Feb 1, 2012

Posted by in AAD2012, Interviews | 58 Comments

AAD Author Spotlight: Interview with Joey W. Hill plus giveaway

For my fifth Authors After Dark Spotlight, I give you the Mistress of Ceremony for this year’s event – Joey W Hill!!! *blows air horn*

Questions about AAD:
Have you attended Authors After Dark before or are you an AAD virgin like me? 

This will be my third AAD, so no worries, Julie – we’ll take good care of you (with this crowd, that could be a threat OR a promise – wink). Seriously, you’ll have a blast. It’s one of the most guest-friendly cons I’ve ever attended. We authors are there for all of YOU.

You will be the Mistress of Ceremonies at this year’s AAD convention!  *throws confetti* Are you super excited or a little nervous?  It’s okay to tell us.  We won’t tell. 

LOL – yes, I’m sure you won’t tell a SOUL. Nervous as I can be. Public speaking utterly terrifies me, as does being in crowds, but I’ve learned to manage both. The good thing is, the more events I’ve done, the more familiar faces I see in the crowds, so it’s become much more comfortable, like talking to a group of friends. I still much prefer Q&A panels versus prepared workshops, because in the latter, I’m always sure that, if the audience is bored or hates my material, they’re going to strip me naked, chase me into the streets and throw rocks at me. In New Orleans, I guess I can hope they’d use not-so-stale beignets!

What are you most looking forward to at AAD2012?

Wow, that’s a hard one to narrow down, because at the first two there were so many good surprises and fun moments. However, I understand at least two dozen members of the JWH fan forum are planning to attend, and we’re going to have an informal get-together Tuesday night in one of the suites. This will be the first time I’ve had the opportunity to meet many of them face to face, and I think that’s going to be a wonderful experience.

Which author(s) attending AAD2012 are you most looking forward to meeting?

So many are friends now, it’s like a reunion, so it would be hard to narrow that down. I do like meeting new authors, or those on the cusp of being published. Particularly the ones who are serious about it and willing to put in the work/time, because it’s interesting to hear their experiences, and come to subsequent cons and watch their career evolve, see how their attitudes change as they go along. And it’s nice to be able to offer them help and support, when they want or need it, because so many authors did (and continue to do!) the same for me.

Questions about your WRITING and READING HABITS:
What did you do when you found out you were being published for the first time?

Felt a bit of a warm glow, and about 30 seconds later, my brain was kicking into contingencies and plans on the next in-process project. I’m pretty much an OCD workaholic when it comes to my writing, so my eye’s always on the next goal.  I follow the philosophy that an author is only as good as her next book. Fortunately, I have a husband who helps me step back and acknowledge the successes, enjoy them, so I don’t lose sight of the reason I do this. I love writing stories, and it’s freaking wonderful to be a fulltime author, as long as it lasts!

Of all of the books you’ve written, which is your favorite?

Tyler and Marguerite’s story, which was actually told in two books, Ice Queen/Mirror of My Soul. Marguerite was probably my most damaged contemporary heroine, yet she was a powerful Mistress and ran an elegant tea café. Everything in her life was very regimented, to handle the emotional chaos inside of her. She was the one heroine I wrote that didn’t let me in, that was as closed to me as she was to everyone else. It took a unique hero, Tyler Winterman, to open her up for both of us. The synergy of the two remarkable characters was what made this my favorite. They were a dream for an author, the type of couple that would make you stop after writing a particularly intense scene between them and think yes, that’s the way it’s supposed to be done (attended by a couple fist pumps –  laughter). I often revisit this story to loosen me up creatively, especially when I’m working on a difficult project.

Have you ever written a scene that made you blush?

Chuckle – no, but I have made one of my editors blush. However, I can’t ever be too smug about that, because though I’ve written very explicit scenes, if you try to get me to read them aloud, I will blush to the roots of my hair. My composure works only as long as it’s safely inside my head.

Who was your favorite hero or heroine to write?

Since I’m a character-driven writer, the “favorite book” and “favorite character” questions probably work out the same for me, but since my overall favorites are characters from my contemporary books, let me give you a close second in my paranormals. That would be a toss-up between Mina of A Witch’s Beauty or Gideon from Vampire Mistress/Vampire Trinity. Mina was a reclusive, angry sea witch with a wealth of dark power which made her a threat to the world. As such, most of the angelic legion thought she’d be better off dead. Except for David, a young angel assigned to be either her guardian or executioner, who finds the woman beneath the witch. She was a great amalgamation of light and dark, contemptuous of pretty much everyone, yet with a surprisingly inflexible moral code.

