Monday, July 11, 2011

Interview with Joey W. Hill & Contest!!!!


Today I'm positively thrilled to have one of my favorite authors on the blog. After reading one of her books, I purchased her entire backlist. Trust me, she's that good. I contacted Joey to tell her about a contest I wanted to have and she was kind enough to answer a few questions to go along with the giveaway. So please, welcome her to the blog, say hello, and keep reading to find out how you can win the first six books in her Vampire Queen series! **Which she has offered to send signed book plates for, so the winner can have them personalized!**

Hi Joey!  Thank you so much for visiting. As a longtime fan, I think everyone who loves vampires has to read the Vampire Queen series, which is why I’m eager to spread the word.


Jaime, I’m all for that! Honestly, I love writing about vampires, so I would have written the books even if they never saw the light of day outside my nightstand drawer. Though of course I’m glad they have reached a bit wider audience than that (wink). Thank you for spreading the love for the series.

Q: Let’s start with writing. Can you tell us a bit about your process? Do you have a word count you have to meet each day?


You may be sorry you asked this question. JJ The Vampire Queen books work out to anywhere from 150k-175k (that’s due to my story development, not a publisher mandate – they’d probably prefer closer to 100k – lol), so I take the mathematical approach. If I have four months, I break it down to five writing days a week, first draft plus three full edit rounds. I give the first draft about ½ of that time, and divide the three edit rounds between the rest of the time, with each subsequent round getting a smaller slice of time, under the assumption the book is needing less tweaking with each round. So I just divide the word count up among those time slices to know how much I need to accomplish each day... Zzzzz…okay, I hear that person snoring in the back! Yeah, it’s not hugely exciting in theory, but the creative process itself, seeing the book come together over each round, getting drawn into the characters and seeing them take unexpected turns, evolving into more than I first envisioned – that is exciting.

Long and short, it’s a balance between knowing how much progress I have to make to meet the publisher’s deadline and trying not to let that practical schedule stifle the creative flow. An author’s job is a curious mix of those two things – you have to deliver the work, like any job, but it also requires a creative spark that doesn’t always come on command, so you learn little tricks to keep that spark fanned and alive amid all the nose-to-the-grindstone stuff. I’m a firm believer in the “keep writing until it loosens up” method, rather than waiting for that creative spark to go from a sputter to a steady burn. That seems to work for me.

And of course, no talk about process is complete without mentioning the days where the writing takes a backseat to the unexpected family and domestic issues. For instance, I just realized my car registration is three months overdue (grimace), so valuable writing time will be sacrificed tomorrow to the inspection and other tweaks the car needs to pass. Of course, I’m doing the copy edit round on Bound by the Vampire Queen, so I have that loaded on my e-reader to review while waiting for the car – I try to make the most of every scrap of time I have to stay as close to “on schedule” as possible with current first drafts, edit rounds, copy edits/final galleys from the publisher, etc.

As you can probably tell, once you’re writing on contract deadlines, those deadlines establish the parameters of your process – you basically set aside the time you need to get it done, and scramble to stay on schedule with all the other demands on your time (grin).

Q: Most authors have a place the muse strikes (for me it’s when I’m driving). When do your best ideas come to you?

When I’m working on the last edit round for the current WIP, I turn my mind to brainstorming for the next one. Like you, that works best for me in the car, specifically on road trips. I take my recorder along, and just start ruminating. Anything that comes into my head, I put down on the recorder. It could be story progression, specific bits of dialogue, narration, etc. Then I load those snippets into MS Notes, organize them into a rough outline, and I’m good to go. Once I start that brainstorming process, it seems to heighten my senses, such that I’m more likely to notice things around me that will feed the story. For example, there was a storm the other night, and the way the wind was swirling across the ground, picking up items and drawing my gaze to follow their path made me think about the opening scene to the next Arcane Shot series book. Raina, my heroine, is going to wake in the middle of the night, go out on her tower balcony porch to watch a storm building. She’ll feel the currents of danger and magic in the air, know something is about to happen, to change…and then all hell breaks loose, with our hero, Mikhael, right in the middle of it!

Q: You had to divide Vampire Mistress and Vampire Trinity into two books. When it comes to editing and revisions, what is your approach?  

I curse profusely and wonder why my publisher won’t let me publish 1000-page books. LOL That’s Step One of the process. Every time one of these two-part books happens, it starts out as one book that grows far beyond the publisher’s word count limit. Often there’s not a really good breaking point, so a new opening has to be reworked and backstory has to be loaded into it. The backstory part gives me migraines, because I don’t want to put in too much and bore the reader who’s read the previous book, or put in too little and leave the new reader clueless. I’d almost prefer to do it the 1950s movie way – have this lovely webcam with a man in a suit and a neat white handkerchief, who explains in a radio-quality voice: “Here’s what’s happened so far….now, on to the rest of the story.”

