Aug 1, 2012

Posted by in Interviews | 29 Comments

Interview with Kate SeRine plus giveaway

Every once in a while, I read a book by a debut author that just impresses the hell out of me.  Red by Kate SeRine was not only a super fun read, it was beyond original.  I am thrilled today to welcome the author of the book that made a huge impression on me, Kate SeRine.

Welcome to Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks Kate!

Thanks for having me! I’m delighted to have the chance to be here today and chat about my book. 🙂

Your first book in your Transplanted Tales series comes out tomorrow! *throws confetti* Tell us about your new series.

Around two hundred years ago, a magical duel went awry, transplanting hundreds of fairytale characters from the world of Make Believe into the human world of the Here and Now. Since then, others have come over at random, including characters from nursery rhymes, folklore, mythology, and literature. Suddenly granted the freedom to write their own stories and choose their own destinies, some of the Tales have made the most of their circumstances, but others have had a tough time adjusting. The Fairytale Management Authority (FMA) is the law enforcement bureau that attempts to keep everyone in line.

Tess “Red” Little—a/k/a Little Red Riding Hood—is an Enforcer for the Chicago branch of the FMA and has spent the past two centuries trying to shake her past, particularly her scandalous love affair with Seth “Big Bad” Wolf. Red’s all about living life on the edge and not getting too close to anyone, but when she’s assigned to investigate a series of grisly murders, Red’s emotional duck and cover routine is put to the test by her new partner, Nate Grimm—the FMA’s lead detective and part-time Reaper. Sexy, mysterious, and totally off-limits, Nate’s the one guy Red has no business falling for. Thing is, following the rules isn’t really her style.

Red, book one, is your first published work.  How are you feeling now that release day is just around the corner?  Nervous, relieved…nervous?  😉

Definitely nervous! Publishing a book is like introducing your newborn baby to everyone for the first time and hoping no one thinks she looks like a troll. But I’m incredibly excited, too! I really loved writing Red, and I’m thrilled to be able to share it with readers.

Red, on top of the whole Who Done It that is the real focus of the book, tells the story of Tess Little (Little Red Riding Hood) and Nate Grimm (Death) and how they come together.  Most romance based books that are re-told using Fairy Tale characters are about your more ‘traditional’ fairy tale folk, such as Cinderella, Belle, Little Mermaid and so on.  What made you decide to focus on less conventional heroes and heroines? 

I didn’t want to just re-tell the same story or set my novel within in a land far, far away. There are some truly fabulous books already out there that accomplish this and are well worth reading. I wanted to do something different and I thought it might be fun to play with the characters we’ve all grown up with and imagine what would happen if all the constraints placed upon them were suddenly removed and they were left to their own devices.

Red is told from Tess’ point of view.  Will all the books be told from the heroine’s perspective?

Yes, all of the books I’ve planned at the moment will be told from the heroine’s perspective. The next one up is Lavender Seelie (Cinderella’s fairy godmother). She’s just as feisty as Tess but definitely has a voice of her own.

I’m certainly not opposed to telling a story from the hero’s perspective—in fact, I really enjoy it! But when I was putting together my ideas for the first three books, it just made sense to stick with telling each story in the heroine’s voice.

You have really gone all out re-imagining our beloved story characters.  I mean, Little Red Riding Hood is an enforcer, Death is a detective, Goldilocks is a call-girl, the Pied Piper is a registered sex offender, Little Miss Muffet is a coroner…  Really, it’s all genius!  Where did these ideas come from?

Aw…thanks! I’m actually blushing. 🙂  Honestly, I couldn’t even tell you where some of these characters came from! A lot of them just popped into my head as I was coming up with a cast of characters.

Some of their professions were immediately obvious—I mean, who better to be a homicide detective than the Grim Reaper? And some of my choices were a little less obvious but made sense to me in some goofy, twisted way. Caliban is a good example. Those who are familiar with The Tempest know he’s a character with some serious issues. When I tried to figure out what he’d be doing for a living, I immediately pictured him as a celebrity chef who has his own cooking show. It was just a really strong image, so I went with it.

Other characters are the products of research and study. Believe or not, I actually did a lot of research while writing Red. When I had a character I wanted to use but had trouble coming up with a backstory, I tried to find out what I could on his story’s origin—if there were any particular connections in history, if there was any symbolism or a particular theme that would’ve shaped his personality, and so on. Then I tried to imagine what he’d be doing in our world if given a choice.

I definitely had a lot of fun really playing with these characters and turning their stories upside down. Goldilocks as a call-girl kinda puts a whole new spin on the whole “Who’s been sleepin’ in my bed” thing, doesn’t it?  😉

In my OAC year of high school (also known here as grade 13, which doesn’t exist anymore), I did my Independent Study in English Lit Class on Fairy Tales…and I don’t remember a thing about what I learned!  You refer to SO MANY different stories in your book.  How did you keep all your Tales straight and how do you remember even the most secondary character in so many stories?

