Jun 24, 2009

Ann Aguirre - Interview and Contest

The contest portion is now closed. Many thanks to all who visited and/or commented!

PVN welcomes Ann Aguirre author of Blue Diablo: A Corine Solomon Novel (Roc, April 2009), book one in a new urban fantasy series.

"In her life, Ann has been a clown, a clerk, a savior of stray kittens, and a voice actress, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in a terracotta adobe house with her husband and two adorable children"

Ann is a multi-published author in the SFF world. I'm so happy that she took time from her busy life to answer a few questions.

Glad you could be here, Ann!

PVN: Corine has has suffered much in her life. I see her as wounded, even fragile, and yet very courageous. Please tell us how you see this complex character?

Ann: I agree with you, although I doubt Corine would see herself as courageous. She simply does what must be done, even when she doesn't want to. That's the mark of a true heroine, I think: someone who steps up even when she'd rather be watching TV.

In a world filled with Big Bads, she is definitely fragile, both physically and emotionally. She doesn't have super-speed or amazing combat skills, which makes it tough for her to survive. She has one single gift and she does the best to deploy it helpfully, despite the cost.

PVN: Discuss Corine's relationship with Chance, her former lover.

Ann: Corine's life has left her craving home and hearth, which makes what Jesse Saldana offers all the more alluring. He can provide her with something Chance never can, no matter how much he loves her, for he has only Min and a wealth of secrets he has not shared. Jesse has a Gifted family to offer; he could provide her with ther normalcy and acceptance she'd always wanted. Unquestionably, he would be safe the choice. But she does have unresolved feelings for Chance, and I don't know which way she'll go.

Her relationship with Chance is tense and fraught with complication. He's intensely private, and his emotional distance, as much as her accident, drove her away in the first place. There are real dangers, as presented by his gift, but if she had been emotionally fulfilled, she probably would've stayed, despite the risk. He loves Corine very much, but he has secret ties and hidden loyalties with which he cannot trust her. She sees that lack of trust as a sign that he doesn't really love her--that he sees her as a convenience. That is certainly not true, but Chance has too many emotional barriers to break them down readily. But he's trying.

PVN: Police Detective Jesse Saldana introduces Corine to the "underground". Would you explain what the "underground" is?

Ann: Imagine our world. Then imagine there's a secret society of Gifted individuals, living quietly among us. Gifts tend to run in family lines; it's genetic inheritance. The Gifted also tend to marry within their own ranks, thus strengthening the traits. In modern times, they keep in touch via the Internet. It's basically a quiet subculture of the population, and they keep it so because they remember the witch hunts in the Middle Ages. The victims were not always magical practitioners; sometimes they were Gifted folk who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They remember the persecution, and so they keep things quiet. Corine, since she is not naturally Gifted, and was born to a witch who bestowed her power through a spell, had no way of knowing this network existed.

PVN: Butch the chihuahua is such a sweet surprise. Will he continue to play a role in future books?

Ann: Butch is a great character. I love him. He actually has a secret, which will come out over the course of the series. Because of his unexpected popularity, I actually made some Blue Diablo gear here and here, featuring Butch. And yes, he is now Corine's dog; he'll be present until the end.

PVN: How many books are planned for the series? Do you have any pub dates?

Ann: I sold three books in the first contract. As they come out once a year, I haven't sent any option material. I had in mind at least six books, but Penguin has let me know they are open to a long-running series, providing the sales support such a move. Hell Fire comes out April 2010, and Shady Lady comes out April 2011.

PVN; What attracts you to the paranormal?

Ann: I really love writing books that are one step from our reality, where the world feels familiar but there's just enough difference to make it intriguing. Plus, there's the added bonus of making up your own rules.

PVN: You have another successful series, this time set in the science fiction arena and featuring heroine Sirantha Jax. Would you tell us something about this series?

Ann: Jax is a jumper, which means she can navigate faster-than-light ships through a subspace known as grimspace. That's like a fold in straight space, allowing them to cross great distances in a blink. Unfortunately, it carries a high burnout rate, and she's the oldest jumper still working. She's a survivor, first and foremost; she loves her own skin best. For some Jax is too abrasive; others love her because she breaks a lot of the feminine molds. She's selfish sometimes, and she does what's best for her. As the series progresses, she learns to value other people, and she learns to sacrifice. I think the series has a great character arc. If you like SF antiheroines, you might well enjoy it.