However, until the publisher is willing to try out my retro idea, I basically figure out where to break the book in half, tear up the first half of the new Book Two, send a prayer up to the literary gods that I haven’t zapped a key fact that needed to be in the second book, and check in with my editor to see if she thinks the new opening will work. If she says “No”, I beat my head against the wall to give the sheetrock a nice marbleized look, and work on it some more. All while getting perilously behind on the next contracted work.

Yet another reason being insane and a writer go hand-in-hand, as you well know! (laughter) The trade-off is getting to spend time with wonderful characters and having the chance to be pulled into their journey, which is worth every aggravating moment.

Q: The authors I speak to love to read. Can you share a few of your favorite books?

I read mostly on vacation now, because it’s the only time 1) I can somewhat turn off the internal editor and 2) find time to read for my own pleasure. I need to prioritize it more, consider it more a requirement than an indulgence, because it’s actually pretty vital to keeping writing style fresh. At least that’s what I tell myself, every time I go by my book shelf or e-reader and look at the 40 some books there that I haven’t had a chance to read yet. Lover Mine, by JR Ward, is one I’ve been itching to read for some time! However, in terms of old and not-so-old favorites, these are the ones I consider absolutely awe inspiring craft work and wonderful must-read stories – Lover Awakened (Zsadist’s story) by JR Ward, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series (first three particularly), Audrey Niffenegger’s Time Traveler’s Wife, Laura Kinsale’s For My Lady’s Heart (actually, pretty much everything she did in the 80s-90s was awesome), The Black Lyon by Jude Devereaux, Ashes in the Wind by Kathleen Woodiwiss, Once in a Blue Moon by Penelope Williamson. The JD Robb In Death series is my candy – love to just hop on the ride with Eve and Roarke and see where we go. Denise Rossetti’s Phoenix Rising series with Ellora’s Cave, Daniel’s Surrender by Violet Summers, Bound Odyssey by Michelle Polaris, Roarke’s Prisoner by Angela Knight and Exit to Eden by Anne Rice are some of my favorite erotic work to date. I’m sure I’ve left out some important ones, but that’s a snapshot of my reading taste.

Q: Last but not least: Can you tell us a bit about the Vampire Queen series and its conception? 

I love the idea of the vampire as a romantic dominant hero/heroine, versus the horror movie version. Years ago, when I watched Fright Night with Chris Sarandon, I was mesmerized by the scene where he “took over” and danced with Charlie’s girlfriend. It kind of annoyed me when he turned out to be this horrid, monstrous beast. Likewise, I was intrigued by Laurell K. Hamilton’s portrayal of Richard as Jean Claude’s blood apple in the early book of the Anita series. As an erotic romance author who integrates BDSM in most of my work, I felt the vampire-servant relationship possessed huge potential. A bound, eternal Dominant/submissive relationship, where the vampire considers himself/herself a superior being, yet is dependent emotionally and physically on the servant in some vital ways? Wow – that’s a power exchange relationship that could stretch way beyond the usual limits, due to the paranormal setting.

When I started off the series with Lyssa, a thousand-year-old vampire queen, and Jacob, the former vampire hunter and alpha male who has been trained to serve her, it was a continuation of my interest in the “palace guard” form of male submissive. He submits to her sexually, but there’s a strong, protective element to him that won’t be subjugated in the slightest. Jacob wasn’t a natural submissive, but he was a male with an overwhelming code of chivalry and service to his chosen lady. Of course I had to explore both sides of that coin, so Beloved Vampire, another book in the series, has a male vampire, Mason – one of your favorites, Jaime! – who has to protect a female servant from his world who has killed her vampire master. Then of course, the latest two books, Vampire Mistress and Vampire Trinity, feature a ménage, with two vampires, a male and female, who become involved with Gideon, a hardcore vampire hunter who happens to be Jacob’s brother. So the series has so many possibilities and pairings (or triplings – grin). 

Like the newest one you’ve mentioned/discussed – Vampire Instinct. Mal is my first “made” vampire hero (all the other have been older, “born” vampires), who was a Cherokee born right before the Trail of Tears. Since the heroine, Elisa, is an Irish maid, and the story takes place in the 1950s, it has a different tone than the other books. I think the different perspectives help keep the stories fresh and interesting, and of course I hope the readers agree!

Thank you so much for stopping by, Joey! I’ve already devoured Vampire Instinct (Malachi is to die for -- no pun intended), and I’m eagerly awaiting Bound by a Vampire Queen. The months can’t go by fast enough. By the way… Give Lord Mason my love, will you? *grin* I hope you decide to give him and Jessica another story (when I saw you mention this on your site I was ecstatic)!

