Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?
I write with a lot of humor and heat. I wanted to put my own stamp on a paranormal series, mixing mystery, romance, and quirky characters.
Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
I like all my characters. Even the villains. I try to make each character have their own idiosyncrasies. I love discovering what makes each character tick.
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 know my characters pretty well—their background and family dynamics—before I ever start the book. (They talk to me. A lot!) Then I flesh them out, using personality charts. That helps me get a deeper look into each character.
What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?
Here’s a little snippet of the relationship between my heroine, Holly, and Cade McAllister, a sorcerer who likes things his own way.
I sat back and affected a bored-to-death look. “First of all, a rule is not an instruction. It’s more of a guideline. Also, short and little are the same thing. You’re repeating yourself.”
He stalked to my chair and towering over me, growled. He honest to God growled at me. “Jasmine True called my office and threatened to file a complaint against you.”
I gasped. “Oh no! Not a complaint.”
As his chest rapidly rose and fell, his eyes turned glacial. Danger: Thin ice.
“Fine.” I held up my hands in surrender. “I won’t talk to Jasmine anymore.
Happy?” Besides, I didn’t think she had anything else to tell me.
It took a few seconds, but he visibly relaxed. His lips tilted up ever so slightly at the corners. That passed for a smile in McAllister’s world. “Good. You leave the detective work to me. You’re not cut out for it.”
I blinked. Twice. Did the sorcerer just talk down to me? “You’re kind of a dick, McAllister. And why shouldn’t I have a go at it? You haven’t exactly been successful in this investigation.”
Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?
This book took me to the underground tunnels of Tulsa. They began as a way to transport building materials when the oil barons commissioned art deco skyscrapers. Many of the tunnels are still in use today, but some of the doors have been sealed off for decades.
Do you write in different genres?
I write a humorous mystery series: The Rose Strickland series. I also write hot erotica: Beauty and the Brit series. I like to switch things up. It keeps it interesting for me, jumping from genre to genre.
Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?
No, I love it. When I get done with a first person mystery, I’m eager to switch over to a third person spicy romance. I like going back and forth, using more than one voice. It’s a challenge.
What are your guilty pleasures in life?
Reality TV. I know, I know, but I can’t help myself. I even contribute to a reality TV blog. My two passions—writing and Bravo—united! It’s heaven.
What was the last amazing book you read?
Kelley Armstrong’s Cainsville series. It is so good! I’m devouring it, one book at a time.
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
My small office was situated in a strip mall off Harvard, wedged between a day-old bread store and an insurance agency. I didn’t have a title on the door or a listed phone number. My clients found me by word of mouth. Mostly I took cases where I acted as a magical wet blanket, but sometimes Norms got mixed up in Others’ business, and I helped them out, too.
As I walked through the door, Sunny Carmichael peered at me through oval, black-framed glasses. She wore her brown hair in a low ponytail, her plain white blouse wouldn’t dare show a wrinkle, and I knew without question she had on a long, black skirt and flats beneath the desk. Sunny had the fashion sense of a Mormon missionary.
I glanced at my phone. “By six minutes.”
“Which is late. And save your breath. I’m not interested in excuses.”
“I wasn’t going to offer any.”
Sunny—who’s the opposite of everything her name implies—is a perfectionist, which is why I hired her. She’s a no-nonsense, efficient, office-running machine, who always makes sure the check clears. Although I’d be lost without her, I wouldn’t own up to that fact if you waterboarded me.
With her fingers flying over the keyboard, she nodded at my neck. “What’s with the scarf? It’s ninety-seven degrees, and with the heat index, it feels like one hundred and three.”
Leaning down, I tugged on the wool material and showed her my hickey.
“This is why.”
“I see teeth marks. Do you know how many germs are in the human mouth?”
“I got attacked by a newbie vamp.”
That shut her up for all of three seconds. “A vamp did this? Have you called Monty and reported it? This type of thing shouldn’t happen, even if you are a null. There are rules.”
Supposedly, vamps only tapped willing donors. Yeah, and the tooth fairy was a harmless little creature who left money under the pillows of small children. I’d met that bitch, and there’s no way I’d let her near innocent, defenseless kids.
“Monty’s aware. Before I forget, I have an assignment for you.”
“Am I in high school now? Unlike you, I have important work to do. Quarterlies are coming up in three weeks, you know.”
I didn’t know. I paid her so I wouldn’t have to. “Vane Aldridge. Find out who he is.”
She continued clacking on the keyboard. “You have an appointment at ten.”
“Cancel it. I’m taking a few days off. I just stopped by to check in.”
Staring at me with unblinking brown eyes, she finally stopped typing. “How do you think we’re going to pay the rent if you take a few days off? You didn’t clear this with me.”
“First of all, we’re not going to go broke in a few days’ time. Second, I don’t have to clear it with you because I’m the boss. Third”—I walked to the half-full coffee pot next to her desk and grabbed a mug—“I’m doing a job for the Council, and it’s not the type of thing I can blow off. So, deal.”
She rolled her shoulders. “How much are they paying? Don’t quote them a price. You always undercharge.”
I doctored my cup with sweetener and powdered creamer. “I’m not charging them anything.”
“I beg your pardon?” She spun in her chair and straightened her glasses a millimeter. “What do you mean you’re not charging?” Nothing angered Sunny more than pro bono work. I still didn’t know what her issue was with money, but she had one. If a check bounced, she was on the phone in a hot minute. If she thought I charged too little, she wasn’t afraid to call the client and demand a bigger payment. Sunny was a straight up null pimp.
A Null for Hire Novel
Terri L. Austin
Genre: urban fantasy
Date of Publication: Nov. 1, 2016
ISBN ebook: 978-1-946066-00-8
ISBN print: 978-1-946066-01-5
Number of pages: 340
Word Count: 90,000
Cover Artist: http://www.thedarkrayne.com/
They call me an abomination. A mutant. A curse on their kind.
I don’t let it bother me. Much.
My name is Holly James, and what they say is true. I’m a freak of nature—a null. My mere presence zaps the magic from Others, rendering them powerless. That’s why they hate me. But here’s the kicker: I’ve found a way to profit from my lack of mojo.
Whether it’s acting as a mystical wet blanket in a dispute between pyromancers or keeping hormonal shifters from changing during a sweet sixteen party, I provide a highly specialized service. For a hefty fee.
When a young witch turns up dead, clutching an amulet cursed with black magic, my estranged grandfather asks for my help. In return for nullifying the necklace, Gramps promises to find my missing mother—a witch who vanished after my birth. Of course there’s a catch. He wants me to assist Cade McAllister, the arrogant sorcerer in charge of investigating the case.
Cade resents my existence, let alone my attempts to help. Still, I’ll do whatever it takes to find my mom. For my own peace of mind I have to know what happened to her, and I won’t allow anything to get in my way. Not even this crazy, irrational longing I feel for a hot sorcerer with the sexiest scowl I’ve ever seen.
About the Author:
Terri L. Austin is a mild-mannered writer by day and a reality TV junkie by night. She lives in Missouri with her family, and loves to hear from readers.
Drop her a line at http://www.terrilaustin.com/
All About the Tea: https://www.allaboutthetea.com