Gracen Miller is the author of the paranormal romance series, The Road to Hell series. Being a published writer of five books (so far), she had much to share with us about how she handles things like lack of muses and writer's block. An interesting fact about the series: In the second book, Hell's Phoenix, and the prequel, Madison's Life Lessons, our very own Harlowe Jayne Farris (Tawnya Peltonen) is listed as one of the dedications and if you read the prequel there's a character named after her. Sit back and enjoy the wisdom of Gracen Miller. Following the interview are websites connected to her series and blurbs for the first two books in The Road to Hell series.
Bloodletting.org is a vampire based roleplaying site, so our players are already into the paranormal genre. If you were to choose one of your books to recommend as a way of introducing your work, which book would it be? Pandora’s Box
When did you decide you wanted to write? Some time from 6th grade through my senior year of high-school, I knew I had to write. There’s not much “wanted” to it. I either write or the voices in my head get cranky!
What motivated you to start writing? I crafted elaborate worlds in my head and even acted out daydreams since I was young, but I didn’t realize I was mental writing until later. My official writing debut came when my sixth grade English teacher, Mrs. S., gave us a writing assignment for homework. I was extremely displeased by the assignment, but, wow, did it change my life!
How long did it take your first book to get published? My first book was written before I had children and before the e-book industry hit. It was turned down by several NY publishers. I put writing aside while I had a family, and then in 2008, I revamped a story and Elfin Blood (an elf and vampire novella) was published that year. It’s now slated to go into print in the near future.
Has it been easier to get your books out to the public since then? Yes. Even the e-industry takes a writer more seriously once they’re published. A writer that has a reader base is like candy to publishers.
What first interested you in the paranormal romance genre? The paranormal has drawn me for as long as I can remember. I’ve been watching horror/paranormal movies since I was a child. I grew up with greats like The Twilight Zone and Tales from the Darkside. I watched The Exorcist when I was five. My best friend, Angela, and I would rent B-rated horror movies on the weekends and veg out in front of the TV eating popcorn and nachos. It seemed normal to merge paranormal and romance when I started writing. I love the world building that comes with the paranormal, and I rarely follow the standard mold already set for a creature. It’s so much fun seeing where my imagination can take me! In the Road to Hell series, I’ve made my own creature…a Zennyo Ryuo, although he would object to being called a creature since he’s immortal and has a purpose.
Bloodletting, being a writing site, has a community that creates stories together. Sometimes our muses decide to go hide somewhere for a while. Does that ever happen to you? Unfortunately, yes, but that’s usually a sign something in the story isn’t working and I need to take a hard look at where the story is headed and fix it fast.
How do you cure writer's block? I’d like to say I threaten Dom (my Muse) with bodily harm and he cooperates, but that’d be a lie. Dom is in control of me, unfortunately, and often I feel as if he’s done bodily harm to me. The easiest cure is to read a great book, which seems to reboot Dom into action.
Do you have a specific place you enjoy writing? Any sort of ritual you need to go through before the words flow from your head? Nope. I’ll write anywhere and with my very active family, I can’t be too picky about locale. I’ll even write at the football field. I email myself thoughts and tidbits of stories if I’m not at my computer. The only ritual I have is jacking into the head of my characters and allowing them to take over my body so they can get their story out there. All my stories are character driven.
What inspired you to start writing the Road to Hell series? Pandora’s Box (the first book in the Road to Hell series) was spawned from a nightmare. My nightmares can be disturbing, stuff that is so troubling I won’t voice them for fear of giving them power. However, I love nightmares, too, because they jump-start Dom (my Muse) with creativity. As for the Road to Hell series…I was demon hunting with Sam and Dean Winchester! Woohoo! What Supernatural fan doesn’t love that dream, right? That’s more like a fantasy come to life! So, the boys were at my house trying to save me from getting eaten by a ghost, which turned into a demon. You know how dreams are, the parameters change randomly and it makes total sense in the dream! In the beginning of the dream, we were in an unrecognizable house and by the end of the dream in my current one. And this made total sense! I wasn’t too worried about the ghost/demon even though Sam and Dean kept telling me I should be. I kept reminding them that ghosts visited me all the time and I knew how to handle them. Easy-peasy stuff. They were soooo not needed, except for as eye-candy. Never turn away prime eye-candy, that’s my motto. ;-) Anyway, Dean was upset, calling me a stubborn chick…I don’t remember saying thanks to that quip, but I do remember taking it as a compliment! LOL Then my subconscious threw a wrench into the dream, altering the parameters once again. My children were suddenly mixed into the evolving nightmare. The ghost/demon targeted them, wanting to steal their soul or possess them—I’m not sure which really, all that mattered was that they were the new aim. FYI, in mother lingo that means: game-freakin’-on and I will hunt you down and