Jaime, I’m glad you enjoyed VI, and thanks for having me here. Yes, there’s definitely enough material to write another book about Mason and Jessica down the line, so I’ll look forward to sharing that with you sometime in the future! And I’ll pass your message to Lord Mason if I can manage to get it out without stammering – he’s pretty overwhelming, even to me (wink). Best wishes to you and everyone!

Now, for the contest. Check out the image below...
Those are the first six books in the Vampire Queen series that I owned prior to getting signed copies from Joey (LOVE). Interested in owning them? All you have to do is be a follower of the blog and leave a comment with a valid email address (the contest is international). No email means I'll move to the next commenter in line. Like before, I'll use random generator to choose a winner. I'll announce the lucky duck on Friday when Vampire Instinct, the newest in the series, releases. The book isn't included in the contest because I'd love you to show Joey your support by purchasing the latest installment. I had the good fortune of reading the book and it is AMAZING. So do yourself a favor, don't miss out!

Joey has been kind enough to offer to drop by and answer any questions, so feel free to leave a comment to enter and chat with her if you'd like. She doesn't bite -- much. *smile*

42 comments:

Scott Romanski said...

Is there a specific order that the books should be read in? Or can we jump in anywhere? These have been on my radar for a while, but never knew where i could start with out being at a loss.

lastrideusa AT yahoo DOT com

J.A. Saare said...

Hey Scott!

They go in order if you can, but they can be read out of order. :) It's an excellent series. I have them in order from left to right.

Scott Romanski said...

Thanks Jaime

Sharon said...

Hello Joey! You are a new author to me and all this talk of dominant/submissive men has got me very interested ;)

I get my best blogging ideas in the car too! I need to bring my audio recorder. It sucks trying to scribble on an old receipt with a dull pencil at stop lights.

and you need to get on those Black Dagger Brotherhoods books! So much has been happening...I am such a Blaylock/Qhuinn fangirl

Escape by Fiction said...

Great interview. I love Joey W. Hill. She has some great freebies on her website to read too. I really enjoyed her Daughters of Arianne series ans well the Vampire Queen series.

Good reading ~ Escape by Fiction :)

tetewa said...

I'm a lways looking for new series to read, sounds good! tWarner419@aol.com

rhonda said...

OMGosh what an amazing giveaway! I love Joey, she is so sweet, I have been lucky enough to meet her on FB and chat with her, but I haven`t been able to read her books yet. I would love to enter so I can maybe get the chance to own her work! thank you.
heltondexter@yahoo.com

Joey W. Hill said...

Scott, if you go to the Vampire Queen series page on my website, beside each cover, it also tells you if it can standalone or would be better if one or more of the other books are read first. Hope that helps!

Joey W. Hill said...

Sharon, I can't wait to catch up on the BDB. Yep, all you have to do is hint at a sexy male/male love story, and I'm so there (grin). My husband is just baffled by it! I've been bad and actually tried that scribbling thing WHILE driving, which is why I've been quite sternly told that it's the recorder or I better cultivate the memory of an elephant!

Escape by Fiction, Tetewa, Rhonda - thanks for those kind words! And EF, you're correct - between the short stories and excerpts on the website, and all the vignettes, graphics and exclusive excerpts on the fan forum, there is a lot of good stuff about the ongoing series/characters. :> Good luck in the contest, everyone!

Scott Romanski said...

Thanks for the info Joey.

jeanette8042 said...

Great interview and I love your books Joey! And I'm so addicted to reading your vignettes on your blog!

GFC follower
lilazncutie1215[at]yahoo[dot]com

YzhaBella's BookShelf said...

What a great interview! Thank you for sharing Joey and thank you J.A. for sharing the Vampire love!

Thanks for the chance to win! I've not yet ready any of Joey's works, but I've heard oodles and can't wait to get the chance!

Cheers!
kate
mleger0546{@}rogers[.]com

Marie Lisk said...

Thanks for giving us a look into your writing world. I love all your books. I also love your web site. Thanks for the great work. Marie Lisk melisk1966@yahoo.com

shiderly77 said...

Would love to win. Awesome author.

shiderly77@yahoo.com

daydrmzzz said...

I found Joey W Hill early this year and have fell in complete love!! Thanks for the giveaway.
drmgrl99 at yahoo dot com
Dawn

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a great series, I would love to win.

trisad(at)artelco(dot)com

Kassandra said...

I just recently added Joey W Hill to my 'check them out' list so I was excited to be able to read this great interview! Great contest!

sionedkla@gmail.com

Ashley said...

Love the VQ series!

asweet520@hotmail.com

AsianCocoa said...