Gideon Green was a hardcore vampire hunter, immersed in blood. All he knew was killing, and surviving to kill another day. Through an extraordinary chain of events, he ends up being the servant of a female vampire, a Mistress who runs a BDSM club and is forcibly turned by a savage pack of rogue vampires. He was my favorite hero to write, because he was a “fuck off” bad boy type with a truly lost soul.  His many layers were uncovered, not just by Anwyn’s situation, but by the fact there’s another vampire involved – Daegan, a mysterious, much older vampire who was also Anwyn’s protector at the time of the attack. At the beginning of the book, before she’s turned, Anwyn muses that Gideon might just need the hand of a Mistress AND Master to help him find himself again, and she’s right. His dynamic with the both of them made every scene a roller coaster in the dark – unexpected twists, dips, etc. I love writing male/male erotic interaction anyway, and seeing how Daegan contributed to Gideon’s healing and evolution into their full servant…well, the more I found out about Gideon Green, the more I loved him. So much so, I wrote a free novella-length vignette about him for the JWH connection fan forum. I’m sure I’ll write more of those in the future, since I like revisiting him and his vampire Master and Mistress! (There’s also a free vignette revisiting David and Mina as well – wink.)

Who is your favorite hero or heroine to read?

I’m going to go with Claire and Jamie of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, or Eve and Roarke of JD Robb’s In Death series. While I particularly liked the first three Outlander books, Eve and Roarke are my candy, my reward when I’ve finished up a grueling project and want to take the rare day to sit on the porch and spend time with a known quantity, familiar faces. I’m a few books behind, so this may have already happened, but what I really want is for Roarke to have one book where he gets truly hurt, not be so invincible, and see how Eve handles that, as well as how she goes and kicks the ass of who did it! I also think they need to get a dog to chase Galahad around and help him with his weight (laughter).

Have you ever been surprised by a reader’s reaction to a scene that you wrote – either good or bad? 

I write dark, edgy and intense BDSM erotic romance and, because it is romance, I move between the lines of fantasy and reality, seeking the balance that will most absorb the readers. I want to keep them connected to the emotions of the characters, while taking them places we can’t always go in real life. Being in the heads of the characters when I write them, I don’t feel I’ve ever written a BDSM scene that wasn’t consensual, no matter how clouded by emotional issues that scene was. Therefore, it surprised me, the first time I received feedback – a multi-paged handwritten letter— reacting strongly to scenes that the reader felt was abusive and/or rape. I certainly respect that reader’s viewpoint, because I’m a firm believer that once a book is in a reader’s hands, the experience of that book is uniquely theirs; I’m not going to argue and say “No, that’s not correct,” because it’s their entirely valid opinion/reaction to the book. But it did take me by surprise. Since then, I’ve become used to online debate about certain scenes of my books, or personality traits of my characters, and take them in stride as part and parcel of a diverse readership.

Have you always been a reader or are you like me and got turned off by the mind-numbingly boring deep and multi-layered books you had to read in High School only to ‘find’ reading again as an adult?

I was really fortunate in high school. I had an English teacher who took those seemingly boring books, peeled back the layers, and made the characters come alive.  I do wish I hadn’t had to read the “boy books”, aka Moby Dick and Huckleberry Finn, but I enjoyed a lot of the others (see next question for example). But I don’t think anything could have turned me off of reading. I was reading full length novels by the time I was in third grade, and it wasn’t until I became a full time author that my internal editor ruined reading for me. It’s like a busman’s holiday, so I have to “trick” my mind into pleasure reading – like wait for a vacation where the environment/schedule completely changes. It’s why I often resort to familiar terrain like the JD Robb books, if I want to pleasure read at home, because the internal editor is quiet for those books. I’m trying to work on that though, because pleasure reading is key to keeping a writer’s style/creativity fresh.

What book do you most remember having read in High School?

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The English teacher really brought that one to life for me. Hester’s journey toward self-actualization, defining herself on her own terms, so by the end the “A” belonged to her. It was no longer a symbol of condemnation, but validation. Doing that believably, in that time period (both the time period of the book and when NH wrote it) – wow, hat’s off to him. The line, “And still they lingered” has stayed in my mind for nearly thirty years. I clearly recall my English teacher’s romantic, wistful smile as she told us clueless teenagers, “We can only imagine what may have happened as they lingered there together…”

That book had a powerful impact on my own storyline choices, because I gravitate toward damaged yet incredibly strong heroines, who’ve remade themselves despite incredible emotional or physical hardship. By the time the hero arrives on the scene, that accomplishment is their own – his very vital role is to help her learn to love and trust again, so all that strength can be enhanced by faith in the love of another. Poor Hester didn’t get that chance, since John turned out to be such a sad, weak man.

Questions about YOU:
What is your favorite movie?

Armageddon, with Bruce Willis. I have to watch it a couple times a year, at a minimum.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Weight Watchers Chocolate Fudge Brownie on a normal day; fried ice cream from the local Mexican restaurant for special occasions.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Little of both – depends on the deadlines. Whatever’s needed, though I’ve reached that age where staying up late isn’t as easy as it used to be – not without a long nap the next day (laughter).

Tell us something people might be surprised to learn about you?

Over the past ten years, I’ve done so many interviews, guest blogs, etc, I’m trying to think of anything readers don’t know about me (lol). They probably know me better than anyone other than my husband.  Hmmm…okay, I can’t stand computer/video games. Within ten minutes I feel itchy/antsy. I completely understand why they exacerbate ADD – you’d have to have the attention span of a hyped-up cocker spaniel to excel at them. Grin – and yes, my husband is a World of Warcraft/Star Wars addict. Thank goodness we love each other despite our differences!

