Today’s post features an interview with Margo Bond Collins, author of urban fantasy, contemporary romance, and paranormal mysteries. She has published a number of novels, including Taming the Country Star, Legally Undead, Waking Up Dead, and Fairy, Texas. She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. Although writing fiction is her first love, she also teaches college-level English courses online. She enjoys reading romance and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about heroes, monsters, cowboys, and villains, and the strong women who love them—and sometimes fight them. Her latest release is a vampire yarn entitled Sanguinary. Here’s the blurb:
Only fifty years left before vampires rule the world.
When Dallas police detective Cami Davis joined the city's vampire unit, she planned to use the job as a stepping-stone to a better position in the department.
But she didn't know then what she knows now: there's a silent war raging between humans and vampires, and the vampires are winning.
So with the help of a disaffected vampire and an ex-cop addict, Cami is going undercover, determined to solve a series of recent murders, discover a way to overthrow the local Sanguinary government, and, in the process, help win the war for the human race.
But can she maintain her own humanity in the process? Or will Cami find herself, along with the rest of the world, pulled under a darkness she cannot oppose?
Who are your influences?
That's a tough question! Because I'm a college English professor, I've spent my whole life reading. I think every writer is influenced by everything he or she reads—along with every life experience and every interaction with the world and the people in it. That said, I think that my love of the old tales of heroes and monsters (The Odyssey, Gilgamesh, Beowulf) along with my love of eighteenth-century literature (Eliza Haywood, Jane Austen) and recent urban fantasy (Carrie Vaughn, Rachel Vincent, Ilona Andrews) probably combine to create the strongest influences on the stories I tell.
When did you begin writing?
The first story I remember actually writing down was basically fan-fiction of The Wizard of Oz. I wrote it in long-hand in a yellow legal pad. I’ve been writing ever since.
How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc?
I take inspiration from everything around me! Mostly, though, a character shows up in my head and starts talking. Currently, my favorite quote about this is one from Neil Gaiman: "You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it."
Do you work from an outline?
Sometimes. I used to be a total pantser (writing by the seat of my pants), but now I often sketch out the series of event.
Tell me about your favorite scene in your novel.
Ooh. The scene where Lili realizes that the voices in her head are real—she's not crazy, but rather is infected.
Can you tell us a little about your writing philosophy?
Write every day. That's it. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's easy—but it's always valuable, because continuing to write no matter the situation allows the writer to treat it as a job.
Have you ever tried writing in any other genres?
I'm always trying out new genres! Most of what I write is urban fantasy, but I'm working on a three-book contemporary romance series at the moment (due out in 2015 with Entangled), and I have a science fiction book twirling around in my mind right now.
Do you have any interesting writing-related anecdotes to share?
I'm in the process of working on a sequel to my urban fantasy Legally Undead, which is set in the Bronx, where I lived for several years. On my last trip there to visit friends, I took a walk around my old neighborhood to take some pictures of likely places for various scenes. New York City is great because it's full of strange little nooks and odd buildings—and I came across a tiny building that looked exactly like the top of a castle tower that had been sawed off and dropped down on the street. It was a business of some sort, so I decided I had to see the inside. But when I marched in with my camera and asked the people in the front if I could please see their back offices, they declined, vehemently, in very strong New York accents. They clearly decided I was insane—but that's okay, because I decided that there must be nefarious villains committing evil deeds in the back offices (what other reason could they possibly have for declining to let me see the whole building, right?). And in my book, the back part of the building, which has no windows, is a vampire stronghold.
It hit me, hard, that no matter how I twisted it around in my head, Reese was going to be more than just an informant to me. I didn't know if I could trust him, this cowboy-vampire I had been thrown together with. But something about him sang to me, like a tune just out of hearing, almost recognized—a song of protection and death. And I wanted to dance to it, almost as much as I wanted to escape it.
The department wouldn't force me to stick it out, wouldn't expect me to team up with a vampire for anything more than the most superficial of connections. I could walk out at any time.
But I wouldn't. He'd help us find and stop whoever was killing these women.
That's why I'll stay in this. "I'll tell you everything," I said to the vampire snarling at me. "But I'll need your help."Reese's lip dropped back down, covering the fang.
I was glad—it was easier to contemplate joining forces with him when he wasn't reminding me that he was one of the monsters. "Talk," he said. I shook my head. "Not here," I said, speaking quietly. How good his hearing might be was only one of the many things I didn't know about vampires. He slid up to the bar beside me. "We can't leave," he said, equally softly. I had to lean close to hear him. "Why not?" I asked. "Mendoza all but dared me to Claim you, back there." He didn't look down at me. "If I don't bleed you at least a little before we go, he'll be suspicious." At his words, the half-healed bite mark Reese had left on my shoulder throbbed once, sending a hot pulse throughout my entire body.
I wanted the response to be revulsion.
Almost everyone who went undercover with the vamps came out addicted to their bite. The ones who could still string two sentences together, like Garrett, stayed on the force.
The others . . .
The press portrayed us as bumbling and stupid—and maybe we were. Sending detectives in against humanity's worst nightmare? We were like little kids trying to hold back the dark with matches, bound to get our fingers burned, and worse, maybe burn the house down around us.I paused and swallowed.