I'm always open to a new vampire series. Thank you so much for this giveaway.
asiancocoa94 at aol dot com

Joey W. Hill said...

Jeanette, glad you've been enjoying the vignettes, and I appreciate all the wonderful comments about my work - you all will make me blush! (grin) For those considering my work, hope you have a wonderful journey when you take the plunge.

hellokittiexoxo said...

LOVE these books and Joey W Hill!!! I have some of these but they're so worn I would absolute love another set! I would love to enter this contest. Thank you!

Rebecca said...

These are all on my 'to buy' list, but it would be great to win them. Thanks for the opportunity. rebeccajean_stewart@yahoo.com

sasluvbooks said...

I So been Wanting to try out her Books!
I'm a Follower
sasluvbooks(at)yahoo.com

buddyt said...

WOW ! A really great giveaway and very kind of you to offer it and to inclkude International entrants as well

Thank you very much.

Please enter me.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

I Follow via GFC (buddyt)

Anonymous said...

Joey you are one of my favourite authors. Just got Vampire Instinct in the mail - mmmm nice and thick.

sharick711@bigpond.com

Joey W. Hill said...

Hellokittie, some of my favorite books of all time I've had to replace a couple times for that very reason, so that's a wonderful compliment!!

And Carol, I'm happy to do international - doesn't seem fair to leave folks out of the contest just because they're not in the States!

Thanks everyone for starting my day with so many nice compliments on my work! Sharick, hope you like Mal and Elisa...

flchen1 said...

That was a GREAT interview, JA and Joey! It's a treat to get a peek into your process and how the books pull together (or rather, how you MAKE the books come together!) And I do love those long stories, so I'm glad you're writing them, Joey! Can't wait to get caught up with this series!

f dot chen at comcast dot net
GFC follower

Joey W. Hill said...

Flchen, I do have a very verbose muse, so I'm glad you like the longer books (grin).

minhchieu said...

Love the Vampie Queen series!
blubear12@gmail.com

jessica said...

Great interview and Awesome giveaway! I'm a GFC follower.
jessangil at gmail dot com

Holly said...

Great interview!! Love the giveaway! I have had my eye on these books for a while now but have never had the chance to pick them up.

fullmoonbites@gmail.com

Pyper541 said...

I LOVE Joey W. Hill and the VQ series, Vampire Instinct was an amazing read. I don't know how she does it, all the books and keeps up with the Vignettes on her sites, Joey is extremely talented, I'm re-reading A Mermaid's Kiss now, Thanks Joey for all your amazing series love the creation theory of A Mermaid's Kiss!

pypercharmed@yahoo.com

TrekkieLvr said...

I love Joey's books.... I've read all of them! They are well worth it. If I win, I can pass on the 6 books to a friend so she can see the splendor that is the Vampire Queen world! :-)

Cindy said...

Thanks Jaime for having Joey here. I absolutely love everything she puts pen to paper to. I have devoured her Vampire Queen series, (currently reading VI and loving it.) I also love her Daughters of Adrienne series; if you haven't read them, you really need to; you'll love them too.
I am soooo looking forward to her new series coming out Something About Witches being the first installment. I expect it will be as captivating as the Vampire Queen and Daughters of Adrienne series.
Both you and Joey are in my top five favorite authors.
And please enter me in your giveaway...
Thanks
Cindy

Joey W. Hill said...

Okay, blushing AGAIN. You guys are going to give me a permanently rosy face (beaming). Thanks for all the love. And I'm so flattered when you have the books but enter the contest anyway to give them to someone else. An author cannot get better endorsement than that!

For all the thanks you send me, I send it back to you tenfold - you all keep me inspired! :>

Joey W. Hill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joey W. Hill said...

Okay, Jessica, my brain is slow tonight, and I've been trying to figure out what GFC means. Can you or someone help me out - I'm sure it's an obvious answer that's going to make me feel like a complete duh-huh, but my curiosity is greater than my desire to appear all-knowing and wise (grin).

Joey W. Hill said...

Marie, I forgot to also thank you for the compliment about my website. My husband is my webmaster, so he's always pleased to hear good feedback!

SiNn said...

I love Joey and all her work she rocks truelly shes a wodnerful person I love her wetsite and teh fan forum I found her couple yrs ago been hooked ever since

mortalsinn@yahoo.com

Sharon said...

GFC is Google Friend Connect. Just means she is a follower of Jamie's blog.

Gwen said...

Well now I'm interested in these books, count me in. gbluecat AT yahoo DOT ca .

Joey W. Hill said...

Sinn, always good to hear your voice! Thanks for that. And Sharon, thank you for educating me. I can't keep track of all the networks/links etc - new ones seem to pop up daily (lol)

Gwen, glad we piqued your interest! :>