Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?
I consider myself a lover of all things outrageous, weird and entertaining. I’m also a sucker for romance. A good book should have all of those elements. Secondly, I’m happiest when I’m feeling intellectually stimulated or challenged physically. So that’s why, as a lifelong book lover of all genres, the heroines of this genre particularly appeal to me. They’re witty, tough and smart. I like the clash between an intelligent, independent woman and a man who’s transcendent to your average male physically but wars with an innate need to protect that is a bit atavistic in nature.
What is it about the paranormal, in particular werewolves, that fascinates you so much?
Their barely contained second side is what gets me. I like that they’re not just a little bit uncivilized. I like that they’re territorial. I love that they’re brooding. I believe that the canon of literature on werewolves typifies them as something that is appealing to women - dangerous and exciting, but also aggravating.
What inspired you to write this book?
I feel like a seed was planted in my head named Morganna Cork, and it took root and grew almost of its own nature. I’d catch my mind wandering to the characters and the story at the strangest of times. They became like real people to me over the course of many months. What finally inspired me to get it down on paper was watching a number of women in and outside of the entertainment world doing inspiring things.
Please tell us about your latest release.
To the Cliffside is the first Morganna Cork Novel. In this book, 24-year old Morganna moves to Northern California to work for her cousin Maeve. She is enveloped in a world of magic and intrigue as she realizes nearly every resident in town is a Magick - a person who has magical lineage of one sort or another. Morganna is a magical healer and is reeling when she finds out that she’s not the only one of her kind.
Then there’s Callupo Stone - the first person she meets in Puesta del Sol - their instantaneous chemistry and unwillingness to give an inch to the other makes for an interesting ride.
I’m currently writing the second novel - working title Over the Cliff’s Edge - which I’m working to release in early 2012.
Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?
Its a combination of a few things. Many of my characters have strong ethnic backgrounds so their names have a particular meaning in their native tongue which is aligned with their character. Some of the names are ancestral names from my family - Bond is one of those. Morganna’s name stems from one of the most famous mythological charactesr of all time - Morgan le Fay.
Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
Morganna was the most challenging to write about - capturing her complexity and making her a realistic character that one can like despite her imperfections was difficult.
Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
Callupo Stone. I sometimes don’t know what he’s going to do or say until I’ve written it. He’s so sexy that I can only write about him in short bursts!
Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?
I describe my writing style as marinating. I get an idea, a concept or a person in my head and it marinates like a roast until it’s done. I can’t write a single thing about it until I’ve thought about it while I’m jogging, riding in the car, biking, showering, you name it. By the time I get to the computer, I’ve developed this full character sketch that encompasses their physical characteristics and persona. They exist as a real person in my mind at that point in time. During this ‘marination’ process, I am inspired from things ranging from a woman in front of me at Starbucks to a magazine ad to a phone call I’ve had at work.
What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?
The scene is outside the local pub - Bar None. I like this scene because its the first time Morganna realizes that Callupo isn’t easily fooled or thwarted.
Anya and I high-tailed it out the door and into the parking lot. Had we known then what we knew now, we’d have fared the fight for sure.
Directly in front of where Niko had parked the car was a black pickup truck. The minute I recognized it, I took one step back and tried to re-route us.
I felt the familiar crackle of magic even before I had finished turning around. When I did it, was just as I had suspected. Callupo and Ralph stood there, arms folded, matching scowls and black t-shirts. Didn’t they know it was like forty degrees outside? And why was his upper body so jam-packed with muscle? This man incited a reaction from me that was damned frustrating.
“Going somewhere ladies?” Ralph asked softly.
“Bu-hic-sted.” Anya hiccupped out. I must have missed how drunk she was, which ruled out playing it cool.
With more confidence then I felt, I replied, “We were just getting the car started while our ride closed the tab, but thank you for asking.”
While supporting both my weight and Anya’s, I again reversed directions back to Niko’s car. It was like dragging a dead body.
That man had a way of moving like the wind, and I hadn’t even made it a full step before I was boxed up, my back pressed to the car. He inhaled deeply, taking my scent in. Apparently, it wasn’t to his liking.
His hands on my shoulders were like fire despite his inadequate attire and the cold night. He shook me softly as he pronounced each word, “I thought we made it clear that you girls weren’t to go out without letting one of us know first.”
