Friday, April 17, 2009

Special Guest Post and Contest with Author Chloe Neill

Chloe Neill has just launched her debut urban fantasy novel Some Girls Bite and I am delighted to have her here today to tell us a little more about the book, the series and share her thoughts on urban fantasy. Chloe also gives us an exclusive sneak peak excerpt from her upcoming YA novel Firespell.

Chloe has also graciously offered a signed copy of Some Girls Bite and some swag (a pen and bookmark) as a giveaway. To enter, just leave a comment or feel free to ask Chloe a question. She will be dropping by to answer any questions or comments. I’ll randomly select a winner on Monday. Without any further adieu, take it away Chloe!

Getting to What Matters:
SOME GIRLS BITE and Urban Fantasy


Like many science fiction and fantasy readers, I've always been attracted to the idea of something *more*. Maybe the sense that we weren't alone in the universe (Starfleet Academy, here I come), that I could make a contribution to the Big Fight against evil (I could rock those Princess Leia buns), or that the mundane details of our day to day existence weren't *it*.

That magic existed.

That mystery existed, beyond trying to figure out the labyrinthine plot of this week's episode of LOST.

I haven't been writing very long, and I went straight for the novel. I wrote my first manuscript--the first in a paranormal romance series--in 2005. It took about three months to complete, and six more months to get into a moderately respectable edit. And from the day I created that first file, there was no question that I'd write with a paranormal or supernatural edge.

Why? Because I live in my world--I know how to get up, go to work, meet a boy, walk a dog, shop, and do all the other average bits of living. But I haven't, at least that I'm aware of, met a vampire. Or a nymph. Or a shapeshifter. I haven't been called into that battle between good and evil--which is a good thing, given my utter and profound lack of skill of the evil-battling variety. Writing fantasy gives me an outlet to imagine a world beyond the things I experience Monday through Sunday in my chunk of the Midwest. And more importantly, it gives me a completely new set of rules and conflicts to tie down, to guide, to motivate my characters.

When I sat down to write SOME GIRLS BITE, I thought about those rules. Sunlight allergies. Vampire Houses. The Canon of vampire law. A reigning council that's become corrupt from the inside. The thirst for blood. The silvering of eyes. The use of honorable weaponry. The impact of genocide on a supernatural community.

Individually, of course, many of these items are part and parcel of the vampire mystique. Of the myth. But what if they were more than pieces of a fairy tale? What if they were here, all around us, even in the midst of metropolitan sprawl . . . and we had no idea?

Chloe Neill: Mini Bio
I was born and raised in the South, but now make my home in the Midwest, just close enough to Cadogan House to keep an eye on the vampires. When not transcribing Merit’s adventures, I bake, watch entirely too much television, root for my favorite college football team (Go Big Red!), play with my dog, Baxter, and spend time with a pretty great--and very handsome--guy (who I'm pretty sure isn't a vampire).



What if we had average lives, satisfying lives, and all of that was tossed aside by an amoral antagonist guided by little more than narcissism and a 200-year-old rejection? What if they were assimilated amongst us, Cylons to our Capricans, merely trying to survive?

What if I was a girl, with an education and a family, with dreams and ambitions, and my human life, my humanity, was taken away because of that narcissism?

Well, after some period of grieving, I suppose I'd fight back.

And so must Merit, the heroine of SOME GIRLS BITE. The girl who had no idea that her life would take such a strange, supernatural course, but who must learn, in SOME GIRLS BITE and future installments, to adapt, to take charge, to thrive.SOME GIRLS BITE tells the story of the first few weeks of Merit's vampire adventure, and of the sarcasm she uses to cope with it.

FRIDAY NIGHT BITES, the second book in the CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES series, tells the story of her first official mission as House Sentinel . . . and the surprises that entails.

FRIDAY NIGHT BITES is due on shelves October 6, 2009. I have many, many adventures planned for Merit (et al), so I hope to negotiate the next book (or books) in the series in the coming months.

