1. Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?
I’ve been a fan of all things paranormal since first reading fairy tales. I moved from Rapunzel and Snow White to The Haunting of Hill House, to of course, Dark Shadows. So of course, you can tell that the stories I create in my head all have a paranormal theme, from shapeshifters to witches to vampires and more.
- What inspired you to write this book?
The characters in this book have been living in my head for a long time. I’ve lived in a number of small towns, and been a news reporter in several of them. I quickly learned that there was the town the “average person” knew and then there was the real power. So I invented my own small town where instead of just a little politics and scandal, you never know if your neighbor is a werewolf, or a witch, or a vampire. The map of the town is loosely based on Evansville, IN, one of the favorite places I have lived. If you’ve ever been to Evansville, you might recognize some of the settings. The main characters live down the block from my old home. I won’t say exactly which street, but I did go to Google maps and picked out exactly which houses Ana and Leslie live in.
- Please tell us about your latest release.
The small town of Rivelou is hiding secrets, and they are about to claw their way to the surface.
Ana Dugan used to enjoy her nighttime walks through her quaint college town, but all of that changes when a handsome stranger rescues her from an attack. She’s not sure who she should be more afraid of the four legged beast who attacked her or the two legged one who saved her. She narrowly escapes, but soon learns that others weren’t so lucky. When another man enters her life claiming he’s there to protect her she’s not sure who she should trust, the wolf or the hunter.
- 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?
I have a few different techniques for choosing names. I have found a great website, fantasynamegenerator.com, which gives me ideas. I just cruise the site until I find a name that suits the particular character. Also, since several of my characters have a French background, I researched French names. Many of my characters also have names that have special meaning for me. “Fontaine,” for example, is the last name of a great-great-great grandmother, and Bertrand is a variation of my grandfather’s name, Bertram.
- What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?
As Ana crossed Roosevelt Avenue and headed into her own neighborhood, the streetlights ended and the sidewalk became lighted only by an occasional porch light or walk light. She loved walking home from her night classes at this time of the year. The air, while it could not yet be called crisp, had lost its summer sultriness, a welcome change from the blistering heat of a Midwest summer.
And these walks home after her night classes were one of the few times during her week when she could be truly alone. No bosses, no teachers, not even Sophie chattering away in her ear. She’d been a mom long enough not to feel guilty at enjoying a a little time alone without her child. Her thirteen-year-old daughter was the light of her life, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t enjoy a little time by herself, too.
As she headed down Harlan Street, farther from the more heavily trafficked avenue, the street became even darker. It was too soon for most of the leaves to have fallen, they were just beginning to turn red on this last week in September and they were so thick on the trees that they hid the full moon. Part of the charm of the old neighborhood was the beautiful, large old maples and oaks, but their roots also tore up the sidewalks. Ana tripped on one of those cracks, and shook her head in disgust. How could she always trip in the same spot, night after night? It wasn’t as if she hadn’t memorized the bad spots in the sidewalk after years of walking this way.
She smiled; only one more year of classes and, with luck, she wouldn’t be taking this same walk anymore. She would have her teaching degree, be able to quit her job as an admin at the university, and start a new life with her daughter, maybe somewhere else. She would enjoy teaching, preferably high school, but she’d take whatever grade she could get to start. Sophie would miss her friends; they would both miss their family. They’d come back a lot to visit. She was sure of that—her family, particularly her grandfather, would certainly insist on it. But it would be nice to start over. Of course, Jonathan, her ex, would probably object if she moved even to the next county. The one good thing she could say for the man was he always fulfilled his obligations to their daughter, even if it was only because he thought about running for political office someday and didn’t want to ruin his reputation with the other lawyers and judges in Rivelou.
She shook her head as if to change the direction her daydreams had taken her and sidestepped another large crack in the sidewalk. She wasn’t going to let thoughts of Jonathan ruin a lovely evening. Maybe after Sophie was in bed she’d have a chance to get outside again and enjoy the full moon and beautiful weather. She wouldn’t indulge herself in a run; she couldn’t leave Sophie alone, but some time out in her backyard to appreciate the full moon would be good.
She stopped and looked around, working to regain her pleasure in the evening, when she heard a low growl nearby.
A dog? No one on this block had a dog big enough to make that sort of sound. That growl had definitely come from something larger than Mrs. Ahearn’s yappy little Pomeranian. She began to walk more quickly. Only a half block until she turned onto Sycamore, then another half block until she arrived at her own home.
The growl came again. She tucked her purse more securely on her left shoulder, her computer bag on her right, and doubled her pace. There were no lights on at any of the houses on that part of the block, and of course, the moon took that moment to hide behind a cloud. She took a deep breath and tried to walk at a steady pace. She wouldn’t run, even though she could hear the animal behind her as she rounded the corner. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw her own porch light on, as well as that of her neighbors, Joe and Lindsey, who kept Sophie evenings when Ana had class. Only a few more steps to safety.
She was almost in front of her own door when she heard the rush of paws with nails clicking on the sidewalk. With a howl, the animal knocked her down.
- Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?
As I mentioned before, Rivelou, the town where my books take place, is a typical Midwestern small city…but when you scratch that ordinary surface something strange is going on. Many of the residents are leading a double life. Who is a werewolf? Who is a witch? Who knows the secrets that some very important people in town are keeping? In Rivelou, you never know just who…or what… you neighbor is.
- 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?
While all of the books stand alone, there are several recurring characters. You will find that people who are minor characters in The Patient Wolf become central in my second book, The Artificial Witch.
- Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?
Chocolate and Coca Cola. I have a firm believe that chocolate increases creativity. And Coca Cola, well, that’s my favorite form of caffeine.
9. Do you write in different genres?
I have written non-fiction for many years. I have published four books on the art of writing, publishing and marketing books.
