"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Love by the Light of the Moon!
I started writing when I was about twelve. I'd just read one of Elaine Mitchell's brumby books (not the silver brumby series, one of the others) and I hated the ending. So I did what seemed the most natural thing to do--I rewrote it.
I haven't stopped writing since--though I have to admit, it's only in the last ten years that I've seriously thought about getting published.
To date, I've completed a total of ten novels, (not counting the rewrite of Elaine Mitchell's!) though the first three will probably never see the light of day. I thought they were brilliant at the time, but looking at them now, I can only shudder. I still think the ideas are great, but basically, all three books would need to be entirely rewritten. Maybe I'll get back to them one day, when I have the time and nothing else to write. I'm a member of the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, and co-edit its newsletter, Romancing the Word. I'm also a member of the Sock Monkeys online crit group.
a dessert and function cook by trade, and married to a wonderful man
(Pete) who not only supports my writing, but who also does the majority
of the housework--he has to, because I don't, and the house looks
like a cyclone hit it otherwise. We have one daughter, Kasey.
An Interview with Keri Arthur
PNR: Well, an obvious first question is, how do you perceive the difference between the US reader and Aussie reader? Do you feel that some of your story may be less effective because of the differences in 'common folklore knowledge'?
Keri A.: I think the only real difference between the Aussie and American reader is the fact that its a lot harder to get books downunder. Because distribution is not independent here, (its handled by a couple of major publishers), the range of books we get offered on the shelf is really quite limited. Generally, we have to order direct via the Internet or through the bookstores themselves. As for common folklore knowledge--again, I dont think there are any differences. When it comes to local folklore, I probably know more about the native American myths and legends than I do the native Australian (which I guess is kind of sad.)
PNR: You say started writing for yourself at 12... I won't ask how many years ago [grin]. Can you tell us more of how you found yourself published at ImaJinn Books? Any other accomplishments you would like to share? With both my sons in food service, I have to ask... You are a dessert and function cook by trade... any favorite EASY recipes to share?
Keri A.: My age is no state secret--I dont mind admitting Im fourty-three. <g> Mind you, it was only just over ten years ago that I really got serious about learning my craft and trying to get published.
I heard about ImaJinn three or four years ago (cant remember exactly--the old memory is not as good as it should be <wink>. At that stage, ImaJinn was very new but given the limited scope of the paranormal market, I thought Id give them a try. DANCING WITH THE DEVIL was actually rejected the first time around--plot faults and too much Aussie speak in it (you Americans have a different word for practically everything! <g>) So, I rewrote and resubmitted. A few months later, ImaJinn came back with the news they wanted it--Im surprised you never heard my screams over on your side of the world! It was the start of a rather good run for me--after DANCING sold, I sold another five books to ImaJinn, (two sequels to Dancing, and three in the offshoot Circle series) and have just recently signed a contract for five more--a fourth Nikki and Michael book, and four books in an Urban Fantasy series set in a future Melbourne.
Other accomplishments...hmm...well, I guess my first writing accomplishment (and the one that gave me real hope that I was one the right track) was placing second in the 1997 Washington Romance Writers Novel Beginnings Contest (specialty romance) with Circle of Fire (then known as Heart of the Hunter). The feedback I got back was invaluable, and certainly helped put me on the path to publication. (Thankyou ladies!) My next major feat was the first book in my fantasy series being shortlisted for a Random House competition here in Australia (this is the series ImaJinn just contracted). Dancing with the Devil being voted Most Popular Vampire in Simegens Reviewers Choice awards was certainly a buzz, as was being me nominated for the best new author in PNRs recent Pearl awards. Dancing has also been shortlisted in the Romance Writers of Australia/Womans Day Romantic Book of the Year Awards (otherwise known as the RBOTY), and Circle of Fire nominated for Best Contemporary Paranormal in RTs reviewers choice awards. Which is all pretty cool!
Recipes! I have a ton of them--all easy, but all fiddly. My most popular desserts are: French Chocolate Mousse (very rich and very yummy) Mille Feuilles (layers of puff pastry, crème patisserie (custard), cream, strawberries, drizzled with passionfruit), and Baked Chocolate Cheesecake with caramel sauce. If anyone wants the recipe to one or all of these, email me privately and Ill send them.
PNR: What do you think the advantages/disadvantages of writing contemporary Paranormal? Of fitting supernatural beings into an everyday community?
Keri A.: I dont know if its a disadvantage as much as a difficulty--but trying to make your readers truly believe these people can exist is perhaps the hardest. Integrating the known world with creatures such as vampires, werewolves, etc, and making them seem a natural part of everyday living is tough. But in many ways, its really no different to writing any hero or heroine--even if your h/h is just a normal person, you still have to write them well enough to make them believable, and to make the reader want to read on.
PNR: In DANCING WITH THE DEVIL & HEARTS IN DARKNESS, your Vampire, instead of the traditional villain, is the hero and reluctant love interest. Will this continue in the series or is there hope for Nikki & Michael?
Keri A.: Oh, theres hope for Nikki and Michael--just wait until you read the end of Chasing the Shadows! <vbg> There are plans to go beyond four books with the series, as I still think theres lots of scope. Just how far beyond it goes depends on reader interest (as always)
PNR: In your vampire as well as your circle series, you have a hierarchy of protectors with Seline in charge. Can you tell us more of them? Are they to protect the supernatural community or mere humans from rogue magic?
Keri A.: The Circle formed just over a hundred years ago when Seline and Michael met. Its basic function is to protect humans from the outlaw element of the supernatural community. Over time, others have been recruited and the organisation got larger. They have members high up in Governments and Police Departments worldwide, and roam the globe taking care of trouble spots. The second in the Circle series, Circle of Death, introduces Selines second-in-charge as a side character, and the fourth in Nikki and Michaels series will probably deal, as a secondary storyline, with how the Circle was formed.
For those waiting for a female Circle member to come along, it happens in the third book (Circle of Vengeance)--the heroine is a shapeshifter (raven) who works with her grandmother (a witch) for the circle, and the hero is a werewolf with serious emotional hang-ups. <g>
Featured in this Issue:
WITH THE DEVIL -
HEARTS IN THE DARKNESS - Life has never been so insane for Nikki James. Theres another teenager missing. She has another vampire to contend with. Her partner and best friend Jake is in the hospital dying. And a madman is kidnapping the wealthy. Just when it seems nothing else could go wrong, Michael returns. The last thing Michael Kelly needs is a confrontation with Nikki, but when a kidnapper steps up his agenda to murder, Michaels forced into a partnership with Nikki to keep her safe. Then a specter from Michaels past rises that could destroy any hope Nikki has of a future with him because Nikki must compete with the womanthe vampirefor whom Michael gave up life.
CHASING THE SHADOWS - Four wealthy women kidnapped. Three ransoms demanded and paid. Two bodies returned, mutilated and drained of blood. One man determined to avenge the wrongs of his past. Nikki Jamespartner and best friend, Jake has asked her to help him find the missing wife of an old friend. Michael Kelly has followed Nikki to San Francisco, not only to keep her safe, but because he fears the psychic talents shes beginning to develop and cant control. As the body count begins to rise, so, too, does the danger. When Nikki becomes a target, Michael demands that she leave, but Nikki wants him to realize shes either a full partner in his life, danger or not. But she has to pay a price for her stubbornnessthe life of someone she loves.