Today on the blog we have author Maureen Willett for an interview. Her novel, The Soul Stealer is today’s book blitz on the blog. So sit back and relax and lets get to know this amazing author.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Yes, I did always want to be a writer from the time I was in third grade. I majored in journalism in college, and have spent most of my career as a working writer.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
Just recently I came out of the closet and started telling my friends about my novels. Even though I’ve been writing all my life, to admit I created paranormal fiction was a big leap for me, as well as for some of my friends. One friend I’ve known for 20 years told me that he felt like he hadn’t known me at all after hearing about it.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
Years. Actually, The Soul Stealer is the fourth novel I’ve written, but the first three aren’t good enough, so I didn’t want them available to readers. I wrote my first novel ten years ago and have been perfecting my craft since.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
Yes, I work full time as an independent rep for a yearbook publishing company, so I’m in publishing for my day job, too. It’s great because I get to work from my home, make my own hours, and don’t have the pressure of being in an office downtown every day.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
The Soul Stealer. Romeo and Juliet meets True Blood, set in Hawaii.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
About a year and a half. One year to write the first draft, then six months for rewrites and editing. Then, I hire a professional copy editor for the final touches.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
My novels are in the paranormal genre, and I seem to be currently fascinated with faeries. I’m working on a paranormal historical novel about a family from Ireland who immigrates to Kansas in 1870 because they are about to be accused of witchcraft in their home village. A leprechaun/faery follows them to the new world. I was doing my family tree last summer and came across some interesting antic dotes about my ancestors’ journeys to America and have incorporated those stories into this novel. Of course, I had to put a supernatural twist on it, too.
What genre would you place your books into?
Paranormal fiction/urban fantasy
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I grew up with very spiritual people who believed in things you couldn’t see. One of our favorite pastimes as kids was to levitate tables, which we did with the help of our mother. Today, it’s called table tipping in certain circles. So writing paranormal fiction was a natural direction for me. It’s just how my imagination works.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
As much as I love my rock star faery, Andrew Le Fey, in The Soul Stealer, my favorite character is Hunter. He’s complex, conflicted, and tortured by his past. I wanted a main character who isn’t completely transparent or obvious in his motives, seductive, somewhat ruthless, and magical. Hunter is all of those.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing since I was in third grade. It’s just who I am. And my stories come from somewhere else entirely. I’m just the vessel who sets them to words.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I sit at my laptop in my home office to write, but I need complete isolation. So if anyone comes into the room, I have to stop writing. The spell has been broken.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes, every one. But I don’t take any of them very seriously.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
Write the book first. The title is hard to come by and usually arrives late.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I’m not really sure. I try to write what I know, so most of my novels are set in either Los Angeles or Hawaii, where I’ve spent most of my years. Especially with Hawaii, I try to bring its sense of place to the story. The characters develop as the story does. I don’t outline or plot my stories. I have an idea with a beginning and an end and two main characters that pops into my head. The rest falls into place while I’m writing the novel.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
The character comes first. The name must fit the character accurately, so sometimes a character changes name half-way through, or their features change. That can be confusing when I rewrite the second draft.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
As I go along, and not very intentionally. There’s usually a need or purpose for a secondary character, so their traits are easy to figure out. The main characters aren’t by choice or design. They are in my head and I put them on paper as I see them. They are their own beings, and I have no control over how they look or what their personalities are. It’s like watching a movie. It just unfolds before my eyes. In writing The Soul Stealer, I didn’t realize Hunter is a magical being until about halfway through the first draft. It was a surprise to me. But then on second draft, I went through and incorporated his magical powers and traits throughout the story to make it flow better.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Great question! The Soul Stealer is an allegory for dating. I was single for many years as a young adult and dated all sorts. I got tired of meeting someone, really liking him, only to be disappointed by his real personality after the dating façade wore thin. We tend to put our best behavior forward when we first meet someone, but it slowly whittles away as you get closer. Sometimes you discover secrets about his past that are shocking. That’s what happens with my two main characters in The Soul Stealer, only Hunter’s secrets are a bit more fantastic than most, especially since he’s not really human. And Malia is already committed to him when she figures that one out. So, the trials and tribulations of dating, accelerated.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I have to travel frequently for my job, so I’m all about eBooks. They’re easy to download and I can carry more than one on my tablet.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
I’ve never read a book more than once, but if I did it would be the Harry Potter series. There’s so much detail and twists and turns that a reader can’t catch it all the first go round.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
It all depends on the treatment by the movie producers. I’d have to say that the Harry Potter movies are the best stories transferred to the screen. I was happy with them all, although I loved the books more. Most of the time if I read the book first, I’m completely disappointed with the movie. And if I see the movie first, I rarely read the book after. There’s no point once you know the beginning and the end.
Your favorite food is?
I don’t know, is white wine a food?
Your favorite singer/group is?
That tends to change with the wind, but right now it’s Adele. Her voice is beyond compare.
Your favorite color is?
Lavender, because it’s so soothing. I love the smell, too.
Your favorite Author is?
There are many favorites for a variety of reasons. I recently read A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick and was blown away by his writing. The story isn’t anything new, but his prose sets it apart. It’s absolutely astounding the way he puts words together. Loved it!
To find out more about Maureen check out today’s book blitz.