Apr 6, 2011

Posted by in Interviews | 33 Comments

Interview with Devon Monk plus giveaway

Devon Monk’s Allie Beckstrom series has become one of my favorite finds lately. As soon as I cracked the cover for the first book back in November of last year I was hooked. And now that I have finally caught up with the series, I am impatiently waiting for the next books so I can get more of my Allie fix. I am thrilled to have the talented Devon Monk here today.

Devon! I’m super excited that you are here!!! *fangirl squee*

Yay! I am super excited to be here!!

For those who have yet to be convinced by my cheering and threats and badges and who have yet to pick up your Allie Beckstrom series, could you please tell us a little about it, especially Magic on the Hunt, your newest installment?

Sure. The Allie Beckstrom series is set in a modern-day Portland, Oregon where magic is the new resource that has been discovered and anyone can use it. The only catch? When you use magic, it uses you back and the price you pay for it is pain. Allie Beckstrom is a Hound, a magic user who traces old spells back to their casters.

In MAGIC ON THE HUNT, she and her lover, Zayvion Jones, and a handful of friends discover deceit, secrets, and deadly betrayals in the battle for the control of magic among members of the Authority—the ancient group of magic users who are supposed to guard magic and keep it safe for all who use it. Allie won’t stand by while her friends are hurt or killed, but the price of this battle might be more than any of them can pay.

I read that “Magic on the Hunt” was not the original title for the book. What made you decide to change it and are you pleased with the decision?

If I recall correctly, things were pretty busy when it came time to title the book. I was in the middle of putting together my short story collection, A CUP OF NORMAL, outlining and proposing the pitch for the last three books in the Allie Beckstrom series, and was only about halfway through writing MAGIC ON THE HUNT even though it was due in about a month. I suggested several titles that I thought might fit the book and my editor chose one.

But when I finished the book I knew MAGIC ON THE HUNT would be the perfect title. (It’s pretty fast-paced, though I think book 7, MAGIC ON THE LINE, might be even faster) I talked to my editor about it, and she agreed that HUNT fit it well. I hope after people read the book, they’ll agree too.

You’ve always planned Allie as a 9 book series, but were only contracted for 6. I know that you are working on “Magic on the Line”, book 7, right now. Does that mean that books 7 to 9 are a sure thing?

Yes! We got the green light for the last three books in the series. I’ve written MAGIC ON THE LINE and am in revisions on that now. It should be out November 2011. I’m also writing book 8, which doesn’t have a title yet and will be out in April 2012. If all goes as planned, I’ll have book 9 written by the end of this year , (then, of course, revised, copy edited and proofed a few months after that) and it will hit shelves November 2012!

Allie is plagued with pretty severe claustrophobia. When she suffers an attack, you write it so well that I swear I can feel Allie’s strain and panic. How is it that you can write those scenes with such accuracy?

I’m not afraid of enclosed places, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t felt total knee-noodle panic. When I was a kid I was terrified to go down into the basement of our house. I remember how hard my heart pounded, how fast my thoughts raced, and how I’d have to smother a scream as I bolted up the stairs into daylight. It made doing laundry difficult, lol. I think I draw on those kinds of experiences when I write Allie’s phobia scenes.

Stone is such a cute and adorable character. Every time he appears on the page, I smile a big huge grin! Where did the idea to give Allie a ‘pet gargoyle’ come from? I mean, why not just give her a dog or a hamster?

Stone was a surprise! I didn’t have him outlined into the series. When he showed up, I had a moment of, “This isn’t a monster book. I can’t just put a gargoyle in there willy-nilly.” And then I thought, “Wait! I’m the author. If I want a gargoyle, I can have a gargoyle. All I have to do is figure out how he works and how he fits with the story.” When I mentioned to my sister that I might put a gargoyle in my book, we giggled about it for about an hour. (I blame her for some of Stone’s personality.) I knew Stone needed to be in the books, and since Allie really needed a buddy—Ta-da! Gargoyle!

