Vicki Pettersson was kind enough to answer a few annoying questions from me in an interview. Check out her answers below. What's more, don't forget to enter the contest to win a signed copy of The Scent of Shadows, the first book in the Zodiac series. To enter the contest, scroll down to Monday's blog entry and leave a comment. The contest ends on Saturday!
1. What first inspired you to write a novel? Or what first got you interested in writing?
Like most writers, I’ve always been an avid reader. I’d also daydream and make up stories in my head, but as far as knowing this is what I wanted to do? As far as believing I could make a living doing this? No. I didn’t think it was possible for some middle class girl from a dusty desert town to make a living as a writer. I had no example telling me otherwise. Other people — smarter people — wrote novels. And yet. I had an epiphanous moment when I was twenty-six where I vividly recall sitting down with my morning coffee and saying to myself, “Today I am going to write a novel.” Of course, it didn’t happen it a day. It took more like eight years. But I was obsessed from that day forward.
2. Do you see any particular character traits that are similar between you and your main character Joanna?
I can be a bit impulsive and hot-headed at times, though I like to think I control it a bit better than Joanna does. Unfortunately, I posses none of her superpowers … which p*sses me off. So there’s a bit of wish fulfillment going on there.
3. What’s your favorite thing about living in Las Vegas?
Having what I want, when I want it. It’s clearly THE place to be for those seeking immediate gratification. But I enjoy the duality of it. I raise my family here, and I think that side of Vegas would be shockingly normal (and boring) if people ever really saw it. Yet the Strip is within arm’s reach. It’s the best of both worlds.
4. Of all the book in the Zodiac series, which is your favorite book and why?
CITY OF SOULS seems to have replaced all others in the hearts of my long-time readers, but I might be more attuned to that because it was so recently released. I have to say I’ll always have a fond spot in my heart for Jo’s origin story, THE SCENT OF SHADOWS. I had so much fun building the world and letting my imagination run amuck that even though there are parts I’d write a bit differently today, I love the passion behind the prose, and Joanna’s raw spirit.
5. What kind of research do you do for your series?
I’ll research as needed for the book. If there’s a zodiac sign or some astrological elements that are taking up some series page space, I’ll research that more thoroughly. The great thing about writing fantasy though, is that you can make it all up. I took the idea of a doppelganger and made it my own. Ditto a tulpa. Ditto superheroes themselves. So generally I take popular culture and riff on it. If I research anything obsessively, it’s the craft of writing and story structure. I love to do the opposite of what’s expected, and twist the reader around until they don’t know what’s coming next. I also like the big “Boom.” Fight scenes rock.
6. What first drew you to the idea of writing about superheros and the zodiac?
Honestly, I was just playing around. I was using what I call my ‘kitchen sink method’ which is basically: throw it all in there. Save nothing. If something was interesting, or (to use speech from the Whedon-verse) “shiny” to me, I threw it in. A character popped up in the third chapter of SCENT and said he was a superhero. Who was I to argue? I just decided to follow him. The zodiac mythos provided me with structure for the troops and in my worldbuilding — plus it was a big concept, and I’m a fan of things that the reader can latch onto like that. It gives them a starting place, and firm ground, from which to launch themselves into the fantastical. The interweaving of truth and fiction is one of the things that makes this genre so powerful. It gets the reader to use their imagination, and once I have that? The sky is the limit.
7. List 5 words that describe your main character.
Strong, stubborn, powerful, vulnerable, scared.
Wow. Those don’t seem to match up at all!
Thanks, Vicki, for stopping by. Don't forget to enter the contest!