Blog hopping: four questions for the writer, Jennifer Stevenson

demon_angel_2Today I’m blog hopping off Katharine Eliska Kimbriel’s witty and thoughtful LJ blog hop post, and sending you on to a couple of other fine authors who will answer all these questions, each in their own way.

1) What am I working on?

I’ve been slowly finishing edits for a fourth Slacker Demons novel, but since I extended the deadline on it, I’ve fallen victim to a common problem authors face: suddenly a new book looks soooo much more attractive. At the end of that last Slackers novel is a wedding (yay weddings!) and at the wedding are some crashers: the demon who was once my heroes’ supervisor in the second circle of hell (fornicators &c, you know) and with the supervisor has come his team of…

…Coed Demon Sluts.

What about that for a series title? I am instantly in love. I want to write this series so hard, so much more than I want to fix this last Slackers book! Emergency chocolate! Emergency wine! What to do?

The short answer is, write the damn thing really fast and then get back to the job at hand.

I started experimenting on several of the sluts, and finally one caught fire, and I can’t stop writing about her! Meet Melitta Grove, humiliatingly named after a coffee filter. She’s eighteen. Three years ago her mother remarried to a psychiatrist who immediately began molesting Melitta. Since then he’s backed off…a little…but Melitta is struggling to stay in high school and go off to college like a good girl. Emotionally she is living on the ragged edge. Her self esteem is in the toilet. She’s fat, short, friendless, and the butt of rampant school bullying that her mother (the high school guidance counselor) ignores. Melitta is ripe, in other words, to be recruited to the Sluts team.

Delilah recruits Melitta and immediately grants her demand for a three inches taller, thirty pounds lighter body. Oh, and clear skin. And a great paycheck, and slut training, and a room at the Lair, and awesome shoes. She will take several months to get seven more inches and lose thirty more pounds. Because although Melitta is tempted to go for it all at once, she wanst to finish high school first. You can tell her priorities are a little screwy…for a sex demon.

The coed demon sluts think her priorities aren’t in line with theirs, either, but they’d rather help Melitta straighten her life out than bring her onto the team when she isn’t ready. Especially when they find out Delilah recruited her. Delilah doesn’t really work for hell. Nobody really knows who her boss is.

The sluts figure that Melitta, like so many of them, is working off the payroll.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis book is writing itself. I’m so tickled!

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write what I like to call gonzo futurism for girls, which is a small but growing field of  humorous sexy paranormal romance, or sometimes sexy funny romantic fantasy. Mine differs in that a) I don’t write corpses, so, no vampires, no cursed or consecrated edge weapons, no ichor; b) mine are raunchier but not necessarily sexier; c) I add more plot than you find in romance but more sex and relationship stuff than you get in fantasy; c) if there is organization among the paranormal or fantastical beings in my stories, it is a messy, decaying, incomplete, and hopelessly ineffective form of organization, as opposed to my sister-authors’ gonzo futurist universes, in which the vampires and witches observe a strict hierarchy, and everybody seems to have a Peterson’s Field Guide to demons, faeries, and werebeasts in their back pocket for instant taxonomic identification.

In my Regional Office down below (organizationally very similar to the Home Office up above), for example, they don’t hustle souls any more because the human resources department has determined that full time regular employees are too expensive. Everyone is an independent contractor now. The pay is slightly higher, the benefits are significantly lower; and if anything goes wrong, the office cuts you loose without a backward glance. Never heard of you, and the tape self-destructs in seconds. This is lucky for my slackers and demon sluts, who always seem to end up serving Love anyway, rather than looking up or down for inspiration.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Don’t know any better, I guess. I can’t seem to write anything else. It’s sad. I like to read all kinds of things, but when I open up the ol’ word processor, out comes this silly stuff.

4) How does my writing process work?

Old TelephonePoorly. Let’s say I get a brilliant idea. If it’s really salesy-sounding, like Slacker Demons, I collage it. That can delay the writing part for two whole years. Eventually I develop hero characters, then rough plot outlines, then heroine characters. Then I draft a scene or two to get a feel for the voice. Then I make a finer-tuned outline, using 3×5 notecards or something primitive like that. Then I write 50 pages, discover that I’ve phoned in the heroine, swear a lot, rip her out, do a better job characterizing the heroine, rewrite the outline and redraft the first 50 pages, and resume forward writing progress. Rinse. Repeat.

The sluts don’t seem to be having the same “phoned-in heroine” problem. Probably because the whole series is focused on the women, on what goes on inside them, how they got into this mess, and how they’re going to grow their way out of it. I love them to bits.

Next up in this blog hop:

Madeleine Robins writes alternate-history-Regency-noir with a soupçon of romance; science fiction as it occurs to her; straight historical fiction; and urban fantasy.  She drives her editors crazy.

Phyllis Irene Radford writes, edits, complains and dances.

Katharine Kerr is a crazed Californian baseball fan who also writes novels.



Blog hopping: four questions for the writer, Jennifer Stevenson — 1 Comment