|Shoo, dog, SHOO!|
Can't do anything to relieve that lamppost's anxiety, but I can assure a certain writer that I've got absolutely no criticism for her debut novel. Nope. Not a bit. Doesn't need a bit of fixing. Matter of fact, if I were a dog, I'd be climbing that lamppost to howl her praises.
So, who am I talking about, you might ask?
None other than Linda Grimes.
Yep, that same Linda Grimes who's been keeping her followers in stitches on her Visiting Reality blog is launching what's sure to be an outstanding career with the upcoming release of her debut novel In a Fix. (And if you don't already read her blog, I highly recommend that you fix THAT!) It was a great honor to be one of the lucky In a Fix preview readers as the ARC (advance reader copy) has been making a whirlwind tour around the country before the book's (No... make that THE BOOK'S) official release on September fourth. (Oh, and here's a singing-her-praises shout-out to Karla, too, who's done such an outstanding job directing and obsessing (HA!) over the smooth execution of that tour.)
Okay, how's about an official blurb to whet your appetite?
IN A FIX:
Snagging a marriage proposal for her client while on an all-expenses-paid vacation should be a simple job for Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire. A kind of human chameleon, she's able to take on her clients' appearances and slip seamlessly into their lives, solving any sticky problems they don't want to deal with themselves. No fuss, no muss. Big paycheck. This particular assignment is pretty enjoyable...that is, until Ciel's island resort bungalow is blown to smithereens and her client's about-to-be-fiance is snatched by modern-day Vikings. For some reason, Ciel begins to suspect that getting the ring is going to be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated. Going from romance to rescue requires some serious gear-shifting, as well as a little backup. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she's been crushing on for years - both skilled adaptors - step in to help, but their priority is, annoyingly, keeping her safe. Before long, Ciel is dedicating more energy to escaping their watchful eyes than she is to saving her client's intended. Suddenly, facing down a horde of Vikings feels like the least of her problems.
Sound good??? Trust me, it IS. Best book I've read in a long time, and I read a LOT of books. Entertaining, funny, adventurous, and a teeny bit naughty, this is one of those easy reading books that's a sheer pleasure to read. I'm telling ya, Linda out-Evanoviches Evanovich. No kidding.
Now, how about a little Q&A session with our soon-to-be star?
1. In a Fix defies traditional single-genre classification, and would feel equally at home shelved alongside fantasies, adventures, romances, or humor. (And maybe a few others.) Did agents and/or publishers balk at your pigeonhole-defiance and try to steer your focus toward a particular genre? Do you think the genre-crossing nature of your book will open it to a broader fanbase?
I wouldn't say agents and editors steered me to narrow the genre focus, precisely, though a number of agents didn't think they could sell it, and so declined to rep me. Even my agent, Michelle Wolfson (Wolfson Literary Agency), warned me that it might be tough to find a home for it, but she loved it and wanted to try. Who was I to deny her the opportunity? *grin*
She was right—plenty of editors liked it, but didn't think it fit in with what their houses were selling—but Michelle's persistence paid off when she sent it to Tor. They were willing to take a chance on light urban fantasy with hefty doses of romance and humor. Thank goodness, because I adore my editor (the amazing Melissa Frain) and love working with her.
I'm certainly hoping the book will appeal to readers of both urban fantasy and romance, because those genres have huge and loyal followings. Combining the readerships would be awesome. And if I catch some readers who just plain like to laugh, too…well, that would be a bonus.
2. How in the world did you come up with the concept of aura adapting? It's entirely new to me, but somehow, you made it not only plausible, but believable. (And fun!)
Honestly? I couldn't tell you exactly how it first came to me. When I saw the name "Ciel" on a license plate, the character popped into my head, and I just somehow knew she had the ability to look like anyone she wanted. I also knew she wasn't a shape-shifter in the traditional sense—that she didn't have to go through that arduous physical transformation. I thought to myself, she's dealing with projecting her energy—her aura. That's what she's changing.
I think it's plausible because on the subatomic level, all matter is basically energy. (Don't try to think about it too hard. Just get into the Zen of it. *grin*)
3. Let's talk research. Were any of the locations in your book based on places you've actually visited? And how about those neo-Vikings? 'Fess up. Relatives, right? (Or maybe a Neanderthal high school beau?)
I've visited Visby (Sweden) on several occasions, and I've always loved the medieval charm of the walled city. And, of course, I live right outside D.C., so that locale is familiar, too.
Re the Vikings: Ha! No comment.
Actually, all the Swedes I know personally are very civilized. Even the ones I'm related to. (I know! Hard to believe.) I did date one very tall, blond guy back in high school, but he was a pussy cat, so I don't think he counts as Neanderthal.
4. Whether intended or not, main characters very often reflect the personalities of their creators. So, creator, how is Ciel like you? And other than the whole kick-butt aura adapting stuff, how is she different?
I can't believe you're just assuming I can't adapt my aura.
(Oh, all right. I can't. But, dang, wouldn't that be cool?)
Anyway, Ciel is kind of a smartass. I suppose there are those who might *cough* say the same about me. We're both quite independent by nature. We both LOVE Swedish pastries. Also, she has three brothers, and so do I.
As for how Ciel and I are different … well, I'm tall, she's short. She tends to be more impulsive than I am. She's kind of torn between two lust interests, and I am strictly a one-man woman. (Of course, he's a Gemini, so maybe he counts as two guys…) Also, I have this thing for camels; she's not as fascinated with them.
5. What? With all the different (and I DO mean different) modes of transportation Ciel uses, both willingly and not-so-willingly, both classy and (ahem) crappy, there wasn't a single camel to be seen. Or ridden. What's up with that? Gonna rectify that grave oversight in future books?
See above. *grin* As for future books … well, seeing Ciel on a camel certainly isn't out of the realm of possibility. In fact, given the way she seems to be a magnet for odd situations, I'd say it's quite likely.
6. What's next? When can we expect the release of Ciel's next adventure?
Quick Fix is due out next July, so get ready for more wackiness!
7. Anything else you'd like to add? (i.e. Here's where you get to answer the question you wish I would've asked.)
Hmm. I'd like to add a bit about the stress of dealing with the sudden wealth that comes with being a published author—you know, the second and third homes, the cabana boys and live-in maids, the research assistants … but, alas, it would be a bigger fantasy than my books. ;)
I'm telling ya, this book is as good as a great big bowl of ooey gooey chocolate dessert. Not convinced yet? How's about a big dollop of fresh whipped cream on top? Check out this kick-butt trailer:
Easy reading is damned hard writing. [Nathaniel Hawthorne]
Clearly, Linda's put a LOTTA work into this book. Lucky us.
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.