Another favorite character in your books is Shame. We heart him! Did you always have plans for him to be such an important part of the series, or did you write him a bigger part after hearing that we heart him?

Shame has always had a big part to play. I knew he was Zayvion’s best friend—that they had more or less grown up together—from the first book (Shame doesn’t make an appearance until the very end of book 2, MAGIC IN THE BLOOD). He’s the only character I wrote a practice scene for, just to see how he worked (or, in his case slacked off) on the page. I am delighted by how many people love Shame! He’s certainly gotten extra time on stage because of it. Which he, of course, loves. Okay, and I love too. He’s so much fun to write!

The way you use magic in your books, how you have to draw it into your body from the wells underground and how there is a price to pay in the form of physical pain is really unique. When you describe the process, you paint such an interesting picture. Unique and vivid. Why did you decide that magic should be used that way and not just with a wand or just by clapping your hands?

Since magic is one of the cool things about the world Allie lives in, I wanted to make it as physical of an experience as possible. And since everyone can use it, I wanted there to be rules, things that magic would and wouldn’t do, guidelines it would and wouldn’t follow. If it were as easy as clapping our hands, we’d have magic flying everywhere! There’d be no-clapping laws too, I bet. Heh.

After drawing magic into him, the magic user must trace a Glyph in the air to ‘activate’ the spell. How do you remember how the Glyphs look from one book to the other? Do you have them drawn somewhere? (And by the way, a Glyph would make a really cool tattoo!)

I don’t have the glyphs drawn anywhere (good idea!) When I’m writing, I just watch how the characters trace the spells. Each spell has its own design, and many of them mimic what they represent. Gentler spells tend to have flowing lines, aggressive spells have sharp edges and points, that sort of thing.

You have a new series starting soon! Dead Iron, the first book in your ‘Age of Steam’ series is coming out in July. Could you tell us a little about it?

(And just a note about Dead Iron, the cover is really great)

The cover is fantastic! The artist is Cliff Nielsen and I am thrilled to have such a talented artist for the series!

DEAD IRON has a lot of paranormal elements, action and adventure, and a hint of romance mingled up with gears and steam, and broken dreams.

Here’s the back cover blurb that pretty much sums it up. The only thing the blurb leaves out is that the story is also about Mae Lindson, a witch who is walking a dark path of revenge, and Rose Small, a young woman whose dream of creating devices that will change the world might just get her killed.

***

In steam age America, men, monsters, machines, and magic battle to claim the same scrap of earth and sky. In this chaos, one man must fight to hold on to what is left of his humanity…

Although the devisers have civilized the east with their contraptions, civilization hasn’t tamed the frontier that bounty hunter Cedar Hunt rides. Cursed by lycanthropy and carrying the guilt of his brother’s death, he’s a hard man for hire. But when a trio of miners offers him the possibility that his brother may yet survive, Cedar isn’t going to haggle for payment. All he has to do for them is find the Holder: a powerful device created by mad devisers from the realm of the Strange.

The Holder is in the hands of Shard LeFel, a dandified railroad tycoon who’s come to Hallelujah, Oregon, promising a civilized tomorrow. But what Cedar cannot know is that LeFel is an ancient Strange banished to walk this land for centuries. Now nearing the end of his sentence, LeFel is desperately searching for a way to fend off his own mortality—and the Holder may be the key.

In a land shaped by magic, steam, and iron, where the only thing a man can count on is his guns, gears, and grit, Cedar will have to depend on all three if he’s going to save his brother and reclaim his soul once and for all….

Okay, Flash Four time

Flash four questions about books and writing ~
How long, from start to end, did it take you to write “Magic on the Hunt”?
About three months (not counting outline, revisions, copy edits and proofs) J

Did you see yourself being a writer as you were growing up?
Yes. Or a teacher.

In what room of your house do you write from?
My office (ex-dining room)

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?
When it’s done.

Flash four questions about random things ~
Sweet or salty snacks?
Both.

What color is your toothbrush?
Blue.

Your high school experience: good or bad?
Odd.

