep, right? So, in KINDLING THE MOON, I decided to place my protagonist, Arcadia Bell, in a similar dicey situation. Arcadia's parents were accused of killing several leaders of rival occult organizations. Even though Arcadia knows that they're innocent, it doesn't matter—the evidence points to them. They've also been the subject of countless true crime shows on TV, and have had books written about them, etc. So in the public's eye, they are killers. Pretty grim stuff, but I think it's a unique premise for a urban fantasy novel.

How many books are you planning on in the series?

JB: I'm contracted for two, with an option for more. I've planned out a total of four to complete a major story arc, and I'd love to write a young adult spin-off from Jupe's point of view, a teenage character in the series (and my personal favorite character).

Ohhh yes... that would be a great perspective.. Do eeeeet!

Tiki Bars? Are you a fan of the Tiki Bar?

JB: Absolutely. Writing a tiki bar into Arcadia's world was definitely a "write what you know" thing for me. Tiki culture, for those who may be unaware, was a phenomenon that bloomed in the US from the 1930s-60s. My husband and I are huge midcentury aficionados, and lovers of all things tiki. We've collected over a hundred tiki mugs, many of them rare or vintage, along with a lot of other miscellaneous things (like a carved Moai from the now-defunct Trader Vic's in Beverly Hills, which was open for 50 years). If it's tiki, we collect it: swizzle sticks, drink menus, puffer fish lamps, sculptures. We used to have a small tiki bar in our house, and have plans to build a bigger one in the basement in the near future.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so what is your playlist like?

JB: I write in complete silence. I'm talking pin-drop quiet—I can't stand to hear a TV in another room. Music is a huge part of my life, don't get me wrong. My tastes are wildly eclectic (I like everything from The Shins to The Damned to Thin Lizzy to jazz and opera). My love for music definitely spills over into my fiction, but only if it works for the character. Arcadia wears an Iron Maiden T-shirt, which is the best metal band in the world, natch. Lon listens to a lot of classic rock, and in Book 2 we find out that he was into Black Sabbath when he was a teenager. His son, Jupe, who is monster-movie fan and a comic book geek, likes 80s music and Funkadelic.

Dogs or Cats?

JB: Cat lovers who read KINDLING THE MOON might be upset to learn that Arcadia has a small issue with cats. But she has her reasons, and there's a humorous showdown between Arcadia, a fat cat, and an imp. She owns a pet pygmy hedgehog named Mr. Piggy, and Lon and Jupe have a black lab named Foxglove. Personally, I've had cats as pets in the past, and my favorite thing about them is that they couldn't care less if you leave them alone in the house for hours. As long as they have food, water, and clean litter, they are totally cool. Independence is a good thing. Dogs, on the other hand, will die inside if you leave them alone for too long. They need companionship. This is a blessing and a curse. My husband and I own two purebred pugs. They are like children, and require constant attention and care. They are also enormous pains in the ass. No joke, I have seriously wept in frustration because I couldn't handle them. WEPT. But at the end of the day, they give you so much unconditional love that it erases all the bad behavior. That's a long-winded way of saying that I'm a dog lover, by the way—a dog lover who appreciates the independent nature of cats!

If you could sit down to dinner with 5 historical figures living or
dead who would they be?

JB: Oh! I like this question. Let's see . . . this doesn't have to be one big dinner party, right? Because I'd love to have an afternoon alone in the 1930s with Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller. (I'm waggling my eyebrows in a lusty manner, just for the record; we could totally skip dinner.) I'd also like an afternoon alone with Franklin D. Roosevelt. I recently visited the FDR museum in Georgia, and my sister-in-law and I were remarking how surprisingly hot he was when he was younger. (I think my classy comment was, "Yeah, I'd hit that.") For my fourth person, I'd choose Ella Fitzgerald, who is a huge, huge idol of mine. I adore many classic jazz vocalists like Nina Simone and Billie Holiday, but no one compares to Ella, in my opinion. Sheer brilliance. I can't even imagine how incredible it would be to hear her sing live, so I'd like that to happen in my time-machine fantasy. And I suppose that leaves me with one more historical figure, so I'll choose Vincent Price. He was an accomplished cook, so I'd definitely like him to cook me dinner. And because I can't keep my head out of the gutter, I'd totally hit that as well.

What's next for Jennifer?

JB: Book 2 in the Arcadia Bell series, SUMMONING THE NIGHT, comes out April 2012. I just finished a young adult paranormal that my agent is reading, and I'm about to begin writing another young adult (a supernatural thriller/horror title). Later this summer, I hope to start writing an adult paranormal romance. I'm ambitiously (read: stupidly) giving myself two years to hit the New York Times bestseller list. So two years from now, you can interview me again and we'll see if I managed that. If I fail, I'll totally buy you dinner . . . we can put up a cardboard standee of Vincent Price at the head of the table.

Thanks for coming by! Love you, love the book!

I am so excited for this book guys! Seriously! It's so different, gritty, funny, and it doesn't go over the top with taking itself too seriously. It moves fast and is one hell of a ride. Get this one NOW!! You can find Jenn at the following places....

1 comment:

  1. So I guess I get to sit in the car during all of this cavorting about with historical figures.


    Story of my life.

    Fine, then. While you're off galavanting with Anais and Henry, I'm gonna pop off for a few rounds with W.C., and maybe meander over to Louise Brooks' place. Or Clara's.