PVN: What is your writing environment and your writing day like?

Ann: I write from 9-2:30 either in my office or on Pinkie, my Ibook. At 2:30 (sometimes 4 if they have afternoon activities) it’s time for me to go pick the kids up from school. Hopefully, I will have met my 3K a day word count by that point, as the afternoon turns into a flurry of activities, errands, helping with homework, and then dinner. Typically we’ll do something as a family afterward for an hour or two: talk, play a game, or watch some TV.

If I fell shy, then I get back to work in the early evening and make up the difference. When I’m working on a project, I live by 3K a day. Then I let it sit for a bit before going back to see what I need to fix. If I need a second opinion before turning it in, I have my husband or one of my crit partners look at it. If I’m confident of the book, it goes straight to Laura Bradford, my agent, and Anne Sowards or Cindy Hwang, my editors.

PVN: Are there particular books or authors that inspired you to be a writer?

Ann: I always wanted to be an author, but it was hearing Shel Silverstein read when I was 9 that made me think, OMG, this is the coolest job in the world.

PVN: What do you do for relaxation?

Ann: I read, watch TV or movies, take walks, go to the park, listen to music, or play video games.

PVN: Where can readers find you on the web?

Ann: I'm at http://www.annaguirre.com & http://www.avagray.com and I love hearing from readers.

PVN: Ann, it has been such a pleasure having you here. Thank you!

Contest information:

One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Blue Diablo

For a chance to win do one or more of the following:

* Leave a comment on any topic in the interview - one chance

* Ask Ann a question - one chance

* Link to this interview to your own site or a social network site, and be sure to let me know the URL - one chance

*Be certain I have access to your email address.

The contest runs from 8 AM June 24 until 11:59 PM June 26


Anonymous said...

This was an interesting interview. I didn't know Ann's books, but now i find myself really interested in reading them =)
As usually i'd like to know if a french version of the books is out yet, or planned? (so i can keep my friends busy with recommendations!)

Thanks for the interview, i love finding new great authors to read.

Chris said...

Great interview! Ann, this statement you made is exactly the reason I read urban fantasy/paranormal romance: "I really love writing books that are one step from our reality, where the world feels familiar but there's just enough difference to make it intriguing."


Leah Braemel said...

I just finished Blue Diablo yesterday - it was fantastic! Definitely one for my keeper shelf. And I'm impatient to see the next in the series. There's so much growth potential for these characters, so many things that can be done in her world. (You don't need to add me to the contest as I already am the lucky owner of a signed copy of BD. In fact, I just blogged about it this morning.)

Anonymous said...

I love the cover for Blue Diablo, not just because I'm a redhead. Can't wait to read it.

Anonymous said...

I like the way Chance has such conflicting emotions, the secrecy vs. his love for the heroine. Will this triangle continue through the series?

chey said...

Hi Ann,
You are a new author to me. I can't wait to read your books!
"In modern times, they keep in touch via the Internet." Sounds like a great way for the gifted to keep in touch.

Barbara Monajem said...

Very enjoyable interview. I too enjoy the one-step-from-reality concept. Although I read paranormals of all sorts, I like writing the kind that are about the world we live in... but not quite. Yay! to making up one's own rules.

Blue Diablo is on my TBB list.

SarahKay said...

Hi Ann, you are new to me and I look forward to finding your work and getting into it. Hoping I win the book to start me off.

Juli said...

I've read two of Ann's books about Jax, and the third is on my list. I enjoy her writing voice in these books. (I also follow her on Twitter, and she's a fun, funny lady!) She has excellent world-building skills in her sci-fi books, so I'm really looking forward to what she does with this "one step from reality" world she has created for Blue Diablo.

My question has to do with reading -- Ann, when you read for pleasure, what genres/authors do you like? Do you read sci-fi? Romance? Enquiring minds and all that.

Ann Aguirre said...

Thanks so much for having me today! I'll be happy to answer any questions anyone might have.

Ann Aguirre said...

Juli, I am eclectic reader, and I enjoy nearly all genre fiction, though I don't read very much horror.

In mystery, I read James Lee Burke and Julia Spencer-Fleming.

In romance, my favorites include Carolyn Jewel, Larissa Ione, Lara Adrian, Lauren Dane, Anya Bast, Connie Brockway, Meredith Duran, Victoria Dahl... there are LOTS more.

