Heart to Heart Interview with Katie MacAlister
Heart to Heart:
We love The Last of the Red-Hot Vampires,
the sixth (and not the last) in your bestselling vampire books. It's a lot of fun to watch the very pragmatic physicist, Portia, have her skepticism shaken so thoroughly!
I loved writing Portia. I put much of myself into her (I studied astrophysics at the University of Washington when I was a fresh young thing, I'm very skeptical, and I see beauty in science), so it was great fun putting her into situations where she tried like the dickens to explain things by what she thought of as "rational" terms, but which just didn't mesh with this new, unexplainable world she found herself in.
Portia was also a product of a recent podcast I've been enjoying, that of the New England Skeptical Society. I loved the thought of taking someone whose roots were firmly grounded in skepticism and plunking her down in situations where everything she valued went out the window. Like me, Portia turned out to have a soft, romantic, squidgy center, so of course she fell for the one man who defied everything she knew.
I was also amused by the way Portia continued to make order out of her world once she accepted the fact that it wasn't what she'd known her whole life. She gave me a chance to explore the importance of faith in her life -- not a religious faith, but more the ability to accept that, sometimes, there are things which just aren't going to be easily explained…like falling in love with someone who at first glance seems totally wrong for you.
Do you think of these books as a series or books that are loosely connected in various ways?
The Dark Ones books are pretty much a loosely connected series -- some characters overlap, but for the most part, each book shows you a snapshot in two people's lives when they met and fell in love (and usually battled demons, demon lords, and assorted other nasties). With these books, it's not so important that people read them in order as it would be in the Aisling Grey books, in which the same protagonists tell a story over a series of novels.
The books are connected together, however. They are set in the same part of the Otherworld and use the same Dark Ones lore. But I'm trying to bring fresh new elements into the stories, rather just retelling the same story using nothing but the Moravian lore. That's how the Court of Divine Blood came about: I knew there had to be a counterpart to Abaddon, and I thought it would be interesting to see what it would take to get a Dark One -- someone one thinks of with more hellish than heavenly roots -- into its fold.
And -- we have to ask -- how do you account for your heroines' inability to resist the Dark Ones?
All my heroines have one thing in common with me -- they are born romantics. Some may hide it better than others (like Portia), but deep down, they know when they have found the man of their dreams. When you give that man a dark past, a desperate need for the heroine, and, usually, a stubborn nature that is just far too much fun to overcome, it's no surprise they fall for them. I know if a dark, sexy man showed up on my doorstep and told me that I was literally his reason for existence, I'd have a hard time closing the door in his face. My husband wouldn't have any problem doing that, but we weren't discussing him…
What scene was the most fun to write?
Oh, boy, there were so many fun scenes to write in that book, it's difficult to pinpoint one. I hate to admit how sadistic I am toward my characters, but I think the scene where Portia hailed on the mare while struggling to control her jealousy and anger really showed a lot of her character. But I have to say that for all-out snickering to myself, the scene where she lands in a pile of discarded oyster shells was the most satisfying, because it allowed her character a growth moment -- while covered in horrible muck and bird poop. And how many of us could manage to experience personal growth while covered in that sort of hideous guck?
We know you are amazingly productive. What books are you working on now, and what books will be published shortly?
I'm just about to start writing another Dark Ones book, ironically enough. I'm still mulling over story line ideas now, but I think I will be introducing a new element with the yet-untitled seventh vampire book. I just finished Holy Smokes,
the fourth Aisling Grey book, and had more fun writing that than should be legal. I really love writing about the dragons, and had especial fun with Holy Smokes because things are shaken up a bit by the end of the book. Aisling, Jim, and all the dragons will be back this November , when Holy Smokes
Sometime at the beginning of next year, Ghost of a Chance,
the first book in my new paranormal mystery series, will be hitting shelves. The mysteries will also be set in the same Otherworld as the rest of the paranormals but will focus on a part I've yet to discuss much: the poltergeist society, and the Akashic League, which governs all things ghostly. The two main protagonists in that book are Adam Dirgesinger (a poltergeist who also happens to be a U.S. marshal) and Karma Marx, who is a Trans-Anomaly Exterminator…which basically means ghost buster. The mysteries have some crossover types of characters from the romances but will pretty much inhabit their little corner of the Otherworld.