Jun 15, 2010
Adrian Phoenix - Interview and Contest
PVN welcomes back Adrian Phoenix on her 4th visit to this site. Many of you know Adrian for her awesome vampire series The Maker's Song. She now has begun a new series, once again centered on New Orleans and the Louisiana Bayou, but this time the paranormal element comes from magic and hoodoo.
Book one is Black Dust Mambo (Pocket, June 29, 2010) which Adrian will discuss in the following interview. She is also offering a unique prize to one lucky winner. See contest details at the end of the interview.
PVN: How did you find the native voices for your characters and then turn them into the written word?
AP: Listening to people talk, picking up cadences from character speech in movies and on TV. Often when I'm writing, I'll speak the dialog to get the rhythm right and to make sure it's the way people would actually speak it. Meaning - proper grammar is a no-no. Most of us don't use it in our conversations with friends and family. At least, I don't. (I do for professional contacts and conversations, however.)
PVN: How does Hoodoo differ from Voodoo?
AP: The main difference is that Voodoo is a religion, with priestesses (mambos), priests (houngans) and devoted practitioners who participate in ceremonies to summon the loa (natural spirits and those of the dead), while Hoodoo is a system of folk magic following the same belief system as Voodoo, including the same gods/loas/saints.
With hoodoo, there are no priests or priestesses or ceremonies, just root doctors and root workers (also known as conjurers) working out of their homes and/or botanicas. Root doctors/root workers are consulted by members of their neighborhoods and communities for spells/cures/potions when ill (or feeling a tad cursed or full of bad luck) as often as a person would visit the local pharmacy. Laying tricks and foot magic, breaking/making hexes, creating natural medicines and cures for illnesses of all kinds--heart, body, and soul.
Poppets (voodoo dolls) are made for positive purposes as well as negative. To keep love and passion alive, to disperse negative energy and draw in positive. Candle magic. Divination with cards and shells and bones.
PVN: Detail some of the research into Hoodoo practice.
AP: You bet! Not only did I do a ton of reading (and you can check out titles on my suggested reading list on the Black Dust Mambo page on my website). I also paid a visit to Lucky Mojo Curio Co., which specializes in Hoodoo supplies and books, but offers other occult items as well.
The woman who runs it, Catherine Yronwode, is a hoodoo and has been one for many years. She also offers a correspondence course in Hoodoo, which I plan to take. In the meantime, I've bought many potions, oils, powders, herbs, and other ingredients and have been learning to put together mojo bags, make spelled incense and potions - doing some hands-on work so I can have a better feel for Kallie's work and world.
PVN: Describe Kallie to us.
AP: Kallie is a young woman who has survived an inexplicable explosion of violence as a teenager that claimed her family, and has been learning hoodoo from her Aunt Gabrielle since coming to Bayou Cyprés Noir to live with her. Kallie is haunted by that one tragic event, and is determined to put it behind her. She took up boxing as a way to work off her pent-up anger and grief, her doubts.
Hoodoo runs in the family, so Kallie took it naturally and without question. Kallie is fiery, strong, compassionate, loyal to her friends and family, a healthy and hot-blooded gal, and a little too quick to throw a punch. She’s not known for saying please or thank you or for being very patient. She's very close to her cousin, Jackson, who also lives with her and their aunt. Physically, she has long, dark coffee brown hair, violet eyes with a bit of a tilt--her father was Cajun and her mother (another rootworker), was a mixed-blood Creole with cafe-au-lait skin.
AP: Nomads are a pagan, gypsy/outlaw-biker-styled clans who travel on motorcycles, Jeeps, and other vehicles, including family-sized RVs painted up in swirling Celtic designs, knots, and animals, much like the old-fashioned gypsy vardo wagons. Nomad society is an earthy blend of Celtic, Romany, and Norse cultures. Each clan is run by a chieftain (of either sex) and a shuvani(o) (witch/healer), and they never stay in one area too long. They don't own property because they believe you can't own the earth.
Nomads regard vampires as part of the natural order and are honored when one of their own is chosen to be turned. True Bloods, the rare born vampires, are seen as night elementals. Sometimes blood gifts are left on stone altars for these nightwalkers. Werewolves and shapeshifters are also respected as Nature’s voice and treated with respect and the same wariness shown all preternatural beings. In all her facets, Nature is often unpredictable, violent, and cruel. (Nomads think of Nature with a capital N.) The nomad world can be rough.