In fantasy, I love Sharon Shinn, Jeri Smith-Ready, Patricia Briggs, Robin McKinley, Patrica McKillip, and lots more.

Anonymous said...

This book sounds great,I can't wait to read it.


Cybercliper said...

Hi Ann:

I love the paranormal genre for reasons similar to your own and I have since branched out to include SF/Fantasy. I was glad to learn about your SF series with Jax – I hadn’t heard of it before this. Blue Diablo sounds great and I’d love to read it.

I’m sure writers have very thick skins or acquire it rather quickly. Reviews are important to writers, but my question would be how do you deal with criticism of your body of work? Do you feel it personally or are you able to look at it objectively - dispassionately? Thanks and much success…

Caffey said...

Hi Ann! The world you describe for your book with the 'underworld' and more sounds so unique! Was there anything or a few things that inspired this theme for your book? Thanks!


Ann Aguirre said...

My books have not sold in France yet, but here's hoping. We just sold some to the UK!

Yes, developing a thick skin is important. As for criticism, I usually just think, that person has a right to his / her opinion, and that's the end of it. Sometimes, though, I read where people are saying something that is factually incorrect, and that's a little harder to ignore. If it's a major plot point, sometimes I will point out the error. Otherwise I just let it go. You never win arguing with a a reader.

The Egypsy Speaks said...

Two things: I agree with Ann on characters who are truly courageous stepping up instead of stepping aside; and that I think S. Jax sounds like a much more interesting character than the usual "perfect" female characters. That book sounds like something I'd love. I have a character much like that in one of my older WIPs myself.

Cindy said...

You book has been o my wishlist for a while now, I was wondering if I can expect a love story? I love love stories in my paranormal romance ^^

tynga85 @ hotmail.om

Mary Marvella said...

Good interview, Ann. You sound like you'll go far! Looks like I'll be adding another paranormal author to my list.

We have our own author interview at www.pinkfuzzyslipperwriters.blogspot.com

Faith said...

I love it when animals are featured in books over and over. Animals make excellent characters too. And the name Butch for a Chihuahau is way cool, lol.

Faith said...

Btw, I posted this interview link to my tweets over at twitter.com I'm www.twitter.com/Faith_Zinnia there.

FatalisFortuna said...

At first I wasn't especially interested in this... But as soon as I heard about Butch the Chihuahua I was fascinated! :D I'll be looking up this series.

Llehn said...

Is it hard for you to get out of your character's heads once the book is done?

Pamk said...

this book has been on my tbb list for a while. Sounds real interesting. Have the first 2 jax books in my tbr pile just haven't gotten around to them. They are my favorite genre but I have to be in the mood for that genre lol. Hasn't hit me yet.
What are some things that you were a voice actress voice. I think that would be an interesting job.
Are there any more book ideas roaming around your head that you might work on in the future.

Alexia561 said...

Thanks for a great interview! Your jumper series with Jax sounds great as well! Hadn't heard of that one and will keep an eye out!

SciFiGuy said...

Dropped by to read the interview which I enjoyed and to say "Hi Anne!". I have the book so you don't need to enter me. When do we get to see the cover to Hell Fire?

Ann Aguirre said...

Forgive me if I miss any questions. It's late as I'm popping in here.

Yes, you can expect a romance subplot in my books. If they're shelved as SF/F, however, the relationship arc may not be wrapped up in a single book. But since I'm a romance reader at heart, you can trust me to leave the characters safe and happy and in love when I end their respective series.

Sometimes it can be hard to switch main characters. It's a bit schizophrenic at times.

And I should have a Hell Fire cover by autumn, I should think. They've had the art meeting, and I've been advised what the concept will be. Now I'm just waiting to see it.

Anonymous said...

linking to the interview on http://marleydelaroseauthor.blogspot.com
Good luck with Hell Fire, Ann.

Leanna Renee Hieber said...

What a great interview! I'm very excited about all these great series! I loved Grimspace- Ann is an extremely talented writer.

Valorie said...

It would be so awesome to be a jumper. I would love to go anywhere that I want very quickly. I'd see the world for cheap. And still be home in time for bed.

Question: What music do you listen to when you write? What music gets you in the mood or the right headspace for the writing that you do?

Blogged: http://www.morbid-romantic.net/2009/06/22/book-giveaways-0622-0628/


Daelith said...

Do you envision any particular people (actors, models, etc) portraying your characters when you write?

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us and introducing us to your work.