Jul 5, 2012

Posted by in Interviews | 22 Comments

Sierra Dean Interview plus giveaway

Sierra Dean.  For me, that name sends my fists a-shakin’.  There aren’t many authors out there who can get such a reaction out of me.  Come to think of it, I can only remember ever shaking my fists this often at JR Ward and Karen Marie Moning.  Sierra writes such amazing characters and enthralling stories that she manages to get most of her readers riled up…in the very best way.  It takes a certain talent to be able to pull that sort of passion from your readers and Sierra’s got it.  I have said it before and I will say it forever, if you are a fan of urban fantasy, you absolutely must read Sierra’s series. With that said, and without further ado, Sierra Dean.

Welcome back to the blog Sierra!

Always a pleasure to be here!

Your latest Secret McQueen book, Keeping Secret, is releasing on Tuesday July 10th!  That’s next week!  You release on average two books per year.  Does release day ever get old or any less nerve wracking? 

When I released Something Secret This Way Comes it was a HUGE deal for me. I took the day off work and sat around refreshing Amazon and obsessing madly over how well the book was doing. Well, now I’m at a job where I can’t take the day off, but at least I can get paid to obsessively refresh. I’d say the nervousness of release day has gone away, but not the excitement. I definitely love to see where a new book is ranked on Amazon throughout release day. And I get giddy seeing people start and finish it in a day on Goodreads.

Tell readers what they can expect from Keeping Secret.

The last few books have dealt a lot with Secret’s connection to the vampire council, especially now that she’s one third of the Tribunal. I still deal with the vampire aspects, but Keeping Secret really addresses her werewolf half a lot more. We get to meet her uncle Callum, who was mentioned in Deep Dark Secret and I think it gives her insight into her furry half that she never had before. As always, there’s sarcasm and sexy times and danger. It’s easily my favorite book in the series so far.

You’ve said that you pretty much knew where the story was headed from the moment you started writing book one.  Has it stayed on course or has the series taken a few surprise turns you didn’t expect?

There have been a few surprise turns, but nothing has pushed the story totally off course. Things are still happening how they need to for me to get to the ending I have planned for book 8. I have to say the biggest shocker for me was Holden in Secret Santa. The promise he made Secret agree to was not planned. Sometimes I’m just writing things as they come to me, and dialogue is especially organic for me, so when he demanded that from her took me totally by surprise. I needed to get a drink after that happened. I was cursing Holden’s name all evening.

The last lines in each of your books are just killer.  I mean, absolutely jaw dropping to the point where I often tweet you as soon as I’m done reading to utter light hearted death-threats – and I know I’m not the only one.  Do you have a nifty handbook filled titled “super fantastic and ‘da da dummmm’ worthy last lines”?  Seriously though, where do you come up with them?

Honestly, I usually know the last lines of my book before I’m even done writing the first chapter. I knew book one would end with that crazy ass cliffhanger, just like I knew A Bloody Good Secret would end with “Wait, you mean me?” For me, the endings of my books have become sort of a signature, love it or hate it. I think of the endings as “24” endings. The show “24” was notorious for wrapping up all the issues within one episode, then dropping a massive bomb on you at the end. I sort of love that about my books. The mystery is resolved, and things come to a reasonable conclusion, but in those last lines you know Secret’s journey isn’t done.

Secret is half werewolf and half vampire.  She is a private investigator.  She’s werewolf royalty. She’s vampire Tribunal.  She’s dating two men at the same time with a third one lurking in the corner!  She is 100% supernatural yet you’ve made her so relatable, so down to earth.  How on earth did you manage that?

People who know me well and have read the books know that a lot of my personality goes into Secret. Her snark especially. When I started writing Secret originally I actually wrote her from the sixteen year old perspective. I’d still love to write a YA version of Secret. But what I learned writing that is that no matter how supernatural a character is, she still needs to be relatable. Secret the teenager was wildly mixed up about who she was, and I like that it translated to her in her twenties, which is where the series finds her. You can have a heroine who isn’t human at all, but she has to have qualities that make her someone we can side with and see ourselves hanging out with if we’re going to enjoy spending time with her. Secret makes mistakes, she chooses the wrong guy, she gets her ass kicked and she still stands up after it’s all said and done and says “Okay world, you haven’t gotten the best of me yet.” I love that about her.

Lucas is Werewolf King.  Why king.  Why not alpha or lord or prince or super dude or ‘the man’?

