Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Q+A with Andrew Valentine (Bitter Consequence)

Please welcome today's paranormal guest author Andrew Valentine.  Andrew is the author of Bitter Things and Bitter Consequence.

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

I wrote my very first book when I was 5 years old, called The Gods of the Monsters.  It was mostly a picture book, but some actual words did manage to make it onto the page.  Actually, not every word that made it onto the page was a real word in English.  The real ones included “monster” and “run” and “escape.”  But there were also a lot of almost-words, like “ahh!” and “n-n-no-noooo!!!”  You can probably imagine what the pictures were like based on that.

As I got older, I entered into an even more frightening phase in writing: romance.  I wrote my first romance novel when I was 11, called “The Little Black Books.”   They were all black, hence the name.  Do you know those small Mead notebooks, the size of a deck of playing cards?  I picked one up and filled it with imagined scenes of the kids in my neighborhood on “dates.”  These were highly romanticized dates—the older kids walked hand-in-hand on the beach, all dressed in white linen.  The younger kids played truth or dare in basements.  In retrospect, these books were really very chaste (lots of handholding and a little bit of kissing), but to my friends, it was absolutely scandalous.  And they couldn’t get enough of them.  In fact, I had friends who bought me more of those little Mead notebooks just so I would write sequels.  That could have been first series, if I had followed through!

Then, as a teenager, I started dating for real and all the romanticized images went out the window.  I suppose you can say my dating career influenced my return to the horror genre.
What brought you to the paranormal genre?

My professional writing for horror and paranormal romance began when I was going for my masters degree in psychology.   I was reading all these dense texts by Freud and Jung and others, and I just needed a break.  So I picked up an Anne Rice novel—Interview with the Vampire.  And I was blown away.  I thought immediately… “ppppfffftttth!  I could do this.”

Kidding around aside, Anne Rice’s work is incredible.  She’s brilliant and engaging and sensual… I was hooked.  I finished up my masters, but decided instead to focus on paranormal fiction rather than psychological fantasies.

The book I completed at that time was Bitter Things—my award-winning debut, which was published by the National Writers Press a mere 12 years later.  But they say that’s about how long overnight success takes.  Based on the success of that book, my publisher asked me to write another, which became Bitter Consequence.

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

  I write mostly about vampires, although there are some other supernatural elements to the novels.  While the vampires in my stories are not limited by some traditional impediments (like in my books, holy water doesn’t burn them; they can cross running streams of water; or they can’t enter a home unless they’re invited in).  I would like the supernatural talent to be able to cast no reflection in a mirror.  Especially on the mornings after I’ve been out all night.  Uggh…

Actually, I have a better one, and it’s one you don’t see too often.  It doesn’t appear in any of my books or stories, but I could really use it.  If I could have one supernatural talent, I’d like to be able to lay my hands over any mechanical or technological device and have it work properly.  Just like that.   My BlackBerry is a disaster.  My computer is frozen all the time.  Some unknowable red light glows on my dashboard.  A simple laying of hands, as the faith healers call it, could solve all that.

And I would call myself… Technocrati!  No.  How about… Technomorph?  The Technocrat?

Maybe I’ll just stick with Andrew Valentine.

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

Here’s a short synopsis:  Immortal love.  Immortal evil.  A woman must save her husband from an evil blood-goddess to prevent a supernatural war on the streets of modern New York in this groundbreaking tale of erotic horror.

It’s fun, exciting, sexy and smart.  It’s clever, with interesting plot points and characters with unique but relatable motivations.  It can be considered a sequel, or either can be a stand-alone.  So if you want don’t want to commit to several books, you can get a satisfying read out of just one.

