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by Dee Gentle
Leslie Tramposch: Managing Editor - Sara Reyes: Marketing and Publicity

April 2006 Issue

 

Dark and Dangerous

Spotlight on Dark Paranormal Romance


Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong is the author of the Otherworld paranormal suspense
series.  She lives in Ontario with her husband and three children.


An Interview with Kelley Armstrong

PNR: Have you always wanted to be a writer, what led you to pursue writing as a career?

Kelley A.: I've been writing since childhood, but never planned to become an author. In my family, writing was a hobby, not a career choice.  When I reached my twenties, I decided I’d like to try getting something published, perhaps building up to a position where I could work part-time and write part-time.

PNR: Could you tell us about your writing routine, how do you balance writing and personal time?

Kelley A.: I do most of my writing when my kids are in school, which, for the two youngest, is only every other day right now. So those days consist of getting them off to school, and working until it’s time to meet their bus.

PNR: Who is your favorite author(s)? Who has most influenced your work?

Kelley A.: My biggest writing influences were Stephen King (for his ability to make the supernatural seem natural) and Anne Rice (for showing me that the "monster" could be the protagonist). Today I read mainly thrillers. Current favourites would be Karin Slaughter, Giles Blunt and John Connolly.

PNR: It seems everyone has their own definition of “Dark Romance,” how would you define this sub-genre?

Kelley A.: Oh, there are so many names for these sub-genres.  It seems the names change constantly...and I’m always one or two behind!  To me, dark romance would be, well, romance that’s dark.  Insightful, huh?  I’d use the term to describe a novel that has a strong romantic element, but strong elements of 'darker' genres as well--horror, suspense, dark fantasy etc.

PNR: Your work has been described as smart, witty and original, could you tell us about the development of your 'Women of the Otherworld' series? What are the challenges you face in your world building? Character development?

Kelley A.: The first novel, Bitten, was supposed to be a stand-alone novel. After it was submitted, the publishers asked the usual question: would I consider turning it into a series. As much as I loved working in the paranormal world, I couldn't envision a lengthy werewolf series. I agreed to do a series as long as I could introduce new supernatural types in the second book, and spin off to one of them for the third.

Biggest challenge I face in world building?  Keeping it all straight!  I desperately need to write myself a 'series bible', but the actual series writing takes up all my time.

Biggest character challenge?  With a 'revolving and evolving' narrator set, I'm always running the risk of alienating readers who like a certain type of character.  If a reader likes kick-ass women, some of these books will satisfy that--others won't.  Each narrator is different, and approaches her problems in a different way, like real women.

PNR: Your books feature strong heroines that readers really connect to, would you describe your writing as female focused?

Kelley A.: Oddly enough, it's not.  My original intention wasn't to write a series completely from a female POV, but when they called it 'Women of the Otherworld' I was so happy to have a real series, with an actual title, that I didn’t argue about the 'Women' part.  I have just as much fun with the male characters.  It's important to me that they be as strong, as flawed and as complex as the women.  I've read too many books where the women are 'strong' only because they appear so in comparison with weak or undeveloped male characters.  I do write from the male POV as well--most of my annual online fiction offerings have male narrators, which is my way of circumventing the 'Women' part of my series title!

PNR: Your books are fast paced and action filled, do you feel your writing is plot or character driven?

Kelley A.: Definitely character driven, at least in the sense that I create the characters first, then find a plot that will suit that charcter and the development I have in mind for her.  In the final product, though, plot is equally important--when I read, I like a fast paced, action-intense book, so that’s what I aim for when I write.

PNR: Paranormal romance is experiencing an incredible surge in popularity, what do you feel accounts for the sudden interest in the genre?

Kelley A.: I've heard lots of theories, everything from crediting specific authors (like Laurell K Hamilton and Christine Feehan) to the current political climate (in today’s world, who wouldn’t like to think they can protect themselves and their loved ones with super powers?) to the simple circular pattern of market trends (horror/paranormal was hot twenty years ago, and now a different form of it is hot today) Honestly, I have no idea what’s responsible--I'm just grateful for it and hope it continues.