For a split second I wondered what he would do if I just kissed him. I’m always thinking something bad or disruptive when he’s talking to me. He makes me act like a goon. “While your perspective on the matter was made perfectly clear, I don’t think mine was.” I made the mistake of glancing up and got caught in a state of momentary hypnosis. In the dark, his eyes took on an eerie glow.
“At this point in time I have not signed over my rights to anyone, so unless I’m breaking a law, I’m going to continue do as I please.”
“Up to and including throwing temper tantrums?” He finished just as quickly. “Do you think we asked to escort you to every destination because we’ve got nothing better to do than entertain you? You know better than that.”
His put down was as direct as it was biting. The worst position to be in a fight was wrong.
We stood deadlocked like that for what seemed like an eternity; over his shoulder I could see that Anya had given up any pretense that she could stand and was just passed out in Ralph’s arms. Lucky girl.
“I…” I began, but Niko cut in as he made his way across the parking lot. “They weren’t alone Cal, they were with me.” His shirt was ripped and his right eye was swelling shut. There was no sign of the three men he fought.
Callupo stiffened and dropped his hands from me like I’d sprouted lesions all over my skin.
“And a terrific job you’ve done of it. We found them out in the parking lot by themselves.” Ralph quipped. The look in his eyes as he alternated back and forth between Niko and me was pure disdain. Anya was like a sister to these two. Of course they were seething.
Niko didn’t answer, and just kept looking back at Callupo whose expression was a sufficient portrayal of his feeling.
Callupo yanked the keys from my hand and the force with which he hurled them to Niko was the only sign of temper. “I’m sure you can find your way home from here.”
Niko, without further regard to me, made his way to the car. Coward. Ralph climbed into the back with Anya and laid her gently across his lap. I was left with the prospect of walking home alone or getting into the car. Callupo slid into the driver seat and started the engine. Seeing my breath on the wind, it was an easy choice.
Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?
A wolf can smell an animal that has been gone from a spot for three days.
Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?
The nice thing about Puesta del Sol and The Cliffside Inn is that they are imaginary places in our existing world. The difference being that this town is filled with Magick residents. I liked writing about the Inn the most because it has a slew of secrets, of which I’ve only revealed a few.
With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?
This is the first book so I think it fairly necessary to read this before reading anything that comes out next.
Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?
Morganna has a temper and I certainly do, as well. Ralph eats a lot - and I’m a notorious lover of all types of foods and large quantities of them.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
Not really. I think about the story so much that by the time I’ve sat down to right it flows pretty naturally.
Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?
I cannot write if my closet is unorganized. My mind will think about that instead of the story so I need to fold and hang everything appropriately.
When did you consider yourself a writer?
When I sold the first copy of the book that a family member did not purchase.
What are your guilty pleasures in life?
Reading romance novels is highest on the list. Chocolate chip cookies, red wine, and reading US weekly are the others.
Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?
I love fashion, bicycling and traveling. In that order. I also love a terrific romantic comedy and I don’t think anything beats a live music show. The best concert I’ve been to this year was Florence + the Machine.
What was the last amazing book you read?
I just finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It was pretty amazing. In this genre, I recently finished the Downside Ghosts trilogy and that was wonderful, too.
What can readers expect next from you?
Over the Cliff’s Edge, book two of the Morganna Cork series.
Where can readers find you on the web?
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
The excerpt above I think tells it all!
Blurb for To the Cliffside
An encounter with her mother results in exile to the small coastal town of Puesta del Sol. There, she will be a guest and employee at the Cliffside Inn, owned by her estranged cousin Maeve. Morganna resigns herself to a winter of work and boredom in this one-horse town.
Everything changes when she accidentally pulls into the driveway of the devastatingly sexy Callupo Stone. Instantly she is attracted to the infuriating man who makes no bones about his lack of interest, even if he seems to be right behind her at every turn. The sparks fly as she does her best to thwart his every attempt to corral her.
She soon discovers that she’s not the only one with gifts. There is an entire community of people known as Magicks, each unique and powerful in their own right.
As Morganna undertakes a journey of self-discovery and determination, she befriends Anya, the spunky, sassy, sometimes employee of the Cliffside and bearer of town gossip. Together, they begin to unearth the mysteries surrounding the strange reappearance of a vindictive villain, on a quest for power, in which Morganna finds herself directly in the middle. Simultaneously, they witness the succession struggles of a secret society, in which Callupo and many of their close friends are members, whose existence and purpose eludes them.
Morganna undergoes a radical transformation of self as she becomes an unsuspecting participant in a Magickal war that has been thirty years in the making.