And, in January 2010, I'll debut a new young adult urban fantasy series. We're still working on the perfect series title, but the title of the first installment is FIRESPELL. As a special treat for SciFiGuy readers, here's the brand new teaser:
Teaser Excerpt from Firespell

As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia’s boarding school, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she’ll have to face…

When Lily’s guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she was shocked. So was St. Sophia’s. Lily’s ultra-rich brat pack classmates think Lily should be the punchline to every joke, and on top of that, she’s hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building.

The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout’s a little weird—she keeps disappearing late at night and won’t tell Lily where she’s been. But when a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout running from a real monster.

Scout’s a member of a splinter group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, who’ve sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers, magic users who’ve been corrupted by their power. And when Lily finds herself in the line of a firespell, Scout tells her the truth about her secret life, even though Lily has no powers of her own—at least none that she’s discovered yet…
In the event I ever have free time again, I have two more series in the planning stages. A very interesting post-apocalyptic urban fantasy and a werewolf-focused extravaganza, both with butt-kicking heroines to their credit.

Well, that's it for me. Thanks, Doug, for allowing me to speak to your readers, and happy weekend to everyone in blog land!

Thank you Chloe! And readers don’t forget to leave a comment or ask a question of Chloe to enter the contest. You can visit and find out more about her books and stay in touch through her website here.

34 comments:

  1. It's the 200-year-old rejection that piqued my interest. What could have possibly happened that was bad enough for a person (or vampire) to hold a grudge for that long??

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  2. I've read bits and blurbs about your new book on various book blogs and it's definitely on my to-read list!

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  3. Such a busy bee. Looking forward to your young adult book. So cool!

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  4. Although I haven't gotten to read Some Girls Bite yet, so I'd love to win...

    But weither way, I'm sooo excited that your main character is a college student. I'm 21 and stuck in that odd area where YA books are about high school and adult books are about true adults out there in the real world. Very rarely have I come across a good urban fantasy/paranormal romance that involves college students (Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires series and the beginning of Stray by Rachel Vincent) so I'm psyched.

    Anyway, was there a specific reason why you chose your main character to be a graduate student?

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  5. Congrats on the release of Some Girls Bite! Also, Firespell sounds exciting!

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  6. SOME GIRLS BITE sounds like such a great series Chloe! I'm so glad you're also writing in the teen genre--that's my favorite. I'll be sure to check out both books.

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  7. I'm looking forward to reading this book -- it sounds great!

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  8. Chloe, I already posted at your blog while I was still reading it, but I want to tell you again (now that I'm finished) that I really enjoyed Some Girls Bite. (I also loved that Merit was a college student. And I loved her family background.)

    I read so many urban fantasy books and I don't always move onto the second book in the series. In the past 2 months, I've read the first books of 9 different urban fantasy series (including yours) and though I plan to continue with at least 4 of them, your series and one other are the only ones I wish I could move forward with right now.

    Congratulations and good luck. I love werewolves, so I hope you can write that series, too!

    Laura J

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  9. Wow. These books look amazing! Will need to read these!

    I put this contest in my sidebar!

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  10. Great interview. These books sound like so much fun!

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  11. Hi, everyone!

    Thanks for dropping by! I'm traveling to a booksigning today, but I'm going to check in on the comments when I can.

    @ Jackie - We'll actually learn the details of Celina's grudge in Book 2, Friday Night Bites. :)

    @ Sara M - I'm a former grad student, so that was a pretty easy choice. :) And I wanted Merit to be a kind of "intellectual" heroine--someone who's expertise was academic, and so who had to really work to figure out her place in the world of vampires.

    Thanks to all of you who plan to pick up SOME GIRLS BITE. I hope you enjoy it!

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  12. Hi Chloe! I was wondering, since you're working on Firespell, how much of a difference is it writing a YA urban fantasy compared to an adult urban fantasy?

    Thanks!

    ~ Popin

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  13. This just sounds great, I've been reading about it, so the word's getting around!

    Looking forward the YA series too!

    Dottie :)

    (I'll give you a shout on my contest sidebar!!)

