Guest Author, AJ Chase with Cat and Mouse

November 13, 2009 at 5:00 am (General, Guest Bloggers, Interviews) (, , , , , , )

Hi all!  We have a very special guest today.  Someone who has stepped out of the “norm” for shapeshifters, and done something new, exciting and funny.  AJ Chase, author of Cat And Mouse is here to talk about her book, and why she chose to something so unusual to write about.  Now mind you, AJ is like thirteen months pregnant (ok, not really, but you get the gist) so our interview will be rather short.

First, let me show you this adorable cover!

Cat and Mouse Cover

For Katherine Stapleton (aka Kitty), being a shape-shifter isn’t nearly as glamorous as the novels and movies make it out to be. It isn’t all raw, animalistic sex and superhuman physical prowess. There’s also the hairballs.

Kitty has spent her entire life being a less-than-perfect were-cat. She can’t control her animal changes, so she decides to excel at matters human. After a decade of worldly successes, she’s back home for her ten-year high school reunion. Yet, she feels just as insignificant as she did back in school–except with Sam Philmore, a fellow D.C. lawyer and past classmate. And her former secret crush. In just three days Kitty gets the bad memories, the good times, the bitter truth, and a mouthful of one very sexy man who just happens to be a mouse sometimes…

Genre: Paranormal/Shapeshifter/Contemporary/Romantic Comedy
Rating: Spicy
Book Length: Novella

Price: $3.99 (Excerpt below)

Hello AJ, it’s great to have you here.  We know you are very pregnant, so no going into labor while we’re here today. Save that for tomorrow.

Ha.  tomorrow doesn’t work for me either.  So we’ll schedule that labor for next week.

What type of books do you like to write?

I like romantic suspense and YA the best but I also write romantic comedies and series mysteries.

What made you decide to write a shifter book?

Someone mentioned writing a romantic comedy that was paranormal and I thought, “That sounds fun.”  So I did lol.  Not a lot of thought went into the decision.

This is your first book, are you excited?  Tell us all about it.

I think I’d be more excited if I wasn’t so tired.  Gestating makes things a lot less exciting.  Unless it’s cake.  Cake is still pretty exciting right now.

I’ll have to remember to send you some when I make my next one. Course that would mean I’d have to bake, so it might be a while. Now folks, I’ve read this story, and it’s as cute as can be.   But, a mouse?  The hero is a mouse?  But… But… I thought readers like alpha male types!
Actually, I think Sam is pretty alpha, even if he is a mouse sometimes.  He definitely isn’t afraid to go after what he wants and he expects to get it.  But, yes.  He is a mouse.  When I decided I wanted to write a funny shifter story I didn’t know what to focus on but my daughter loves Tom and Jerry for some inexplicable reason and it was playing and i thought, that would be funny.

But I wanted to turn it on it’s ear even more by making her the cat and him the mouse.

If you could be a shifter, what would you be, and why?
I’ve always wanted to be a fox.  I would totally chose to be a fox.

Thanks AJ for dropping in with us!  Do you have any final words for us before you run off into the world of motherhood and new babies?

I wish I had some amazing advice or pearls of wisdom but I’m not much for profundity right now.  I’m barely coherent.  So I’ll just say thanks for having me!

Now, before I provide you with a tasty, tease from this cute little book, let me tell you AJ is going to give one lucky commenter a copy of Cat And Mouse.  So comment away.  Tell us about your favorite funny book, shifter or other paranormal, and why you thought it was so cute!

Excerpt:

We wandered across the courtyard, deafened by the huge artificial spray of water as we crossed under the waterfall. The pair of us found a little niche between the pool at the bottom of the waterfall and a large—probably artificial— garden. We leaned against the stucco wall.

I ran my hand over my dress again, self conscious while Sam watched me. What could I do to get him to stop staring? “Do you like living in D.C.?”

“I’ve liked it better since two weeks ago.” He sounded so matter-of-fact I had to ask.

“What happened two weeks ago?”

