"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Gena Showalter has been praised for her “sizzling page-turners” and “utterly spellbinding stories.” The author of more than sixteen novels and anthologies, Showalter is celebrated in a wide variety of genres for her breathtaking romances featuring dark, seductive heroes and strong, appealing heroines. Readers can’t get enough of her trademark wit and singular imagination, whether she’s writing paranormal stories about demons, vampires, nymphs and superheroes, white-hot contemporary romance or alien huntress books.
An Interview with Gena Showalter
PNR: Welcome back! When we last spoke with you in January 2006 JEWEL OF ATLANTIS was about to be released; can you tell readers what you have been up to?
Gena S.: It’s been an amazing two years. The Nymph King, the sequel to Jewel of Atlantis, hit the New York Times and USA Today best seller lists, a dream come true for me. My books have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Animal Instincts) and Seventeen (Blacklisted) magazines. I also wrote three young adult novels and one of them, Red Handed, was just optioned by Sony Television for a TV series. To say I’ve been over the moon would be an understatement.
Work-wise, I’ve been chained to my computer. Because my publisher and I decided to kick off my new Lords of the Underworld series with three back to back books, I had a lot of writing to do and not a lot of time to do it. But I didn’t mind. I love this new world I’ve created, adore the characters and relished the time I spent with them.
PNR: Are you able to write as much as you would like? Could you tell us about your writing schedule? What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
Gena S.: Thankfully, I am able to write as much as I’d like. (As obsessive as I can be, sometimes I write more than I’d like.) It usually takes me three months to finish a book. I spend about a month and a half hammering out the rough draft, writing a chapter a day five days a week. After that, I spend the next month and a half reading over what I’ve written, fixing, rewriting, adding, and deleting.
When I’m not writing, I love to curl on the cough with my three English bulldogs (Mary Ann, Ginger, and Lovey) and watch movies. Because me and the girls take up so much room, my husband has to settle for the small love seat all by his lonesome.
PNR: Most writers are avid readers, is this true for you? What titles would we see in your TBR pile?
Gena S.: I love to read. In fact, I have massive TBR piles. Right now I’ve got Warrior Rising by PC Cast, Dark Needs At Night’s Edge by Kresley Cole, Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole, Undone by Brooke Taylor, First You Run by Roxanne St. Claire, Last Wolf Standing by Rhyannon Byrd (to name a few), and as some of my other favorite authors release new books I’ll be adding to the piles. I absolutely love books.
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?
Gena S.: Staying true to the world and characters you’ve created. Everything has to happen for a reason and if anything or anyone deviates from the norm, there has to be a reason for it.
PNR: You made your publishing debut in 2004 with the release of THE STONE PRINCE from HQN, and have received a great deal of recognition and reader admiration for your writing. How does it feel to have such positive recognition for your work?
Gena S.: It’s heady and wonderful to be loved. I print out emails and reread the reviews that praise my work. But the knowledge that some people like what I’m doing is always tempered with the knowledge that it’s impossible to please everyone.
PNR: Congratulations, readers are excited about the May 2008 release of THE DARKEST NIGHT from HQN; this is the first book in your new Lords of the Underworld series. Could you tell us what inspired this dark fantasy series and a little about your vision for the project? What direction will the series be taking?
Gena S.: Thank you so much! I’d just finished writing three lighter books – Playing With Fire, The Nymph King and Catch A Mate. I needed to write the sequel to Playing With Fire or the next Atlantis book, the vampire king’s story. But neither of those stories would come to me. I had a list of ideas for other stories, though. One involved Pandora’s box, one involved cursed immortals who lived together in an exotic location, and one involved the grim reaper. On their own, none of the ideas seemed quite big enough. It was as I began to combine them that the magic happened for me.
As to where the series is heading, well, within the first book I claim that the Titans have escaped their immortal prison and overthrown the Greek gods. So there’s new management, new consequences, new quests, and in each book the Lords of the Underworld, as well as their greatest enemy, will journey the world to search for the now missing box. If the Lords find it first, they can destroy it. If they fail, they will be destroyed.
PNR: You have been complimented on your excellent world building. Tell us about the challenges you face in world building with paranormal elements and making it work with the ideas you have in mind for the progression of your characters and the series? How much research is involved?
Gena S.: To me world building is, especially when dealing with the paranormal, all about grounding the reader in something they know so they can make a connection and then showing them how this new world is different. Utilizing the five senses is essential.
PNR: Lords of the Underworld is based on the myth of Pandora. Could you give us some insight into how you used this well known story in mythology as a catalyst for the series?
Gena S.: In Greek mythology, Prometheus is chained to a rock where his liver is eaten every day by a vulture, only to regenerate – to be eaten again. Several sources claim he was given Pandora (the first human female) as punishment, as well. In my book The Darkest Night, the hero Maddox is killed every night only to awaken the next morning knowing he has to die again. I took the idea of something fatal being done to a man over and over again and twisted it so that only the core idea was similar. And knowing Prometheus was intertwined with the myth of Pandora’s box was all that I needed to make the leap within my own story.