Lol – I have a habit of remembering a lot of really random stuff, and with two degrees in English, I have loads of random literary tidbits knocking around in my head. It also helps that I’ve read some of these works over and over again—either as part of my education or while reading bedtime stories to my kids—until I know them forward and backward.

Also, the nice thing about creating my own society is that I made the rules. So it wasn’t just the main, named characters that came over—even the nameless supporting characters who were absolute nobodies in Make Believe were transplanted into the Here and Now and had the chance to make names for themselves and finally be someone. That gave me a little flexibility and creative freedom as well.

To keep everyone straight, I made character sketches for even the most minor characters (including the murder victims) so that I could refer back to my notes if I needed to refresh my memory on their backstories, how they were connected, what they looked like, etc.

 In your series, no literary character is safe from you because you don’t just include people from fairy tales in your books.  You also included classic literature folk (Elizabeth Bennett is Tess’ BFF), nursery rhyme characters and even personalities from Shakespeare’s plays!  Why did you decide to include more than just Fairy Tale characters in your series?

The variety was partly a necessity because I had to use characters that are in the public domain. And some of the fairytale characters just didn’t have what I was looking for when creating the cast of characters in this book, so I needed to look a little broader. But in addition to the practicality of it, I thought pulling in characters from different areas would add a depth and richness to Tale society and create opportunities for tension between the different groups. Like any other society, they have their cliques and prejudices.

Red finishes with not all ends tied up in a neat a tidy way.  Does that mean the mystery that started in this book will continue in the next book?

Sure does. 🙂  Leaving a couple of big question marks at the end of Red was definitely intentional. Even though each book is self-contained and can be read on its own, there’s a central mystery that underlies each story and ties them all together.

The next book tells the story or Seth (the Big Bad Wolf) and Lavender (Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother).  How on earth did you come up with that pairing?!  In fact, how on earth did you come up with all of your pairings?

Honestly, I was originally going to have Tess and Seth get back together when I started writing Red, but the minute I wrote the description of Nate I knew he had to be my leading man. Plus, the Tess and Seth pairing seemed like taking the easy way out. So, kind of like with choosing professions for my characters, I put a lot of thought into the type of person each one would choose as a lover now that they weren’t confined to the parameters of their stories.

Having Seth as the hero of Book 2 seemed like the logical choice for Book 2. He’s such a tragic character—so maligned and misunderstood—I knew he’d need a very special woman to bring him out of his dark place and help him realize he was worthy of love and happiness, but I had a little trouble settling on an appropriate heroine for him. Then one day I was re-reading the scenes between Tess and Lavender in Red and had an “ah-ha!” moment. Lavender’s feisty and snarky and has a very compelling story of her own to tell. Readers will know exactly what I mean when they meet her in Red. I don’t want to give too much away, but she and Seth have a lot more in common than you might think and when they’re thrown together, the sparks fly.

It’s tough to talk about Trish and Nicky’s story without letting some spoilers slip, but I can tell you that idea of putting them together came to me when I was writing the one scene they share in Red when Trish is flustered by Nicky’s attentions. There are some obvious obstacles to their coming together, but Nicky’s situation has changed dramatically by Book 3.

Tell us about the next book in the series, The Better to See You, due out February 2013.

Everyone thinks fairy godmothers can do no wrong. But if not for a certain spell mis-cast by Lavender Seelie, Cinderella’s former fairy godmother, the Tales would not be stuck in the Here and Now. Fortunately for Lavender, she’s about to get a second chance at a happy ending…

The Refuge, a sanctuary for wayward Tales, seems like the perfect place for Lavender to start a new life—especially when she discovers an unexpected ally in Seth, the brooding werewolf who’s been typecast as a villain ever since his run in with Little Red Riding Hood. But when humans from nearby towns start turning up dead, their bodies mutilated with archaic Tale symbols, Lavender wonders if Seth’s deep sensuality has blinded her to the truth. And that distraction could put innocent lives in danger. Including her own…

You are currently contracted for three books, book three, Along Came a Spider, will center on Nicky (Little Boy Blue) and Trish (Little Miss Muffet).  I am sure you are hoping your series will continue beyond three books though.  Is there a couple that you have in mind that you are really hoping to have the opportunity to tell their story?

I wouldn’t mind featuring Al Addin or Mary “Contrary” Smith in a story—either together or separately. And there are a couple of minor characters in Book 2 and Book 3 who would be fun to explore in more depth because they’re both a little mysterious (and super sexy). If I was going to do another set of three novels (or maybe novellas) I’d probably write them from the hero’s perspective, just to shake things up a bit and keep it fun.

Okay, Flash Four time
Flash Four questions about books and writing ~

How long, from start to end, did it take you to write “Red”?
I wrote the first six chapters of Red within a few days, but I was working on another project at the time, so I put Red on hold until that one was finished. Total writing time was about four months.

Did you see yourself being a writer as you were growing up?
Always! I went through various phases when I wanted to be a teacher, an Egyptologist, a genetic engineer, and so on, but whenever I was telling people what I wanted to be, I always added “and a writer.”

