Saturday, August 22, 2009

author interview: rita herron

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Rita Herron, author of the Demonborn series and numerous other books, was gracious enough to answer a few questions as part of the Dark Hunger promotion.

Dark Hunger takes place in a few different cities. What made you decide to use these different cities? Is one a favorite for you?

I envisioned the story as a terrorist plot where the terrorist attacked a city (as in 911), creating panic and paranoia by making everyone wonder what city might be targeted next, except of course these terrorists were demonic. Savannah, Charleston, and New Orleans are my absolute favorite southern cities because they're so full of history, charm, cultural uniqueness, ghosts, and myths and folk legends which make the setting come alive. They were a perfect backdrop to enhance the paranormal elements and plot.

In Dark Hunger, Quinton has special powers; he uses his mind to lift a beam to save a man’s life! What’s the special power you would want to have?

Yes, Quinton can move things with his mind, and sometimes gets premonitions. I'm not sure I'd want to see the future -- that could be scary! I think it would be fun to be able to move from one place to another, to orb. But if I had to choose one power, I'd probably say I'd like to have the power to heal because that's a gift that could help others.

Were you inspired by any songs, movies, TV shows, etc. while writing the Demonborn series?

The television shows I watched as a child inspired me -- The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock & The Outer Limits. The character of Cole on Charmed inspired me to write about men who were half human, half demon. And as I wrote the vulture scenes in Dark Hunger, I listened to David Grey's song, "One With the Birds." I imagine that song playing as the soundtrack for the movie (LOL!)

You’ve written quite a few books. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do to get past it?

I haven't actually had writer's block to a huge degree, although I've certainly struggled with plot points or a character in a story. If I get stuck, I leave the computer, take a long walk, exercise, go for a drive, change locations -- all of that helps stimulate the brain and my creative juices. Sometimes the best way to figure out a problem is to take the pressure off of yourself and just leave it alone for a while. Letting your mind relax allows you to feed the well. Also, I have a great critique partner and a couple of other friends who I call and we talk out and brainstorm problems. That really helps.

I think sometimes writers suffer from writer's block if they're stressed in general, or if the story isn't working. In that case, it's important to rethink your set up or characters. If you're excited about the story, you won't have a block -- it will just flow.

Do you have a writing routine?

Yes, I write full time, so I have a schedule of sorts, although I'm flexible with time. I'm not a morning person so get to the computer around ten, write a scene before lunch, break and go to the gym, then eat lunch while I write another scene, break again, then try to write a third scene. I set daily and weekly page goals for myself (10 pages a day, about a chapter for me). I usually write a rough draft, then go back and spend a couple of weeks editing and tweaking. The editing and revising part requires a different "hat" for me and is definitely not my favorite part, but it's a necessary evil. I like the fun, creative part of thinking up the story, the characters and putting the mystery together.

What book (your own or someone else’s) has had the most impact on your life?

Tami Hoag's book Cry Wolf was the first mystery/suspense/romance that I really fell in love with, the "aha' book where I thought, "I want to write like her!"

What was your favorite book as a child?

I had two - I loved Pippi Longstocking and wanted to be like her. And I devoured the Trixie Belden mystery series. Reading those mysteries made me realize I wanted to be a writer, and that I wanted to write mysteries.

What’s up next for you?

I'm not totally sure -- I'm working on a romantic suspense trilogy idea with paranormal elements, a YA paranormal suspense series, and I'll be writing more Intrigues for Harlequin. I also have a paranormal romantic suspense screenplay (and book) that I'm planning to write!

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