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  14. @Popin:

    My writing style is pretty sarcastic, so that lends itself to YA writing, but there are differences. YA manuscripts are quite a bit shorter--60K to 70K words, as opposed to 100K SOME GIRLS BITE. I also enjoy cursing, which I've had to watch out for. :)

    The biggest change, though, is logistics--kids have to be in school all day, or school has to otherwise be accounted for (summer break, etc.) And, these kids are under 18, so there are legal issues to think about--curfew, driving age, etc.

    Excellent question!

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  15. SOME GIRLS BITE sounds like a book I would love, and since I also enjoy YA paranormal/fantasy, I enjoyed the preview of FIRESPELL.

    Good luck with the books!

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  16. Really would like to read this one! What is your favorite vampire story and did it influence this book at all?

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  17. along the same lines as ladytink's question ... how did you decide which pieces/parts of vamp lore to incorporate into the chicagoland series?

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  18. Hey Chloe! =)

    I was wondering-what's Merit's full name? I don't think it's mentioned at all in the book =)

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  19. I finally got to start reading SOME GIRLS BITE tonight and am about half way through. Love the world-building and I love the combination of Merit and Mallory. Nothing sexier than smart women :)

    Thanks to everyone who has left a comment so far!

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  20. This is definitely on my need to buy list...I have heard such great things about it. I guess that I had not realized that it was part of a series, but that is a big selling point for me.

    Do you have any fun weekend plans?

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  21. I totally agree with Sara M. I haven't come across many (or any that I can recall) paranormal/urban fantasy books involving college students. Definitely one of the big reasons why I want to pick up this book. That and Merit sounds fantastic!!

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  22. This looks like a fascinating book and one I'm going to add to my books to look for.

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  23. This sounds like a great book. And I totally want to read the post-apocalyptic urban fantasy - that's a great combination!

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  24. Thanks for the interview! And what an AWESOME, AWESOME title!!!!

    Lesley

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  25. Nice to see more urban fantasy coming out. Can't get enough of it.

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  26. Cloe thanks for coming and telling us more about your book, Some Girls Bite and the plans you have for the future. It sounds like you have a lot of great things in the pipes. I can't wait to read your stuff.

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  27. Some Girls Bite is on my wishlist and now I have 2 more from you to add. :) You had me at "sarcastic and likes to curse". My kinda gal, lol.

    You aren't, by chance, searching for a "Canadian BFF" who's up for beta reading are you? *grins*

    I too am wondering how do you come up with the mythos for your vampires? What classic characteristics do you decide to keep and why?

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  28. Add me to the contest please!

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  29. FINALLY back in town (and internet-accessible) ! Thanks for all of you who had questions, which I'll now attempt to tardily answer. :)

    @ Ladytink: I really adored the first chunk of Laurel K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series, although I've lost touch with the series recently. I'm not sure there's a single book that influenced my writing, although the world-building in Stephanie Laurens' Cynster romances always impressed me.

    @ Bug & Judy: These were definitely vampires, so the daylight allergy and blood drinking were non-negotiable. But my vampires aren't inherently evil (like humans, that's a vamp by vamp determination), so Merit et al. don't have the classic (often religiously influenced) issues with garlic, crucifixes and mirrors.

    @ D: Merit isn't ready yet to reveal her first name, but it will be revealed in time. :)

    @ Lori T: My fun weekend plan was a very successful booksigning in Little Rock, Arkansas (and a lot of airports, and a little manuscript drafting).

    Thanks for the excellent questions!

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  30. Thank you everyone who stopped by and left a comment or question but most especially to Chloe Neill for the special glimpse into the creation of the Chicagoland Vampires series and of course the sneak preview of Firespell!

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  31. This sounds like a great book! I really want to read it and she wrote a great guest blog! :)

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  32. Hi Carol it was great having Chloe guest and I hope to have her back for the next book and perhaps for the Firespell launch.

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  33. My interest is captured with your novels. I am excited to read how your going to put a spin in the vampire genre. How a 200 year old rejection relats to the story? I am loving the excerpt for Firespell. I cant wait for the release.

    Sue
    okibi_insanity[at]yahoo[dot]com

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