Gather round, chillen, we’ve got something new today: an interview with a debut paranormal romance author whose first book is coming out *gasp!* today.Which means we’ll all be running out to the bookstore after this, yes?
Because having read the first chapter on her website, I can tell you you’re going to want to snag this one. It’s sexy, snarky, and full of supernatural eye candy — plus, look at this cover and tell me you don’t want that one gracing your bedside… uh… table.
(I’ll stop that thought there, but I think we all know where it’s going.)
JILL MYLES is the author of Gentlemen Prefer Succubi, the first novel featuring sexy succubus Jackie Brighton, her supernatural sidekicks, and a few all-too-tempting villains. Jill lives in Texas with her family.
Gentlemen Prefer Succubi releases from Pocket Books on December 29, 2009 (today!!). The sequel, Succubi Like It Hot, releases one month later on January 26, 2010.
Welcome, Jill! You must be so psyched about the release of Gentlemen Prefer Succubi. AND the sequel just a month later, wow! Talk about nerve-wracking. So tell us a little bit about Gentlemen Prefer Succubi. What’s it about?
It’s a parable about the dangers of superficial beauty…JUST KIDDING. It’s like, a romance. With kissing. And vampires. And a fallen angel. The heroine is a regular gal who gets turned into an immortal. Which sounds kind of cool, but has some serious drawbacks. Other people get the power to hypnotize or super-strength, and she gets big boobs and an unnatural metabolism based off of sex.
On your website you mention that you wrote fanfiction in high school. What were your favorite stories/series to fanfic, and what made you decide to try writing your first novel?
Oh my gosh. Okay, so I started writing fanfiction way, way (waaaaay) further back. I remember when I was ten(ish), I decided to write my own version of Dragonriders of Pern. It would involve a heroine that fell into her brother’s space-capsule in the back yard (where everyone keeps their space capsules, of course) and she would be cryo-frozen until she landed on Pern. And when she got there, naturally she arrived in time for a hatching and impressed the gold dragon, which was named Perth. At the time, I 1) Had no idea Perth was a city in Australia and 2) Had no idea what a “Mary Sue” was. Alas, this epic story was short lived because I got very tired of using my mother’s manual typewriter and we didn’t have computers back then.
And saying that? Just made me feel oooooold.
So anyhow, that was my first taste of fanfiction. After that, I stuck to journals. I wrote fanfiction for Elfquest, Dragonlance, Dragonriders of Pern, X-Men, Last of the Mohicans, and some other original stuff which shall not be mentioned (but still involved a Mary Sue landing in the middle of a fantasy world).
You’re bringing back memories of my own high school McCaffery obsession (shh). =) Do you have any wacky writing rituals you’d like to confess to? Favorite munchies while putting the words on the page?
I love hot tea — I’m a flavor whore. But I’m also cheap, so none of that weird, expensive, loose tea for me! No sir – Celestial Seasonings all the way (current favorite flavor is Candy Cane Lane). I don’t really have any wacky writing rituals other than biting my nails while I think, and an inability to write while listening to music — I find it too distracting.
Mmn. Tea = good. Tea with rum = better.
So, you’ve got a great agent, a fabulous publisher, and TWO BOOKS coming out within a month of each other (hot damn!) — tell me, what are you most proud of having accomplished in your writing career so far?
It’s a little strange, but okay. So when you have a book coming out and you’re a nobody (like me cough cough), sometimes you have to round up your own publishing blurbs. Those little quotes on the covers of the books that say “This book rocked my socks off!” by Famous Author? I sent my book out to a bunch of people but the one that was the BIG dream for me to get to blurb my book was Kresley Cole. She’s one of my favorite authors ever, and I know she’s ridiculously busy. But she read and blurbed for me, and was so positive and flattering that it kind of made my year.
So it wasn’t signing contracts or anything like that…it was realizing that I’d written something that one of my idols enjoyed.
What an awesome thing to be able to say: a writing hero likes your book. *swoon*
Is there anything you wish you’d done differently along the way?
LOTS OF STUFF. Seriously. I think when you get into this business, you are intimidated by everything — by your agent, your editor, everyone you work with. I wish I had been more confident from the get go and asked questions when I had questions, instead of just smiling and nodding. I’ve more or less been contracted for almost 3 years now, but I really only learned to *ask* about stuff within the past year. And let me tell you, it makes a huge difference. I think as newbie authors, we’re afraid that if we ask the wrong question, someone’s going to get out one of those giant whack-a-mole hammers and smack you with it — but there’s no hammer. Sometimes it’s better to ask and get a quick answer than to bite your fingernails and wonder if anyone ever saw your stuff. Things like “Hello, my wonderful agent, did you get the manuscript I sent you?” can garner a quick “Yes” or “No” and save you weeks of endless worry.
Excellent advice! Who is your favorite character that you’ve written, and why?
My favorite character is one in a book that hasn’t quite seen the light of day yet. The first manuscript I ever shopped was a valkyrie novel. At the time I thought it was genius, but looking back on it, it’s painfully bad and needs a rewrite. Someday! As for why she is my favorite…I’ve no idea why, really. Some characters just strike you a certain way. I think I liked the job I assigned to her and how she coped with it.
My favorite character in my succubus novels is my porn star, Remy. The main character, Jackie, has a lot of hang-ups. She’s not used to being supernatural, so the whole “Have sex or die” sort of thing really bugs her. Remy is her best friend and mentor — a 400 year old harem girl — and so she’s lost a lot of the skittishness that Jackie still maintains. She’s not afraid to tell Jackie when she’s being stupid or prudish, and always the first one to help her out. The books wouldn’t be the same without Remy.
What advice would you give to aspiring novelists?
Tough one – I still feel like I’m starting out myself! But if I had one piece of advice it would be…worry less about how many adverbs you use and how much ‘scaffolding’ exists in your book and think about amplifying your voice instead. I was actually convinced for a long time that my voice was ‘too’ obnoxious and so I tried to tone it down and write serious stuff. What resulted was several blah manuscripts in between…and then my succubus book sold. Funny DID sell, but I hadn’t trusted myself. And you know what? I use adverbs all the time. And scaffolding. And some telling instead of showing here and there. No one one has ever dinged me on it. No one has come back to me and said “Great manuscript, but jeez louise, the adverbs.” Use your best judgment and work on your voice instead. And if you use a few too many adverbs, your editor will come along and cross it out anyhow. 🙂
More excellent advice– voice is so important. Thanks for stopping by, Jill!
So there you have it, peoples: now run out and buy this one.
But wait: there’s more !
In addition to a series of fantastic interviews with Jill, this blog tour is also a contest! Jill’s agent Holly Root of the Waxman Literary Agency is offering up a personalized query critique to the winner! Entry is simple: one entry per comment per blog. So if you follow this tour through to the end, you’ll have racked up quite a few entries. The winner will be chosen at random by Jill Myles herself and announced on the last day of our tour –Wednesday, January 27th– when she’ll also be posting an interview with Holly. Remember, this is not an offer of representation, not a guarantee of requested material, but it IS a chance to have a real, live agent tell you the good and bad of your query letter. How fabulous is that?
The next interview will be with the amazing Shelli Johannes-Wells, on December 30 (tomorrow!). Be sure to check it out!