kill you slowly for even turning your murderous eyes on them! *smiles sweetly* Furious and ready to kill the ghost/demon, I demanded directions from the Winchesters on how to annihilate this sucker that endangered my babies! Dean was being snarky, calling me sweetheart and reminding me that I should let the professionals handle it. You know, I really didn’t like Dean-dream’s attitude! He was this close *demonstrates with forefinger and thumb pinched together* from getting smacked upside the head!! He and I were going at it when I woke up. I came out of that nightmare furious, and it took me a few moments of blinking in the dark room to realize it was just a dream. My kids were okay, slumbering across the hall in their beds. When that reality set in, I was a bit miffed about not getting the opportunity to kill the creature or smack Dean. I hate the way dreams end without any finality to them. But I got to thinking…the worst nightmare any parent can endure is when their child is harmed. Especially when it’s something you cannot control or do anything about. The absolute helplessness of this is crushing. I’ve endured this type of debilitation with my eldest son when he began to suffer grand mal seizures. Nothing I could do but twiddle my thumbs and watch while he endured them. The nightmare got me to thinking “what if”… What if a mother was faced with something supernatural tormenting her child? What if doctors couldn’t help? What if she had no idea what she should do? How would she react? How could she battle an unknown entity when she had no knowledge of the supernatural world? Wouldn’t she require help, guidance, and a teacher….anyone with experience to help her? Ultimate question…How far would she go to save him and how reckless would she become? And that’s how the Road to Hell series was conceived. My nightmare created characters that are so real-to-life in my head I don’t question their chatter any longer. I love each of them—even the villain—as if they were my own children.
Was there ever points in the series that you found hard to write? Not really. This series has mostly written itself. There were times I struggled with a scene until I realized it was in the wrong person’s point of view. The moment I rewrote the scene from the other character’s concept, it worked without any problems.
If you had to pick a favorite character, which one would it be? Micah, because he’s complicated and misunderstood. On the surface, he’s gorgeous, but through the story he shows glimpses of pure evil.
Which of your characters do you think is the most like you? No question, Madison. She’s a mother, so I can relate to her.
You have a language in your books, Xapil. How did you come up with it? Xapil actually means “demon”. I don’t think I’ve ever revealed that to anyone before. Since it’s the demon language, I named it that in it’s own language. Not very creative, but I liked the way it sounded. To create the language, I typed out the alphabet in A-Z order and reallocated the letters. I have a cheat-sheet that I use when there are sentences in Xapil. There are certain words I remember without the cheat-sheet. Caj, imal, li, and zkihtak to name a few. In order that is yes, open, no and brother. I have some curse words that I recall, too. It makes cursing in front of my children, easy. Haha
Is there any special reason you picked the names you did for your books? Phoenix’s name just came to me and I always knew he’d be nicknamed Nix. Micah was named because of the meaning of his name. That is revealed in the first book, Pandora’s Box. And Madison was given her name for a girl I knew that died of cancer. I had nicknamed and called her Madz and I figured naming the main character after her would be an awesome way to honor her. In the book, Madison is nicknamed Mads by another character. In fact, I gave this dedication to the real Madz in Pandora’s Box: “In memory of the real ‘Madison’, an angel that died much too young. May you rest in peace knowing you are loved and your memory will never die.” Madz was only 18 when she passed away.
What types of books do you enjoy reading? Paranormal romances. Every once in a while, I’ll read a horror book.
Who is your favorite author? I have many favorite authors, but some of the ones I can think of off the top of my head are Nalini Singh, Kressley Cole, Karen Marie Moning, Meljean Brook, and Anya Bast, to name only a few.
Which, out of all the books you've written, is your favorite? The Road to Hell series.
Is there a project that you're working on now? If so, can you tell us a little about them? I just submitted Genesis Queen (book three in the Road to Hell series) to my publisher. I have a completed book in a new series—the Kiss series—and I’m halfway through the second book. The Kiss series centers on triplet witch sisters. The Kiss series is, also, paranormal romance.
In Bloodletting there are five different races: angels, slayers, vampires, werewolves and witches. If you created a character which race would you pick and why? Wow, that’s a toughie. In my various books, I’ve written about angels, vampires, witches and even slayers (called Sherlocks in the Road to Hell series). I’ve created my own take on them all. I probably wouldn’t go with the slayer because I like to write the wicked characters the best, so I’d most likely pick vampires or witches. Unless it’s a fallen angel, then I’d probably go with that.
Thanks for letting me join you at Bloodletting! Where you can stalk me—not really!— but I would love to meet and interact with you. You can also learn more about my books at these links:
Road to Hell series FB Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Road-to-Hell-series/112564408814796?ref=ts
My Publisher: www.decadentpublishing.com
|July 09, 2012 01:16 pm