1. How did you come up with the idea to write a book a Grim Reaper?
A few years ago I tried to write a suspense thriller, but it wasn’t working for me. I kept adding in supernatural elements! When I decided to write an urban fantasy I wanted to do something that was a little bit different from a lot of what was out there at the time – mostly vampires and werewolves.
I love the idea of Death as a protagonist, because Death is the most powerful force there is – natural or unnatural. No matter how strong you are, no matter how fast you run – Death gets everyone in the end.
2. Any advice you'd give Maddy?
Stay calm! A lot of Maddy’s problems stem from the fact that she can’t control her powers because she’s too emotional. She’s an older character but it many ways she acts younger simply because she hasn’t spent that much time interacting with other people. She’s been pretty deliberately sheltered by Beezle, her gargoyle.
3.Does Black Wings have a playlist, certain songs you listened to for inspiration?
Black Wings has a lot of humor and a lot of action, but I feel that the core emotion of the book is really about sadness and loss. The first song that summed up Black Wings for me was Sarah McLachlan’s “Full of Grace” and that set the tone for the pretty much the whole playlist and the whole book.
Some of the other songs from the Black Wings list were:
Wonderful Life/Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
O Children/Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
The Part You Throw Away/Tom Waits
Father Lucifer/Tori Amos
Somewhere Over the Rainbow-What a Wonderful World/Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
4. Can you tell us anything about Black Night?
I can tell you that the stakes get raised very dramatically for Maddy. She owes Lucifer a boon after the events of Black Wings and he’s going to make sure she pays that debt. Of course, being Lucifer he’s got lots of ulterior motives as well, so nothing is ever as simple as it seems for Maddy.
5.Do you have an actress in mind when you picture Maddy?
Wow, this is kind of tough. I don’t know who would play Maddy. I just think I would hate it if she was played by a super-skinny actress, because Maddy is slightly overweight and I like that about her – it makes her more human and less physically perfect than a lot of heroines. The actress would also need a major attitude, because Maddy’s definitely got a chip on her shoulder! Sandra Bullock totally could have played this role ten years ago but I don’t know who would do it now.
6.Have you read any good books lately that you'd recommended to Urban Fantasy readers?
I’m presently reading China Mieville’s Kraken, which is really clever and wonderful like all of his books. His young adult novel Un Lun Dun is one of my all-time favorites.
Also, if you haven’t read Nancy Holzner’s Deadtown you definitely should! The sequel, Hellforged, was just released a few weeks ago and they’re both awesome.
This is a little out of the urban fantasy milieu, but I’ve been recommending Ken Harmon’s The Fat Man: A Tale of North Pole Noir to pretty much everyone. It’s a wonderful send-up of both the mystery genre and Christmas conventions – if you want a good laugh you should read this book.