Monday, May 9, 2011

Debut Author Linda Poitevin - Author Interview!

PhotobucketSINS OF THE ANGELS: Book One of the Grigori Legacy
Dark Urban Fantasy

A detective with a secret lineage. An undercover Hunter with a bullet-proof soul. And a world made to pay for the sins of an angel…

Homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis answers to no one. Especially not to the new partner assigned to her in the middle of a gruesome serial killer case-a partner who is obstructive, irritatingly magnetic, and arrogant as hell. 

Aramael is a Power—a hunter of the Fallen Angels. A millennium ago, he sentenced his own brother to eternal exile for crimes against humanity. Now his brother is back and wreaking murderous havoc in the mortal realm. To find him, Aramael must play second to a human police officer who wants nothing to do with him and whose very bloodline threatens both his mission and his soul.

Now, faced with a fallen angel hell-bent on triggering the apocalypse, Alex and Aramael have no choice but to join forces, because only together can they stop the end of days.

Interview Questions

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

First thing is how happy I am to be here, Melissa -- thank you SO much for having me! Apart from that, let's see...I'm happily married with three daughters and more animals than I can keep track of some days. We have a dog, two cats, three rabbits, and a bearded-dragon lizard -- and I need to learn how to say no . I've been a stay-at-home mom for 20 years, the last nine of which I've been homeschooling my youngest daughter, and I do freelance writing from home. I'm also an organic gardener, do a ton of home preserving every year, and love to walk. My dog, Charlie, is the world's best walking companion because he's the only one who will get up early with me to head down to the river.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

The earliest incident I can recall was in grade 3, when my teacher, Miss Taylor, called my mom in for a special meeting to show her a poem about spring that I'd written for class. Miss Taylor invited me to be there as well and, in front of me, told my mom what a talented writer she thought I was. I'll never forget the feeling of pride and possibility. I don't have the poem anymore, but I still remember two of the lines: The rabbits go hopping, And the squirrels go nut-shopping. Isn't it amazing the things we remember from childhood? After that, I most remember writing a lot of romance stories starting at about age 12 -- which would have probably coincided with the first Harlequin I ever read. A friend and I used to exchange stories...I guess you could say we were each others critique partners, though I didn't know such a thing existed at that time.

What surprised you the most about the writing/publishing process?

The sheer difficulty of both. You need a lot of persistence in this profession! I started pursuing publication about 9 years ago, at which time (Miss Taylor's praise aside) I thought I was a decently talented writer. Then I found out how much I didn't know about the was almost like going back in time to high school English to learn it all over again -- who knew that knowing what a split infinitive was would come in handy one day?

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

I don't have any formula, no. Not unless you count living with voices inside my head day in and day out. I do a lot of scene-building in my head. By the time I sit down to write, I generally have snippets of conversations that I know will be included -- or certain settings, or certain incidents. An awful lot of it is still blank at that point,'s kind of like doing a connect-the-dots where half the dots aren't numbered. With this series, I've finally started keeping notes, however, especially with regard to character appearances and timelines...I got tired of having to go back to look things up all the time.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

In a nutshell, the ability to suspend a reader's disbelief. To draw them into the story and have them remain with you throughout the telling.Under that umbrella, however, are a lot of components: POV (I hate having to stop and figure out which character's POV I'm in), dialogue, pacing, building the setting...all the way down to the nuts-and-bolts of grammar. Writing a good story is like weaving a picture...if you start dropping too many threads, the end product won't appeal to your audience.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I've just sent the first draft of the second book in the series, SINS OF THE SON, to my editor and have started work on the 3rd book (tentatively titled SINS OF THE RIGHTEOUS). Book 2 picks up about a month after book 1 ends and continues the story of Alex and Aramael as they deal with the renewed threat of Armageddon. Each novel in the series stands alone as its own story, but is still a part of an overall story arc that moves from the first book through the third...or maybe the fourth...I haven't decided yet. :)

In Twitter Fashion use140 characters or less, sum up SINS OF THE ANGELS: Book One of the Grigori Legacy for us.

Okay, now THAT'S a tall order, but here goes: Fallen Angel turns serial killer. Twin brother sent to hunt him. Cop comes between them. Blood spills. Chaos ensues. Apocalypse threatens. (138 characters)

How did you come up with a story that was such a whirlwind of events?

Every time things started to slow down in the story, I'd create another hurdle for my characters. Another barrier between them and their goals. I'm a big believer in both external and internal conflict in books, so I basically created some pretty serious backgrounds for my hero and heroine...and for the antihero...and then just kept prodding to see what they would do. Wow, that makes me sound a little sadistic, doesn't it? 

How long did it take you to write it, and did you have any writer’s block along the way?

Ten years by the calendar, but that's because life kept interrupting in a BIG way. Once I settled into the serious revision and submission process, however, I had the first draft finished and polished within a year. Writer's block did (and continues to) interfere on occasion, but I've learned that it usually means I'm taking my characters down a path they don't want to follow. As soon as I change direction, they start talking to me again.

