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....

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Writing on the wall

So, with U2 recently in Seattle once again, I must admit many stories
came to mind. Bono and I reminisced about some of the stupider things
we have done. Like getting arrested with Greenpeace. (Yes, they were
all fun.)

When I was in Dublin in the 80's, U2 was already pretty big (not like
now mind you, but huge enough) and the wall outside Windmill Lane was
a tourist destination. Many a pilgrim would scrawl, paint or doodle a
message to the lads. They painted over it once a year to make room for
others, but I can assure you that everyone read every year. I am
honestly not sure if it's still there; I forgot to ask when I saw

Anyway back to the story. One day while I was over there we were
watching a bunch of American students taking pictures in front of the
wall, giggling and posing. I thought it would be funny if we just
wandered out. In those days it was easier, and of course Bono was
game, The Edge too.

So we wandered around the corner . . . tapped the American students on
the shoulder and asked what all the fuss was about. It took them a
minute to comprehend, then the the squeeing started. Believe me, it
was the squee heard round the world. Pictures were taken. Then all
parties wandered away giggling.

The next day I returned to the Windmill Lane offices to work only to
find the boys outside surprising fans. It was pretty awesome. They
only did it a couple of times that day, then I think the buzz wore
off. The boys went back into the office, and everything went back to normal.
Still never know who you will meet at the Graffiti wall at Windmill lane.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Are you ready to be Hexed?

Once I read Kevin Hearne's fantastic book Hounded, it reawakened my love for Arizona and all deserts high and low.( I lived in Northern Arizona for a time)When connecting with Kevin on Twitter we compared notes on where to get the best coffee, ale and fish & chips. Now with Hexed out( book 2) Kevin has introduced us to more of the adventures of Atticus O'Sullivan. Luckily for me, as well as YOU, Kevin has introduced me to Atticus hisself, and he has agreed to do a interview with yours truly.
A little back story if you will allow, Atticus is a 2100 yr old Druid living in the body of a 21 year old man..yeah you heard me! He runs a metaphysical bookstore in Mesa, Arizona, and between drinking the occasional ale or shot of whiskey, he fights off just about everyone. Excitement or trouble is his middle name..

So Atticus thanks for stopping by~
It's my pleasure, Synde. Thanks for the beer.

So tell me, over the ages what Musicians have you really favored?
Well, quite recently I've been enamored with Rodrigo y Gabriela. Before that, there was an underground punk band in California in the 90s called Chewbacca's Sister that I used to dig. I was talking backstage with their drummer after one of their shows, his name was Wauuugh! or something like that, and he told me about this crazy cyberpunk band called Hiro Protagonist and the Nam-Shubs. They came on stage wearing swords and when the show was over they'd hack apart their instruments with them. But you're probably wondering about really old acts, right? I have to say Mozart was probably the best ever. He was a true genius and wanted to party all the time and get stupid because that was the only way he could stand to be around other people. They bored the shit out of him otherwise. He was the only guy who ever beat me at memory games. Before him, well, my own bias runs to individual bards, guys that history has forgotten because performers weren't the celebrities then that they are now. I could tell you their names, but what would be the point? They're unpronounceable to modern English tongues and the Internet doesn't accurately represent the fadas over the vowels anyway. But they still live on in me.

Why a metaphysical bookstore? What do you enjoy most about owning/running one?
It's a way for me to hide my own rare books in plain sight. At night, when everyone's gone, I sometimes take 'em out and pull a Gollum, muttering "Yesssss, Precious," and other terms of endearment. Besides that, I sort of feel it's my duty to give people somewhere to go if they're looking for something outside the mainstream. And people who are willing to think independently, well, those are the kinds of people I'd like to meet anyway, so the store gives me a way to do that.

What God/ Tuatha De Dannan is the biggest pain in the butt?
The universal answer to that, no matter who you ask, is probably going to be Thor. He's let that prophecy about Ragnarok go to his head; if he can only die at the fangs of the world serpent, then nothing else can touch him, and he can do whatever he pleases. I think Leif might have a legitimate beef with him.

It seems you are always getting "entangled" with witches, why?
Well, it might seem that way recently, but that hasn't always been the case. During those witch-hunting years, you know, they stayed out of everyone's hair and let the random burnings and dunkings take out their innocent neighbors. The only reason they're so bold now is because this age of science is so skeptical of their existence.

coffee or tea?
I'm a tea kind of fella. There are some interesting compounds in coffee, mind you, but I was a tea guy for seventeen centuries before I had my first cup of coffee.
cider or ale?
Ale, for sure. But there's a great compromise if you can't decide. In Arizona they call it a Snakebite. It's half Guinness and half cider. The Guinness sits on top and it looks like a potion.

So why Kevin, what made you tell your story to him?
Eh. He's an Irish guy who likes baseball and dogs and comic books, so why not? I met him down at Rula Bula and we got to talking, and I found out he knew how to spell and everything. It's not much more complicated than that.

What's next for Atticus and company..what do you have up your sleeves besides tattoos?
Well, I have an apprentice to train, and that's my number one priority. Granuaile is brilliant and I think she'll be a magnificent Druid if I can just make sure we both live that long.

Thanks so much for stopping by..we all really appreciate it..
say hi to Oberon for us..!
I will give him a belly rub on your behalf. I was grateful to receive your invitation, Synde. May harmony find you.

~You can purchase Hounded and Hexed at the following~
Barnes & Noble

and you can find Kevin here and Atticus here~
twitter- @Kevin Hearne