Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: MK Mancos

Cate: I'm pleased to welcome MK Mancos to the Author Spotlight. MK, will you please share a short bio with us?
MK: Hmmmm, I always have a hard time with this type of question. How do I begin? How much should I tell about myself? How do I make it snappy and interesting? – Short version of me, I live in NJ with my hubby, who is a comic artist and studying to become a voice-over actor. We share our space with the sweetest, yet most spoiled dog on the planet, Lily. At any one time our house is filled with a host of characters we are currently writing. Thank God, they don’t need fed or clothed.

Cate: My dog’s name is Lily too! And I’m a native Jerseyan – or as people always expect me to say, Joiseyan. :) Ok, so tell us about Immorati and where it's available.
MK: Immorati was a long time coming back to publication. It was with another pub back in ’07. When the pub closed its doors, it was pushed into bankruptcy court with the rest of the assets. (I guess it’s a compliment to be considered a company asset.) Anyhow, it took time and dedication to get the rights back, and when I did I turned the book over to my good friend, Amanda Barnett, Senior Editor at the Wild Rose Press/Black Rose. I knew Amanda would give Immorati the love and attention it deserved after its bumpy trip through court system. She loved the book and contracted it. I was completely excited to work with her again.
The idea for Immorati actually came to me in a dream. At the time it was nothing more than a very gory scene where a werewolf crashed through a wooden stand at a local fair and attacked me. (Me being the dream me who was totally hot and so worthy of a romance heroine.) When I woke, I knew that would be an awesome scene to include in a book, but I didn’t want to write another werewolf tale. I have nothing against shifter books, on the contrary, they are sexy as hell, but I needed something that was more me. Different. Unique. Being a sci-fi, comic book, documentary and paranormal junkie, I decided that I should really look to my own backyard. Since I live in New Jersey the cryptid of my dreams was only a few hours away in the Pine Barrens. The New Jersey Devil became the villain for my novel – or is he?

Cate: Very cool! The Jersey Devil's always intrigued me too. Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
When the corpse of an unidentified species is found in the woods near Pine Haven, New Jersey along with a human female, anthropologist Edie Campbell is called in by local law enforcement and the medical examiner to help identify the strange humanoid male. The discovery of a heretofore unknown species is thrilling for Edie, up until she realizes the creature has recently mated with the human female.
Questions form with no apparent answers until Aidan LaMont arrives in Pine Haven to identify his cousin’s body. But the secretive Aidan hides as much of the mystery surrounding the strange creature as he explains. And Edie has no doubt that behind his simmering sexuality and amber eyes, he knows much more than he’s willing to tell.

Cate: What inspired you to write about the theme?
MK: Taking the idea from a dream and tweaking it to fit something I found interesting. Of course, I had to come up with a hero worthy of his villain. My love of anthropology and folklore worked well for me here. I decided the only true foil for a legendary monster is an immortal. Enter one Aidan LaMont and the race of immortals known to the Jersey Devils as the Immorati. The Immorati and the Corpesetti (what I call the JD in my book) were brothers once. The Origins sought to punish the Corpesetti for their crimes and made their once beautiful forms into something that resembled the ugliness inside. But not all the Corpesetti are evil. This is as much the origins of a redemption story as it is a murder mystery and love story.

Cate: Wow, that sounds fantastic. How do you develop your plots and characters?
MK: I don’t have any one particular way of doing things. I can get ideas from dreams, magazine articles, documentaries, or just the flotsam of everyday life. Once I get an idea, I try to see inside the characters and ask what their lives are like. Why are they like that? I also have character sheets I use that help me to interview the characters before I start writing. However, not everything I discover during this process is used. Sometimes it changes in a complete 180° from what I originally write, but it is a good jumping off point. And I do this long hand. Not sitting at a computer. It takes on a different form of creativity.

Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
MK: I’ve had characters interrupt my showers before to tell me their stories. This generally earns them a stern look because I’m buck naked and have no pencil or paper to write it all down. Haunting my dreams, yes, and my driving and any other mundane task I might be doing at the moment. I write about 5 books at a time, so I always have some character intruding on my life when I’m not sitting at the computer. It’s a hazard, but generally they work out problems I’m having in the book so I welcome it.

Cate: What's next for you?
MK: I have a book coming out in the summer from the Crimson Rose line at Wild Rose Press. Tin Gods: Ruins and Relics Book One by Kate Davison. This is my foray into romantic suspense, treasure hunts and hunky government agents.

Cate: Cool cover. Any other published works?
MK: Yes. Readers can go to my website, www.MysticKat.com for blurbs and book covers. It’s a mostly complete list. (Needs a bit of an update, but only by one or two titles.)