Will we be seeing a following book to this stories?

Definitely. SINS OF THE SON is scheduled for release in April/May 2012, and I'm already working on SINS OF THE RIGHTEOUS. And by about the halfway point of the latter, I should have figured out whether or not there will be a fourth.

How did you come up with the character Alexandra Jarvis?

Having worked as a police dispatcher and then marrying a cop, the whole cop-as-hero thing just seems really natural for me. I love that I have a built-in expert in the house to keep me on track. Plus, I always wanted to be a cop myself, so this allows me to live vicariously through my character.

I always must ask, If you could pick one actress to portray Alexandra Jarvis on the big screen who would it be and why?

I would love to have Anna Torv, the actress from the television series FRINGE. Anna is exactly how I picture Alex to be, and I think she portrays just the right mix of professionalism, kick-ass ability, and vulnerability. But she'd have to wear blue contacts.

Was there anything you find particularly challenging when writing this book? 

Delving into the darker side of my imagination and giving myself permission to let other people see that side of me. I'd always been the 'nice' girl and wasn't very comfortable with admitting to the not-so-nice side. Letting go of my own constraints was a lot more difficult than I would have thought.

What were your feelings when you first saw the cover of your finished book?

The short version? SQUEEEEEEEEE! The longer version: I was ecstatic. I think the artist, Mike Heath, did an incredible job of portraying Alex and capturing the dark, edgy tone of the book, and my editor, Michelle Vega, was wonderful about incorporating my ideas into the process. I'm THRILLED to have my name associated with that cover!

Linda and I are working on her Return Date in September!

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Annette McCleave said...

The book looks fantastic, Linda! Can't wait until September.

Brenda Gayle said...

This sounds like a dynamite series Linda. I know how I'll be spending my fall and winter.

tears_of_fire said...

This book sounds interesting and is goin on my to be read list :)

Dawn said...

It was great to have a chance to "see" inside the mind of a writer. Must take alot of
co-ordinating skills to be able to concentrate of what you are writing as well as staying on task with things at home. great interview Linda. Thanks for being open in your sharing.

Jen B. said...

I read a lot of urban fantasy. I want to say thanks for a cover that shows a professional woman. Not that I mind the leather, boots and motorcycles but it's been done so much. The book sounds really interesting. How would you describe the angels in your story? I have been looking for a good angel story.

Linda Poitevin said...

Thank you for the support, everyone! I'm very excited about the series, and thrilled to be exploring the angel theme.

To answer your question, Jen B., I'd describe the angels as conflicted. They're honorable but definitely flawed. There's a lot going on in their world that they've tried to keep from spilling into ours, and SINS OF THE ANGELS is the beginning of a downward spiral for them as they try desperately to shore up their defenses and protect us from utter devastation.

As for the cover, I really, really wanted to be sure Alex was portrayed as the professional she is, and homicide cops just DON'T go around half-dressed, lol. Fortunately, I have an editor who agrees with me and I ended up with a cover I absolutely love. So glad you like it, too!

Anna said...


booklover0226 said...

The post's first sentence hooked me in. September won't get here soon enough for me.

Tracey D

Toni said...

What a great idea for a storyline. I'm going to jot this one down. Thanks for coming here and giving a great interview. Best of luck on the rest of the series and future books.

Linda Poitevin said...

Thank you for stopping by, Anna & Toni...and for adding me to your TBR lists. Tracey D., September can't get here fast enough for me, either, lol! Have a wonderful week, all!

Melanie said...

Great interview, Linda. Your cover is fantastic! I look forward to more from you.

I really liked your comment on writer's block being when your characters stop talking to you. I've never thought of it that way before but it sounds perfectly logical.

So it's never a good thing when the voices in your head (your characters' that is) become quiet.

Linda Poitevin said...

lol, Melanie -- nope, we definitely want to keep hearing voices! Thanks so much for stopping by!

Sharon S. said...

I am a big dark UF fan. This book is right up my alley. Can't wait to read this! I think I just got goosebumps

Offbeat Vagabond said...

Amazing interview. I love the metaphor you gave about the most important elements of good writing. I need to remember that because I am still stuck on my story and have so many little things in my head I want to add, but I always think it may be too much. I really need to be more constructed LOL!

I am so with you Jen B., love the cover. I like that she is a business woman.Again, nothing wrong with leathers (love them), but it is nice seeing a woman in a suit fighting off the supernatural. It is unique.

Thank you guys for the interview. This was a great read. Another Urban Fantasy I have to read. Thank you again :)

Linda Poitevin said...

Goosebumps are good, Sharon -- I hope you enjoy the read! :)

Offbeat Vagabond, happy I could help a little. Holding onto all the threads can be challenging at times, but I'm hoping it gets easier with practice! :)

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