PNR: Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
Gena S.: Character driven, definitely. I am not a plotter. I simply sit down with the barest of ideas and start writing. I let the characters take me wherever they want to go.
PNR: You write wonderfully complex characters that readers really connect to; could you tell us about the development of the complicated relationship between Ashlyn and Maddox? What was your inspiration for these characters?
Gena S.: On one hand, I had a hardened, tortured warrior who sometimes lost his struggles with his inner demon and erupted into wild fits of violence. He does not trust easily, has not had much human interaction and knows he will destroy anything he comes to care about. On the other, I had a woman who has never known a moment’s peace. She is soft hearted, brave, wants to be normal more than anything, but because of her ability to hear past conversations, has heard all manners of evil and is leery.
But the voices quiet around Maddox because even they fear him. So for the first time, she knows peace. She’s able to hear her own thoughts and she doesn’t know what the person in front of her thinks about her. She’s fascinated. Maddox, too, is struck by that intense fascination. Here’s a woman who doesn’t flinch every time he nears her. No, she closes her eyes and seems to savor everything about him.
My ultimate goal when pairing two characters together is to give them someone unexpected, but someone that does something for them that no one else is able.
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level of your books; do you find it challenging to write love/sex scenes?
Gena S.: I don’t find it difficult or embarrassing, no. It’s a natural form of expression between two people who are falling in love. It deepens the awareness between them, intensifies the bond, and takes their commitment to each other to a new level. I love that.
PNR: There is something about a “Bad Boy” that makes our hearts race. Why do you feel that readers are attracted to that bad boy image of a hero, or anti hero as the case may be?
Gena S.: I think it’s the fantasy of being the one and only woman who’s capable of taming him, of having all of his passion and all of his naughtiness directed at you, of knowing he might not care about anything or anyone else, but he’ll die for you in a heartbeat. There’s nothing sexier!
PNR: You have written in the contemporary, paranormal and young adult genres, which has been your favorite? Is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to try?
Gena S.: Paranormal romance is my heart and soul. I love the possibilities, where anything I can think up I can write. I haven’t written historical, am completely intimidated by all that research, but love to read them. So. . . maybe one day.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Gena S.: I just turned in The Vampire’s Bride (the vampire king’s story which is a kind of paranormal Survivor), as well as Twice As Hot (the sequel to Playing With Fire. Belle’s trying to plan her wedding, but someone has stolen Rome’s memories and that someone is trying to romance her). Up next is the fourth book in the Lords of the Underworld series, featuring Sabin the keeper of Doubt. After that I’ll be tackling the next alien hunter novel, starring Devyn the Targon king who likes to collect women like other men like to collect cars. Should be fun.
PNR: Thank you, Gena, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Featured in this issue: ~Really Bad Boys ~Lyrical Press Interviews with: Elizabeth Amber Melissa Lopez Stella & Audra Price Gena Showalter J.R. Ward
May 1, 2008
Lords of the Underworld: Bk 1
All her life, Ashlyn Darrow has been tormented by voices from the past. To end the nightmare, she has come to Budapest seeking help from men rumored to have supernatural abilities, not knowing she'll be swept into the arms of Maddox, their most dangerous member -- a man trapped in a hell of his own.
Neither can resist the instant hunger than calms their torments . . . and ignites an irresistible passion. But every heated touch and burning kiss will edge them closer to destruction -- and a soul-shattering test of love
June 1, 2008
Lords of the Underworld: Bk 2
He is Death, destined to be her executioner.
Ordered by the gods to escort the tempestuous Anya’s soul to hell, Lucien is an immortal warrior torn between duty and desire. For Anya sparks the flames of passion inside him as no one else ever has.
She is Anarchy, as beautiful as she is deadly.
There is nothing Anya wants more than to be Lucien’s lover. His half-hearted attempts to kill her are exhilarating. His kisses – electrifying.
They should have been enemies but they become allies, traveling the world to find and destroy an ancient relic of the gods before it can be used against him -- separating them for eternity.
July 1, 2008
Lords of the Underworld: Bk 3
He can bear any pain but the thought of losing her.
Danika Ford is on the run. For months she's eluded the powerful Lords of the Underworld -- immortal warriors who won't rest until she and her family are dead. But her dreams are haunted by the one called Reyes, whose searing touch she can't forget.
Reyes is a man possessed. Bound by the demon of pain, he is forbidden to know pleasure. But he craves Danika more than breath and will do anything to claim her. Even defy the gods.
When forced to choose between all they once held dear and each other, the decision could mean death. . . or a love to last the ages.
April 1, 2008
Lords of the Underworld: Prequel
He is the guardian of hell, more monster than man. She is the goddess of oppression, more angel than woman. Together they will enter the flames to battle a dangerous horde of demon lords -- and discover a passion unlike any other....
Don't miss this sizzling prequel to Gena Showalter's breathtaking new paranormal series, The Lords of the Underworld! Though they carry an eternal curse, the Lords of the Underworld are irresistibly seductive -- and unimaginably powerful....
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