In my world-building I wanted to do something different for the werewolves. I know having an alpha is par for the course, and it’s REALLY common to have an alpha wolf be your literal alpha male. I wanted to know what would happen if there was someone higher than that alpha. So Lucas is the uber-alpha. A king is an interesting character, but make him a supernatural king and it gives him a whole new element of intrigue. Lucas is one of my favorite characters, but he also makes me totally insane, as I know he does to a lot of my readers. When he tells Secret in Deep Dark Secret that the pack will always come first, he isn’t being a jerk, he’s being a king. All of his decisions are made to help the pack, often to the detriment of his personal relationships. I think of all my characters Lucas is the one who personifies “what is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.” He knows how to make hard choices for his people, and it definitely makes him a bad love interest a lot of the time.

Sig!  An amazing character and pretty much a mystery.  When will find out what his deal is?  And will we ever find out what is up Juan Carlos’ a** (another interesting character that seems to have it in for Secret)?

Sig. *dreamy sigh* Sig is, hands down, one of my favorite characters to write. He can seem docile and innocent a lot of the time, but then you get those moments where you get to see the real predator lurking under the surface. I like that Secret is terrified of him. It shows that she has common sense.  I do have plans to give Sig his place in the spotlight. Book six (as of yet untitled) is a BIG Sig book. It was always intended to be the book where we find out more about him. As for Juan Carlos, he and Secret have it out in Keeping Secret, but in Book Five he’ll play a big part as well, but I won’t say if it’s for better or for worse.

The men.  When planning the series and these three men manifested themselves to you, did you try to push one or two back thinking ‘but that can’t tastefully be done!  Back damn you!’ or did you just go with the flow and think ‘huh what the hell?’  And why three?  Why not five or, you know, one? 

Lucas was the first of the men to come around, and being the alpha he was pretty demanding of my attention. I’m a huge fan of multiple love interests in urban fantasy, and I know a lot of people aren’t. When I write my next UF series I promise to appeal to those fans who hate multiple love interests, I swear. But with Secret it made sense to have multiple men. She is dual natured, being both vampire AND werewolf. In book one Calliope warns her that because of this her love life will be complicated to say the least, and I’ve definitely lived up to that warning. Ultimately, it will prove to be a standard love triangle, but that’s all I will say. And for anyone terrified I will turn Secret into a latter-day Anita Blake (I hear this concern a LOT in reviews), don’t fret. The promises I make are set in stone: she will never have a ménage a trois, or you know, a ménage a twenty. And at the end of the day, she will be with one guy and one guy only. The series is just a journey for her to find the man who is right for her.

And did you ever expect readers to loath one of them so much (*cough* Lucas) or wish for a fourth to come forth?

I never thought readers would hate Lucas so much, no. I do have Lucas fans, I know they exist, and I want to hug them all because I think they recognize the hard choices he has to make. As for a fourth, I made a joke a while ago on Twitter where I said “Sometimes I just want Secret to end up with Detective Tyler.” That’s legit, I stand by it. Tyler is such a good guy, and if Secret’s world were a normal, non-supernatural place, a nice human detective would be the absolute right guy for her. Sadly, nothing is that simple.

Eventually, shit will hit the fan.  Okay, you’re probably thinking ‘which shit’ because, let’s face it, Secret is faced with a lot of it in your books.  The shit I am talking about it where the Vamps will learn of her Were side and the Were will learn of her vampire side.  Are you nervous to write that part of the series because, to tell you the truth, I am nervous to read it?

Sometimes I’m amazed it hasn’t happened yet. Yes, the shit will hit the fan. And I am nervous because it’s something unavoidable that is going to change the entire course of Secret’s life. I don’t people to think I don’t take it seriously, because I know it’s a big deal. But it seems like a lot of people are figuring out what she is, and the more people who find out, the more they seem to accept her. Individuals are different from ancient councils though. I think there are some *cough* Juan Carlos *cough* who will not be as accepting.

Book one in your series, Something Secret This Way Comes is now available in print and the second book, A Bloody Good Secret, is due to hit bookstore shelves August 7th 2012.  Have you come across your book in a bookstore yet?  Did you completely freak out?  Did you take a picture?  C’mon, you can tell me.  It will be our little secret.  😉

Yes, I get excited whenever I see it (and anyone who wants to email or tweet me pictures of my book, I will gladly accept them). When I was in Chicago in April for RT I went to a Barnes and Noble on a whim, and sure enough they had 2 copies in stock. Yes, I took pictures. Yes, I squealed like a school girl. My friends were just in the States this weekend and there were 3 copies in the Minneapolis B&N. So it’s out there, and that makes me really happy.

