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