I live and write in Westchester County, NY.  I was born and raised in Queens and Long Island and work in and around NYC.  There are also a lot of locations from these places that appear in my book.  As a matter of fact, we just took a bunch of publicity photos in the Cloisters in NYC—which is a medieval monastery, deconstructed in France and reconstructed, brick-by-brick, in Manhattan.  A silver sword plays a big part in the book, and we used one as a prop in these photos, and I had a lot of fun fighting imaginary zombies and vampires in this castle-like place.
So, while it’s complete and total fiction, there are elements of Bitter Consequence that are autobiographical.  There’s even a plot point that has to do with vampires in Italy--yes, ok, you’re right.  That IS an unfortunate coincidence with the Twilight series.  But my Italian-connection is different because it is directly based on my own family history.  The events in Bitter Consequence that take place in Italy are based on supposed events that happened to my own ancestors hundreds of years ago.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

  The main character is Michelle Torro.  When I wrote this character, the TV show Friends was very popular and Courtney Cox was my physical inspiration for Michelle.  Today, I think Michelle could be played by Mila Kunis (Forgetting Sarah Marshall / Black Swan / Friends with Benefits), because she can be tough and unrelenting, or sweet and loving.  And she’s drop dead gorgeous.  Otherwise, I’m a big fan of Krysten Ritter (who plays the title character in The B in Apartment 23), especially her work in Breaking Bad, where she played a recovering junkie in Season 2.  As that character, Ritter shows intelligence, a willingness to manipulate when needed, and an easy, sexy charm, and in Apartment 23, she portrays great humor—all of which are hallmarks of the Michelle Torro character.

Jong Lee, Michelle’s arch nemesis—I originally wrote this character thinking of Lucy Lui, back in her Alley McBeal days.  Today I think Maggie Q would be an excellent Jong Lee.  Her turn in Live Free or Die Hard showcased her ability to play a hard-as-diamonds assassin, but her run as Nikita reveals the range of emotion she could bring to the character of Jong Lee.
Scott, Michelle’s husband, could be played by Ryan Gosling (Crazy Stupid Love / Drive)—because he can play vulnerable, while still retaining a rugged exterior.   Gosling can do so much with an economy of words, as seen in Drive, which would help make a great juxtaposition to some of the more verbose characters in the Bitter Consequence book (movie). The fact that he’s in amazing shape doesn’t hurt.

Kali, Michelle’s chief antagonist – I think Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire / Rise of the Planet of the Apes) would do a terrific job as Kali, mostly because I wrote it thinking of her.   She has a wonderful speaking voice, which is noted in the book, and she’s one of the world’s great beauties.  She also has a quality that draws you in and makes you care about whatever character she’s playing.

Dave, Michelle’s best friend, could be played by Justin Long (Live Free Die Hard / New Girl / Drag Me to Hell)—because he can be so easily written-off as a likeable but nebbish individual due to his boyish good looks, but underneath he has untapped reserves of strength and character.  He’d make an excellent counter balance to Ryan Gosling’s Scott in the film version of Bitter Consequence.

Xiamora, Michelle’s and Kali’s blood-mother—this is a character written for Zoe Saldana (Avatar / Columbiana / Star Trek), and not just because she’s from Queens, like me!  Like so many of the actors and actresses listed above, she has a great emotional range—but yet, she can convey the ancient, almost Zen-like wisdom Xiamora works toward.  And just because I think there’s an opportunity to gush, here, I just love the way she enters the bar in the Star Trek re-boot by JJ Abrams.  Talk about your heavenly bodies…  Ok, I’m a jerk.  I’ll stop now.  Zoe.  Sigh.

Bitter Consequence by Andrew Valentine.

In order to save her husband and herself, Michelle slays an ancient undead queen, inheriting her power, her people and her progeny.   What Michelle can’t know is that her triumph sends violent ripples through the supernatural world.

Across town, in a nightclub dedicated to dark desires and pulsing sexuality, the ancient blood-goddess Kali is struck down as a result of Michelle’s instinctual act of self-preservation.  Kali survives and awakens, with a physical need for revenge and an immortal thirst for power—the death of the ancient queen gives Kali’s own nefarious plans a chance for new life.

Michelle and this new, cunning immortal are thrust against each other, not in a battle for survival alone, but for the power to rule an unstoppable army of the dead.

Now she is entangled in a web of deceit where lives, loves and destinies are changed forever or lost completely—and all actions produce bitter consequences.

Thank you Andrew for joining us here at From the Shadows!

To learn more about Andrew Valentine and his books, please visit his website.

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