Question about your UPCOMING RELEASE(S):
Something About Witches, the first book in your brand spanking new Arcane Shot series, is releasing on Tuesday February 7th!  Woot!  Can you tell us about the series and the book?

Thanks for the woot! The series was born when my agent asked me to pitch a sensual (less erotic) paranormal series to Berkley so we could tap into mass market format. She threw in “maybe make it something about witches”. And no, the title didn’t come from that – just a happy coincidence.

I’ve been told the way I write sensual qualifies as erotic to other people (grin), so not sure how well I did on the “less erotic”, but the series pursues a more traditional fantasy storyline than my vampires or mermaid/angel books. In this first book, I have Ruby, a bitter, secretive witch heroine who runs a gun shop, and Derek, a sorcerer hero who wears a cowboy hat and dragonskin boots. Ruby gets to instruct a coven on magical practice to protect fault lines, and Derek gets to figure out why the hell Ruby ran from him three years ago—and why it is she seems to be carrying an unsettling amount of Dark Power now. Derek is a great hero – he’s a man’s man, a cross between Wyatt Earp and Gandalf. He loves Ruby to distraction, while Ruby knows no man has ever understood her heart like Derek. They’ll figure things out while fighting against a badass demon, of course. Nothing like adding to the stress!

In the Company of Witches, book two in the series, is releasing on May 1st 2012.  Tell us about the couple we will be reading about in this book.

Occasionally, two characters pop into your head and, with just a one-line description of each, you know their relationship is going to be fireworks. Raina is a half-succubus/all witch who runs a modern-day bordello staffed by sex demons. Mikhael is a Dark Guardian, an Underworld cop on the tail of a fugitive incubus who takes refuge at Raina’s place. How could that not be fun to write? There’s a free Chapter One excerpt on my website under the Arcane Shot series link. Actually there are free excerpts for all my books on the website, so readers can browse to your heart’s content (wink). They’ll also get a brief introduction to Raina and Mikhael in Something About Witches.

How many books can we look forward to in your Arcane Shot series?

I’ve planned for at least three, since the original story premise circles around three witches – Ruby, Raina and Ramona, but there are enough side characters that it could go further if the publisher would like to take it beyond a trilogy. We’ll see. Since this is my first mass market series, the plan is to open my work to a wider audience (and hopefully draw them in to the “dark side” – my backlist! :>). How they do sales-wise will determine whether we’ll have more of them.

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your insane writing schedule for answering these questions Joey.  Looking forward to meeting you in NOLA!

It was great to be here. Thanks for having me. Looking forward to seeing you at AAD as well – it’s going to be so much fun. Hope to meet/see some of your readers there as well!

GIVEAWAY: I always like to offer readers something for putting up with me (wink), so if you leave a comment or question, you’ll be eligible for a random drawing to win the book of your choice from my available titles. I’ll post the winner in the comments here on February 8, but if you include your email address with your comment I can contact you directly as well. (No worries, I can also contact Julie for the winner’s email address if you’d prefer to keep that private!)  Giveaway open internationally.

Here’s where you can find Joey –

  1. I have just read Hostile Takeover, which I really enjoyed, and am now rereading the other stories in the Knights of the Boardroom series. Thanks for the interview

  2. Katrina T. says:

    hi Joey, I just found out that there are already 30+ books in the In Death series, I guess I’m going to have a lot to read this year. Thank you for introducing me to these new books! By the way, I am already reading A Mermaid’s Kiss and I am liking it so far.

  3. great article. Every time I read an AAD author spotlight, I just get more excited to NOLA this year. Cant wait to meet you there.

    areeths at new dot rr dot com

  4. Jennifer, excellent! Glad you enjoyed Ben. Katrina, the first 10-15 of the JD Robb’s are the best – there are good ones beyond that, but some of them start getting a little repetitious. However, I still find them enjoyable because I get to re-visit the characters. :>

    Anne, can’t wait to see you! Know it’s going to be a great time for everyone. New Orleans and a bunch of romance lovers – how can that not be fun?!

  5. Thanks for such a wonderful post and giveaway! I love Eve and Roarke too and they are on my autobuy list. I sit down, and clear my schedule and read the newest book as soon as I get it 🙂

    I just got Something about Witches *happydance* This will be the first book by this author I will read and I’m so excited!

  6. Erin, hope you enjoy Derek and Ruby!! :> Thanks for giving the book a look!

  7. My apologies, I’m a little late on this, but Lady Vampire, you’re the winner of the book giveaway! You didn’t leave your email address, but if you can email me directly at storywitch@storywitch.com with the book you’d like to have, your snail mail and how you want it personalized (what name you wish me to use for you when I sign it, or if you prefer just a signature, no personalization), that would be great. Congratulations, and thank you everyone. I really enjoyed my time here with you.

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