"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
PNR Attractions 2007
Spotlight on Upcoming Paranormal Releases
Racy Li is a New Yorker with a weak spot for Afghani food and cold leftover pizza (sometimes together). She wanted a cat but somehow ended up with a husband. Racy worked for the venerable Mega, Large, WeScrewEveryone, LLC law firm until she came to her senses and decided to write some kickass ninja smut. She is also a national award winning painter (age 6) and has recently discovered a new talent in dehydrating cacti. NINJA from Loose Id, is her first book.
PNR: Have you always wanted to be a writer? What inspired you to choose writing as a career?
Racy L.: Well, I was always a reader, and I always marveled at how authors could create such fascinating tales and intricate worlds. But I always told people that I wasn’t going to be a writer. Looking back, writing was like the bad boy hero who was always whispering in my ear: “You know you want to play. Just give in,” while I was like “No! I can’t! Being a writer is like, being an artist! I can’t be an artist! I have to get multiple advanced degrees and be a good girl like my parents said so!”
For the longest time I fought against being a writer. I figured I might write a single novel some day, but I figured only after going to law school. All that changed when I finished college, started working in one of those multimillion dollar corporate firms, and thought the second day of my job: This. Sucks.
In desperation, I fell into writing’s arms, and it was all over from there.
PNR: Do you have a strict writing schedule? How do you balance your personal and writing time?
Racy L.: Balance? What’s that? I do my best writing late at night, after midnight. Unfortunately I still have to get up, go to work in the morning, grad school in the afternoon, saving the world in the evening, etc. Thinking about it, I’m not really sure how I do it either. Now that I’ve started writing, I HAVE to write. Writing is like my crack. I get jitters if I don’t write.
PNR: Most authors are avid readers; what is your favorite genre to read? Favorite authors?
Racy L.: In the paranormal romance genre I’ve enjoyed works from authors like Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Diane Whiteside but I read everything from fantasy, science fiction, romance, to mystery and more. Some of my favorite authors include Robin McKinley, Guy Gavriel Kay, Jacqueline Carey, Morgan Hawke, Catherine Asaro, and Ted Chiang. Right now, I’m trying to learn more about manga and anime and I just finished reading the first volume of Basilisk, which is billed as a Romeo and Juliet story between two feuding ninja clans.
PNR: Being a newly published author, who or what has been the biggest influence on your work? Who or what has been your biggest support?
Racy L.: Without a doubt, my husband. He rocks my socks, and is really the best partner, beta-reader, idea-bouncer-offer, listener, editor, a writer could ever have.
PNR: Could you tell us about the publication of your first book, NINJA from Loose ID?
Racy L.: I had participated in Nanowrimo, written 50,000 words of crap, and learned years of lessons in a month. NINJA was my post-nano novel; it went through quite a number of revisions before I finally submitted it to Loose Id. I received a lovely revise-resubmit letter from them, and so I did, and got accepted. So I guess I am one of the lucky few who got a contract with a their first submission to their publisher of choice.
PNR: Where did the idea for the story come from? How do you develop your story ideas?
Racy L.: I wanted to write something in the paranormal genre, but I felt like there were so many authors doing things like werewolves, vamps and witches much better then I could ever do. However, I am a huge fan of superhero comics. I have always loved Batman, who is essentially a vigilante with ninja skills. So I decided to go back to the original archetype and write a ninja superhero.
PNR: Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? Do you find it difficult the juggle the two elements?
Racy L.: My writing is definitely more character driven. I’m an organic writer. I throw my characters into “what-if” situations, see what they do, and develop the plot as a result of their scenes and encounters. For example, Joy, Ninja’s sister, was a complete surprise to me. She just showed up one day demanding to be a part of the story, and she showed me a whole other side of Ninja that I didn’t even know that he had.
PNR: Your story blends a number of paranormal abilities and beings, was this challenging?
Racy L.: Setting the story in a world with ninjas, alchemists, demons, superheroes and aliens, without making it a mishmash, required a bit of thinking outside of the “genre” box. These disparate elements may seem odd when placed together, but aliens and superheroes are nothing more than modern versions of age-old demon and hero stories such as the Hebrew myth of Lilith, or the epics of Beowulf and Gilgamesh. So far, I’ve found that Asian manga and anime tend to be very good offering fresh perspectives on Western archetypes like vampires, perhaps because they are more open to other interpretations. I suppose that this was what I was trying to do with NINJA.
PNR: I am very intrigued by your heroine, Liz; could you tell us a little about her development? And of course your sexy alpha Ninja, Kent; who was your favorite character to write, and why? Most challenging?
Racy L.: Ninja/Kent was definitely the most challenging! First, I wrote a good 90% of the book not knowing Ninja’s superhero name. I tried all sorts of names (Night, Shadow, etc) but none of them worked. And then I realized that the naming of a superhero is really a convention from American superhero comics. True ninjas have no names, because you wouldn’t realize that a ninja was around, until it is too late.
Moreover, It was also difficult balancing the two sides of his personality: which persona is the real person and which person is the mask? He is Ninja, but he is also Kent, a combination of who he is, who he once was and who he pretends to be. But isn’t that true of all of us? (Well, except that most of us aren’t ninjas).
PNR: Could you tell readers what your plans are for Liz and Kent? Will we be seeing these captivating characters in future stories?
Racy L.: I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Ninja’s sister Joy, or the demon detective Jasper. I think Kent will definitely have things to say about any man his sister falls for, but in general, ninjas don’t like to be in the spotlight much.
PNR: As a writer, what do you like most about the paranormal romance genre? As a reader?
Racy L.: It’s a cliché, but the concept that anything is possible. The paranormal romance genre more open to different fantastic combinations of settings, situations, and characters than mainstream speculative fiction is. I’ve been told by other science fiction writers that I can’t possibly stick superheroes and demons in the same world, because readers are accustomed to the way things are done in certain genres (It’s too much like comic books they said! And god forbid we be like comics!). To that I say, Bully! Readers are smart; as long as it’s a good story told well, they’ll get it.
PNR: Can you tell us about the projects are you currently working on, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Racy L.: I’m working on a semi-sequel to NINJA, which is set in the same world, featuring the preeminent status quo superhero. Imagine Clark Kent and Lois Lane, engaged, only he hasn’t told her who is alter ego is. But she already knows and has been waiting for him to tell her as a sign that he trusts her. But she gets tired of his little lies, and tired of waiting and dumps him. The story begins there and is about the ways in which he tries to seduce her back. And of course there’s an alien plot to takeover the world, and some guest appearances from some previous characters, but that’s all I’ll say for now.
PNR: Thank you, Racy, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Racy L.: Thanks so much for having me! Readers can always stop by my website at www.racyli.com (where I have a free pre-equal short story to NINJA available for download) or read my blog http://www.racyli.com/wordpress where I talk about things like Wonderwoman underwear and chocolate. Questions and comments are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
January 23, 2007
Read the Review!
A ninja never reveals his existence to anyone
In a parallel world of alchemy, demons and superheroes, even the most ordinary may harbor the most extraordinary of secrets. Liz Blackwell leads a double life, as an attorney by day, and a freelance spy on the side. Unknown to her, her geeky secretary Kent Alistair is the mysterious superhero known simply as “Ninja.” In the middle of an international game of crime wars, demons and mystical objects, can these two people learn to trust each other before it is too late?
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