10. What are your guilty pleasures in life?
I’ve already mentioned chocolate and Coca Cola. My third guilty pleasure is reading any type of romance, particularly paranormal romance.
11. What was the last amazing book you read?
As an editor and publisher I have the pleasure of reading great books before anyone else. Rise of the Red Harbinger by Khalid Uddin will be published on June 6. It’s a great traditional fantasy. It’s a first book by an unknown author and I’m so proud to be bringing it to the public. And yes, you can pre-order it on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Harbinger-Drowned-Realm-Book-ebook/dp/B01DZ63YPI/ref
12.Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?
Maybe I should list this with guilty pleasures. My favorite place to read is in bed. That’s why prefer my e-reader. I can read late at night and not wake up my husband.
13. What can readers expect next from you?
The second book in my series is titled The Artificial Witch. It features one of the minor characters in The Patient Wolf, Shannon Kelly. She’s a cop and a young widow. I liked her so much I decided she deserved her own story. I’ve completed the first chapter, and I hope to have it finished before the end of the year.
14.Where can readers find you on the web?
I’m all over the web! I can’t believe I have so many websites. My personal website is KarenHodgesMiller.com. But as a publisher, I have several other websites, OpenDoorPublications.com is where I talk about my editing, publishing and marketing services. CantPutItDownBooks.com is the site for my fiction imprint. It features lots of fun books and several authors who are starting to make names for themselves. And finally, there is WinterWritersWeekend.com, which is our annual bootcamp for authors.
You can find me on Facebook, and on Twitter at @Publisher_KHM.
15. Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
Here’s a little piece I like that won’t give too much away…
It had been a long time since Ana had been dropped at the door by a date. She felt awkward. Should she shake his hand? Give him a kiss on the cheek?
Apparently Chris had the same doubts. He laughed nervously. “How come I feel like a teenager leaving his date in front of her parents’ house, wondering if her dad is going to come out on the porch with a shotgun?”
“Well, Joe and Lindsey are a bit overprotective of me, as I said, but I don’t think you’re in any real danger,” she smiled.
“That’s good to know. Because I’ve been wanting to do this since yesterday.” He leaned in and touched his lips to hers in a soft, slow kiss, as if he had all the time in the world; as if Mrs. Andres wasn’t peeking out her curtain to see what was going on, as if Ana didn’t have a curious eighth grader and two over-protective friends waiting just on the other side of the door.
She let go of all those thoughts, enjoying the kiss, and let her body relax. Chris must have felt the change because he deepened the kiss as she gave in and just enjoyed it. Her body dissolved against him, every thought leaving her mind as she surrendered to sensation: He tasted like coffee and mints, he felt strong and solid, and he smelled delightfully of soap and, well, man. Her knees wouldn’t hold her and she leaned against him even more, so he had to catch her when the front door suddenly opened and Sophie’s voice called out, “Hi, Mom. I got an A on my algebra test today.”
“Sophie! Come inside! Give your mother a few minutes of privacy,” Lindsey’s voice rang out.
Chris backed away a step, still holding her waist as she got her balance.
“Well, now I really do feel like a teenager caught kissing his date. How come it is turns out to be just as embarrassing to be caught by the girl’s daughter as it is to be caught by her father?”
“And you have lots of experience with that?” Ana asked, laughing.
“A little bit.”
“You’ll have to tell me all about it on Saturday then.”
“I’m sure we can find something more interesting to talk about than my teenage romances. But right now I think you’d better go in. I see the curtains twitching. And I don’t think it is just Sophie watching.”
He gave her another quick kiss on the cheek and turned her toward the door. He watched as she walked up the steps and into Joe and Lindsey’s house, then turned away, humming to himself. He hadn’t expected to enjoy his time in Rivelou so much. Coming here had been an obligation to his sister more than any real belief he would find out something useful in this small town. It had been a few years since he’d had any romantic interests in his life.
Chris hadn’t, exactly, given up on romance, he had just not pursued it. Once women found out what he did they either ran from him, figuring he was a crackpot, or they were too interested because they were more than a little cracked themselves. He wasn’t interested in women who thought he was a real life ComicCon hero. What he did was serious business.
Yes, Ana Dugan had definitely sparked his interest with her combination of guts and insecurity. She covered up her sense of humor and wit. She’d been unappreciated for far too long, he thought.
As Chris walked away, his thoughts moving from Ana to his business in Rivelou and back again, he forgot to be vigilant. He didn’t notice a dark shape growled softly to itself in the bushes beside her house as it watched him with glowing eyes.
The Patient Wolf
Wicked Urban Fantasy
Karen Hodges Miller
Genre: paranormal romance
Publisher: Can’t Put it Down Books
Date of Publication: May 2, 2016
Number of pages: 160
Word Count: 42,225
Cover Artist: Genevieve Cosdon
The small town of Rivelou is hiding secrets, and they are about to claw their way to the surface.
Ana Dugan used to enjoy her nighttime walks through her quaint college town, but all of that changes when a handsome stranger rescues her from an attack. She’s not sure who she should be more afraid of the four legged beast who attacked her or the two legged one who saved her. She narrowly escapes, but soon learns that others weren’t so lucky.
When another man enters her life claiming he’s there to protect her she’s not sure who she should trust, the wolf or the hunter.
About the Author:
Karen Hodges Miller’s fascination with werewolves, vampires, witches, ghosts, and all things supernatural began with the childhood classics. She gobbled up everything from The Haunting of Hill House to the Narnia series, from Dracula to Rebecca. As a writer, however, she stuck to non-fiction; working as a newspaper and magazine reporter and editor and in 2004 opening her own publishing company.
She has written several books for authors on the subject of writing and publishing. The Patient Wolf is her first fiction novel and of course, it features a very sexy werewolf.