PNR: What are your plans for the “Women of the Otherworld” series?

Kelley A.: I'm currently contracted through book 10.  I have rough ideas for the remaining narrators, but nothing’s set in stone.  That's how I think--in terms of  “who does book x focus on?” rather than what the plot will be.  The choice of narrators is chosen in part by my own interests (who do I want to write about) and in part by readers (who are they telling me they want to hear about)

PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?

Kelley A.: April 1st saw the release of Dates from Hell, an anthology with four novellas, contributed by Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Lori Handeland and myself.  My next Otherworld novel comes out May 1--Broken, returning to my first narrator, werewolf Elena Michaels.  Twice a month I'm posting installments to my 2006 online novella, narrated by one of my guys--Lucas Cortez.  I'm just finishing up Otherworld book 7, due out in spring 2007, and I’m completing edits on a non-supernatural crime novel due out Jan 07.  And then it’s time for a rest...however brief!

PNR: Thanks Kelley, for taking the time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what's new and how can they contact you?

Kelley A.: Best way to find out more is on my website www.kelleyarmstrong.com which has everything from sample chapters to free fiction to a message board to an online writing group.  Readers can contact me directly at kelley@kelleyarmstrong.com


Kelley Armstrong

Website

 Books



Buy it now!

Spectra
April 25, 2006
ISBN #0553588184
480 pages
Paperback

Read the Reviews!

When half-demon Xavier calls in the favour Elena owes him, it seems easy enough, steal Jack the Ripper's 'From Hell' letter away from a Toronto collector who had himself stolen it from the Ripper evidence boxes. But nothing in the supernatural world is ever as simple as it seems. Elena accidentally triggers a spell placed on the letter, and opens a dimensional portal into Victorian London, releasing zombies, disease, and maybe a notorious serial killer himself.

Avon
April 1, 2006
ISBN #006085409X
416 pages
Paperback


Read the Reviews!

Take a pair of sexy vampires from Kim Harrison, add a sultry shape-shifter by Lynsay Sands, plus a werwolf unlike any other from Kelly Armstrong, toss in a demon hunter by Lori Handeland and you have an unbelievable night of DATES FROM HELL ...

 

 

 

Featured in this Issue:

Interviews with:

Additional Titles by Kelley Armstrong

Buy it now!
 
Spectra
May 31, 2005
ISBN #0553587080
528 pages
Paperback


Read the Reviews!
HAUNTED
Women of the Otherworld Book 5

 

Eve Levine made a bargain with Fate, and now she's come to collect, sending Eve off on a quest to retrieve the soul of an escaped demi-demon.  Playing ghost world bounty hunter isn't exactly what Eve had in mind for an afterlife career, but a deal is a deal.  Eve never breaks a promise...even when the cost of repaying that debt turns out to be more than this ghost can afford.


Buy it now!
 
Spectra
October 26, 2004
ISBN #0553587072
560 pages
Paperback

Read the Reviews!
INDUSTRIAL MAGIC
 

Women of the Otherworld Book 4

 

In the aftermath of her mother's murder, Paige broke with the elite, ultraconservative American Coven of Witches. Now her goal is to start a new Coven for a new generation. But while Paige pitches her vision to uptight thirty-something witches in business suits, a more urgent matter commands her attention.

Someone is murdering the teenage offspring of the underworld's most influential Cabals — a circle of families that makes the mob look like amateurs. And none is more powerful than the Cortez Cabal, a faction Paige is intimately acquainted with. Lucas Cortez, the rebel son and unwilling heir, is none other than her boyfriend. But love isn't blind, and Paige has her eyes wide open as she is drawn into a hunt for an unnatural-born killer. Pitted against shamans, demons, and goons, it's a battle chilling enough to make a wild young woman grow up in a hurry. If she gets the chance.