He played with a random curl that couldn’t be shoved back in my twist. “I saw your name on the Montgomery list.”

Oh, God. My knees went weak, and it probably wasn’t the vodka. At least not all of it.

But it was the vodka and schnapps cruising through my veins that made me stand there limp, with blood pumping hot to all the right places, and not run away. It was the alcohol that made me capable of opening my mouth under his when Sam kissed me hard.

In another moment I would have fled if someone I hadn’t seen in years tried to slip me some tongue, especially considering one of us would probably have to be removed from the Montgomery case.

But not right now.

Sam tasted like cheesecake, high school fantasies, and man. I whimpered low in my throat while his stroking tongue worked magic on mine. Tangling my fingers into his hair, I got into the kiss.

It was a bad idea. But at the moment all I knew was he kissed like he meant it, felt like my wildest dreams, and had his hand on my ass. I don’t think two minutes passed before his tie was off, and my fingers were tangled in the crisp, dark hair on his muscled chest. My black skirt fit too tight to step between, but somehow it had managed to ride all the way up my thighs. Sam stood between my legs, his erection pressing unabashedly into me as we kissed with an insane level of abandon.

It had to be the alcohol. It had to be. God, he was so hot.

“I’ve wanted to kiss you for fourteen years,” he growled, nipping on the lobe of my ear. “Fourteen years of fantasizing about that pretty little mouth of yours.”

“Fourteen—” I gasped as he sucked my bottom lip into his mouth. “I don’t believe you,” I managed after he’d abandoned my mouth and moved to my neck.

“You should. It’s true.”

Buy Cat and Mouse today!

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Interview with YA author, Maggie Stiefvater…a new twist on werewolves!

August 5, 2009 at 4:48 pm (Interviews, Lori Devoti) (, , )

Interviewed by Lori Devoti

Maggie StiefvaterMaggie Stiefvater has a new release! I discovered Maggie not long after her first book, Lament came out. I loved it, my mom loved it, you would probably love it too. :)

It’s YA, as is her new book, but definitely something adults who like fantasy will enjoy too.

So, when I heard she had a new book, part of a new series that features werewolves, coming out, I definitely wanted to have her stop by the blog to answer a few questions, and she nicely agreed.

Q.) First can you give us an overview of your new release Shiver?

M.S.) Yup. The spiel: It’s a bittersweet love story about Grace, a girl who has always loved the wolves behind her house, and the Sam, a boy who has to become a wolf each winter. Each summer he gets fewer and fewer months as a human, so when they fall in love, the countdown begins.

Q.) How is this book similar/different from your first book Lament?

M.S.) It’s a lot more character driven. There were a lot of scenes where I thought “this scene really ought to have a corpse or something to move it along” — but it wasn’t that kind of book. It’s a slower, more detailed book. I think you could speed read LAMENT and get the gist. I don’t think you could speed read SHIVER. Well, you could, but I think it would be pretty boring.

Q.) Where did you get the idea to have a character whose shifts are tied to the seasons?

M.S.) I was trying to think of something cyclical, like the phases of the moon, but that would give me more time to play with inside the cycle. The seasons worked perfectly, plus it gave me built in, easy to understand tension as the temperature dropped.

Q.) Is Sam part of a group who also shift like this or is he affected by a curse or something similar that only affects him?

M.S.) In my version of werewolf lore, it’s contagious — you’re bitten, you’re screwed. I mean, you become a wolf. So Sam is part of a larger pack, all in varying states of their shifting. He’s one of the few that still becomes human in the summer.

Q.) Would you call Shiver a romance or something else?

M.S.) I think of it as a love story — a romance guarantees a happy ending. Also I think of romances as a bit grander. Shiver is a very quiet, understated novel. Or at least I like to think so.

Q.) Is Shiver part of a series? What characters will we see again in future books?

M.S.) It’s a trilogy — I just finished writing LINGER, which comes out next fall, and FOREVER will finish it up the fall after that. Readers will see some of the characters from SHIVER in LINGER — not saying which ones!

Q.) What formats and where can readers find Shiver?

