Monday, May 1, 2017

🏰 AUTHOR INTERVIEW: R.J. Blain, author of Playing with Fire + Win $25 Amazon Gift Card!



RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

When she isn't playing pretend, she likes to think she's a cartographer and a sumi-e painter.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied.

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Warning: This novel contains excessive humor, action, excitement, adventure, magic, romance, and bodies. Proceed with caution.

What do you get when you mix gorgons, an incubus, and the Calamity Queen? Trouble, and lots of it.

Working as the only human barista at a coffee shop catering to the magical is a tough gig on a good day. Bailey Gardener has few options. She can either keep spiking drinks with pixie dust to keep the locals happy, or spend the rest of her life cleaning up the world’s nastiest magical substances.

Unfortunately for her, Faery Fortunes is located in the heart of
Manhattan Island, not far from where Police Chief Samuel Quinn works. If she’d been smart, she never would have agreed to help the man find his wife.

Bailey found her, all right—in the absolutely worst way possible.

One divorce and several years later, Bailey is once again entangled in Chief Quinn’s personal affairs, and he has good reason to hate her. Without her, he wouldn’t be
Manhattan’s Most Wanted Bachelor, something he loathes. Without her, he’d still be married.

If only she’d said no when he asked her help, she might have had a chance with him. While her magic worked well, it came with a price: misfortune. Hers.

When Quinn’s former brother-in-law comes to her for help, he leaves her with a cell phone and seventy-five thousand reasons to put her magic to the test. However, when she discovers Quinn’s ex-wife is angling for revenge, Bailey’s tossed in the deep end along with her sexiest enemy.

Playing With Fire is available at Amazon.


As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?

You and me both! Every book is different for me, but Playing with Fire was one of the strangest ideas I’ve come up with—which is perfect, since it’s a strange book. It all started when I was looking for a romantic comedy to read. I often write what I want to read, and well, the romantic comedy field was far too sparse for my liking, especially when I was in a mood for a little bit of fun, a little bit of magic, and a little bit of romance.

So, off I went. I wanted something funny, something magical, and something romantic, so I went to town. How would society change if pixies were real and their dust made humans happy? What would life be like as one of the few, rare humans incapable of finding happiness with a flutter of pixie wings? What would life be like in a world where magic reigns supreme?

One question led to another, and thus the adventures of Bailey and Quinn came to life. I wanted over the top fun, and so I got to writing. And so the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) series was born.

And… yes. There are bodies. A lot of them. At heart, I’m an action-adventure-thriller girl, and while you can dump me in the romantic comedy pool, it seems I just can’t get through a book without death, doom, and destruction becoming involved.

So, why fight it? I embraced it instead.

Can you tell us what your book is about?

What do you get when you mix gorgons, an incubus, and the Calamity Queen? Trouble, and lots of it.

Working as the only human barista at a coffee shop catering to the magical is a tough gig on a good day. Bailey Gardener has few options. She can either keep spiking drinks with pixie dust to keep the locals happy, or spend the rest of her life cleaning up the world’s nastiest magical substances.

Unfortunately for her, Faery Fortunes is located in the heart of Manhattan Island, not far from where Police Chief Samuel Quinn works. If she’d been smart, she never would have agreed to help the man find his wife.

Bailey found her, all right—in the absolutely worst way possible.

One divorce and several years later, Bailey is once again entangled in Chief Quinn’s personal affairs, and he has good reason to hate her. Without her, he wouldn’t be Manhattan’s Most Wanted Bachelor, something he loathes. Without her, he’d still be married.

If only she’d said no when he asked her help, she might have had a chance with him. While her magic worked well, it came with a price: misfortune. Hers.

When Quinn’s former brother-in-law comes to her for help, he leaves her with a cell phone and seventy-five thousand reasons to put her magic to the test. However, when she discovers Quinn’s ex-wife is angling for revenge, Bailey’s tossed in the deep end along with her sexiest enemy.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book?

I can… a little. To say too much would spoil the fun! (and the book.) Bailey is about as normal as people get, or so she thinks. Sure, she’s immune to some of the most dangerous substances on Earth, but she’s a one-trick pony with three legs, or so she thinks.

Her trick is special, if she can accept who and what she is. And with Bailey, acceptance never comes easily…

Chief Samuel Quinn has his secrets, too. Divorced and too handsome for anyone’s good, he’s Manhattan’ Most Wanted Bachelor for a reason, as he’s got a serious case of good guy syndrome underneath his pretty veneer. He has one weakness, however, and she brings the best and the worst out in him: Bailey.

Together, they’re an explosive combination, if they can get over themselves long enough to realize they’re the best thing for each other.