What’s next up for Secret?  Book five, has a tentative title, Grave Secret, but you have a tentative release date?  Can you share what might or might not happen in your next installment? 

If things hold to the typical course, Grave Secret will be out in early 2013. I am super excited about it. Here’s what I will tell you: things get taken out of this world; Secret is trying to redeem herself after book 4; someone MAY not live to book 6; and as always, hot men.

Okay, since this is the second time I’ve interviewed you, I am going to ask you a different set of Flash Four questions:

Do you need to have coffee in the morning to function?

YES. Ever so much yes. I got a Keurig for Christmas and it is a god-send. I dedicated my fourth book to it.

What’s your favorite flavor of potato chip?

Salt and vinegar.

Diet Coke or regular Coke?

Coke Zero!

If you weren’t allowed to write Fantasy or Sci-Fi books, what genre would you most likely try?

I’m actually cheating on my genre right now! I’m working on a contemporary baseball romance that I’m insanely excited about.

Thank you SO much Sierra for visiting the blog again and for answering my many questions.  As you very well know, I like asking questions and I’m sure I’ll be asking you even more via twitter.  😉

I expect it and look forward to it! Thanks for having me.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to read my review of Keeping Secret.  It was just awesome! 

And speaking of Keeping Secret, Sierra is offering an eCopy of Keeping Secret to one lucky winner!  Leave a comment below and you are entered.  Giveaway open internationally and you must leave your comment by Monday July 9th 2012 11:59est.  Good luck all and THANK YOU Sierra for the fantastic prize!

Here’s where you can find Sierra –

  1. Ann-Catrin Sköld says:

    Julie! You´re killing me here!
    ANOTHER author, who´s books I HAVE to read, after reading your blog and interviews… 😀

    Love from Sweden!

  2. I love this series! I can’t wait to see what happens to Secret next. And is there a better name for a heroine than Secret McQueen? I doubt it!

  3. I loved the first book in this series. Can’t wait to read more.
    Here’s to cool Canadian authors!
    Great interview.

  4. Kathy Webb says:

    Oh my oh my …another author I just have to try!! Thanks Julie and Sierra!! Sounds like a great series…Here it goes on the to be read mountain of mine!! WOuld love to win it!! Great interview too!!

  5. I’ve only heard good things about this series! I’ll definetly have to give it a try.

  6. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this series! I’m definitely going to be reading it now. Sounds fantastic. Great interview! Thanks!

  7. I’ll be honest I haven’t tried Sierra Dean before, sorry! I’ll check out her books at the store.

  8. Readsalot81 says:

    This series sounds absolutely fascinating! I will definitely check it out! Thanks for the giveaway! 😀

  9. Thanks for the interview, I can’t wait to start this series! I picked up book one recently, I think it’s time to get going!

  10. Great interview, didn’t know this series …. I liked!


  11. elaing8 says:

    great interview.I have heard great things about this series.
    Thanks for the giveaway

  12. Thanks Julie! Another author that needs go on my TBR or TBL 🙂

  13. I just read the first book. The guys were definitely hot and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

  14. thanks for an awesome interview!!! I’ve read such wonderful reviews for Sierra’s books and I’m very excited to have just purchased the first couple of books 🙂

    Congrats on the newest release! Hope to hear and see more of your work!


  15. wade2121 says:

    Thanks for the cool interview! I’m on book 2 and loving it!

  16. Very nice interview. These books sound good.

  17. Sounds like an awesome series, can’t wait to check it out! Thanks for the contest and interview!

  18. I loved this interview, great questions and great answers. I can’t wait to read Grave Secret.
    I’m not participating in the giveaway.

  19. Ronda Lovell says:

    After that interview I can’t wait to get started on this series.

  20. First I am NOT entering as I’ve preordered that baby months ago! LOL! Second, I am secretly hating Julie as she got to spend time with ms dean, who has now become one of my author obsessions! Hahahaha no worries, I love and can’t wait to meet you on my home turf in NOLA next month! But I just had to say thank you for the interview and I seriously cannot WAIT til Tuesday!!! I am soooooo excited to read more secret!! 🙂

  21. This series sounds great. Thanks for the giveaway.

  22. Northwoman says:

    I so want to read her books. Thanks Julie for the interview and thanks for the giveaway!

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