In what room of your house do you write from?  
My living room, curled up in a big chair with my laptop and industrial strength coffee.

Do you tend to come up with the title for your book before you start writing it, while you’re writing it or when it’s all done?

Usually before I start writing, but titles often change—either because it doesn’t really fit once I get into the story or because my publisher has requested something different. Red is the only one that has had the same title from start to finish.

Flash four questions about random things ~

Sweet or salty snacks?
Both, together.  🙂

What color is your toothbrush?

Your high school experience:  good or bad?
Ha! With my high school reunion just around the corner, that’s a timely question. Mostly good, though.

What do you like on your pizza?
Pepperoni, extra mushrooms, black olives, green olives, diced tomatoes, and garlic.

Thank you so much Kate for taking the time to answer my questions today.  I can’t wait to read The Better to See You!  And everyone needs to stop by tomorrow to read my review of Red.  I say this in my review and I say this here too:  I feel as though it is my duty to make sure everyone gives this book and this series a chance.  I was thoroughly impressed with this debut and I am convinced you will be too.

Kate is offering a digital copy of Red to one lucky winner. Leave a comment below by Sunday August 5th 2012 11:59est to enter. Easy Peasy. Good luck to everyone who enters, and really I think EVERYONE should enter, and  a big THANK YOU to Kate for the prize.  🙂

Here’s where you can find Kate –

  1. I’m glad I followed your advice and read Red, I also loved it and can’t wait to read more books by Mrs. SeRine.
    Great interview and I’m not participating in the giveaway.

  2. CathyShouse says:

    I really enjoyed this interview. Thanks for giving us the behind-the-scenes on how this book and its sequels were created. That adds a new dimension to the reading experience.

    I’d love to win the book!

  3. Great interview! I’ve already pre-ordered my copy of RED. Can’t wait till my little Nook app let’s me in to read it. So frustrating that I can see the icon for the book, but the Nook won’t let me open it! 🙂

  4. This sounds very interesting, I will be reading this book soon 🙂 Hopefully I’ll win it lol

  5. readerdiane says:

    I really like hearing the background of how a series gets started. So would you classify this as fantasy, paranormal or what?

  6. This sounds great! I love fairy tale retellings, so I can’t wait to read this one!

  7. This book sounds seriously fab!

  8. What a great interview and the book sounds like it will be quite compelling. I also liked the personal questions, such as the color of your toothbrush. I have a purple toothbrush, too.

  9. Thanks so much for stopping by, everyone! I hope you enjoy reading RED as much as I enjoyed writing it! 🙂

    To answer your question, @readerdiane, the book has elements of both paranormal romance and urban fantasy–but leans more toward urban fantasy.

  10. I found the link to this interview on Kate’s blog, where I read several stellar reviews for Red. I’ve pre-ordered my copy and I can’t wait to start reading!

  11. This sounds like a great idea for a series. I’m a sucker for grim reaper characters so I’m sure I will love the hero, and I think that making Goldilocks a call-girl and the Pied Piper a registered sex offender is pretty funny.

  12. thanks for a great interview! Congrats on the new release! I love “fairy tale” reteling and this sounds awesome!

  13. wade2121 says:

    Great interview and the book sounds fantastic!

  14. Thanks for this great interview, it”s always so interesting! I would love to read this book, it sounds amazing, thanks for the giveaway!

  15. Thanks for the great interview, I really enjoyed reading it. I am not usually a fan of fairy tale retellings, but you put such a spin on it, I have to read it! Especially the second one with the fairy godmother.

  16. This sounds awesome and very original. I’d love to win a copy but I’ll definitely check it out either way!

  17. Chelsea Foust says:

    Thanks for the giveaway!! Your book looks awesome, and if now in my TBR pile…

  18. Thanks everyone–I hope you enjoy reading RED! I really had so much fun writing it, I’m just thrilled to be able to share it. 😀

    Good luck in the contest!

  19. I’ve been seeing quite of few fellow bloggers praising this book, so it’s definitely going to my wishlist. I’m really curious now! 😉 Thank you for a chance to win it!

  20. NOrthwoman says:

    You always find the most interesting stuff Julie! I send all my friends links to this blog. Anyway, I’m excited about the giveaway and that it is an ebook.

  21. I would love to give this series a chance!!!

  22. Heather P says:

    What a great interview. I would love to win this book.

  23. Heather P says:

    Sorry. I realized my email address was wrong.

  24. Very nice interview. The book sounds good.

  25. This spin on fairytales sounds like a ton of fun. Thank you for the giveaway.

  26. Thanks so much for stopping by! I’m really looking forward to giving away a copy of RED! 🙂

  27. I want this book bad bad so thank you so much for the giveaway! I’ve heard fantastic things about both the book and the author! It’s been in my TBR pile since I’ve heard about it 🙂

  28. Fantastic interview with awesome insight to the book Red! It is a fabulous read!

  29. I’m not entering but ooooh!

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