Saturday, November 2, 2013

Interview with Yelena Casale and Tina Moss

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

TINA: It all started one day after a particularly tough karate training. I was lamenting over not being able to sell my children’s books. Yelena mentioned that she’d written in college, but nothing since. We both wanted to attempt something new. I had this idea about a paranormal creature that had been in my mind for years and I always wanted to try to write adult books. I decided to just tell Yelena about it. Lo and behold, she didn’t think I was crazy and loved the idea. So, off we went.

What inspired you to write this book?

YELENA: I always had an interest in angelic mythology, so when I heard Tina’s idea I knew I wanted to write it with her. But, we wanted to do something different and not geared toward any traditional mythos about angels and demons.

Please tell us about your latest release.

YELENA: A Touch of Darkness centers on Cassie and her major problem. She’s got paralyzing headaches and hands that glow purple at random. Nothing she’s tried has worked and she’s frightened that she’s losing her mind. Enter Gabe, our mystery man, with an agenda of his own and things quickly descend into chaos.

TINA: We like to say it is Buffy meets the Devil’s Advocate, but we have demons instead of vampires, casino tycoons instead of lawyers, and a tricky bunch of angels that don’t play by the rules. 

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?

TINA: We loved figuring out the character names and playing on the –el ending from angelic mythology. Each character has a short, humanized version of their name, then a longer more paranormal name. Each is mentioned as the book goes along.

Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?

TINA: Dan was definitely the tough one to write for me. You have to hit the right note of pure evil, but still give his actions rationale in his own mind.

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?


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?

TINA: Oh yes. We use a character template that includes their personality traits and a mini interview for each character. It helps us write in their voices.

YELENA: We also love to search the internet for potential ideas of what our characters look like.

What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

YELENA: Cassie meeting with a character named Rafe was definitely fun to write. Actually, just about every scene with Rafe could be one of my favorites.

TINA: For me, it’s a scene between Gabe and Albert. They’re walking through New York City and it’s the first time that Gabe really takes a look around and sees the world for what it is.

What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?

TINA: I’m writing an NA novel now that takes place on a Montana animal sanctuary. I’ve been to animal sanctuaries before, in fact Yelena and I took a trip to a wolf sanctuary last summer, but seeing the Montana landscape would be amazing.

YELENA: When we got the idea for A Touch of Darkness, I walked the streets in NYC that Cassie would take between her home and job and wrote down everything I noticed on the way.

The beginning of the Urban Fantasy I’m writing now takes place in Kiev, my hometown in Ukraine. I haven’t been back there in 22 years, so I’m desribing places there partly from memory and partly through research I’m doing online about how the city looks today.

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?

TINA: A Touch of Darkness can stand alone. Ideally, it would be a four book series, but we’ve started and stopped the second book twice. So, we’re letting readers dictate our path. If they want more, we’ll be ready to give them more.

YELENA: Yes. We’re happy to let readers jump in and enjoy wherever they’d like. For future books in the series, we hope to give enough backstory to help readers transition or start where they prefer.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it

YELENA: I do suffer from writer’s block once in a while. When I do, I read a lot, both books on the writing craft and books in my genre to remind myself what I love about writing. Sometimes just changing my daily routine or getting out into nature helps me get through the block.

Do you write in different genres?

YELENA: Currently, I only write urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Eventually, I would love to also get into the historical fiction genre. On occasion, I also write flash fiction.
TINA: Yes. Too many is the short answer. But, I started with picture books, then short horror stories. When I moved to adult novels, I gravitated right away toward urban fantasy and paranormal romance. My next book has a big suspense part to it, so we’ve been calling it paranormal romantic suspense. The newest NA project, however, is contemporary romance.

Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?

TINA: No. I like the challenge of discovering the nuances of different genres. I just have to stop writing so many at the same time. J

Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?

YELENA: Besides writing and my day job, I have a job teaching Shotokan karate women’s program at my dojo. Martial arts have always been a passion. Other great passions include history, art and reading. I love to travel with my hubby and learn languages.

TINA: Yelena and I both love Shotokan karate and our friendship started in the dojo. I’m not currently practicing, but I’ll always be a martial artist. In my spare time I love to read, watch cheese horror movies, spend time with family and friends, and take walks with the hubs and our corgi, Chuck.

What can readers expect next from you?

