Where did the inspiration for Dead, Undead or Somewhere in Between come from? Did it come to you as a series?
One night I had a flash in my head of a young woman working in a strip club as a bartender. I knew she was rough around the edges and hard to get close to. When I questioned the “why” of it, I realized she had the ability to see dead people. I mentioned the idea to my husband (not even an idea by that point, really), and he gave his approval. Within minutes I’d taken a seat and started writing. I didn’t know it would become a series at the time.
How did you develop the specific lore for this novel? Did you draw on tropes you knew beforehand or was research involved? And what do you think is the coolest thing about being a vampire or a necromancer?
Much like the original idea, most of the lore came to me as I wrote. For example: I didn’t know Rhiannon could see spirits. I also didn’t know she could communicate with them. I did do a lot of research when it came to New York. I’ve never been to the city and relied on a friend to learn about locations and methods of travel. I spent hours mapping out routes and looking at images from particular areas.The coolest thing about being a vampire or a necromancer? Truthfully? I’m not sure. There are positive and negative outcomes for each.
The bad guy from Dead, Undead or Somewhere in Between was a total surprise to me. I just didn’t expect Kibwe (though, Rhiannon totally handled him…with a little help). How did he come into being?
Warning ** Spoiler Ahead **I love horror films and some of my favorites have child antagonists (Children of the Corn, for example). There is something scary about an innocent committing atrocious acts. So the thought of having someone who wasn’t a child (but was trapped in the body of one) appealed to me. Of course, I had to change things up so you’d see Kibwe without truly “seeing” him until the end. I wanted the reader to have a glimpse but not the entire picture.
Coming into a genre that is becoming so saturated, were you worried about not standing out?
Honestly, when I wrote Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between I wrote entirely for me. Before I published any of my work, I had a few stories under my belt. My mother-in-law pushed me to give publication a shot. Due to this, I wasn’t concerned about standing out so much as I was about promoting my name and work. However, I will say I do watch the market now and know there is a lot of new material. All I can do is write stories I enjoy and hope readers continue taking the journey with me.
In the Author’s Note of Dead, Undead or Somewhere in Between you mentioned reclaiming the book and presenting it to readers as it was meant to be. I know you meant not to go into that, but I wondered if you had any suggestion for new authors as far as the publishing industry goes?
This is a toughie. My best advice is to do some research. Then do more research. Learn all you can and when you think you have a solid grasp of what’s going on dive back in and research even more. I’ve learned a lot since my first book published, and I continue learning. Listening to an editor (or agent) is important. However, it’s also important to know your work. Don’t be arrogant; it’s important to be a team player. But trust your gut. Listen to that nagging inner voice if it won’t leave you alone. If you’re asked to change something, or if you’re not entirely comfortable with a contract, take your time and think things over. Although it’s exciting to be offered a contract, careful consideration and patience are of equal importance.
If you could share one thing with your fans, what would it be?
I wouldn’t be able to continue publishing without you. I write because I love to. I publish to support my family. Each and every one of you who supports my work allows me to do what I love. Thank you.
Poignant words. I really appreciate J.A. stopping by and if you want to know more (which I’m sure you do), check out her site here.