Shiver, Young Adult Fantasy

M.S.) It’s available as a hardcover and as an audio book (and as an audio download). The audio was very cool — I went to NYC and in this very swank and beautiful studio they had me record some extras for the audio book, like an interview, and me reading the first chapters. Also, they have two narrators — one for Sam and one for Grace. I was very pleased!

Q.) How long have you been writing? What was your first sale experience like?

M.S.) I’ve been writing ever since I was a tiny, evil child. I remember writing novels (terrible, terrible things involving the death of all unicorns at the hands of evil, evil wizard-kings) on my dad’s word processor, in the days before cheap PCs. I first started submitting for publication when I was 16, which was not the world’s best idea. And I sold my first novel to Andrew Karre, an editor at Flux, shortly out of college. I had submitted it to him the year before and he’d asked for revisions, which I’d twiddled at. I didn’t really go far enough — I didn’t really know enough to revise properly anyway — and just went ahead and wrote another novel, which I submitted to him. He said “how about that first one? feel like tearing it apart this time?” So I did, and with a year’s experience under my belt, I was able to really rip it apart. On just three revised chapters, Andrew offered a contract, and I was off. He said “this is your foot in the door.” He was so, so right.

Q.) What’s your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

M.S.) Sort of a combination. I absolutely need to know where I’m headed before I start, or I guarantee you I will get stuck. So I write a two page synopsis before I start writing my novels — the ending is true, and the beginning is mostly true, and then in the middle I stuff in lies and damn lies. I like to pretend I know how I’m getting to the end, but really, it’s just guessing until I get there.

I do a lot of plotting along the way — meaning that I cannot write every day. I will write a scene or two, and then the next day I will brainstorm and think about where I’m going next. I won’t sit down and stare at a blank computer screen. Nothing will happen. Nothing good, anyway.

Q.) I saw the cute and creative book trailer for Shiver. Can you post a link and tell us where you came up with the idea for it? Did you create it yourself?

M.S.) I got the idea for this after seeing the initial art for the cover — the gorgeous silhouettes of the trees. I’ve always been a fan of stop-motion animation and I really wanted to try it for myself. I thought a cut-paper stop animation video would be less work than hand-drawing (I did a hand-drawn one for BALLAD that I’m putting out there next month, and trust me, it was more work doing the cut outs), so I cut out the trees and the people and the wolves and wrote the music for it. My sister and I went to the studio and recorded the track and then I assembled it. It took . . . um, a lot of time. I’m afraid to admit to how much time I spent doing this when I should’ve been writing LINGER on a deadline.

(Note from Lori: A link to Maggie’s blog where she tells how she made the trailer..)

Q.) What other things do you do to promote yourself?

M.S.) Well, I have my blog (both the Blogger version that I just started: maggiestiefvater.blogspot.com and the LiveJournal version that I’ve had for years: m-stiefvater.livejournal.com), and I do library and school visits. I sent out a ton of review copies of LAMENT, my debut, for review. And other bloggers have been great about guest posts and participating in contests that get the word out.

Q.) Why young adult? What about that age attracts you?

M.S.) I have a Peter Pan complex. I love writing teen protagonists because everything’s still new for them — the world stretches out with endless possibilities. I think that it could still be this way for adults, too, if they saw the world that way — but a lot of adults get into their rut and just keep going through the motions. I can’t see myself writing about desk jobs or normal adults . . . so teens it is. Also, I love reading YA and they say to write what you love to read.

Q.) What is the last really great book you read? Why did you love it?

M.S.) I read Stitches, a graphic novel memoir by David Small. It was absolutely wonderfully observed and funny and dark and brilliant. I loved it.

Q.) What’s next for you and where can readers find you on the Web?

M.S.) Next up: LINGER, the sequel to SHIVER. And BALLAD, coming out this October — the companion book to LAMENT.

And websites: www.maggiestiefvater.com
LJ blog: m-stiefvater.livejournal.com
bi-monthly short fiction: www.merryfates.com

Thanks for having me, Lori!


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