What do you like on your pizza?
As long as cheese and crust is involved, I’m happy.

A million times THANK YOU for answering my questions Devon! I know I’ve convinced some people to read your Allie books, but I feel there’s more work to be done. But I’m not giving up. I know this will help some too! 🙂

Sure thing! Thank you for doing this!! I really enjoyed answering the questions, and love that you’re helping get the word out about the books.

Here’s where you can find Devon –
Website
Blog
Twitter

Giveaway Details –

Devon is giving away one copy of her awesome book Magic on the Hunt to one commenter. But Wait! If you haven’t started this series (*silly evil glare*) but would love to give it a go, Devon is also giving away one copy of the first book Magic to the Bone!

And guess what? This giveaway is International! (Woot! I told you guys Devon rocks!) Simply leave a comment below stating which book you are entering to win along with your email address by Sunday, April 10th 11:59pm EST. Winners will be chosen by Random.org and announced shortly thereafter.

Good Luck Everyone! And don’t forget, you can leave a comment to say ‘hi’ to Devon even if you’re not entering. Simply say so in your comment. We love ‘hello’s!
(You can check out my spoiler free review of Magic on the Hunt here.)

  1. I haven’t read this series and after reading this interview and your review yesterday I want to read it! (I told you Julie, you are a bad influence!)
    I’m participating for Magic to the Bone.
    Thank you Julie and Mrs. Monk for this giveaway!

  2. LadyVampire says:

    Awesome post! And I would love to win a copy of Magic on the Hunt. Thanks for the chance!

    LadyVampire2u AT gmail DOT com

  3. Oh I would love to have my hands on Magic on the Hunt please! Thanks for holding the giveaway!

    smittenskitten10(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. I would LOVE to win Magic on the Hunt!

    robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

  5. LOL, Julie what an awesome giveaway! I have a couple things to say. 1) When I saw that Devon was giving away the newest book in the series I kind of slumped over because I haven’t started the series yet…then when you said, or you could win the first book if you haven’t started the series I just sat right up and smiled! Tehehe. The #2 is…2) I was thinking of doing a Sookie Stackhouse giveaway in a couple of weeks…the funny thing is I had thought about doing either the first book, for people who haven’t read them, or the newest book for people who have been reading them…then here you are doing the same thing! I think it’s a sign! 😀

    So please put me down for book 1, Magic to the Bone…

    deanna(dot)lynn(dot)c(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. I have read the series and love it. I would love to win the copy of Magic on the Hunt.

    noraadrienne (at) yahoo (dot) com

  7. magic on the hunt! i love this series and can’t wait for the new one!

    jennzahling@gmail.com

  8. I would love the newest book to this series, Magic on the Hunt, can not wait to read it!
    Corrie.Martian@gmail.com

  9. I am thrilled about Magic on the Hunt and am waiting anxiously to finish my week so I can read it!
    jdowling3@gatech.edu

  10. I just started the series, but already love it! I would love a copy of Magic on the Hunt! Thanks!
    hulamoon2@gmail.com

  11. Not entering since it is book 3 I want, oh and that new book dead iron, cos it looks awesome!!!!!

    Nice interview 😀

  12. Wow! This is so cool! I always saw these books around and thought they looked like my kind of book.Lol. I’d like to participate for Magic to the Bone please. Thank you so much for this awesome interview.
    krystleskye@yahoo.com

  13. I started with “Magic to the Bone” but the first 3 books had already been published. I caught up quick.

    I found it at a Borders when browsing. Someone had turned it face out and I picked it up to look at Allie’s tattoos. I collect fantasy are so the next look was for the artist. Then I read the back. The idea of the Hounds and the magic use penalty intrigued me.

    I had just gotten my Kindle and this was my first real book purchase. I don’t count the free and $1 books. It is also when I realized that there really needs there to be a way for the book store to get something out of generating an eBook purchase. That Borders should have gotten credit. I would hope that if you buy a book for the Nook while in a Barnes and Noble the store does get credit. Nothing online comes close to the book store experience and they are disappearing.

