Thursday, May 1, 2014

Interview with Marcella Burnard Author of Nightmare Ink

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

I’m a geek. Nerd. Dork. However you want to phrase that. I love to read – usually scifi, fantasy, paranormal, urban fantasy – anything with a twist away from day to day reality. I got into that reading habit as a kid when my day to day reality wasn’t all that kind and had little to recommend it from an entertainment standpoint. I always wanted to believe in magic, anyway. Possible personality defect. When Nightmare Ink popped into my head, I didn’t know what it was. I just obediently wrote it down. Now, I do love Urban Fantasy, but I didn’t set out to write one. It just sort of happened while I was too busy getting the story down.

What is it about the paranormal, in particular vampires, that fascinates you so much?

Heh. I was going to say that Murmur isn’t a vampire – but in a way – he IS. In order for him to live, he has to take the heroine’s life. It was that exchange; she has his life in her hands, he has hers (not to mention her sanity) in his hands. Neither one of them is particularly gentle about it. It made for some lovely conflict.

What inspired you to write this book? I have a scrap of paper with a pair of sentences written on it (the lines came from a dream) “You are a work of art. Don’t make me destroy you.” That simmered away in the back of my head, I think, until the characters presented themselves and a couple of scenes. The rest of the book grew out of that.

Please tell us about your latest release.

Nightmare Ink is the latest release – available April 15, 2014 (Look! Something to do with that tax refund you’ve already spent!) It’s an Urban Fantasy from Intermix, thus it is available in e-format only.

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?

Names are a pretty major part of a character for me, so the names have to be right – appropriate to the character before I can progress. I’ve certainly looked for names with specific meanings just to see if something strikes my fancy, but most of the time, I end up looking for sounds. Some characters need names that start with a vowel, others need something harder. Eventually, something whispers a name to me and it’s the right one. I try not to examine that process too closely.

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

Murmur was difficult. He comes into the world not trusting anyone or anything. Turns out that’s tough on an author. He didn’t trust me, either. Trying to get motivations and reasoning out of him made me want to slam my head repeatedly in a door.

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

Augustus, the heroine’s tripod red heeler. It’s because he’s based on a real dog, Riley, who lived across from me for a couple of years. HUGE personality, way too smart for anyone’s good, and a completely loveable goof. He moved to Norway. I miss him. And his people.

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’m a character driven writer – this means I have to know a lot about my main characters before I can start a story. I work my way through a set of templates from Break Into Fiction a book and workshop by Mary Buckham and Dianna Love. It gets pretty intense if I dig in far enough. It gives me a clear sense of my character arcs. From there, I can write scenes that challenge the hero and heroine.

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

There’s a rescue scene in the latter half of the book that I like very much…but saying anything more than that risks spoilers. I can say the scene is set in one of my favorite places – the Japanese garden at the Washington Park Arboretum.

Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?

For this book, I got to learn way too much about tattooing. It is not an art for the squeamish. It’s pretty hard to freak me out, but even I had to look away when watching someone injecting permanent tattoo dye into a guy’s eyeball to give him blue ‘stars’ in the white of his eye. O_o

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

Caving in Belize – the cave was a Mayan sacrificial site and we were only allowed into the top two levels of the cavern where agricultural sacrifices were made. In lower levels of the cave, there were human remains. Only archeologists were allowed into the lower levels, which was just fine with me. I did not want to walk the same, potentially bloody path as the sacrificial victims whose bones rest down there in the dark.

Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?

Magic works, in Isa’s world. Specifically, someone’s found a way to make tattoos live. If you get Live Ink, you live in symbiosis with your tattoo. The Ink shares your body and your psyche. You heal fast and your life is lengthened. The tattoo also augments some aspect. In Nightmare Ink you see tattoos change people – someone with a fiery temper has that mitigated by the cooling influence of the tattoo he ends up with.

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?

I really want books in any series I write to stand alone. That said, the first book (Nightmare Ink) plays a huge part in understanding where Murmur comes from and how he relates to Isa (the heroine) and the other characters. It will be much easier on a reader to get the books in order. Fortunately, Intermix labeled Nightmare Ink as book 1 in The Living Ink Series.
Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?

Always – since I’m the only head and body I can use for reference for feeling and experience. :D That said – Isa has an issue with feeling inadequate. It’s one of the issues I deal with. Other than that, though, she’s really dissimilar. She’s patient. I’m – not.  She’s far more fatalistic than I am. She more Zen, maybe. She doesn’t seem to have my neuroses or my food issues. Sigh. Maybe I’m writing my characters as a bit of wish fulfillment.