Buy it now!
 
Spectra
April 27, 2004
ISBN #0553587064
448 pages
Paperback

Read the Reviews!
DIME STORE MAGIC

 Women of the Otherworld Book 3


Forget the cackling green hag in The Wizard of Oz, forget Samantha from Bewitched. Real witches are nothing, NOTHING like this. For years real witches have hidden their powers, afraid of being persecuted. They have integrated so well into the community, you could have a witch living right next door and never know about it. Take Paige, for instance, whom we first met in Kelley Armstrong's novel Stolen. Just an ordinary twenty-something who runs her own website design company, worries about her weight and wonders if she'll ever find a boyfriend. Okay, so she's leader of the American Coven and guardian of Savannah, the teenage daughter of a black witch. Really, life is ordinary. But then a telekinetic half-demon, Leah O'Donnell, shows up to fight for custody of Savannah. And although Paige is ready for her, she's not quite so prepared for the team of supernaturals that Leah brings with her, including a powerful sorcerer who claims to be Savannah's father. When all hell breaks loose -- literally -- and Paige is accused of witchcraft, Satanism and murder, the Coven, fearing exposure, abandons her. Cut off from her friends, Paige is forced against her better judgment to accept the help of a young sorcerer lawyer. And she quickly comes to realize that keeping Savannah could mean losing everything else.


Buy it now!
 
Viking Press
May 22, 2003
ISBN #0670031372
416 pages
Hardcover
 
Read the Reviews!
STOLEN
Women of the Otherworld Book 2

 

International acclaim for Kelley Armstrong's sophisticated debut novel, Bitten, is steadily growing. It was in Bitten that thirty-year-old Elena Michaels came to terms with her feral appetites and claimed the proud identity of a beautiful, successful woman-and the only living female werewolf. In Stolen, on a mission for her own elite pack, she is lured into the net of ruthless Internet billionaire Tyrone Winsloe, who has funded a bogus scientific investigation of the "other races" and their supernatural powers. Kidnapped and studied in his underground lab deep in the Maine woods, these paranormals-witches, vampires, shamans, werewolves- are then released and hunted to the death in a real-world video game. But when Winsloe captures Elena, he meets his match. Suspenseful, chilling, and witty, Stolen is a novel of rich and amazing versatility.


Buy it now!
 
Plume
January 1, 2003
ISBN #0452283485
372 pages
Trade Size (reprint)

Read the Reviews!
BITTEN
Women of the Otherworld Book 1

 

Elena Michaels is the world's only female werewolf. And she's tired of it. Tired of a life spent hiding and protecting, a life where her most important job is hunting down rogue werewolves. Tired of a world that not only accepts the worst in her— her temper, her violence—but requires it. Worst of all, she realizes she's growing content with that life, with being that person. So she left the Pack and returned to Toronto where she's trying to live as a human. When the Pack leader calls asking for her help fighting a sudden uprising, she only agrees because she owes him. Once this is over, she'll be squared with the Pack and free to live life as a human. Which is what she wants. Really.


Buy it now!
 
Viking Press
September 27, 2001
ISBN #0670894710
352 pages
Hardcover

Read the Reviews!
BITTEN
Women of the Otherworld Book 1

 

Elena Michaels is the world's only female werewolf. And she's tired of it. Tired of a life spent hiding and protecting, a life where her most important job is hunting down rogue werewolves. Tired of a world that not only accepts the worst in her— her temper, her violence—but requires it. Worst of all, she realizes she's growing content with that life, with being that person. So she left the Pack and returned to Toronto where she's trying to live as a human. When the Pack leader calls asking for her help fighting a sudden uprising, she only agrees because she owes him. Once this is over, she'll be squared with the Pack and free to live life as a human. Which is what she wants. Really.

All book synopsizes are copyrighted to the authors/publishers.


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