Nomads aren't generally welcomed by squatters (non-nomads) and are viewed as thieves, tricksters, con-artists, and whores. In all honesty, nomads do tend to run cons, pulling a few grifter’s tricks on the squatters of the towns they pass through, but generally setting the tricks up so that only the greedy are suckered. It's not unusual for nomads to do bodyguard or mercenary work, but their loyalty always lies with the clan. They tend to ignore government regulations and camp wherever they can—and always outside city limits. Nomad children aren't required to attend public schools, and are schooled within their clans.
AP: It's fairly easy given that the setting is almost the same. But while Dante has New Orleans, Kallie has the bayou. What’s trickier is remembering that the Hoodoo books are lighter—sass and WebMD worship— Yes, Kallie’s looking at you, Belladonna!—welcome.
PVN: What is the difference between magic used by humans and those born with magic as part of their being?
AP: Magic used by humans is outside of themselves, that’s the main difference. Humans can channel magic, directing it and focusing it by using spells, charms, potions, etc. They can also channel magic by awakening and strengthening their own intuitive ability, tapping into the Earth’s natural rhythm.
PVN: Augustine is such an unusual character, would you tell us a little about him?
AP: Gladly! Lord Basil Augustine is an aristocratic illusionist and the master of the Hecatean Alliance—an organization he created for magic practitioners of all kinds, a fraternity guided by laws designed to keep practitioners safe and secret, and the switched-off (non-practitioners) safe, secure and unaware. He’s several centuries old, but he doesn’t look a day over forty, a man still in his prime. He’s British. He’s gay. I guess the dry wit comes naturally. And he was once a boozed-up sleight-of-hand magician working the circus crowds in Victorian England. He may or may not be entirely human.
PVN: Your descriptions of New Orleans are so evocative of the Big Easy and the Louisiana Bayou. How much time have you spent there?
AP: Not as much as I would like. I’ve visited – and I’m going for another visit in October. I hope to have a home there one day. I also read about Louisiana, Cajun culture, New Orleans, and the bayous all the time.
PVN: What's next for Kallie and her friends?
AP: Well, given that the next book, Black Heart Loa, picks up right where this one leaves off and Kallie will be searching for the things revealed as missing at the end of Black Dust Mambo, I’ll have to keep mum—other than to say, more magic, more sex and romance, a pack of loup garou, gators (just a few and most definitely not a pack), bumbling kidnappers, non-bumbling and quite deadly thieves and drug dealers, loa, possession. Hopefully another way to get all the males stripped down to their skivvies again. Did I mention sex?
PVN: If a movie were made of Black Dust Mambo who would you like to see as Kallie, Layne, and Augustine or any of the other characters?
AP: Rupert Everett for Augustine, definitely. I had him in mind when I created Augustine. I’m open to suggestions on the others!
PVN: What's next for Dante?
AP: Etched in Bone, Book Four of The Maker's Song will be released February 22, 2011. (The delay is due to a combination of a scheduling crunch on the publisher’s part and personal/medical glitches on my part.) And I’m very excited about this latest installment of Dante and Heather’s story.
Here’s a blurb:
Ain't. Running. And I sure as hell ain't hiding.
But that vow brings consequences that Dante Baptiste--True Blood vampire, Fallen Maker, rock musician--never imagined even as it brings him face to face with those hunting him and his lover, former FBI agent, Heather Wallace; the covert Shadow Branch, the vampire Cercle de Druide, and rogue assassins. And now that the Fallen have finally discovered their long-awaited Maker, they have no intention of letting him walk away.
As Dante Fights to claim his life as his own, while dealing with the awakened and shattered memories of his brutal past, an unexpected enemy arises from within Heather's family; an enemy who nearly destroys Dante by stealing the one person who keeps him balanced--Heather. All worlds--mortal, nightkind, and Fallen--hang in the balance as Dante searches for Heather. And his success or failure will determine whether he becomes the Never-Ending Road or the Great Destroyer.
PVN: Where can readers find you?
AP: A bunch of places and I hope to see y’all at one or another!
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Adrian-Phoenix/55403659403?ref=mf
PVN: Anything else you would like to add?
AP: Just a big thank you for having me here, Patricia! It’s always a pleasure. Thanks also to your readers for dropping by. Have a Cafe Brûlot, a po’ boy sandwich and dip your toes into Kallie’s world of hoodoo, hunky nomads, and bayou-steeped mystery.
Adrian will give away a signed copy of Black Dust Mambo along with a mojo bag and bottle of attraction oil.
To enter the contest:
*Ask Adrian a question - one chance
*Give your opinion of Hoodoo - one chance
*Also if you are a PVN Email Subscriber; Like Patricia's Vampire Notes on Facebook; a PVN Google Follower; a Patricia Altner Twitter Follower. Let me know which and it will give you - one chance for each.
Contest is international and ends June 29.
Go HERE for 2 of Adrian's favorite New Orleans recipes