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

Arg. Yes. I handle it with journaling. For me, writer’s block tends to be emotional trash piling up inside. Writing several pages by hand both morning and night clears all of that so I can hear the story again. So far, it’s been really effective. Exercise helps, too.

Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?

Must. Have. Tea. If there’s no tea, there are no words. I ride my bicycle to a local tea shop every morning where I work for several hours each day. They bring me tea and treats while I rack up word count.

Do you write in different genres?

Yes. I also write science fiction romance

Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?

Not so far. The voice for each is pretty distinct. SFR tends to be more action-oriented for me – a little thriller-y, if I’m doing my job. Urban Fantasy is richer. More detailed and a bit more psychological.

When did you consider yourself a writer?

That part hasn’t ever been a problem. I’ve been writing to entertain myself since forever. But thinking I might really be an author? I still struggle with that one. Remember what I said about inadequacy issues? Yeah. Here they are.

What are your guilty pleasures in life?

Watching The Walking Dead. It’s silly. We don’t have a TV because we live on a sailboat. But we got hooked on the show. Every Sunday, my husband and I go hang with friends, potluck supper, and watch the show. I also play World of Warcraft. Still. With these same friends.

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

Sailing, reading, feline rescue, reading tarot (for real and for true).

What was the last amazing book you read?

The Hallowed One by Laura Bickle

Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?

There’s a spot in the cockpit that I love but I usually have to fight a cat for it. It’s prime feline real estate and I usually lose.

What can readers expect next from you?

The sequel to Nightmare Ink. The title hasn’t been solidified yet – but that book is out in November.

Where can readers find you on the web?

Author page on FB: 

Alternatively, if you want cat photos, stupid jokes and geekdom just search on Marcella Burnard and friend me if you want.

Twitter: @marcellaburnard

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

“Hey, pretty lady. You look lonely,” a smooth, musical voice said as Isa strode toward her shop door.

She glanced at the striking young man reclining against the back of the bus shelter that stood in front of the kitchen wares store two doors down. In the glare of the streetlights, the young man, dressed in skintight dark Levi’s, a shirt that outlined every defined muscle, and a beat-up leather jacket, raked Isa with a hungry glance.

Had to be one of Patty’s “projects” if he was working her territory.

“A couple of Ria’s gang tagged that shelter this morning,” Isa said, trusting he’d been on the streets long enough to know which gang claimed this part of Ballard Avenue. “Smear it and they’ll tag you.”

He jerked upright, swearing.

She smiled and reached for the door of Nightmare Ink.

“Aw, chica,” he said. “You don’t want to go in there. The owner, she’s a bruja. A witch. People say she’s got a secret room down in the basement. You go in there and part of you dies.”

Nightmare Ink
Marcella Burnard

Release Date: April 2014

Publisher: Intermix

Genre:Urban Fantasy

ISBN: 91101630228

Book Description:

With the needle of a tattoo gun, Isa Romanchzyk has the power to create and destroy. In her shop Nightmare Ink, Isa helps those in need by binding the powers embedded in their Live Ink—the magical tattoos that can enhance the life of the wearer, or end it.  But binding tattoos has earned Isa the contempt of her fellow artists—including her former lover Daniel.

When a friend comes to the shop with a tattoo on the verge of killing him, Isa can’t turn him away. For the first time in years, she works Live Ink into someone’s skin—something she swore she’d never do again. But breaking her vow soon becomes the least of her problems.

Isa is horrified to discover her friend’s body in the shop, but the real nightmare begins when she’s abducted and inked against her will.  Now, as she seeks retribution from the man who betrayed her, Isa must figure out how to bind her Living Tattoo before it consumes her completely...

About the Author:

Marcella Burnard graduated from Cornish College of the Arts with a degree in acting. She writes science fiction romance for Berkley Sensation.

Her first book, Enemy Within won the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award for Best Futuristic of 2010. The second book in the series, Enemy Games, released on May 3, 2011.

An erotica novella, Enemy Mine, set in the same world as the novels was released as an e-special edition by Berkley was released in April 2012. Emissary, a sword and sorcery short story released in the two volume Thunder on the Battlefield Anthology in the second half of 2013.

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Marcella Burnard said...

Thank you so much for hosting me and letting me ramble about the book!

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