    I find it funny that the series is classified as a type of romance. While there is a relationship between Zay and Allie and some of it gets into interaction details it is just a part of the story and not forced of all that many pages. It is just one of the many great interactions between the characters. Shame and Terric, Shame and Zay, Allie and her ghostly dad, Allie and Danny, all of these are just as well put together as the play between Zay and Allie. Only one of them has a romantic component.

    I am looking forward to the new Steampunk book. I’m not into that in general but I am into a real life steampunk like project to build Charles Babbage’s Analytical engine.

    Thanks for the many hours of enjoyable reading.

  14. elaing8 says:

    Great interview.I have most of the books in this series but haven’t had a chance to read them yet.I know they are awesome books from all the great reviews I’ve read.
    I would love to win Magic on the Hunt.

  15. Fantastic interview Julie & Devon! I can’t believe that Stone wasn’t planned! He’s sooo perfect for Allie, that is such a surprise. And Shame, oh shame shame shame. *swoon* Wonder if he’ll ever get a love interest? 😉

    Devon, I’m with Julie when I say: I heart Allie!!!

    I would love to win the latest book, Magic on the Hunt

  16. I dying to check out this series after everything I’ve read about it and would love to win the first book.

    Thanks,
    Sara
    sarace at gmail dot com

  17. What a wonderful interview and i am looking forward to the new novels please put me down for magic on the hunt please

  18. Barbara Elness says:

    I enjoyed the interview. I love the Allie Beckstrom series and Dead Iron looks totally awesome. My wish list is getting dangerously long, but Magic on the Hunt and Dead Iron are going on it.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  19. dragongirl46 says:

    Love the series. And I would be down for Magic on the Hunt. Have not yet bought it on my kobo but will be once I am done working this shift rotation! Keep up the awesome work and looking forward to your new series!

  20. Would love a copy of the first book.

  21. Please enter me for Magic On the Hunt. I do own the first two in the series, but shamefully haven’t started it yet. I think it’s time to start though!

    Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out

  22. I would love a copy of Magic on the Hunt! I have read and fallen in love with the series. I can’t wait for more between Allie and Zay, but I have to say that Shame is my favorite. Thanks.

  23. Chrissy says:

    Love this series and would love a copy of Magic on the Hunt – thanks for the chance!
    ssalvc126@rogers.com

  24. I would love Magic to the Bone!

  25. Vampire Lady says:

    I’d love to win a copy of Magic on the Hunt!

    mpp1501 AT gmail DOT com

  26. would love a copy of magic on the hunt

  27. Super awesome post! And I would love to win a copy of Magic on the Hunt. Thanks for the chance! Hope this series goes on & on!

    (\___/)
    (=’.’=)
    (“)_(“)

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
    http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com/

  28. Stone and Shame rock! You can put me in for Magic on the Hunt since I own all the others!

  29. I’m entering for Magic on the Hunt.
    Thanks for the giveaway and for making it international!

  30. I have to admit, I haven’t started this series yet, but I do have books 1 & 2 already – they are teetering on my mountainous TBR pile. I’d love to win a copy of Magic on the Hunt. That would probably spur me on to finally start it.

    jen at delux dot com

  31. thanks for a great post – I really love your books and would love to read Magic on the Hunt 🙂
    wish you all the best, Melanie

    booksforalleternity at gmail dot com

  32. Hi Devon! *waves*

    I’ve had your series on my wishlist for some time now, since friends keep recommending it and saying what a wonderful heroine Allie is, so I can’t wait to see for myself!

    Devon, if you could spend a day with a character from any novel, who would you like to spend it with and what would you two do?

    I would love to be entered to win Book #1 so that I can start my addiction to your Allie Beckstrom series 😀

    Thank you so much for making this international!!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  33. NatarshaOz says:

    Cheers on your book release, Devon.

    I would be a very happy girl if I won either of your books. I personally am up to Magic on the Hunt. But I have loaned my copy of Magic to the Bone around to all my friends – getting them as addicted as I am – and could use a new copy.

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