TINA: Hopefully, the next book in the Key series from us. Then, I’ve got the paranormal romantic suspense, Code Black, with the agents, the NA contemporary romance in the works, and too many projects to name. But, all the details for upcoming works are on my website.

YELENA: Besides the next project together with Tina, I’m working on two urban fantasies and a couple of short stories.

Where can readers find you on the web?


Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

Sure! Cassie and Gabe have been thrown together by fate. After a series of utterly chaotic events, they end up in Sin City itself...Las Vegas. Cassie’s ready to have a bit of alone time and Gabe is about as fed up as can be, so it creates a delicious tension between the two. Hope you enjoy!

By the time they entered Vegas, Cassie’s head swam. She had to get away for a while, to think on her own. But being alone in a hotel room just didn’t seem like a good option. She chose not to mention that to Gabe.

Inside the city limits, Gabe drove like he’d been to Vegas numerous times, though Cassie suspected that was impossible. They never hit the strip but instead veered toward a string of small motels behind it. She could see the bright lights of the strip illuminating the evening sky, whereas these backstreets flooded the area with darkness. The occasional neon light would announce a No Tell motel, a grimy casino, or a seedy strip club. 

Gabe drove much slower now, obviously trying to choose the right place. He at last turned into the tiny parking lot of an ominous looking building. It sat two stories high. Most of the windows were black behind crass green curtains. A midnight blue sign, half-lit by the light from the street lamp, pronounced the motel’s name as “Desert Breeze”. Cassie tried to hide her distaste by covering her face with her hands and faking a sneeze.

They entered the cramped lobby. It possessed one central desk and a couple of uninviting armchairs. A heavyset man in his mid-forties sat behind the desk. A thick hand covered his yawn as they approached. Stains covered his shirt, appearing to be the same green hue as the motel rooms’ curtains.

“Can I help you?” He sounded as bored as he looked.

“We’d like a room, please,” Gabe said.

“By hour or day?”

Gabe’s gaze shot to her with a hint of amusement in them. “We’ll be staying for a couple of days,” he said, turning back to the man.

“Cash or credit?”

“Cash.” Gabe reached into the inside pocket of his coat and took out a wallet. Rifling through it, he placed four twenties on the counter.

Cassie wondered, not for the first time, where he would get money. He never seemed to have a shortage of it. Another question she put on her mental checklist of unanswered mysteries.

“Room seven. Up the stairs and down the hall.”

As soon as they entered the room with their bags, Gabe went through it, looking in all corners. He peered out the window, nodded to himself as if in approval to his own thought, and closed the curtains. Cassie watched him, crossing her arms over her chest and letting her weight sag to one foot.

“I’m going now,” Gabe said, returning to the door, where she stood. “Lock the door behind me, and don’t let anyone in. Do you understand?” He waited for her to nod, before he continued, “Don’t open the curtains. Unpack and rest. I’ll be back when I’m done with business.”

“Yes, master,” Cassie said and bowed in mock obedience.

“Cassie, this isn’t a joke.” Gabe’s fists tightened at his sides.

“You just don’t have a sense of humor,” Cassie muttered as she moved further inside the room and put her bag on the lone bed.

Gabe looked at her for a long minute. “You can be a very irritating woman,” he said. And, as if an afterthought, “Keep your cell phone near.” He closed the door and disappeared.
Cassie exhaled. She didn’t know if it was out of relief or not. One thing was for certain, she did not intend to stay in this room. “If he needs me, he can call my cell.” Nodding at her approval of the plan, she rummaged through her suitcase. A shiny material at the bottom caught her eye. “Danger be damned. I want a distraction. I need a distraction.” Donning an outfit she would never have considered before her life turned upside down, she winked into the mirror. “And this is the city of ultimate distractions.”

Half an hour after Gabe left, Cassie called for a cab. 

Tina's bio: Tina Moss is an author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, romantic suspense, and New Adult novels. She lives in NYC with a supportive husband and alpha corgi, though both males hog the bed and refuse to share the covers. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching cheesy horror flicks, traveling, and karate. As a 5'1" Shotokan black belt, she firmly believes that fierce things come in small packages.

Yelena's bio: Yelena Casale is an Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance author. When she is not writing, she loves to read, watch TV with her husband (and without), take long walks and cuddle with her cat Bones. She is a second degree black belt/Shotokan karate instructor, and archaeology, history & art enthusiast.

Tina's contact info:

1 comment:

YelenaC said...

Thanks for having us here today! :)