For these two, that’s definitely not easy…

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?

Learn to read before grade four. Seriously. I was functionally illiterate during part of grade four. I had no interest in school, no interest in books, no interest in education. I grew up in farm country, and the emphasis was sports. I wanted nothing more than to just go play outside, run around, and be… anything other than educated.

Ironically, I had perfect school attendance up until that point. Learning to really read spelled the end of my perfect attendance, as I discovered books and would much rather stay home reading.

So, thanks to Mrs. King for introducing me to a book I actually found interesting rather than sticking to the ‘normal’ curriculum. It made all the difference in the world to me.

What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?

I love weird words, and I love whenever I get a chance to use them. My editor has to rein me in, as I would use terms like defenestrate, immolate, abhor, exsanguination, and so on at every opportunity. I mean, can you really blame me? Those words are awesome.

Do you hear from your readers?  What do they say?

I do! Most of the time, they’re asking me about when a book is coming out. I’ve had a bunch of delays. One of the titles I meant to release late 2016 got delayed, and my editor is still working on it. So, I spend a lot of time telling people I’m waiting for edits back from my editor. That’s all right, though.

I love knowing there are people looking forward to an upcoming book!

I’ll just answer a few of these questions right now:

Water Viper is coming! My editor is working on it! It’ll release approximately a week after she has the final notes to me. It’s coming!

Silver Bullet is coming, too! I’m almost done it. It’ll release after Hoofin’ it, the second Magical Romantic Comedy… which is slated for after Water Viper.

Yes, I really will write Royal Slaves, but I don’t know when. And yes, The Tides of War is coming… eventually. Really hoping to be on schedule with it, but that one depends on a cover artist and my editor.

And yes, there will be more Magical Romantic Comedies. Hoofin’ It is completed and waiting for my editor, No Kitten Around is about half done, and Serial Killer Princess is well on its way towards being a book. I may be working on a fifth one in the series, too.

And yes, there will be a second Bailey and Quinn book, I just don’t know when.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

Some jerk told me I should stop writing books. I ignored him. Criticism is a bit like clutter. Bag it, trash it, keep going until trash day comes again. If I listened to every bit of criticism flung my way, I’d never write anything.

What has been the best accomplishment?

I always wanted to be a part of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the professional authors guild for genre writers. As a self-publishing author, I’d pretty much given up hope of meeting the minimum requirements… but then they changed the rules, allowing any author with the appropriate earnings to join the fold.

I was honored and absolutely stoked to qualify when they opened their doors for self-publishing authors. I’ve been a member ever since, and I still grin like an idiot whenever I think about how I actually accomplished one of my bucket list dreams.

Do you Google yourself?

Too often for my own good, and sadly, it’s rather sparse. Mostly, I’m actually checking for piracy and deciding how to deal with it, but… there you have it. I totally do google for myself to see what’s going on.

Usually, it’s a big fat nothing, but that’s all right.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Oh boy. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. I have the shelf of shame, which are books that I’ll probably never finish—or original drafts of books I’ve since rewritten and published.

My shelf of shame easily has twenty or thirty books in it. I prescribe to the ‘it takes a million bad words to write a good word’ work ethic, so it probably won’t surprise many I have about that many words in my shelf of shame.

So, I’ll mostly ignore those and move on to the ‘half-finished but plan to publish’ category.

Here’s my list of finished books waiting for editorial love: Water Viper, Hoofin’ It, Wolf Hunt.

Here’s my list of half-finished books being cycled through to join the list of finished books: Silver Bullet (80,000 words, either halfway to three-quarters done, we’ll see?), Rider of the Sun Horse (about halfway done), No Kitten Around (1/2ish), Serial Killer Princess (1/4ish), Magical Romantic Comedy #5 (1 page written… I just started it!), about ten other play projects I’m experimenting with…

I usually have one main project in the works with several play projects I’m working on when I need to clear my head or think about something else. This often results in suddenly finishing 2 or 3 books within a few days of each other.

My editor does not like that. At all. She gets mad at me, as she goes from “I’m almost done this book” to “What do you mean I have two more in line?!”

One day she might really come after me with a stick and beat me, and I’d deserve it.

Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?

Keep reading! Seriously. You’re the reason us writers often write. (And I’ll keep reading, too… just one more chapter, until it’s dawn, and I then remember sleep is necessary to function…)

Thanks for having me on your blog!

 

R.J. Blain is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive $25 Amazon Gift Card.
  • This giveaway ends midnight May 31.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!






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1 comment:

  1. Loved this book! I highly recommend reading it if you're in the mood for something romantic, hilarious, and more than a little strange.

    ReplyDelete