Cate: Describe your writing in three words.
MK: Twisty. Quirky. Escapism.

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
MK: Most challenging - Finding the time to write everything I want to write. I am prolific with ideas. Every time I sit down to start a new book I think will be a stand alone, it ends up a series. I have more ideas than I can ever possibly write.
Most rewarding – Having people write to me and tell me how much they love my books. (That’s a hint. Drop me a line.)

Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
MK: This comment came when I was still pre-published and had posted an excerpt of a book on a sci-fi writers critique site. One critiquer said I borrowed too many ideas from the Dune series for my story. I laughed. Since I’d never read Dune, I found it completely amazing I was able to channel Frank Herbert so convincingly. I wrote the commenter back, thanking him for his compliment in my ability to do so. I also said I was going to the closest university to get tested for ESP. Though my answer to him was flip, it did teach me a valuable lesson. If I’m writing a story in a particular genre or sub-genre, I won’t read any books in that category. I don’t want outside influences to appear in my books. To this day I still haven’t read Dune.

Cate: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
MK: I love a lot of different authors for different reasons. There are those I read whenever I see knew books by them. Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Elizabeth Phillips to name two. I just bought two of the most latest Susan Grant novels. Though my favorites tend to be in romance, I’ve been reading way outside romance the last few months.

Right now, I’m reading Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. It’s a hard sci-fi about the first colonists on Mars.

Cate: Where can readers find you on the web?
MK: www.MysticKat.com

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
MK: What would you like to see me write about? If I like the idea, I’ll even name a character after you.

Cate: Readers, MK is giving away a book to a random commenter... so start commenting. She'll pick a winner on Wednesday, April 6 around 7 pm EST. Be sure to include your email address so she can contact you if you're the lucky winner.

MK: Note: That gives you a week to comment. So, get keep those cards and letters coming!

Thanks, Cate for having me here today. It’s been fun.

Cate: Great having you here, MK! Best of luck with Immorati, and all your projects!


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi MK,
Nice interview. I love your cover, and the story sounds intriqueing. I can certainly relate to a publisher going out of business.

Cate Masters said...

Hi Margaret! Sorry to hear you've shared MK's bad experience. I'm very glad things have straightened out for you both now!

Cate Masters said...

Welcome MK! I'm so glad to have you as a guest today. I love that you set your story in NJ. The Garden State has such a bad rep! But the Jersey Devil is one of the cool kinds of "bad," ha ha. Love the premise.

Lily Stone said...

Wow! Sounds fascinating. I love your creativity in coming up with unusual ideas.

Beth Trissel said...

Wow, what a fascinating post. I really enjoyed this. Also, Amanda Barnett is the fabulous editor who has worked with me on my light paranormal Somewhere My Lass. :)
Your cover and story are very different from what I normally read but quite intriguing. Really caught my attention.

susan said...

Nice interview. I almost forgot about the Jersey Devil until now when I read your article. I have relatives in Jersey and they were telling us about the tale and it was quite interesting in deed. Hope you have best of luck on the book . Happy Spring but right now it feels like winter here and according to the news..your area isn't much better. Hope you have no flooding close to you. susan L.

Barbara Edwards said...

Sounds like a book I want to read. I'm adding it to my TBR pile.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Your book sounds very interesting, MK. And since your favorite authors are some of mine also, I'm thinking I'll really like.

Hales said...

What a great interview. I love the cover and the story sounds very interesting. I'm intrigued lol!

Sarah Simas said...

Hi MK and Cate!

Awesome interview! :)

I really liked your spin on the werewolf shifter. Very unique and intriguing!

Best wishes for stunning sales!

Kelley Heckart said...

Hi Cate,

I used to live in NJ and we used to scare each other with tales of the Jersey Devil. I like how you are using it in your story and expanding on the myth. Very cool. The Sy Fy Channel just showed Carney (not sure of the spelling) and it had to do with the Jersey Devil. I got a kick out of that.
Your books sound really good.


Leah St. James said...

As a native Jersey Girl (currently living in the Virginian Tidewater), boy can I relate to the Jersey Devil connection! (Yikes...I still get a shiver down my spine just thinking about it!) :-) I'll definitely check out the book.

Thanks for the great interview!


Kathleen Scott/MK Mancos said...

Hey All,

Thanks for your comments. Next week I'll select a winner from the comments here who will receive a copy of my paranormal romance Scythe - or By A Silken Thread, I'll let you choose.

Yeah, the Jersey Devil is one of my favorite cryptids. Next after that is the Mothman and chupacabra. I think it's great to live in a state that has it's own legendary monster. Soooo cool.